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Old 10-27-2012, 06:01 PM   #1
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Default 2.5 Gallon Batches

So here's the deal. I got the basic homebrewer starter set up back in August, have done a couple of extract beers already, and decided to try my hand last weekend with my first AG/BIAB style, a smoked mild. I enjoyed the AG process much more and although a bit tricky to control the mash temp in a brew kettle, I've decided that I think that BIAB is the way I should go for now until I get a more capable set up for a full AG switch.

Having said that, I only have a 5 gallon kettle, so my BIAB/AG capability is limited in size for now to 2.5 gallons. I do all my primary fermentation in a 8 gallon bucket and when I need to rack to secondary, it goes into a six gallon carboy.

I'm wondering is there anything inherently detrimental to doing small 2.5 gallon batches, especially as it pertains to fermenting in vessels with larger capacity? Right now, I see only advantages. With only 2.5 gallon batches, I'll brew more often (giving this rookie a chance to really learn the process through repetition), I'll be able to brew a wider variety of styles over this time, I'll save money (extract is friggin expensive compared to grain), and best of all, I get to fill my kitchen with that smell of sweet wort.

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Old 10-27-2012, 06:20 PM   #2
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No harm in fermenting in a larger vessel. The only thing I would do is purge your secondary with CO2, so there is no oxygen able to possibly oxidize the beer. I've always purged my secondaries with CO2 prior to racking.

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Old 10-27-2012, 06:29 PM   #3
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With only 2.5 gallons, I'd either totally skip the clearing vessel ("secondary") or get a 3 gallon carboy if I felt that I needed to use a clearing vessel. It'll be ok in primary with lots of headspace for quite a while (weeks, anyway), but not in a secondary.

Since I skip racking anyway, except for when it's time to package, I'd just ferment it in the primary and then bottle.

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Old 10-27-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
With only 2.5 gallons, I'd either totally skip the clearing vessel ("secondary") or get a 3 gallon carboy if I felt that I needed to use a clearing vessel. It'll be ok in primary with lots of headspace for quite a while (weeks, anyway), but not in a secondary.

Since I skip racking anyway, except for when it's time to package, I'd just ferment it in the primary and then bottle.
+1

Only thing I would add is, just use your 6 gallon for the primary. I ferment my 2.5 gallon batches in 5 gallon carboys all the time and skip the secondary.
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Old 10-27-2012, 07:05 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice, everyone. I'll make sure to get myself a three gallon carboy shortly. I've been wanting to get a better bottle anyhow for extended secondaries anyhow.

A second question comes to mind in light of all this:

The consensus seems to be that primary fermenting in an 8 gallon bucket is fine and dandy since the CO2 generated in fermentation is keeping the beer from oxidizing. But one slight issue is that my bucket doesn't seem to seal airtight. I end up taping around the sides with duct tape to try and keep anything and everything out, but I never get a bubbling airlock, even during the peak fermentations while krausen is strong. Is my bucket allowing CO2 to escape and therefore my beer at risk of oxidizing even during primary?

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Old 10-27-2012, 07:30 PM   #6
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Is my bucket allowing CO2 to escape and therefore my beer at risk of oxidizing even during primary?
Yes, once active fermentation slows down. I'd ferment in the carboy, with a bung and airlock, if you were doing a 2.5 gallon batch and didn't have a good lid for the bucket.
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Old 10-29-2012, 01:52 AM   #7
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For my 2-3 gallon size batches I use white paint buckets that I buy from Walmart for $2-3. Lids cost $1 and a grommet is 50 cents. These are food grade safe. you can also buy (or get free) 3.5 gallon pastry buckets from your local bakery. These are used for frosting. The smaller size bucket leaves much less head space for problems to occur.

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Old 10-29-2012, 04:49 PM   #8
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For my 2-3 gallon size batches I use white paint buckets that I buy from Walmart for $2-3. Lids cost $1 and a grommet is 50 cents. These are food grade safe. you can also buy (or get free) 3.5 gallon pastry buckets from your local bakery. These are used for frosting. The smaller size bucket leaves much less head space for problems to occur.
Make sure you look on the bottom of the bucket to see the number in the triangle.

My super sized grocery store has changed the icing bucket to a number 5 from number 2. No more good deals on buckets.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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I love to use my 5 gallon carboy for 2.5-3 gallon batches, now I don't have to worry about blow off tubes.

Krausen just dropped out of my IPA this morning.
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Old 10-29-2012, 05:31 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by flipfloptan View Post
Make sure you look on the bottom of the bucket to see the number in the triangle.

My super sized grocery store has changed the icing bucket to a number 5 from number 2. No more good deals on buckets.
What's wrong with number 5?
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