Splitsville - The Main Story

drew's picture

Earlier this week we talked a bit about the value of smaller brewing to the homebrewer. Today, let's talk a few different techniques to get more variety out of your brew day. Remember the idea is say you don't want to brew 10-15 gallons of the same beer? (or 5 if you're really addicted to lots of flavors) After all, different flavors are wonderful and sometimes you just gotta fill out those taps! These days this is how much of my brew day goes. Virtually every batch has a plan like this attached to it. Makes recording the recipes difficult!

Here's I go about it

Mash Techniques

  • Parti-Gyle: Aka take first runnings and second runnings (maybe even third runnings if you're crazy) and make some new beer!
  • Second Mashing: Run a second smaller mash and use that to affect a portion of your first mash runnings.


  • Split the boil: Multiple pots, multiple beers
  • Add Water: Brew high gravity, chill part of the high gravity beer, add water - instant smaller beer!
  • Add things in different whirlpool steps (say - chill one half your beer and then):
    • Add sugar, extract, additional runnings, Belgian Candi Syrup to the boil kettle and change the gravity
    • Add spices, hops


  • Split Yeasts: By far and away the easiest thing to do with such profound impacts
  • More sugar: again change your gravity! change your character! Adding something like maple syrup as the primary dies down will help preserve the flavor/aroma.
  • Fermenter differences: Ferment in carboys, buckets and kegs - the different fermenters will all yield different results
  • Dry Hops: change up your beer's dry hops in the secondary or in the keg. I've had radically different beers from a simple switch of the hops added for dry hopping.
  • Fruit: The most obvious thing to do with a wheat beer - add fruit to one portion. I usually do this with a Wit beer or Saison for my SO.
  • Other flavor additions: Oak in one portion (or different types of oak soaked in different spirits), teas, herbal, booze, and regular, coffee. The list goes on and on.

Post Fermentation

  • Eis the Beer: Take a portion of the beer and freeze concentrate part of it. Two beers! One mash!
  • Add water to the package: Taking a cue from the big brewers and from Mike "Tasty" McDole, add de-oxygenated water to your beer to make a light weight session version.
  • Don't forget to blend! Mixing together multiple beers can yield really interesting results. This is how Mike Mraz won the 2012 Mayfaire with his sour beer that was a crazy blend of multiple things!

So what have we missed, amigos?

Sanitizing additions

Along with my brew buddy we've been experimenting with different yeasts, which as you say is an easy way to get significantly different brews. I worry about sanitation though, and wonder about what, if any, steps you take for late, after the boil, additions of water, sugars, etc?

drew's picture
The rule always applies

if it goes in after the boil - generally -

1) It either gets boiled for 10 minutes
2) Soaked in stupid levels of alcohol to sanitize for a long period of time.

Water gets boiled and cooled. Sugar lamost always gets turned into a syrup.

denny's picture
Or you can just my method of

Or you can just my method of counting on the alcohol and low pH to make the beer resistant to infection.


Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

I either do 8 or 10 gallon split batches

I'm not so concerned about true to style batches as I'm not entering any of my beers into competition. Here is a list of the recent split batches I've been making. All splits have the same grains and hops, mash temps and hop schedule, basically everything is the same from beginning to chiller. I'll split the cooled wort into two carboys and go from there. Fermentation temps will vary based on style/yeast.

Belgian Pale Ale (10 gallons)
- WLP 515
- WLP 530 w/ Orval dregs into secondary

American Amber / Belgian Dubbel (10 gallons)
- Amber: WLP001, Orange zest and agave nectar into secondary
- Belgian Dubbel: Wyeast 3787, 1lb Turbinado as primary slowed

Oatmeal Stout (8 gallons)
- Added Cocoa nibs, Coffee Beans, tip of a vanilla bean into secondary (3 gallons)
- Nothing added (5 gallons)

Munich Dunkel / Scottish Export (10 gallons)
- Dunkel: Wyeast 2352
- Scottish: WLP028

California Common / ESB
- Common: WLP810
- ESB: WLP002, dry hopped as primary died with Fuggles

Oktoberfest / Biere de Garde split

Wanted to share my latest concoction. This one will be at the top end of the Oktoberfest and at the bottom end of the Biere de Garde scale of the style guide. 5 gallons of Oktoberfest for a party in a couple of months and 3 gallons of BDG in my belly / Falcons meeting (if it makes it). Like I mentioned above, everything is the same for these two beers except for the yeast phase.

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size (fermenter): 8.80 gal
Estimated OG: 1.064 SG
Estimated Color: 11.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.7 IBUs

Amt Name
11 lbs Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) 54.3 %
4 lbs Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) 19.8 %
3 lbs 8.0 oz Vienna Malt (3.0 SRM) 17.3 %
1 lbs Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM) 4.9 %
8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) 2.5 %
4.0 oz Candi Sugar, Dark (275.0 SRM) 1.2 %
1.75 oz Fuggles [6.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min
0.75 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 20.0 min

Wyeast 2633 - Oktoberfest (55 degrees)
WLP 072 French Ale - Biere de Garde (68 degrees)