Brewing smaller batches to get better. - Home Brew Forums

Register Now!
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Brewing smaller batches to get better.

Thread Tools
Old 09-14-2013, 07:05 PM   #1
May 2013
Posts: 4

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.

Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 07:56 PM   #2
Oct 2012
Chicago, Il
Posts: 817
Liked 110 Times on 76 Posts

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
'Tis himself

In the fermenters: nada

In the bottle: nada

In the fridge(and the glass): nada

On Deck: anything i can think of

Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 08:00 PM   #3
Senior Member
C-Rider's Avatar
Feb 2011
Wai, Hawaii
Posts: 3,409
Liked 292 Times on 239 Posts

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.

Kaiser Ridge Brewing
Fermenting: Malahini Pale Ale
Bottled in the refe: Black IPA
Bottled in the refe: Old Glory Stout
Bottled in the refe: American Imperial Stout
Bottled in the refer: Dunkelweizen
Bottled in the refer Oktoberfest


People Like This 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 11:02 PM   #4
WoodlandBrew's Avatar
Oct 2012
Malden, MA
Posts: 2,191
Liked 244 Times on 199 Posts

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.
The 2nd edition is now available: Brewing Engineering
Woodland Brewing Research Blog Applied Science for Better Beer.

Reply With Quote
Old 09-14-2013, 11:23 PM   #5
Sep 2010
upstate of SC
Posts: 299
Liked 20 Times on 17 Posts

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.

Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 01:59 AM   #6
May 2013
San Diego, CA
Posts: 87
Liked 9 Times on 7 Posts

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.
Drinking: Chocolate Peanut Butter Stout
Ageing: Red Ale
Fermenting: Sculpin Clone

3D Blueprint for making your own 10Gal Mash tun

Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 02:16 AM   #7
I Sell Koalas
Cyclman's Avatar
Jan 2013
Aurora, CO
Posts: 6,210
Liked 743 Times on 619 Posts

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.
Give a man a beer, waste an hour. Teach a man to brew, and waste a lifetime! Bill Owen quote

Why does Happy Hour limit happiness to 1/24 of the day?

Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 06:57 AM   #8
Hackwood's Avatar
Mar 2011
Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 653
Liked 64 Times on 54 Posts

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.
Fermenting - Nothing.
Lagering - Nothing.
Secondary - Nothing.
Bottle-aging -Nothing.
In the Fridge - Brian's Best Bitter

Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 10:46 AM   #9
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
Posts: 9,525
Liked 1677 Times on 1331 Posts

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.

Gixxer Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #10
Captain Damage
Captain Damage's Avatar
Apr 2008
Lowell, Massachusetts
Posts: 1,230
Liked 83 Times on 71 Posts

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 2-3 gallons without buying new equipment.
Stop using so much caramel malt. Your beer will thank you.
(yes, Carapils is a caramel is Special B)


pujwI HIq Mild Ale
KPA Khitomer Pale Ale

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Is brewing two smaller batches the equivalent of brewing one big one? thizzberg Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 0 01-04-2013 02:10 PM
Brewing smaller batches? Ryan11 Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 5 10-15-2012 11:07 PM
Brewing Smaller batches turketron Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 16 03-11-2012 07:48 PM
Brewing in smaller batches? BeerGrrrl Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 03-13-2011 01:37 AM
Brewing smaller batches cbird01 General Techniques 13 10-26-2006 02:11 PM

Forum Jump