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Old 11-18-2009, 03:26 PM   #1
phasedweasel
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Default AG brewing in 2.5 gallon batches?

I am an apartment brewer, and we've been happy so far with extract + specialty and some partial mashes in the standard 5 gallon size. We can only boil about 3 gallons a time comfortably and I don't have the space to mash and lauter enough grain for a 5 gallon batch.

However, my birthday is coming up and I think I'm going to be getting a 3 gallon Better Bottle so I can brew more often for less money (we also just can't go through 5 gallons that quickly). I want to do more experimental batches and play with recipes.

Is it feasible to do all grain in this size? How large would my mash volume have to be? Is 2.5 too small to be a stable batch? Thanks for all your insights!

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:30 PM   #2
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2.5 is fine. Some people will saying things like, "why waste your time" but if you're looking to do a bunch of batches I think this is the way to go.

I have personally been thinking about going down to 4 gallon batches so that I can put them in my carboys for primary, and so that I can run through more recipes.

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:40 PM   #3
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You can even do a small MLT, you can get 3 gallon versions of the rubbermaid/gott coolers.

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:43 PM   #4
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How about batch sparging for 3 gallons? The partial mashes I've done have been mash 1.5, sparge 1 as shown in the stickied PM thread. However, that's for a partial mash that relies on an extract backbone, and I don't know if it's good enough to get enough sugars for a 3 / 2.5 gallon batch? Efficiency doesn't bother me, but there is a limit to how much grain I can fit in a smaller kettle.

I'm trying to avoid buying more equipment, I'd rather fall on the side of "spend more effort and make do" because I am a graduate student.

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Old 11-18-2009, 03:50 PM   #5
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Sure you can AG brew in 2.5 gallon batches. BYO Mag's November issue has a story on small batch brewing, including a guy who does 1 gallon batches.

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Old 11-18-2009, 04:19 PM   #6
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I wouldn't do a single 2.5 gallon batch, but I would consider doing a couple or four of them at the same time. There's a certain time overhead that doesn't care about batch size.

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Old 11-18-2009, 04:36 PM   #7
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I do a ton of 2.5 gallon AG brews in my loft, usually when the weather turns cold and I don't want to brew outside.

I do a lot of Experiments, test recipes, or beers that I know I won't need/want more than a case of.

I sometimes 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

But I mostly use my regular 5 gallon cooler mash tun which holds 14 pounds of grains...and 14 pounds of grain for a 2.5 gallon batch can be a mighty big beer.....


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 11-18-2009, 04:39 PM   #8
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Thanks Revvy, good info and pictures. I am full steam ahead!

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Old 11-18-2009, 04:42 PM   #9
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One downside I see is if you use recipes that call for liquid yeast. Liquid yeast is bad enough for 5g batches where it can account for 1/3 or so of the total cost. You could see the yeast comprising almost half the cost of your batches. I would try to use dry when at all possible or reuse washed yeast from previous batches.

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Old 11-18-2009, 04:44 PM   #10
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One downside I see is if you use recipes that call for liquid yeast. Liquid yeast is bad enough for 5g batches where it can account for 1/3 or so of the total cost. You could see the yeast comprising almost half the cost of your batches. I would try to use dry when at all possible or reuse washed yeast from previous batches.
If you make starters, then wash, store and reuse your liquid yeast then you can drive the cost of that vial down considerably.
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