I brewed up a batch of Winter Warmer/Holiday Ale at the end of December. I have noticed that my sparging efficiency has been going up lately, yet I haven’t adjusted my recipes to compensate for this (i.e. use less grain). So I end up dumping a small amount of wort out prior to the boil because I just don’t need the extra sugars to hit my target gravities.

I must have been in a frugal mood because I decided to try my first parti-gyle brew session; making a “small beer” out of the late runnings from the tun. Here is how I squeezed two beers from the same mash.

I collected 4 gallons of 1.083 wort from my first runnings (I batch sparge). More than enough sugar to end up with 5 gallons of 1.060 wort which is what I wanted in the recipe. I transfered the first runnings to my primary kettle to start the boil. I added my second infusion of sparge water to the tun and collected 4 more gallons of 1.037 wort. I did some quick calculations used some of the second runnings to get the proper volume in my primary kettle (which later became the Holiday Ale). I conducted a third sparge to collect another 2 gallons of wort and added it directly to the left over second runnings. I now had 5 gallons of 1.025 wort. Which I felt was a little low so I added one pound of DME to bump it to 1.034.

I added this second/third runnings wort to a second kettle. I have two burners, so I could boil these beers in parallel. I boiled off this “small beer” down to 4 gallons at 1.042 OG. For hops in this beer I wanted to just do a single addition. I tried something different and added 0.75oz of Nugget at 30 minutes. Hoping for enough utilization to get good bitterness while retaining enough flavor character due to the limited 30 minute boil. (In all I boiled the small beer for 30 minutes, made the hop addition and boiled for 30 more minutes.)

So this small beer is a mini version of the Holiday Beer (without the spices and bourbon). I suspect it might be a little like a Mild Ale, but I pitched American Ale yeast (Fermentis US-05) into both beers, so it won’t really be very English. If it tastes pretty good I suppose I could dry hop with some cascade and call it an American Pale.
I have to admit I am more excited about this little beer than I am about the Holiday Ale. I’ll add some tasting notes once its carbed up and ready to drink.