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Old 06-12-2012, 03:53 AM   #1
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Default batch size

I'm pretty new to brewing (3x 5 gallon batches of all grain beer) and very new to cider (1 gallon just bottled, 2nd started fermenting). The prep and overhead to brew and bottle 1 gallon of cider seemed totally outsized for the final product of 7 bottles. I know I wasted a bit more than perhaps typical trying to get gravity measurements, but is there something I'm missing here? It seems the bigger the batch size, the less percentage waste in overhead, but is there a compelling reason to stick with 1 gallon batches?


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Old 06-12-2012, 04:08 AM   #2
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The only reason I would do a 1 gallon batch is if it's a test batch. 11 bottles is just not worth the time and effort, to me. I usually do 6 gallon batches.

Originally Posted by Shooter View Post
Oh, and get a hydrometer. Psychic brewing is great and all, but hard numbers get rid of MUCH of the guess work.
"No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities." ~ 1 Timothy 5:23
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Old 06-12-2012, 04:55 AM   #3
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I do 5-6 gallons mostly except for experimentals as Mike said. Sometimes I do a 6 gallon primary, then divide into 5-1 gallon batch's with 1 gal in reserve for topping off. You can than do different flavorings in the 1 gal secondaries. vanilla, cinnamon, atomic fireballs, various fruit etc, etc. Or I divide into 2-3 gallon secondaries or a 3 gal and a cpl of 2's. It's nice to have a wide selection of carboys to work with.
Last fall I did 2-15 gal batches in empty malt barrels then secondaried into my various carboys with assorted recipes.

edit......and i use a wine thief for taking gravity readings, use sanitary practices and return to fermentor.
Reality is an illusion that occurs due to the lack of alcohol.
Give a man a beer, he'll drink for the day.Teach a man to brew, he'll be drunk the rest of his life.
I have 8 carboys, 8 cornies, 5-1 gal jugs, 200 wine bottles, 10 cases of beer bottles and a nice assortment of flip tops....My goal is to keep them at least 50% occupied
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Old 06-12-2012, 02:03 PM   #4
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I did one gallon test batches also with different juice concentrate flavorings. My favorite so far is to add 12oz of Old Orchard (Frys Food Stores) Cranberry blend to a gallon of juice. I've been drinking one a week since it carbed up and it tastes great even that young. The plain apple still has a malic acid kick that I hope goes away. Once my cherry and raspberry/cranberry are drinkable I'm going to make a 5 or maybe 10 gallon batch of my favorite. They should be finished before I start my blackberry wine in the fall.
I used to have a six-pack, but now I have a keg.

Reason: added "of my favorite". Don't know why I forgot to add that. :(
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Old 06-13-2012, 01:07 AM   #5
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I have 4 - 50 gallon oak barrels going right now with a couple of friends and another 3 - 6 gallon and 1 - 3 gallon batches of flavored cider and it's still not enough for me! I will bottle some of it still and some carbed and maybe try some flavorings just to experiment with different things. 1 gallon goes so fast that you don't get to taste it along the way as it's ageing, it really gets a whole lot better as time goes on. Also the whole process takes so long (the cider in the barrels will take a year before it's ready to drink) that if you don't do big batches you don't have a steady supply on hand for the special times like birthdays and the holidays and well... weekends!
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:07 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by scottsaxman View Post
but is there a compelling reason to stick with 1 gallon batches?

same time
same effort
same process loss
less overall product and less product per gallon than a larger batch.
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Old 06-13-2012, 04:16 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by amandabab

same time
same effort
same process loss
less product
If you like variety and don't drink much, then smaller batch sizes make a lot of sense. and, as has been mentioned, they make sense for test batches and experiments.

So yes, there are compelling reasons, depending on your situation.

That said, most people find the reasons to brew 5 or 10 gallon batches more compelling.

Ultimately, other peoples preferences on batch size are useless, do whatever works for you.
Fake it til you make it.
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Old 10-22-2012, 04:33 AM   #8
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...and, if you're an old arthritic lady like me (ok, not so old, but way arthritic) the job of picking up a 50+ lb carboy might give you pause. One gallon batches are fun, they take up little space (my primaries all sit on my dining room table and there's lots of room left over, and I got to play with variety as I'm learning. I'm doing Ed's Apfelwine and a raspberry cider in 5gal batches as of tonight...but it'll be my husband who manhandles them around for me.

So sure there are reasons. But the best one is "cuz I wanted to"! :-)
Considering: Sparkling raspberry wine, carrot wine

In Primary: Ed's Apfelwein; Raspberry Puree Apple Cider

In Secondary: Pumpkin Pie Mead; Traditional Mead; Dried Elderberry Wine; Blueberry Wine; Texas Persimmon wine; White grape/peach wine; Texas Twang; Hi, Biscus! Metheglyn; A Maize-ing Wine

So far, so good.
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:52 PM   #9
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I'm in the small batch crowd.
99% of whhat I brew is in gallon jugs. I'm actually contemplating picking up the 1 gal fruit wine kits from a vendor, it has a 2 gallon fermentatioon bucket and some chemicals and tools I could use more of.

For me drinking maybe 12 bottles of wine a year its not worth it to spend 100 bucks on a bucket and carboys, but If i started brewing more beer it would be. For me a dozen or so bottles of a minimash in one gal fermenter with a couple of gals of cyser and mead I'm good for the year with a couple extra to hand out or stash.

There is also something to be said about the space you save and the control you have over ! gallon batches
P1 Strawberry bannna melomel
p2 mixed berry cyser
p3 lemon ginger melomel
2 gallon fermenting kit is OTW!!!
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:35 PM   #10
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gallon batches are great for dialing in a recipe and a lot easier to handle - especially since you can use the original container as the primary fermenter
I do mostly kegs, but all new recipes start as single gallons. The good ones get repeated as keg batches.

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