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Old 03-07-2007, 08:09 PM   #1
New Brew
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Default Brewing small (2-2.5 gal "half") batches

Hi,

I'm just starting out with brewing, and since I live in an apartment I'm trying to minimize the space I take up in the process of making beer. I figured one good way would be to brew 1/2 batches - smaller/less equipment, fewer cases of full/empty bottles to store, etc.

Because I'm just starting to brew, I wanted to use good quality kits (eg AHS) for at least the first few brew sessions. Of course, all of these kits are for a standard 5 gal. batch.

The way I see it, I have two options: I split the ingredients in half, and just save the left over "raw" ingredients for a second batch. OR Do the partial boil of the wort as if I were making a 5 gal. batch, split that using 1/2 the wort now and saving 1/2 the cooked partial wort for the next batch.

Initially, it seemed obvious to me to split the ingredients and scale down the entire operation. However, I realized that trying to equally split ingredients that aren't dried (LME anyone?) might prove to be a problem, and that saving the "cooked" partial wort might just be easier.

I searched, and it seems that people successfully save cooked wort for use as starters, but does anyone save cooked wort meant for the actual beer?



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Old 03-07-2007, 08:31 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by New Brew
Hi,

I'm just starting out with brewing, and since I live in an apartment I'm trying to minimize the space I take up in the process of making beer. I figured one good way would be to brew 1/2 batches - smaller/less equipment, fewer cases of full/empty bottles to store, etc.

Because I'm just starting to brew, I wanted to use good quality kits (eg AHS) for at least the first few brew sessions. Of course, all of these kits are for a standard 5 gal. batch.

The way I see it, I have two options: I split the ingredients in half, and just save the left over "raw" ingredients for a second batch. OR Do the partial boil of the wort as if I were making a 5 gal. batch, split that using 1/2 the wort now and saving 1/2 the cooked partial wort for the next batch.

Initially, it seemed obvious to me to split the ingredients and scale down the entire operation. However, I realized that trying to equally split ingredients that aren't dried (LME anyone?) might prove to be a problem, and that saving the "cooked" partial wort might just be easier.

I searched, and it seems that people successfully save cooked wort for use as starters, but does anyone save cooked wort meant for the actual beer?
Do not save wort. you are risking contamination.
LME is hard to measure and split, but can be done. Store the leftover LME in the fridge, cover well and try not to leave air head in the can (use a film). Use open LME can within a couple of weeks.


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Old 03-07-2007, 09:22 PM   #3
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www.mrbeer.com sells extract mixes for 2.5 gallon batches.
I think the cans are 1.21 pounds
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHWK
www.mrbeer.com sells extract mixes for 2.5 gallon batches.
I think the cans are 1.21 pounds
True, they do, and I'm actually using one of their little "kegs" as a fermenter until I figure out if brewing is something I want to continue doing, before I spend ~$100+ on a "real" set of equipment.

I've been hesitant to use their actual beer kits though because I haven't heard many good things about the end product. They do have a new line of "premium brew packs" that are supposed to be all malt, but I'd rather go with proven high-quality homebrew retailers' kits if storing the raw ingredients isn't a big problem.
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Old 03-07-2007, 11:23 PM   #5
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Default I'm doing it...

I have a Beer Machine for a primary and a Mr Beer fermenter as a secondary and I've brewed three (I'll be brewing my fourth next week) I started out with a few "Beer Mixes" (nothing more than Pre Hopped Dry Marlt Extract) that came with my Beer Machine, they are specific for the 2.5 gallom size. The Mr Beer kits appeared a bit more true to the process however I have read that the quality (much like the Beer Machine Mixes) leaves much to be desired. I have tried experimenting with them though, as I recieved four mixes for Christmas. I tried leaving them in the primary for longer periods of time (7-10 days) and then racking a batch to the Mr Beer fermenter for clarification as a secondary. It worked out much better than my first by the "directions" batch. It was clear, had decent head and no off flavors.

Now, recently I've moved on to try Extract\Grain Kits which are nothing more than the extract type kit you know about (either dry or liquid) and specialty grains to steep in hot water to color and flavor the wort to a higher degree of quality. I tried a stout and my local home brew shop guy taylored the kit recipe for me understanding my batch limitation. He stock liquid malt extract only and for most of the recipes he had, the quantity of LME was generally 6.6 or 7 lbs. Which is great because one can or container was 3.3 lbs. Easy! he just weighed the grains out for me, gave me a printed copy of the recipe\direcitons and told me to split the rest of the ingrdients (hops, gypsum, irish moss etc.) it's worked like a charm.

Look around the web a little, it's not unheard of to find a place that will deliver a half batch. Good luck!

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Old 03-08-2007, 03:16 AM   #6
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I use 4 L carlo rossi jugs for brewing 8 L batches. I split up the initial batch into three jugs, then rack into 2 jugs for secondary; works perfectly and makes twenty beers. I think it would be easiest to buy DME and hops rather than kits, because you can buy the correct amount of ingredients to start out with.

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Old 03-08-2007, 03:28 AM   #7
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the easiest thing to do would be to find a recipe that sounds good to you then plug it into this:

http://www-gatago.com/rec/crafts/brewing/41289541.html

and use the "resize recipe" button to make it 2.5 or 3 gallon batches.....whatever size you want.


I'm going to start doing 3 gallon batches bc i'll get to brew more often and save space..


I've got a recipe book that is pretty good...PM me if you want me to find you a recipe.

Good luck and Happy Brewing!

PS: don't worry about it.....this is something you'll deffinatly want to keep doing!

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Old 03-08-2007, 04:12 AM   #8
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you don't have room for a 5-6 gallon bucket? just stick it in ur closet mate.....get a buket..with a lid...buy an airlock...drill a hole in the lid..stick it in...won't cost ya a 100

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Old 03-08-2007, 05:25 AM   #9
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Most average gravity beers are easly made with one 3.3-4lb can of extract. This will give 4.7-5.8% ABV. If you are looking to stay small, make your own kits. Look for 5 gal extract recipes in the 4.5-6% range, then half the ingredients. If you are a little over or under on your extract, no big deal. i.e. a 5G recipe calls for 7lbs, a 4lb can will work fine for 2.5G. You can get a few pounds of dried extract (more expensive, but easy to store when open) to add a little if needed if your can is less than needed. Many of the big online stores sell extract bulk - find one that will do the amount you need. If you have a good local store, they should be able to help you get the right amounts of stuff too. My personal favorite is Alexanders in the 4lb can. Good stuff, and cheap, at least around here. Most of my recipes used 2 as a base. A can of malt, 1/2 to 1lb of steeping grains appropriate to the style, and an ounce or two of hops can make 80% of the beer styles out there.

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Old 03-08-2007, 07:03 AM   #10
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See if you can get hold of the Brewferm kits. A lot of their kits are for 9 litre batches.



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