Monday, 31 May 2021

Parti-gyling in WW II

I'm back with my current favourite topic of WW II. Not really my favourite by choice. It's just what I'm currently researching and writing about. Trying to cross the lats t's in my "Blitzkrieg!" manuscript. 

I'm also half-way through cooking Sunday dinner and a bit rushed for time. Knowing how lethargic I'll be after stuffing myself with roast chicken and stuffing, the lazy-arse option is to nick a bit of the manuscript I haven't posted yet.

Talking of the manuscript, I'm pretty pleased with it. Despite its immense length. Who knows how many readers are as equally fascinated by the minutiae of wartime brewing as I am. Not that it matters. The point isn't to sell as many copies as possible, but to write the book I'd want to read.

I just checked the chicken. It needed a little more liquid. Which, today, is in the form of an Imperial Stout I brewed in 1993. Surprisingly well carbonated, considering. Though that was probably due to whatever the infection was lurking in the bottle. Sort of drinkable despite that. Not really oxidised, but quite acidic and funky.

I'll head off and finish the cooking now while you have the thrill of learning about parti-gyling.

A technique much loved by many British breweries was parti-gyling. It involved blending multiple, and different strength, worts created during the mashing process after they had been boiled separately. The blending was usually performed in the fermenting vessels.

One of its main advantages was that it allowed brewers to produce multiple beers from a single brew. Also, to produce small batches of beer economically on equipment with a much larger brew length. A great example of this is Fullers Old Burton Extra, of which rarely more than ten barrels was brewed, despite their equipment having a capacity of over 400 barrels.

Four beers were produced: two Mild Ales (X and XX) and two Burton Ales (BO and OBE). Without parti-gyling, the two small batch beers – BO and XX – would have been totally uneconomical on the kit Fullers had.

Scottish brewers were particularly keen on the technique. Most had a single recipe from which they produced three different-strength Pale Ales and a Strong Scotch Ale.

Fullers parti-gyle 8th November 1939
  barrels OG barrels OG barrels OG barrels OG
1st wort 113.5 1077.6º 14.75 1077.6º 102.25 1077.6º 8.75 1077.6º
2nd wort 51 1009.5º 14 1009.5º 187.5 1009.5º 0 1009.5º
hop sparge 2.5 1002.8º 1.25 1002.8º 10.25 1002.8º 1 1002.8º
together 167 1055.6º 30 1042.6º 300 1032.4º 9.75 1069.9º
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery

Just off to pop the Yorkshire puds in the oven. See you soon.


Unknown said...

One thing I've been wondering about these parti-gyles: did breweries have two kettles for working like this, or did they hold the second wort in the mash tun / big underback while they boiled and ran off the first wort? Cheers.

Mike Hoover said...

"Hop sparge" is interesting. Hops on top of the mash for collecting the final wort? The Soviet Russian Stout bottle label accompanying the post throws me off.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mike Hoover,

a hop sparge was pouring hot water over the hops after running off the wort. The idea was to flush out the wort which had been absorbed by the hops during the boil.

Ron Pattinson said...


some breweries had multiple coppers, but I believe the most common method was to keep it in the underback. Though at Fullers there was a vessel above the copper which meant excess heat from the boiling of the first wort would preheat the second wort.

Artem Belitsky said...


Where did you get that wonderful triangle label?

Ron Pattinson said...

Artem Belitsky,

that's label from one of my home brews.