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Old 04-27-2010, 08:04 PM   #1
rexbanner
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I really want to get better at brewing very quickly. I want to develop a few recipes and really nail them down, but I don't have tons of money or time. Let's say I wanted to perfect a basic APA. I might try making a 4 gallon batch and doing this:

1. Mash 8 or so lbs of two row with 4 gallons of water.
2. Divide up into four one gallon batches in 4 different pots.
3. Steep different malt combos in each pot. Try different hop combos as well.
4. Put each in a 2 gallon bucket. Add washed yeast to each bucket.
5. Rack into 1 gallon glass jugs for secondary.
6. Bottle and then taste the differences.

This seems like a cheap way to get good at a style pretty quickly. I searched for similar threads but I kind of want to delve into this a little bit more. Also, one could do two mashes with different kilned malts to make 2 gallons of 2 different base worts.

Lastly, these 1 gallon batches would probably go through primary in less than a week, right?


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Old 04-27-2010, 08:23 PM   #2
portalgod
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I thought that fermentation time was the same whether it's 1gal, 3gal, or 5 gal batches of the same recipe. Also I've read about differing hop utilization when you are making 1 gallon batches vs 5 gallon. That is if you needed 5oz of hops for a 5 gallon batch, may not necessarily need 1 oz of hops for a 1 gallon batch.



 
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by portalgod View Post
I thought that fermentation time was the same whether it's 1gal, 3gal, or 5 gal batches of the same recipe. Also I've read about differing hop utilization when you are making 1 gallon batches vs 5 gallon. That is if you needed 5oz of hops for a 5 gallon batch, may not necessarily need 1 oz of hops for a 1 gallon batch.
Be that as it may, I am more interested in the different malt combinations. That, and I've only had a few beers with too many IBUs.
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:32 PM   #4
ReverseApacheMaster
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You'll need more water than you noted, because of sparge, grain absorption, boil off.

I've started doing some 1 gal batches, and I can say that fermentation takes about as long with small batches as it does with large batches. Keep in mind that if you are trying to experiment with flavors, you'll still want to condition in the primary as long as you would with a 5 gal batch, same for secondary, and bottles. Otherwise, once you think you have nailed your recipe it will be different when you brew the larger batch.

 
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Old 04-27-2010, 08:58 PM   #5
stageseven
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Maybe I'm way off on this, but would you get the same flavors out of a beer if you mashed the base malt and then steeped the rest of the grains vs mashing all the grains together? I would think it would be best to treat each small batch as you would a larger batch. You could still do more than one batch at the same time, but I would personally mash all the grains together for a particular batch, then follow your process as you outlined earlier. So in other words, you would take 2 of your 8# of base grain, mix it with whatever other grains you're using, and mash it for each of your 4 batches.

The other question this brings up is how you would scale the yeast addition. Wouldn't a packet of dry or liquid yeast be way overpitching for a smaller batch? I guess if you did all 4 batches at the same time you could try to split the yeast evenly.

 
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:02 PM   #6
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it would be better to treat each batch as a batch, rather than steeping the specialty grains separately.

not to mention you'll be missing the sugar extraction from those specialty malts by just steeping them and not converting the starches in a mash.

it would work but when you did the full 5 gallon batch you'd get some different results when you mashed then.

Also, you'll find you lose a lot of beer racking from 1 gallon jugs to bottle. you'll get a six pack and change from each secondary. as long as you can live with the lack of efficient production for the sake of experimentation, go for it. while I might sound negative in my post, there is definitely stuff you'll learn by doing what you propose.
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Old 04-27-2010, 10:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malkore View Post
it would be better to treat each batch as a batch, rather than steeping the specialty grains separately.

not to mention you'll be missing the sugar extraction from those specialty malts by just steeping them and not converting the starches in a mash.

it would work but when you did the full 5 gallon batch you'd get some different results when you mashed then.

Also, you'll find you lose a lot of beer racking from 1 gallon jugs to bottle. you'll get a six pack and change from each secondary. as long as you can live with the lack of efficient production for the sake of experimentation, go for it. while I might sound negative in my post, there is definitely stuff you'll learn by doing what you propose.
Maybe I'm missing something, but I was referring to caramel/kilned and roasted malts.

In any case, I think it probably would be better to just do 4 separate mashes, seeing as the only difference would be buying a few bags. Also, I know the loss of beer would suck, but I'd be willing to sacrifice a few beers so that my future beers will be better.

In terms of yeast, splitting a packet into fourths won't work I don't think. I was planning on washing a cake, splitting it into fourths, and using one per batch. Might be overpitching, but I think it would be ok.
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Old 04-28-2010, 09:28 PM   #8
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I agree trying to quarter a pack of yeast, liquid or dry, would be annoying. If you did use dry I'd just halve it between 1 gal jugs. sure its over pitching but big deal.

another idea: call a local brewpub and see if they'll give you a cup of slurry.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:35 PM   #9
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I have done something very similar and had very educational results, some better than others. The real key I believe is to change only one variable at a time....Same brew different hops in each, different specialty additions, different yeast etc.

 
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:50 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
In any case, I think it probably would be better to just do 4 separate mashes, seeing as the only difference would be buying a few bags.
Separate mashes would mean more variability. A couple of degrees of variation, different sparge dynamics could change the equation. Statistically, one needs to control as many variables as possible, including so called "lurking variables".

I think you are on the right track, but, like badhabit mentioned, change ONLY one thing at a time. Pick hops or malt, not both. And if you are going to steep, ONLY use grains that work well for steeping, like crystal.

I will say that if your process is down so good that you get repeatable results from batch to batch, then you can learn alot just by trying to tweak a particular recipe. But a controlled experiment is usually better.

At least this isn't wine, where one has to wait years to find out the results!

Rich




 
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