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Old 09-14-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
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Default Brewing smaller batches to get better.

I'm still pretty new. I've only done three batches so far and only one has turned out somewhat decent. I was thinking about buying a smaller carboy to do smaller batches so I could justify brewing more often to get better. I've also done some reading that smaller batches can be a handful.

Any tips in either direction would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 09-14-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
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i brew only small batches, and l like it simply because i can brew a gallon a week, in 3 hours, and try things out all the time.

gives me about 7 bottles of beer, and that's just fine.

is especially helpful when i try new techniques, or fiddle with new recipes, and such.

and, i don't know how they can be a handful... like i said i get from fulling out the box, to completely brewed, and dishes done in a little over 3 hours.

ps... if you do this, invest in a few glass carboys, and a good blow-off tube

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Old 09-14-2013, 08:00 PM   #3
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I do 2 gallon batches using BIAB method. Love the variety that I get to drink. Here is a video of my system. I ferment in 2 gallon paint buckets from HD, boil in a 4 gallon kettle, and mash in a 5 gallon cooler. Easy as can be making my own recipes. The video was done over a year ago and I've made a few changes but it's a good guide.

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Bottled in the refer: German IPA
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
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If you are doing all grain then it can be a large time commitment for a small amount of beer, but that really depends on the person. A BIAB batch, from weighing the grain to a clean kitchen for me is about 5 hours. When I want to make a small batch for variety, or to try out a style, I'll do a small extract batch. That is in the fermentor in less than 15 minutes. More details in my book.

Gallon glass wine bottles and plastic paint buckets work nice for fermentors. I've use pretzel kegs with good success as well. Just about any container that you can sanitize and seal reasonably will work fine.
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Old 09-14-2013, 11:23 PM   #5
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I've been brewing for about 3 years. Started with 5 gallon batches, went to 1 gallon batches. Now I do mostly 2.5 gallon batches. To me it is kind of a sweet spot.

Good amount of beer and about 4-41/2hr brew day. I BIAB. I can wake up early on brew day and be done and cleaned and still have the day to do something else.

If you do decide to do smaller batches invest in a good scale and weigh your hops in grams. It will stop a lot of mistakes.
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Old 09-15-2013, 01:59 AM   #6
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If you are doing all grain, it doesn't really matter what size your batch is, the time investment is about the same. That's actually a point people hit when they decide to brew more seriously, since you can make 50 gallons as easily as 5, provided you have the equipment.

Bottling may be the one argument for smaller batches, but I keg mine, so thats a non issue.
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Old 09-15-2013, 02:16 AM   #7
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I think it's a great idea to learn to perfect techniques. Less risk, means you can try more things.

If it's about producing lots of beer, this isn't a high return activity, but for self-education, I think it is a great idea.
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Old 09-15-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
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I mostly brew 10+ gallon batches, but will mix in a few 2 gallons every now and again. Testing/mixing etc etc. As stated earlier, doing AG it takes about the same time, but when I'm wanting to try something different, I just do a 2 gallon.
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Old 09-15-2013, 10:46 AM   #9
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I do a lot of 2 1/2 gallon batches because I like the brewing process and like to try new recipes. You don't need a smaller carboy for them. I use my 6 1/2 gallon bucket to ferment in and they do just fine plus I never have to worry about wiping krausen off the ceiling because an airlock plugged. These buckets have plenty of space for the krausen.
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #10
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When I first started doing all-grain, equipment limitations had me doing 3 gallon batches for about a dozen and a half brews. Psychologically, I think it's easier to experiment with smaller batches since it's less of a commitment and investment. I learned a lot. The only real downside is that it's the same amount of work for half as much beer.

BTW, 3 gallon batches did just fine in my 6 gallon carboys. While you probably wouldn't put a 1 gallon batch in a 5-6 gallon carboy, you can safely go to 2½-3 gallons without buying new equipment.

Stop using so much caramel malt. Your beer will thank you.
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