Making smaller test batches. - Home Brew Forums
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:19 PM   #1
Dec 2012
, New Jersey
Posts: 197
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Once my second recipe is finished I'm going to want and explore with my own recipes and ingredients. I don't want to make a 5 gallon batch because what if its not good?! I'm thinking about making 12 pack to start and write down all the ingredients and how much I use so I can increase the dosage when I make a 5 gallon batch. If I want to go this route or smaller test batches before the big brew can I still use my 5 gallon fermentors or is there a smaller fermentors that I should consider???
NJ Beer Connoisseur

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Old 02-01-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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We have an entire active and excellent thread on that very topic. 1-Gallon Brewers UNITE! and there's actually a very good book on that subject, which is mentioned in that thread.

We have a ton of threads on brewing 1 and 2.5 gallon batches. Including this thread and this one.

I've put together a bit of a primer on small batch brewing here.

Heck you want a simple yet awesome small batch ag setup, especially for 1 gallon batches, and even for 2, get a 2 gallon or even a 3 gallon cooler.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:38 PM   #3
Oct 2010
Carlsbad, CA
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Another thing you might want to consider, is brewing a tried and true recipe that you like. After that, brew it again and add a little more of "this ingrediant" or take less of "that ingrediant" out. Its similar to what your trying to do, as far as how certain grains (or spices) tase and affect your beer, but the benefit is that it will most of the time get you a decent beer and not 2.5 gallons of shet. My house porter gets tweeked almost every other time I brew it. Good luck and have fun, the worst thing you can do is make beer!


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Old 02-01-2013, 07:05 PM   #4
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
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I think it would be better if you brewed these experimental batches at the 5 or even 10 gallon size. If they are bad, drink them all anyway. You'll learn faster to not make bad batches. I did. Now I don't experiment nearly as much because I prefer to drink good beer. I take a recipe that is proven and make a small change. If it comes out better than the original, I win. If not I get to drink beer that is less than it could be but still good beer.

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Old 02-01-2013, 07:22 PM   #5
Jan 2013
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You can use your 5 gal. fermentors, but I don't know if 1 gal. would produce enough co2 to push out 4 gal. of air. Since co2 is heavier than air, it may be o.k. as long as you don't disturb the fermentor for a couple of weeks. 3 gal carboys would work better. For me every batch is an experiment so I make 4 gal. at a time. I get to brew more often and experiment more. Have fun!

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:05 PM   #6
Nov 2010
Lincoln, Massachusetts
Posts: 174
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I think doing split batches is one of the best ways to learn, and requires a lot less work than brewing lots of small batches separately. Of course, there are limitations to what you can change, but it's a great way to explore different yeasts, different dry hops, different fermentation temperatures, and specialty ingredients such as fruit, chocolate, coffee, vanilla, etc.

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Old 02-01-2013, 09:53 PM   #7
Jan 2013
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Hmmmm...split batches...Gavagai you've got me thinking. I may have to get a couple 3 gal. carboys to play games.

NativeSun, you asked the question "what if it's not good?" Guess what... IT'S ALL GOOD!

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Old 02-02-2013, 02:13 AM   #8
Jan 2012
Richmond, VA
Posts: 64
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due to the small apartment space i have, its 1 gallon batches for me (9 beers per batch). one day when i get more settled down ill build a larger mash lauter tun and buy some burners but until then I have a 2 gallon cooler MLT and use the stovetop for my brews. with just an hour or 2 more work i could get 5 times the amount of beer, but with smaller batches I brew more often and obviously use less ingredients per batch...makes doing multiple styles possible with less invested. i have 6 1 gallon jugs (from brew store, recycled apple cider jugs (free), and recycled 5L wine jugs(free)) so can have 5 different batches going and 1 jug for bottling.
it is definitely more work but if you love the brewing process itself, like me, its totally worth it. only downside is tasting and figuring out when the beer is at its prime- less beer really limits the span of time you can sample to judge appropriate drinking time. and if you make a great beer, the supply is so short

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Old 02-02-2013, 08:56 PM   #9
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Feb 2011
Wai, Hawaii
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Home Depot sells 2 gallon plastic buckets and lids. Perfect for 1-1.75 gallon batches

You can mash w/a paint strainer bag in a cooler, I use a 5 gallon cooler w/about2.75 gal of water and wind up post boil w/about 1.9 gallons of wort. I get about 16 bottles per brew. Go to it. I've been doing this for over a year now and look at all the different brews I have bottled in my refer.
Kaiser Ridge Brewing
Bottled conditioning: Black IPA
Bottled in the refe: Old Glory Stout
Bottled in the refe: American Imperial Stout
Bottled in the refer: Dunkelweizen
Largering in refer: Oktoberfest


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Old 02-04-2013, 11:45 AM   #10
Nov 2011
Plymouth, MA
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Love my small batches. Easy, cheap, and virtually no extra equipment. I'm not the world's biggest drinker and I really like experimenting. I haven't bought a beer that I've had before at a bar or store in nearly 6 months. I would never want more than a case of any batch, regardless of how it came out. I've got a nice pipeline and like the variety. Brewing 100 of any beer is something I will never understand.

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