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Old 11-11-2009, 04:06 AM   #1
ReeseAllen
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Default Mini-MLT?

I've recently been toying with the idea of doing lots of little 1-gallon test batches. Lots of SMASH brews and experimental stuff to expand my knowledge and get me started on coming up with my own recipes. I figure keeping things on such a small scale means I can do all-grain in my kitchen and do a complete brew session in 3 hours easily on any given weeknight with minimal cleanup.

I have this little lunchbox cooler. It came with the 10-gallon cooler that is now my MLT. I measured it tonight and it holds 1.2 gallons of water, 1.25 brimming. According to this MLT sizing thread, scaling down those numbers by a factor of (5/1.2)=4.17, this little cooler is just the right size for a MLT that's capable of doing 1-gallon batches. I can put up to 2.9 lbs of grain and 0.9 gallons of strike water into it, which is more than enough to do a 1-gallon version of most AG recipes I've seen.

Would it be worthwhile to make it into a mini-MLT for 1-gallon batches? Or is it going to lose too much heat (the walls are 15mm thick) to be effective? I've seen threads about doing small AG batches in the kitchen, using an ordinary kettle as the mash tun and suspending the grain in a bag. That seems like too much effort to try and actively control the mash temp. I'd rather just do the same procedure I do for 5-gallon batches: calculate my strike temperature, preheat the MLT, toss in the grain when it reaches strike temp, stir it up, close the lid and forget about it for an hour.

The cost of the MLT conversion is trivial so what I'm really looking for is advice as to whether this thing is going to work like I'm hoping it will.

mini-mlt-candidate.jpg  
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Old 11-11-2009, 04:36 AM   #2
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I think regardless of your setup, your true question is, how are you going to ferment the 1 gallon batches. If you have that question answered I say you do it (if the cost of the conversion is trivial).

I always make my starters in 3Q size, so if it doesn't work for 1g batches to do a starter in the same manner should make it worthwhile. I ferment in a 1gallon glass franks hotsauce bottle.

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Old 11-11-2009, 04:41 AM   #3
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I think regardless of your setup, your true question is, how are you going to ferment the 1 gallon batches. If you have that question answered I say you do it (if the cost of the conversion is trivial).

I always make my starters in 3Q size, so if it doesn't work for 1g batches to do a starter in the same manner should make it worthwhile. I ferment in a 1gallon glass franks hotsauce bottle.
One of the homebrew shops I frequent sells 1 gallon jugs for $6 each.
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Old 11-11-2009, 06:31 AM   #4
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I suppose tomorrow I'll do a test run with hot water and see how well it holds temperature over an hour. Heat a gallon to 165, put into the cooler, wait til it reaches 152, close the lid and start the timer. I should probably fill the lid with Great Stuff foam, too.

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Old 11-11-2009, 08:12 AM   #5
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The smaller you get batch size the more each little grain is goign to affect the taste. The smallest change in grain is going to affect your end product way more then a 5 or 10g batch.

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Old 11-11-2009, 10:24 AM   #6
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The smaller you get batch size the more each little grain is goign to affect the taste. The smallest change in grain is going to affect your end product way more then a 5 or 10g batch.


I do plenty of small batch all grain brewing and I've NEVER found that to be the case....Beer making is all a matter of scale, and it is easy to scale a recipe up and down, with no change in the flavor of the beer due to the "each little grain affecting taste. Nor if you scale, do the ibus get affected.

a one gallon batch would have 1/5 the grainbil/hopbilll of a 5 gallon batch , 2.5 gallon has 1/2 of a 5 gallon recipe and a 10 gallon has TWICE that of the 5 gallon...simple as that.

That's way often microbreweries will provide their recipes to homebrewers in % like "80% pilsner, 5% 2-row, 10% munich."

ReeseAllen does that cooler have a spigot on it? If not how do you intend to drain the mashtun and then sparge it.

I use an unmodified 2 gallon cooler for a lot of my small btaches it holds up to 4 pounds of grain.

I just us a folding steamer in the bottom along with a grain bag. Just break off or unscrew the center post.



One of these, it helps to lift the grain bag above the spigot to keep the drainig from getting stuck.







I posted a lot of info in the mr beer thread that you may find helpful.

I posted some all grain small batchrecipes here, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/785533-post702.html

ANd a bit of a primer on AG with pics here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/738927-post659.html


One of our memebers chubbykid had plans for a minikeg mashtun http://www.chubbykidhomebrew.com/Home/equipment



THe basic brewing radio guys are big fans of tiny batch brewing...3/4 gallon (1 6pack) in a 1 gallon winejug fermenter.

They demo the 6-pack IPA here

http://en.sevenload.com/shows/Basic-Brewing/episodes/PERGFAJ-01-12-06-Basic-Brewing-Video-A-Six-Pack-of-IPA
and they also have done barleywines as well.
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Old 11-11-2009, 10:32 AM   #7
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I did a lot of PM's with a 2 gallon cooler. I used a big grain bag to line the MLT (per Chris Colby's instructions http://www.byo.com/component/resource/article/511-countertop-partial-mashing). I think it would work great for small batches.

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Old 11-11-2009, 03:25 PM   #8
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Very informative Revvy.

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Old 11-11-2009, 03:33 PM   #9
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Very informative Revvy.
That's what I'm here for, to try to help.

Hey I just linked the partyguile thread you helped me figure out today! I haven't looked at it in a year. We done good work together on it.

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Old 11-11-2009, 04:05 PM   #10
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That's what I'm here for, to try to help.

Hey I just linked the partyguile thread you helped me figure out today! I haven't looked at it in a year. We done good work together on it.

That was a lot of fun work. I haven't kept up on the thread. I'm actually thinking about doing a partigyle IPA/APA this weekend.
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