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Old 02-04-2011, 03:41 AM   #1
Dec 2010
Clear Lake, Texas
Posts: 73
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Do you all who make smaller than 5g batches (I have a 3 gal keg for experimenting) still use a 5g carboy?

I've always read bad things about too much empty/head space. Should I be worried about making a small batch in a bigger bottle?

What say you?

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Old 02-04-2011, 03:51 AM   #2
Mar 2010
Lansing, IL
Posts: 611
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Originally Posted by SaltyTX View Post
Should I be worried about making a small batch in a bigger bottle?
no. at least, i don't. i routinely ferment 2.5 gal in my 5 gallon carboy.

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Old 02-04-2011, 12:48 PM   #3
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
Posts: 10,036
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I'll bet you are concerned about all that open space in the larger bucket or carboy and the opportunity for oxidation or contamination. I was too until I started thinking about it. When you pitch the yeast, you try your best to aerate the wort so the yeast can multiply. At this point, all that air won't hurt anything. Then the yeast start the fermentation and excrete CO2. This CO2 is heavier than the air in the bucket and forms a covering layer above the fermenting wort and gradually pushes out all the air. No air, no oxidation.

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Old 02-04-2011, 01:32 PM   #4
Apr 2010
Southern, NJ
Posts: 754
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I do 2.5 gal batches in my Mr Beer keg. There's sometimes not enough head room but I loosen the lid just enough to let the blow off out then tighten again. Just be sure you have the equipment close by to manage the blow off and don't try and put a 3 gal batch in a 3 gal bucket. You need a little headroom.

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Old 02-04-2011, 01:42 PM   #5
Dec 2010
Clear Lake, Texas
Posts: 73
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I personally could find no reason it would be a problem, but have read on here that perhaps its not the best..

I'll just do it. 2.5-3 gal in a 5 gal carboy!

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Old 02-04-2011, 02:28 PM   #6
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Nov 2010
Fargo, ND
Posts: 597
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i do half batches as well. call them sample batches in my 6.5g fermenter. no worries about a blow off tube if you have that much headspace. if i understand it right, beer does not matter but wine does on headspace.
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Old 02-04-2011, 02:30 PM   #7
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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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,

ANd a bit of a primer on AG with pics here

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

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...But look through ALL THE OTHER INFO first and I bet you, you won't HAVE any other questions. This has been thoroughly covered like just about everything else.

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.
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