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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Can I split a 5 gallon batch?
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Old 11-01-2012, 06:53 PM   #1
JohnK93
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Default Can I split a 5 gallon batch?

I've brewed a couple of extract batches so far, one is still in the primary and the other is bottle conditioning. I've followed the recipes to a T for these two batches. I'm planning on doing an IPA for my next batch, but I was thinking of pitching two different yeasts into two different primaries just to experiment with how different yeasts yield different flavors, but I don't have the equipment to brew more than a 5 gallon batch (and my stockpile is really building up now, so 10 gallons is a bit much). Could I brew the wort as called for in the recipe and, after topping off the cooled wort to just above 5 gallons, split the batch into two 2.5 gallon batches? Would I just pitch half of the smack pack into each batch? Can I ferment 2.5 gallons of wort in a 5 gallon bucket/carboy? Anything else I need to be aware of?

I was at the local brew shop recently and they were tasting two IPAs that were identical except for the yeast (one an American yeast and one a British yeast). I thought it would be fun to try at home to get a little variety.

Thanks,
John

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Old 11-01-2012, 06:59 PM   #2
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There shouldn't be any problems with fermenting 2.5 gallons in a 5-gallon fermenter. CO2 should displace all the oxygen in there, so no worries about oxidation because of the extra headspace.

If you're using smackpacks, still pitch the whole thing. It would be silly to waste it. You're not going to overpitch by using the whole thing and will probably get a quick, clean fermentation as a result of doing so.

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Old 11-01-2012, 06:59 PM   #3
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Sure can. Just make sure the top off water is very well distributed before splitting the batch. Pitch the whole smack pack of yeast, don't split it. You won't need a starter, but one smack pack will serve fine for 2.5 gallons.

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:01 PM   #4
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Go for it. I split batches often to provide variety. The splits I have done are adding fruit to one half. The other is watering down one batch, which is similar to how traditional porters and stouts were made.

I would pitch the whole smack pack into each 2.5 gallon batch. Check Mr. Malty for exact pitch rates, but I think you'll find 100 billon cells, or one smack pack, is about right for 2.5 gallons. Although if you do under pitch by adding half the pack, more of the yeast flavor will be evident.

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xjmox14x View Post
Just make sure the top off water is very well distributed before splitting the batch.
+1. This is going to be a somewhat of a concern if you want to make sure the batches are truly identical except for the yeast. In fact, you might do better to mark 2.5 gallons on your fermenters, split the concentrated wort, and then top each fermenter off separately.
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Old 11-01-2012, 07:23 PM   #6
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Cool, and thanks for the tips. Now I can get two slightly different beers for the price of one additional smack pack.

I'm still searching for an IPA recipe. My local shop is Maltose Express and the owners are the authors of CloneBrews and Beer Captured and they have a lot of kits readily available...just have to pick one! Considering the West Coast IPA clone but, although I like the beer, it may be a bit more than I want to go for on this batch. I might go for something a little less hoppy this time.

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Old 11-01-2012, 07:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Now I can get two slightly different beers for the price of one additional smack pack.
Start saving yeast slurys and it will be free!
here is some I saved: http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...et-yeasts.html

If you want to really be able to taste the difference between the yeasts then you might consider a Pilsner, or a Hefewizein. The difference between a hefe and a Sasion is mostly the yeast.

This is a recipie that I split into a regualr wheat beer and a raspberry wheat:
http://woodlandbrew.blogspot.com/201...ne-recipe.html
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xjmox14x View Post
Sure can. Just make sure the top off water is very well distributed before splitting the batch. Pitch the whole smack pack of yeast, don't split it. You won't need a starter, but one smack pack will serve fine for 2.5 gallons.
If they are buckets, I like to sanitize my bottling bucket and pour the whole 5 gallon mixed volumes back and forth between the fermenter and bottling bucket to mix well and aerate.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:08 PM   #9
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I've got a hefe in the primary now, otherwise I would take your suggestion. My first brew was a scottisch ale, and my second is the hefe. My wife picked out this recipe (she's a fan of wheat beers, and I've got to keep her happy!) Now I want to brew something for me, and I love a good IPA. Maybe I'll try dry hopping with different hops in addition to, or instead of, different yeasts. Which do you think would make more of a difference or be more interesting?

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Old 11-01-2012, 08:23 PM   #10
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I think same brew/different yeasts would be more interesting- it will definitely give you an appreciation for how much influence yeast strain has on your beer.

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