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Old 12-10-2012, 03:38 PM   #1
MikeyPipes86
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So my starter kit came with both a fermenting bucket and 5 gal glass carboy as a secondary. After reading many posts by veterans, I've decided to bypass secondary and leave my batch in primary for 3 weeks.

That leaves my 5 gal carboy sitting there...so I'm thinking I'd like to use that as another primary. I do understand, however, that a 5 gal carboy
cannot/shouldn't be used for a full 5 gal extract batch.

So I'm wondering if I buy a 5 gal kit, can I just use 80% of the ingredients and make a 4 gal batch and ferment in my carboy? Anyone ever do this?

If so, let me know what to do...80% of all ingredients? Can I steep all the grain still? 2 gal boil then 2 gal top off?

Thoughts/experience appreciated!
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:44 PM   #2
Revvy
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Recipes are scalable, and are usually given in percentages so you can tweek them to meet your batch size. Software helps immensely you can actually use that to figure out how much water you need. Beersmith has great features fro doing that, but you can also use one of the more rudimentry free ones like beercalculus and do it to.

You can do it either way, you can scale the water to meet the batch size, OR you can start with your usual method and use whatever your base amount of water is normally, and then just top off to the 4 gallon mark on your carboy. (Hint hint, pre-measure water into your carboy and mark with a sharpy, or tape lines, or etch it. I usually do half gallon incremements.)
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Old 12-10-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
DaNewf
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I've never done this so maybe someone will shoot it down but here's a suggestion.

Use all the ingredients.
Top off to 4.5 gallons (maybe even a little more).
Use a blow off tube until the Krausen drops.

The beer will have a slightly higher OG than it would otherwise but I don't know it that would impact the end result too negatively.

Once again I've never done so hopefully others will weigh in.

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Old 12-10-2012, 03:56 PM   #4
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I think you are going down a great path, keep those fermentors full of something other than air!

I would say yes a general rule of thumb is that you can cut all your ingredients by 20% to get a 4 gallon batch that is very similar to the intent of the original recipe.

However, for practical purposes some of the ingredients can be used as received. The recipe won’t be EXACTLY the same, but depending on the recipe and style you wont generally be able to tell the difference between a 5 gallon and 4 gallon batch. If it is a steeping grains recipe, use them all (what use would you have for 2 oz of leftover crystal 20 malt anyhow?). Depending on the recipe you could use all of the hops too, but know that your IBUs will be a little higher and you’ll get a little more aroma and flavor. This could be good for a pale ale or IPA but for other styles might be undesirable.

If you post your recipe Im sure you would get all kinds of opinions on what to do.

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:01 PM   #5
F250
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaNewf View Post
I've never done this so maybe someone will shoot it down but here's a suggestion.

Use all the ingredients.
Top off to 4.5 gallons (maybe even a little more).
Use a blow off tube until the Krausen drops.

The beer will have a slightly higher OG than it would otherwise but I don't know it that would impact the end result too negatively.

Once again I've never done so hopefully others will weigh in.
I'm pretty sure this is what I'd do. Cool the wort down to the low end of the yeasts fermentation range, put a blow tube on and stand back!

Rick
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:03 PM   #6
DaNewf
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Revvy answered before I hit the reply button. His response is much more thought out and less half-assed than mine.

 
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Old 12-10-2012, 04:10 PM   #7
zeg
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I would just use all the ingredients and leave half a gallon of space when diluting. Use a blowoff tube with a fairly large catch jug in case you get more blowoff than you expect, and keep an eye on it to watch out for clogging. I've done a couple batches that were filled nearly to the neck of the carboy without any trouble. It's a bit wasteful of ingredients, but it does get you as much volume out of the process as you can possibly get.

That's probably what I'd do, but you could also reduce everything by 10%. As a beginner, though, I wouldn't sweat a 10% change in a recipe.

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:19 PM   #8
nbrack
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FWIW, I have the same setup and filled up the carboy with exactly 5 gallons of water yesterday to see where it reached. I feel by using a blow off tube that I am comfortable doing a 5 gallon batch in the 5 gallon carboy. There was about 5 inches of headspace (I know it is narrowing to the top), but with a blow off I think it's worth giving it a try. I can be the guinea pig and report back to you if you want!

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:38 PM   #9
MikeyPipes86
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You guys rock.

Sure nbrack, I'd love to see what comes of your batch. Keep me updated.

I'm thinking I'm not going to do a big beer with this, so hopefully that helps some.
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Old 12-10-2012, 06:59 PM   #10
brigbrew
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I've done my last three batches on 5 gallon carboys. I inherited two of them. I had quite a bit of blowoff for the two bigger beers, and none for a cream ale. Either way, my yield has been 45-48 bottles. No problems!
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