Mixing wort before fermentation

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Mixing wort before fermentation

Sorry if this is in the wrong category but it seems a bit of a grey area since it happens before fermentation but after the boil. Also, apologise for the drawn out intro.

I'm fairly new to brewing and craft beer (and beer loving in fact) so I'm still trying to come to grips with the different flavours that people talk about. One other problem I've had with my brewing is understanding how to put together a hop schedule, so I am considering an experiment to help me understand the difference between hop bitterness and flavour.

I plan to make a SmaSh beer. I will sparge the full amount needed for both batches then separate the combined pre boil wort into two equal amounts and boil separately. One pot will have hops added at 60 mins and the other will have hops added at 30 mins (or maybe a different flavour schedule I'm not sure yet). These will then be separated into different fermentors and fermented with the same yeast.

I'm also considering arranging for a third batch where I mix equal amounts of the two different boils into a third fermentor and see how it turns out.

Can anybody see any problems or benefits of blending two different worts together?

Thanks in advance.

drew's picture
Johanes - not at all - in

Johanes - not at all - in fact what you've hit upon is a variation of an old technique that's still used today by Fuller's in the UK. Traditional Parti-gyle brewing involves taking different sets of runnings (the first very sugar laden runoff from the mashtun and then the later less sugary liquid) and boiling them separately with different hops. After the boil the different kettles are blended together in different quantities to yield very different beers. What you're proposing is really a simpler version of that.

Fuller's is a fascinating example because they do the full traditional process and take one mash and split it into three ketlles (or coppers to use the o.g. term). Copper A is the first runnings, thick and rich. Copper B is the less dense second runnings and Copper C is the least dense of the three. After boiling separately, Fuller's then combines the three coppers in differing quantities to produce their ESB, London Pride and Chiswick Bitter. Pretty cool, eh?

That is pretty cool, and as a

That is pretty cool, and as a London native it's especially interesting.

I have two further questions before I try to conduct my experiment.

1. Should I aim to use the amount of hops that is normal for that point of the boil (in that style) or aim for (approximately) the same amount of IBUs/same amount of hops?

2. What kind of effect can I expect from the blending? i.e. Is it going to create a smoother rounder flavour/bitterness, a more in your face contrasting kind of flavour, or simply indistinguishable from a standard boil?

Thanks again for your comments. I can't wait to get around to reading your book.

drew's picture
Learning new stuff every day!

Learning new stuff every day!

1) I'd aim for the same ballpark on the IBU front - that way you can do a more even comparison. (Things like hop oil content, etc are going to throw enough of a skew into the mix already.

2) I think you'll get a much more complex hop character in the blended beer than the straight ones, but I don't know if you'll get much difference from the same beer brewed all together. Your vegetative loads will be the same, the oils, etc. But it's a very complex space and I can't quite picture all of it together.

Most of the really desirable

Most of the really desirable flavors and aromas are boiled off fairly rapidly in my experience. I've moved to later and later hop additions, and in fact rarely boil longer than 30 minutes anyway. If your wort smells "heavenly", it won't necessarily taste heavenly, because anything you can smell is NOT in the brew, it's in the air. I little Magnum early in the boil for bittering, and the rest as 5 to 10 minutes and whirlpool is my favorite methodology.

I would suggest that you actually split your brew in to 3 instead of 2. Use the same IBUs on all three, but put hops in at 60 min for one, 20 minutes for the second, and 5 minutes for the third. I'd probably use a hop like Nugget for this so your quantities are not outrageous on boil 3.


reviving an old thread but I

reviving an old thread but I've done this a few times and always end up with one brew I prefer to the other and wished I'd done it all as the nicer version,

As for blending the two batches, once it was ok and as good as the nicer of the two beers but usually just a waste of the nicer brew.