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Old 12-01-2010, 12:19 AM   #1
AZBeer
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Default Complete noob-small batches

Hello all. So I'm a complete noob, never brewed a beer in my life (although I've drank my fair share). I've toyed with the idea, but never actually did it. So I thought why not give it a go.

So I was reading on this forum, trying to learn as much as I can, and something tripped me up...48 bottles of beer. That's the typical recommendation, and I'm assuming an average yield brewing of ~5g of beer. So I know this sounds strange, but two cases of beer is too much. I know, sounds weird, I love beer, but I just don't consume mass quantities like I did in my younger days. Most of the "brew" I drink these days is of the caffeinated variety...and the majority of people I would enjoy any beer I made with have moved to different cities/ states.

So I started digging a little deeper, and I found that some people brew in smaller batches, say 1g, yielding ~7-10 bottles. That'd be perfect. A 6pack for my wife & I to enjoy, and a few beers to send along to some friends would be just about right. Seriously, a 6pack would probably last us with enough time to brew up a replacement.

So...is this even something I should entertain? Worth it? Doable for a noob like me?

As far as I can tell...

Pros

-Perfect size batch
-Less costly
-Perfect size batch
-Less beer if I brew something really nasty
-Did I mention it's be just about the perfect amount of beer for my wife & I.

Cons

-Less beer if I brew something really good
-Could easily blow through the stash if we throw a BBQ or something
-And the biggie (from what I can tell), most ingredient kits are designed for bigger batches (from what I've seen, granted I haven't looked into ingredient kits too much)

--Although I have found a place that sells a 1g Starter kit, and 1g ingredient kits. No idea if this place is good or not.

http://www.benshomebrew.com/1-Gallon...s-p/eq1kit.htm

And if a kit like the one linked is a good choice, what else would I need. Or I'd welcome any suggestion on a better starting point if not that one.

Interested in your thoughts on all this.

FWIW, I mainly drink APA/ IPA's, Porters, Stouts, and the occasional Amber.

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Old 12-01-2010, 12:29 AM   #2
Kealia
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Interesting kit -I've never seen those. I started with Mr Beer kits and still use them to supplement my other brews. Check out their website. They make 2.13 - 2.4 gallons at a time (depending on how much water you use) and it generally works out to 18 - 22 bottles.

The nice thing is that it's less equipment that shown in the kit you linked to and yo ucan buy start up kits that come with 1-liter plastic bottles (the kit you showed didn't include bottles but that's not a big expense).

Mr Beer makes it about as easy as possible to make damn good beer without the time or equipment investment of others.

Note: I'm not affiliated with them, just a fan of their stuff.

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Old 12-01-2010, 12:39 AM   #3
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Small batch? Yes! Very do-able. Although you will spend up to about 4 hrs to brew that 6 pack. So you might consider "half batch." 2.5 gallons = about 24 12oz bottles. . .that's 4 6-packs. . .especially if you let friends in on the secret!

Another for your list of "pros" . . . smaller batches are perfect for stove top. (Ideal indoor winter fun.)

As far as kits, never brewed one. I started with basic recipes cut in half & just purchased the ingredients. If you have a LHBS they will help you.

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Old 12-01-2010, 01:04 AM   #4
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I've looked at MR Beer a couple of times. Seems like it gets mixed reviews on here...kind of a good intro, but not necessarily the best route to go. And I can't get over that cheap looking barrel...I know, that's silly, but what can I say.

Stove top boiling is a very good thing to add to the pro list. Maybe an odd question, but does anybody use their grill to boil their brew? In the summer, when it's 100+ degrees here in Arizona, I'd like to try and avoid doing anything that will heat up the house. Not sure if buying a burner is in the cards right now. Maybe down the road.

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Old 12-01-2010, 01:13 AM   #5
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Just my two cents, but it's not like homebrew goes toxic after a month or two. I would probably go for a half batch, though.

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Old 12-01-2010, 01:26 AM   #6
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Mr. Beer is how I started 18 months ago, loved it for the most part, and I quickly started to stray away from their recipes and I developed my own, however still using their equipment and online store. Good thing about their kit is it makes *just* enough for you to enjoy, but also a few bottles for your friends.

These days I'm starting to transition away from Mr. Beer and into higher quality and quantity. The only problem with brewing anything in smaller batches than 2.5 gallons - and I have trouble wrapping my head around anyone who wants to do that - is that you'll make great tasting beer and wish you had more of it. You spend a few weeks making it, and 2 nights drinking it all. Meanwhile wishing you could have given a few more bottles to more of your friends who would actually appreciate it and like it without slamming it all down like a few frat bros.

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Old 12-01-2010, 02:01 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZBeer View Post
I've looked at MR Beer a couple of times. Seems like it gets mixed reviews on here...kind of a good intro, but not necessarily the best route to go. And I can't get over that cheap looking barrel...I know, that's silly, but what can I say.

Stove top boiling is a very good thing to add to the pro list. Maybe an odd question, but does anybody use their grill to boil their brew? In the summer, when it's 100+ degrees here in Arizona, I'd like to try and avoid doing anything that will heat up the house. Not sure if buying a burner is in the cards right now. Maybe down the road.
I understand the 'cheap looking barrel' but at the end of the day it's a plastic fermenter AND bottling bucket all in one. It has a built in trub tray at the bottom of it to help clear things clear at bottling time with less equipment. When you think of it, the other fermenter is just a plain white plastic barrel, too. Don't let it's looks sway you.

If you don't mind spending the time doing stove top boiling you can go that route. When I do all grain batches I use a turkey fryer and a propane burner outside unless I'm doing a small batch. Then I use the stove top inside which I'll be doing a lot of this winter when it's raining.

Let me ask this: What is the most important to you? Batch size? Ease of brewing? Cost?
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Old 12-01-2010, 02:14 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AZBeer View Post
--Although I have found a place that sells a 1g Starter kit, and 1g ingredient kits. No idea if this place is good or not.

http://www.benshomebrew.com/1-Gallon...s-p/eq1kit.htm

And if a kit like the one linked is a good choice, what else would I need. Or I'd welcome any suggestion on a better starting point if not that one.

Interested in your thoughts on all this.

FWIW, I mainly drink APA/ IPA's, Porters, Stouts, and the occasional Amber.
Looks like a nice starter kit to me, though I have no experience with that website. Making beer doesn't have to be complicated. It appears the primary thing not included in that kit would be a typical large kitchen pot which I'm sure you already have. And if you go forth with making 1 gallon batches, to convert any recipe just divide each of the ingredient amounts by the volume of any particular recipe.

EDIT: and you'll need some non-twist off beer bottles, if that wasn't obvious...
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Old 12-01-2010, 03:40 AM   #9
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AZBeer, come to the Tucson Homebrew Club meetings the first Tuesday of the month at Boondocks at 7pm. We'll tell you that you are crazy for thinking of making batch sizes smaller than 5 gallons
Trust me, once you start brewing 5 gallons goes faaaast. Theres just too much work that goes into making beer to have something you could put away in a few hours.

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Old 12-01-2010, 03:29 PM   #10
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I am interested as well in brewing "half batches" (2.5 gallon). Mainly due to the fact that I have aquired two really nice 5 gallon stainless kettles for free.

So my question is this....can I simply take a 5 gallon recipe and cut all the ingredients in half to meet my half batch requirements?

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