Summit Unchained No. 21 Us & Them is two IPAs in one six-pack

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Summit Unchained No. 21 Us & Them is a parti-gyled beer that is being released in split six-packs with an American IPA and Sessions IPA // Photo by Aaron Davidson

Brewing beer is hard work, but sometimes it’s a downright party, er, parti.

Parti-gyling, named for a “partial gyle,” (gyle being another name for fermenting wort), is a brewing technique that originated in medieval England, if not earlier. It involves drawing wort from a mash like usual (a “first running”), then sparging the same mash to draw off a second batch of wort (a “second running”). In its heyday, the technique was commonly used on beers that called for large grain bills. In those cases, the first running would be used to brew a high-ABV stout or barleywine, and the second running a lower-ABV style, or “small beer.”

The technique was a technological necessity of its day: while brewers had the ability to build large wooden mash tuns capable of handing larger grain bills, they didn’t have the technology to build boil kettles large enough to collect all of the valuable wort those mashes could produce, hence the need to perform multiple runnings on a single mash.

Parti-gyling is largely absent from modern commercial brewing but has popped up at a few local breweries, the latest being Summit Brewing Company, which is debuting Unchained No. 21 Us & Them this week. The parti-gyled beers will be available in split six-packs containing a “1st thread” hoppy and intense American IPA, and a “2nd thread” complex but subtle Session IPA.

Summit brewer Gabe Smoley is the man behind the beers and set out to create “a truly unique craft beer exploration.”

“I wanted to do more with this project than just make a beer,” Smoley said. “I wanted to do something different. Something that legitimately offered our Summit fans a truly real craft beer drinking experience.

“The Us & Them project, for me, does just that. It takes something people are familiar with in our Sága IPA beer and pulls it apart into two polar opposites of itself. It’s not just another six-pack off the shelf. It’s an exploration of historic brewing ideas and practices like parti-gyle and multi-thread brewing that many people have probably never experienced or even heard of before. That, to me, is offering our drinkers something honest, something different, and something nobody else has given them.”

Specs for the two beers are as follows:

1st Thread American IPA // Photo by Aaron Davidson

1st Thread American IPA // Photo by Aaron Davidson

1st Thread American IPA

  • Malts: 2-row pale, caramel
  • Hops: Horizon, Centennial, Amarillo, Citra, Rakau (dry-hopped with Rakau)
  • ABV: 7.2%
  • IBU: 90
  • Color: Saffron
  • Yeast: American Ale
  • Tasting notes: Intensely tropical, resinous, and piney
2nd Thread Session IPA // Photo by Aaron Davidson

2nd Thread Session IPA // Photo by Aaron Davidson

2nd Thread Session IPA

  • Malts: 2-row pale, caramel
  • Hops: Horizon, Centennial, Amarillo, Citra, Rakau, (dry-hopped with Citra)
  • ABV: 4.0%
  • IBU: 55
  • Color: Sunglow
  • Yeast: American Ale
  • Tasting notes: Biscuity, orange/tangerine, and dry finish

Summit is hosting several events in the coming weeks to introduce the beers to the public, including:

  • Summit Beer Hall – Feb. 20, 4–10 p.m.
  • Muddy Pig – Feb. 24, 4pm
  • Pat’s Tap – Feb. 25, 4–7 pm
  • Golden Valley Country Club (members-only event) – Feb. 25, 6–8pm
  • Keegan’s Irish Pub – Feb. 26, 5pm
  • Old Chicago Eden Prairie – March 23, 4pm

While Unchained No. 21 is Summit’s first foray into parti-gyling, Summit is not the first local brewery to use the technique. Other examples include Surly’s Damien made from Darkness mashes, Fulton’s Patience Lost made from the second runnings of Patience Barleywine, and Brau Brothers’ Parti-Pack, which was released in 2014 and included a Black IPA made from the second runnings of an Alternative Imperial Alt.

 
Keith Grauman About Keith Grauman

Keith Grauman is the web editor at The Growler. When he's not drinking beer at work, he can be found homebrewing, reading comics or playing with his kids in the front yard of his south Minneapolis home.

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