Monday, 12 March 2018

Parti-gyling... what's that all about then?

Parti-gyling is one of those "brewery speak" terms which a lot of people have heard of but not many know what it means... but bloody hell, it sounds great, like a big foam party in Ibiza or summat, innit?

Well, not quite! It was originally a brewing method used by brewers to get the maximum efficiency from an amount of grain; the mash was made, run off, then the same grain was mashed again which obviously gave much less extract than the first collection.  These worts were sometimes blended together after mashing either fully or partly, sometimes fermented separately then blended, or sometimes never blended and sold as different beers; for example, a brewery might mash a 9% old ale, run off the wort, then remash and collect wort for a second, weaker, beer giving two beers from one load of grain.

OK, fine, you may reply, but what's that got to do with modern brewing?  Nowadays you just brew what you like, surely?  Well, yes and no!  Most brewers do so, 99% of the time, but sometimes we may split a brew of beer and treat the different parts separately, for example a different dry-hop to create a different beer from one "mother" beer...  We employ the technique of Parti-gyling fairly frequently including in this, our latest beer, and one which sees the return of one of the Pixie Spring originals!

We followed an updated (but very similar to the original Pontyclun brew) recipe for Deliverance right up until the beer was ready to be transferred to conditioning tank and racked to cask.  At that point we ran off two tanks of the beer which would become "Change Alone Endures" (which was double dry-hopped, so called because the beer had already been dry-hopped in the fermenter), whereas the remainder of the fermenter was filled into casks and became "Deliverance"!

See, two beers from one brew... easy! 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

First solo brew!

We 'd planned to do 2 days brewing but we'd reckoned without the "Beast from the East" followed by Storm Emma... it snowed, a lot for South Wales, and so Gazza was in the position of having to decide whether to abandon both brewdays with Gav unable to get in, or going for a solo brew!

A lot of brewers will wonder what the issue is here as, in most breweries of our size, brewers routinely brew themselves... but they've not seen our kit!  Being the Heath Robinson type affair it is, never designed for single brewing with lots of reasons why it's difficult such as the FVs are really hard to clean owing to their shape, so two people are preferable when brewing.... 

About to mash in!
So, Gazza bravely, in the spirit of the gladiators of ancient times, decided to plough on and meet the brew challenge face on ... ! Actually, it wasn't too bad and the various choke points envisaged were surmounted by either a) some clever manipulation of cables/pipes/other stuff, or b) extra time was taken to make sure everything was done and the brew was safely into FV3 albeit a touch cool so needed warming up in order to ferment properly, but hey.... that's a minor point!

This has meant that mashing in single-manned is now defacto for brewdays meaning we can theoretically get finished at a reasonable time!

Trying to work out how to do the cleaning single-manned....

Fuck it, let's have a cup of rosie next to some hops...

Digging the copper

I could thus reach the pump control for cleaning the fermenter!

Wort flowing through the aerator into FV3