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Old 01-27-2011, 11:12 PM   #1
nelsonbaggins
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Default Looking for feedback from 3 gallon brewers

I've been struggling to settle upon what type of brewer I wanted to be, mainly because I'll be living in an apartment soon and don't really have the itch to go hog wild with fancy equipment or bulk brewing. I feel like brewing 3 gallon batches will be perfect for me. As I see it the benefits of 3 gallon batches will allow me to:

1. Brew more often for less expense per batch, giving me more experience quickly and allowing me to experiment more.
2. Keep the size and cost of equipment down.
3. Avoid the problems inherent in the partial boil method by doing full 3 gallon boils.
4. Keep fermentation temps precise with a mini fridge (instead of a full size or freezer) and temp controller, and also allow me to lager that way.
5. Allow me to make the move to all grain with an easier to manage size.
6. Allow me to boil wort on the electric range easier and cool wort faster.
7. Not waste too much beer if I mess up a batch.

I'd just like to know how many of you brew in 3 gallon batches, and what your success has been with that (extract or all grain).

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Old 01-27-2011, 11:47 PM   #2
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I'll weigh in here as an extract brewer and as someone who just recently started brewing 2 gallon, 3 gallon and 3.5 gallon batches just to try out new recipes. It's worked out awesome and I highly recommend going for it. I just bottled a batch of a massively hopped west coast IPA that was a 2 gallon batch. Its flat out awesome but I want to tweak stuff so now I don't have 5 gallons to drink... I can finish this off and rebrew all 5 gallons if i want to. It also lets you fool around with new or different yeasts without starters, it's cheaper on ingredients etc.

Best advice I can give though is to use some kind of software to scale things back appropriately. Beer calculus is free and works well, I use brewpal from the app store (apple) and couldn't be happier.

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Old 01-28-2011, 01:53 PM   #3
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I've been doing all-grain 2.5 gallon batches since I can't do a full 6.5gallon boil on my apartment stove. Lets me brew more often to try different styles. Equipment is pretty minimal for me. I have a 8gallon kettle w/ ball valve that i use for the HLT and for boil, 10gal rubbermaid MT, and a spare 5gallon kettle that i use to collect the liquid from the MT. I can fit all this in a closet stacked up, and have room for a couple fermenters.

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Old 02-25-2011, 09:24 PM   #4
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I just got a couple 3 gallon better bottles for this purpose. Can anyone recommend a minifridge that will hold two 3-gallon carboys comfortably? Right now I don't have the space for a large fridge and I can only brew in the winter and spring before my basement heats up too much to do good temp control.

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Old 12-19-2011, 06:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyP View Post
I just got a couple 3 gallon better bottles for this purpose. Can anyone recommend a minifridge that will hold two 3-gallon carboys comfortably? Right now I don't have the space for a large fridge and I can only brew in the winter and spring before my basement heats up too much to do good temp control.
CrazyP,
did you ever find a mini-fridge that fits 2 3 Gallon carboys?
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:00 PM   #6
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You are right for all of those reasons. I've been stove-top brewing in an apartment for years. I rarely brew 5 gallon batches any more. I always have a 2 gallon batch of IPA fermenting at any given time. 3 ounces of hops in 1.75 gallons of beer = 9 ounces in a full size batch, which I would probably never spring for, but I can totally buy 3 ounces.

For two gallon batches you actually don't need a chiller or ice, you can just use your sink. Put the stopper in the drain but leave a little gap, put the pot in the sink, and turn the faucet on. Come back in 3 hours and you are good to go.

For three gallon batches you can use a 6.5 gallon bucket. I have a couple 2 gallon buckets I use for smaller batches. You can do a 3.5 gallon and a 1.75 gallon at the same time with a partigyle mash, it's worth looking up and pretty easy to do. Here's a chart for doing it: BT - Parti-Gyle Brewing [table]

Don't forget, you can use all four burners on your stove. I frequently brew 3 batches at once. Never done 4, but I could if I want to. Also, if you have limited room in your chamber, WLP530 (Belgian Abbey yeast) can ferment fine at room temperature.

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Old 12-19-2011, 07:06 PM   #7
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Oh just a couple more things. Check out Revvy's thread on bottling. I have four kegs but I rarely keg now, especially brewing high gravity beers. Save all your bottles from commercial beer, rinse them out within a day of drinking them, and when you have enough give them an overnight soak in oxyclean to remove the labels.

A couple cheap things worth buying. Vinator bottle rinser, sink jet washer, dip tube for your bottling bucket. Use the jet washer to clean bottles, the vinator to sanitize, and the dip tube lets you get every last drop of beer when bottling.

I know that's a lot, but I feel compelled to offer advice because I wish someone had told me these things. One other great reason to brew small batches is to keep viable yeast on hand. Check out yeast washing if you haven't already. If you brew frequently you can always have free yeast on hand.

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Old 05-27-2013, 01:31 AM   #8
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I second!

3 or 3.5 gallons is best size I've found so far. Bottling 5 gallon of beer is a p**in in the a**. 65 beers of the same is not for me. 3 gallons gives you about 30 normal beers or 22 x 500 ml bottles (which I use). More that enough to test the beer from a new recipe, keep some for the friends, etc.

At this volume, it's also not too much of a must to brew in the garage, in the cave or outside. You can do it in the kitchen and keep the disaster zone under control!

My 2 cents!

I'ts really a shame that the store won't sell that much ingredient kits between 5 and 1 gallons.

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Old 05-27-2013, 01:02 PM   #9
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This is a 1.5 year old thread, but I agree. I'm only on my sixth batch. 1-3 had mixed results. 15 gallons would have been a lot of experimental beer, 6 gallons is better. (I do two gallon batches) You might try doing 2.5 gal batches by splitting 5 gallon recipes.

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Old 05-27-2013, 11:21 PM   #10
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2.5 sounds fine too. I think I am gonna buy myself this conical from Brewdemon for doing 2.5 gal. Not cheap for it's size, but it would look pretty neat in my kitchen.

I wish it had a valve on the bottom to harvest yeast!

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