Smaller test batches
How many of you guys run smaller (~2 gallon) test batches before going for a full 5 gallon batch? If so what equipment do you use, the same 5 gallon carboy or something smaller?
I like the 2.5g brews. I have used my full-size bucket for it, despite the extra headspace. One benefit of that is: reduced need for blowoff tubes. ;)
I don't do it for test batches, though -- I just don't drink much beer compared to how much I want to brew.
I use my MrBeer as my test kitchen - but generally only if I want to try something completely different, without interrupting my pipeline.
Since im just getting started with brewing and wanting to try batches I thought I would run smaller batches on the first runs and then move it up to the 5 gallon when i find ones I like.
You're the second thread today....There is a ton of small batch threads on here, including those in the similar thread box below.
You can brew any sized batch you want. I do a lot of 2.5 gallon recipe test batches. You can even do 1 gallon AG brews. The basic brewing guys call that the six pack brew.
A recipe is scalable, so a 1 gallon recipe is 1/5th of a 5 gallon one....a 2.5 gallon one is half the ingredients.
2.5 gallons is one case of beer.
I use my normal 5 gallon mash tun for most of them, but I do a lot of Experiments, test recipes, or beers that I know I won't need/want more than a case of.
I sometimes use an unmodified 2 gallon cooler for a lot of my small btaches it holds up to 4 pounds of grain.
I just us a folding steamer in the bottom along with a grain bag. Just break off or unscrew the center post.
One of these, it helps to lift the grain bag above the spigot to keep the drainig from getting stuck.
I posted a lot of info in the mr beer thread that you may find helpful.
I posted some all grain small batchrecipes here, http://www.homebrewtalk.com/785533-post702.html
ANd a bit of a primer on AG with pics here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/738927-post659.html
But I mostly use my regular 5 gallon cooler mash tun which holds 14 pounds of grains...and 14 pounds of grain for a 2.5 gallon batch can be a mighty big beer.....
One of our memebers chubbykid had plans for a minikeg mashtun http://sites.google.com/site/chubbykidhomebrew/Home/equipment/mini-keg-lauter-tun
THe basic brewing radio guys are big fans of tiny batch brewing...3/4 gallon (1 6pack) in a 1 gallon winejug fermenter.
They demo the 6-pack IPA here
and they also have done barleywines as well.
I ferment my 2.5 gallon batches in all manner of things, I have a 3 gallon better bottle, I also use 3 gallon water jugs, AND my old Mr Beer keg (it's perfect because you can even lager in your own fridge with it when you are starting out.)
You can even ferment a 2.5 gallon batch in a 5 gallon carboy if you want, though I would say a 6.5 gallon carboy is a little too much headspace for my confort.
Hope this helps....any more questions feel free to ask...
Oh, and you don't have to do anything with hops in terms of hop utilization, except scale it in the same proportion, as you do your grain. Nothing else.
I do 1 gallon batches in a 4L wine jug. I do stovetop BIAB for mashing. Otherwise it's pretty much the same process. I get 10-11 bottles out of a gallon. I do them on occasion to test a new concept/recipe, but I also use them to make cider/graff and mead.
It takes a while to use up the crappy wine while cooking but I like the jugs over 1 gallon jugs because a little headroom prevents losing some beer to blowoff.
Revvy - amazing reply man. Thanks for great info. The reason I asked what equipment do you all use is because I thought a 5 and 6 gallon carboy was to much headroom. I was gonna see if my local home-brew store had a 3 gallon carboy or something. Right now I have a 6gal carboy and a 6gal bucket that I have been using as a secondary.
So when you make smaller batches im assuming that you end up having a lot of left over expedients... yeast and hops. How long will they stay "usable"?
When I do it I usually use hops out of my bulk supply. I buy a pound of a versatile hop (right now Fuggles) and keep them in the freezer. I just pull out what I need. I've been working on this pound for about seven months and it's still about half there. With yeast I generally use one of my mason jars of washed yeast so I decant the water and pour in all the yeast. Then the 1 gallon batch will give me back a mason jar or two of yeast which then go back in the fridge.
Generally though hops, once opened, will stay good if you keep them in the fridge for a few weeks, possibly more. Yeast should be good for a few months...
Yeast at too low of a temperature for too long will make them permanently inactive... that's my understanding, at least. I think they will last a few weeks or a month, but I'm not sure. I don't re-use them more than once, though, personally.
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