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Old 02-13-2013, 11:02 PM   #1
Nov 2011
Dallas, Texas
Posts: 98
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I've heard of people doing smaller batches for many reasons. One reason that I heard about recently was so that this person could brew more batches without taking shortcuts on his process.

At first, this made no sense to me. How could someone brew more batches by going smaller? How does *that* save time? Then it hit me - the time is saved by quicker heating and cooling. Strike water can be heated quicker, runnings can be brought to a boil quicker, and the hot wort can be chilled quicker. Transfers are quicker too.

Interesting idea, especially if your goal is to make a wider variety of beers.

I currently do all 5 gallon batches. This person does 2 gallon batches. So here is my question:

Assuming all other process steps are the same, does anyone have a good estimate for how much time would be saved by doing a 2 gallon batch compared to a 5 gallon batch?

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:13 AM   #2
Jan 2011
oakland, california
Posts: 3,294
Liked 161 Times on 151 Posts

the answer varies, it can take some people 6 hrs to brew 5 gallons and others can crank it out in 4 by prepping as much as they can the day before, extract will probably be quicker than all grain. i brew 5 gallons at a time every weekend or every other weekend and that keeps my pipeline very full so if i take a break for a few weeks it does not mean running out of beer.

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:29 AM   #3
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Cyclman's Avatar
Jan 2013
Aurora, CO
Posts: 6,295
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I take it another way- most brewers agree cleaning is the worst part. How much are you reducing cleaning time by doing a smaller batch- very little unless you have a special kettle for that small batch. I enjoy watching the mash tun, with a good burner heating time is not that long overall.

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Old 02-14-2013, 03:29 AM   #4
Dec 2012
Bridgewater, NJ
Posts: 305
Liked 25 Times on 22 Posts

Depends on your equipment and process. Going to 2 gal batch won't save much time at all if you have a strong burner and a wort chiller.

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Old 02-14-2013, 12:56 PM   #5
Jun 2011
Owego, NY
Posts: 165
Liked 19 Times on 16 Posts

for my regular AG setup, I can knock out a 5 gal batch on my propane burner outside in roughly 4-4.5 hours depending on recipe. for small 1 gallon batches, I can do them BIAB no sparge on the stove inside in less than 3, and cleanup is super easy. not a huge time savings, per se, but the effort required is a lot less (much easier to move 1-2gal of liquid around than 6-8, less grain, etc). it also keeps me from freezing my ass off in our cold detached garage. and, there's a time savings when you go to bottle, as you only have a 12-pack or so to do.

that said, I don't do small batches very often, usually only for experimental stuff. I really should do more.

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Old 02-14-2013, 01:55 PM   #6
Junior Member
Dec 2012
Lake Wissota, Wisconsin
Posts: 1,035
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I haven't noticed much difference in brew time since I dropped down from 5gl to 2.5gl, maybe a little less time in chilling and cleanup. Fermentation seems a little quicker with smaller batches.

I can say BIAB has dropped my brew time from a 3 vessel system by about an hour.

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Old 02-14-2013, 02:10 PM   #7
Aug 2011
Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 867
Liked 181 Times on 134 Posts

Making BIAB 1 gallon batches on my 'pilot system' (3 gallon pot and a paint strainer bag, oven mash) is pretty appreciably faster than doing my usual10 gallon batches. However, it is not 10 times faster, that being said what it is great for is testing some of my more 'creative' concepts.

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Old 02-14-2013, 02:21 PM   #8
Dec 2011
Culpeper, VA
Posts: 2,640
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I do All Grain and my time spent per gallon produced is only 30 minutes per gallon!

I do 11 gallon batches every time now because it saves me time! Prepping my gear and cleaning up takes the most actual time in brewing for me...the rest of the time is just watching my timer for each step.

I can make 11 gallons of all-grain beer from prep to cleaning in 5 hours flat. I can make 5.5 gallons of the same beer in 4.5 hours so I only spend another 30 minutes of time to make twice as much product. The only way smaller batches would save time per gallon produced is if I did all extract on my kitchen stove with much less equipment to clean.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:33 PM   #9
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Jun 2011
The Frozen Tundra, NY
Posts: 4,389
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I don't think there is a noticable time savings just doing smaller batches. I haven't seen it. Most of the times I've reduced time on brew day were when I shifted some of my prep time to the night before. I ddin't really save time. I just moved it around.

I usually do double batches to save time. It adds an extra hour or so to my day, but I can do 2 types of beer. All I need is an extra mash tun and pot. I usually do a big beer and a session beer.
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Old 02-14-2013, 02:36 PM   #10
Apr 2012
Charlottesville, Va
Posts: 706
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It does not save much in the way of time. The reason they say they can brew more batches is because there is less room taken up by bottles. When I was doing 5 gal extract batches from start to finish brew time was ~3 hours from "I'm going to brew today let me grab my stuff( assuming I had a kit on hand)" and 1.5 gal AG was ~3 hour( about 30 minutes longer for 3 gal batches). So really no time saved by going smaller. But with the 1.5 gal batches I get 14 beers per batch, with 5 gal I get 48. I can have 3.5 time more types of beer in the fridge. And the best part is I get to brew more often.
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