Yeast, Ye Fickle Beast

This past summer I attempted my first brew session using an old-timey brewing method known as parti-gyle. Prior to the late eighteenth century, most brewers had the ability to fabricate enormous wooden casks for mashing but were unable to create a similarly sized fireproof vessel to boil the entire volume of wort. Therefore, it was very common to draw two, three, and sometimes even four volumes of wort from the same mash in order to create multiple beers of varying strengths. The total volume of wort was historically called a gyle, hence, several beers from one gyle = parti-gyle.

This worked out great. I used a recipe for an Old Chub clone, slightly modified to compensate for ingredients on hand. I collected about a gallon and a half of first runnings for my Scotch-style ale and then collected about three gallons after adding more water and conducting a mini-infusion mash. The small beer turned out as expected (low alcohol, mild flavors, etc.) however the Old Chub clone (“Wee Too Heavy”) came out a bit heavier than I wanted with an OG of 1.120!

I let the Wee Too Heavy batch sit around for quite a while in secondary in order to mellow out. It was probably not in the most ideal conditions since I just left it unmonitored in the basement. When it came time to bottle, I did not re-pitch any yeast. This has turned out to be a fatal mistake as I now have a dozen or so bottles of dead-still malty goodness.

At the latest local homebrew meeting I brought up this issue with the group to solicit opinions. The suggestion was to crack open a couple of bottles and drop in a pinch of dry yeast. Then place the bottles in a safe place and pray nothing blows up. Duly noted and enacted.

Amount of yeast added to each bottle.
Trying to avoid bottle bombs.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

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