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Old 09-12-2009, 12:17 AM   #1
thesanch
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Default Small (2.5 gallon) All Grain Batches?

I've done only 3 extract brews so far, but planning on doing my 4th this weekend. I'm very interested in starting all grain, but I don't think I could get SWMBO to agree to a new bigger kettle purchase though. Currently I have a 5 gallon SS pot for my partial boil extract batches.

I would like start piecing together the equipment needed to do 5 gallon all grain batches except the kettle, and just start with smaller batches (2.5 gallons?).

I was planning on my making my own immersion chiller first (as I could also use this for my extract brews) based off of Schlenkerla's Design:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/simp...chiller-33036/

Then a mashtun using ChemE's and DarkSide's design for Fly Sparging in the future.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-b...tertun-129913/

What do you guys think of my plan to start with small batches? Would fly sparging be silly for such small batches? Could the same mashtun design (i.e manifold/false bottom vs braid) be used for either process?

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Old 09-12-2009, 01:23 AM   #2
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I think small batches are fine-- it certainly makes the brew day a bit easier. There's no law that I'm aware of that says you must brew five (or more!) gallons at at time.

As for fly sparging, my opinion is to forget about it. Batch sparging can be nearly as efficient and takes less time, less equipment, and is simpler. I regularly get 80% efficiency with a double batch sparge.

The same mashtun design should work well for either sparging technique, though it's less critical for batch sparging than it is for fly sparging.

-Steve

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Old 09-12-2009, 01:28 AM   #3
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Search "Brew in a bag" on this forum.

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Old 09-12-2009, 01:32 AM   #4
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I agree - 2.5 gallon batches fit in nicely. I can use a stainless corny keg for a ferment vessel, I can keep 4 different batches in a single refrigerator w/ temp control, and I can brew many different styles quite often.

Fly sparging is great if you want to mess with it, but as SavageSteve mentions - batch sparging is nearly as efficient, and much less time, yet rivals the efficiency of fly sparging.

Do whatever method you enjoy. If you're making good beer - who cares?!

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Old 09-12-2009, 05:13 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing_Gnome_Invisible View Post
Search "Brew in a bag" on this forum.
I've considered doing this and I'll probably try it out at some point, but I want to eventually do bigger batches and will need the equipment I mentioned before.

Hmmm, maybe I will do a small brew in a bag as my first all grain. That's not a bad idea!
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:17 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageSteve View Post
I think small batches are fine-- it certainly makes the brew day a bit easier. There's no law that I'm aware of that says you must brew five (or more!) gallons at at time.

As for fly sparging, my opinion is to forget about it. Batch sparging can be nearly as efficient and takes less time, less equipment, and is simpler. I regularly get 80% efficiency with a double batch sparge.

The same mashtun design should work well for either sparging technique, though it's less critical for batch sparging than it is for fly sparging.

-Steve
I think you may have convinced me about batch sparging. At least to start out... since I can use the same manifold/falsebottom for batch as I can for fly. I need to read about it more since I really focused my previous effort into the fly sparging technique.
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Old 09-12-2009, 05:19 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XXguy View Post
I agree - 2.5 gallon batches fit in nicely. I can use a stainless corny keg for a ferment vessel, I can keep 4 different batches in a single refrigerator w/ temp control, and I can brew many different styles quite often.

Fly sparging is great if you want to mess with it, but as SavageSteve mentions - batch sparging is nearly as efficient, and much less time, yet rivals the efficiency of fly sparging.

Do whatever method you enjoy. If you're making good beer - who cares?!
I"m limited to the size of my son of a fermentation chiller... it only holds one carboy. Being as busy I am one brew fermenting at a time is good enough for me. I just need to work on brewing more often to keep the chiller always working.
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Old 09-12-2009, 07:38 AM   #8
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I have never brewed anything bigger than 2.5 gallons... It is easy to do inside, it allows for more variety and you can get away with a smaller brew kettle and a smaller (or no) starter... I say go for it!

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Old 09-12-2009, 01:24 PM   #9
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I made a 2 gallon MLT for small batches, experimental batches and partial mashes. It works great. Really, the only negative for me is that it still takes about the same amount of time as doing a larger batch. So for the same amount of work, you get less. However, I also get to brew more often so it balances out.

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Old 09-12-2009, 04:57 PM   #10
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When I first started doing all grain, I did a few a few 3 gallon batches, but I decided that it was just too much work for too little beer so I went back to partial mash until I got my keggle.

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