What the hell is a Parti-Gyle? No, it’s not a Street Fighter party where everyone dresses like Gyle… Oh wait, that’s Guile not Gyle. Seriously though, it’s an historic method of brewing that originated in medieval Europe (used in England and Belgium amongst other places) which allows the brewer to create two or even three different beers from the same mash. Definitely not as cool as a Street Fighter themed party.
The Trappist breweries would typically brew three batches: the first and strongest was reserved for the monks; the second, slightly weaker beer was for the townspeople; and the third and weakest beer was for travelers or pilgrims. This is also the technique we utilized to brew our 2 newest Experiment-Ales; a Russian Imperial Stout and a smallish “Provisional” stout.
The technique is pretty straightforward if not a little unpredictable. The method is as follows. The first third of the wort (or sugar water) that’s run off the mash (steeped malt oatmeal) contains about half of the total sugars of the mash; the next two thirds of the wort contain the second half of the sugars. So if you boil the first third of the wort, you can make a really high alcohol beer like a Barley Wine or Imperial Stout and the second two thirds of the wort can be boiled separately to make a relatively lighter alcohol beer like a dry stout or English bitter depending on the malts used in the mash.
I say relatively lighter alcohol beer because we made a 10% ABV Imperial Stout and expected to have a 4% ABV dry stout. Instead, we ended up with a 5.8% Dry Stout which isn’t really all that small, and probably means we had enough sugar left for a third traveling pilgrim beer. And, thus the slightly unpredictable nature of a Parti-Gyle brew.
And that should about do it for your Friday geek fix. We will be tapping the smallish Provisional Stout today at 4:00pm so come on by for part one of the Parti-Gyle and if you show up as Guile from Street Fighter your first Provisional Stout is on the house.
A Votre Sante