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Old 02-25-2008, 04:59 PM   #1
The Mastiff
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Default Small Fermentation Vessels

I am looking to acquire the materials to set up my first homebrewing operation, and brew my first beer. My sense is that one's first few batches (and really, to a lesser extent every subsequent batch) is something of an experiment. Thus, my plan is to use smaller fermentation vessels so that I can freely experiment with as many variables (i.e., temperature, fermentation time, etc...) as possible.

So, here is my question: is there anything inherently wrong with using small (~1 gal, or even less) fermentation vessels?


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Old 02-25-2008, 05:10 PM   #2
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There's nothing inherently wrong with using small fermenters.

You can sometimes still find apple juice in 1 gal glass jugs. Those make good fermenters and I used them to make tiny batches of mead back in the mid '90's. You can also find 3 gal carboys which would be acceptable for primary fermentation of ~2 gal batches. You can probably also find food grade buckets smaller than the standard ~7 gal bucket.

That said, the kits that you can buy are typically geared for 5 gal. You could take a tested recipe and scale it down to 1 gal, but you'll probably only end up mad at yourself for only having made 1 gal of great beer. The amount of work required doesn't scale with the volume very closely.

~7 gal plastic bucket fermenters are fairly cheap (get 7 gal 'cause you need headspace for a 5 gal batch).

Don't worry about your first batch. Providing you follow the directions of the kit or tested recipe, it'll almost certainly be great. Also read How to Brew. Actually, read it, read it again, read it one more time for good measure, then ask any questions you still have here. Then brew your first batch. Then read it again a few more times.

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Old 02-25-2008, 05:15 PM   #3
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Remember that a gallon brew will only yield about 10 bottles (12oz.) of beer.

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