Saturday, 16 March 2013

Son of Gnarley - a Parti gyle

I am in dire straights - the hopsteadder is kegged, but the merlins mild is gone and the Q3 is being held for the next club meeting. Meaning my supply of beer is not upto demand.  To make things worse, the brew planned for this weekend - Gnarly Roots Barleywine - won't be ready for bottling for 8 to 12 months.  What is a brewer to do?

The answer - I hope - lies in the fact that my brewing setup is not capable of fully utilizing the 5kg pof grain being used in the Gnarly Roots.  As such, after sparging, there should be usable sugar left in the grain.  I can then re-sparge - as in parti gyle - the grain and produce a second, weaker beer.  This is a traditional way of brewing, where the brewer sparges the grain leftover from a bigger batch of beer, to produce a second (and sometimes third) batch of weaker beer.

The problem with this brew is that I need to wing it on brew day - I have no way of knowing in advance what the gravity of the second beer will be, meaning I'll have to calculate my hop additions on the fly.  Moreover, I'm using leftover hops for the whole batch (Hallertau, Cascade, Nugget & Northern Brewer), and the american ale yeast used for the Gnalry Roots, so I'm not exactly going to be on-style for any beer style.  Finally, my wife tried to throw out some honey that had crystallized -  I saved it, so there is ~300 ml of honey to add to the brew as well.

So what am I making?  Lets call it the Son of Gnarly Canadian Bitter.  Why Canadian?  Cause it's being brewed here...


Gnarly Roots boiling, Son of Gnarly
waiting to brew in the background

Brew Day:

I am literally making this up as I go.  Turns out I over-extracted the grain on the Gnarly Roots, so the gravity will be lower than planned.  I sparged the leftover grains from Gnarly Roots with 22L of 74C water - and yet, somehow only got about 16L back.  Gravity was about 1.016, which after an hours boil should get upto 1.018.  I have a half-kilo of honey that crystallized that will get added in at the end, giving a predicted gravity around 1.025.  Given those conditions, I've generated the following hopping schedule, which should give 30IBUs and a BU:GU of 1.2:

  • Boil 30min without hops
  • At 30min add: 8g Cascade (6.4%), 4g Northern Brewer (9%) and 3g Nugget (13%)
  • At 10min add 10g Nugget, 9g Cascade, 5g Northern Brewer & Irish Moss
  • At 5min add 6g Hallertauer
  • At 0min add 6g Hallertauer and Honey
The final bitterness should be less than expected, as some of these hops have been in the freezer for over 6 months in ziplocs.  None-the-less, this should be a low-gravity, high hop brew that may be either great or taste like hop extract.

Aside from frantically measuring hops every few minutes during the ending part of the brew, this was an otherwise easy brew day.

Edit: Someone pointed out that I forgot to mention the yeast used - it was the same as the primary yeast for Gnarly Roots; Wyeast 1056 (American Ale).

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