Brew Day: Barleywine/Bitter Parti-Gyle

I started homebrewing about three years ago, shortly after moving to Montreal. It began as a partnership with my roommate at the time and fellow ex-Windsorite, Joe. After our misguided first batch, I swore off kits forever and buried my head in research into the science, art, and history of beer making. I was hooked.

BierJoe and I have long since stopped being roommates, but I have at no time stopped keeping some homebrew on hand at all times. I have collaborated with several people since then, hoping to share just how easy and rewarding it is to brew your own beer, but most of the time I have been brewing solo. At a recent tasting of five stockpiled homebrews, the centrepiece of which was my 1877 Pale Ale, Joe said that taking him out of the equation had done wonders for the quality of my beer.

But the time has come for me to leave Montreal, on the wings of an Australian Working Holiday Visa. Since we had moved here together and started brewing together, Joe suggested that we do one last brew to commemorate the occasion and so that he would have something to drink in my memory.

He suggested bitter, while I liked the idea of brewing something that could withstand aging during my ten-month long absence – and thus the idea for a parti-gyle mash was born.

Parti-gyle mashing is a traditional method used to make two beers from one grain bill. After the mash, the first runnings are collected to make a high gravity beer, then the grains are sparged and the remaining wort collected is used to make a low-gravity beer.

Doghouse Barleywine (12 litres)

  • 8kg 2-Row (first runnings)
  • 30g Fuggles @ 90
  • 15g Fuggles @ 0
  • Safale S-04
  • OG: 1.075

First we toasted 1kg of the 2-row on a pan in the oven until it was a nice golden brown, mashed that and the remaining 7kg of base malt at 150 for an hour, and drained the first runnings onto 30g of fuggles. Then we topped off the wort to 12 litres, boiled that for 90 minutes, and added another 15g of fuggles at flame-out.

Doghouse Bitter (20 litres)

  • 8kg 2-Row (second runnings)
  • 400g Carapils
  • 200g Crystal 60
  • 30g Fuggles @ 60
  • 15g Fuggles @ 20
  • 30g Saphir @ 10
  • Safale S-04
  • OG: 1.030

Meanwhile, after draining the grains we added the carapils and crystal let it all steep in 18 litres of 160 water for 30 minutes. We drained the wort onto 30g of fuggles and boiled that for 60 minutes. With added the remaining 15g of fuggles with 20 minutes left and the 30g of saphir at 10 minutes.

The OG for the bitter was lower than expected, so we’re going to add some of the barleywine to the bottling bucket to give it a little push. At the same time, we’ll transfer the barleywine to secondary and top off the carboy with sugar water measured at 1.075 to make up for the missing wort and to help give the yeast the kick needed to finish it nice and dry.

The bitter will be ready to drink before the month is over and I’ll have a chance to taste it before I go, while we’ll bottle the barleywine and age it until my return from Melbourne in May 2014.

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