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Old 07-18-2009, 01:13 PM   #1
aksea102
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Default Brewing Small Batches

There was a recent post with regards to brewing small batches in order to experiment with different recipes. As a newbie brewer, I find this idea brilliant! It was something I hadn't thought of yet and something I look forward to trying. There were many replies to the thread that covered various containers to use for fermenters, and where to get them. I still have one question though, and I believe the poster had the same one...
What are the hazards of fermenting small batches in 5 gallon glass carboys? Say I scale down a 5gal recipe to equal 3gal, and use my 5gal carboy to ferment. Obviously there will be a fair amount of headspace in the carboy. What effect will this headspace have on my beer??
Thanks!



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Old 07-18-2009, 03:06 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aksea102 View Post
There was a recent post with regards to brewing small batches in order to experiment with different recipes. As a newbie brewer, I find this idea brilliant! It was something I hadn't thought of yet and something I look forward to trying. There were many replies to the thread that covered various containers to use for fermenters, and where to get them. I still have one question though, and I believe the poster had the same one...
What are the hazards of fermenting small batches in 5 gallon glass carboys? Say I scale down a 5gal recipe to equal 3gal, and use my 5gal carboy to ferment. Obviously there will be a fair amount of headspace in the carboy. What effect will this headspace have on my beer??
Thanks!
3 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy is no biggie. When I went all grain, I only had capacity to boil 4-5 gallons. So I would end up with 3 gallons of wort. I primaried in my 6.5 gallon carboy and had no bad effects.

The issue is secondary-ing in a 5 gallon carboy. There's not quite as much
co2 being produced to blanket your beer and prevent oxidation. But, unless your in secondary for something like 6 months, I wouldn't worry about that.


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Old 07-18-2009, 03:14 PM   #3
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If you're just using it as a primary, headspace won't be a problem, as the co2 from your yeasties will form a protective blanket and prevent oxidization. Opinions vary as to whether enough co2 is produced during secondary to form the same blanket, but if you just do a long primary you're fine.

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Old 07-18-2009, 03:45 PM   #4
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I started a thread regarding this ages ago. It might be of some help to you. Smaller Batches=More Variation

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Old 07-20-2009, 02:41 PM   #5
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This is good stuff. The head space issue has always concerned me, but I rarely ever go to a secondary. I may just whip up a couple smaller 2-3 gallon batches this weekend in my 4 gallons. Maybe I will even get adventurous and try my hand at an all-grain.

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Old 07-20-2009, 03:19 PM   #6
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I do small ones all the time. My only complaint is you get no less trub so if you do a half batch you get less than a full case so you may want to shoot for 3 gallons.

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Old 07-20-2009, 07:06 PM   #7
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My electric stove sucks and it takes waaay to long to bring more than 2 gallons of water to a boil, so I've been making 2.5 gallon batches. I've kept my last 2 batches in the primary for at least 3 weeks and didn't use a secondary. So far, so good! You can keep batches in primary for several weeks and just not bother with a secondary...some seasoned brewing vets still make great beer without ever using one.



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