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Old 12-01-2008, 12:34 AM   #1
rtockst
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Default switch to AG/PM, and fermenting small batches in large buckets

Ok, so I brewed my first batch probably 3 weeks ago, and unfortunately I didn't even think about the long time it would take to completely finish a huge beer. So, after obsessing and and generally going insane with wanting to brew more beer, I've decided to brew another batch this weekend and maybe another the weekend after.

I saw DeathBrewer's thread on stovetop AG and PM batches, so I've decided I'm going to have to try to completely make up my own recipe and do either an AG or PM batch this weekend. Does the fact that I've only brewed one beer and now I'm going to try this seem strange to anyone?

Second and more important question... I think I would like to brew rather small batches because they ferment out faster and I don't have as much beer to drink if I continually brew tons of beer. I found some 5 gal food grade Homer buckets from Home Depot for a good cheap price, and someone tested them out and said they were water tight, so I thought I would use them as fermenting buckets. Where can I get that black rubber seal that the air lock goes in on the lid (grommet?) And how big do I drill the hole? I also wondered, how small of a batch can I ferment in a 5 gal bucket? Would even a 1 gallon batch ferment well in this large of a bucket? Any problems with that?


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Old 12-01-2008, 12:41 AM   #2
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No, it is not bad to want to start brewing more....it is an obsession.

I would suggest starting off with kits for the first few beers. I have done that and it has worked out great so far.

How small of a batch? I don't believe that it is good to ferment 1 gal in a 5 gal bucket, there is way to much extra air in the fermenter and increases chances of infection. I would do at least 2.5 gal (Yields about 30 bottles).

The size of the hole depends on the Airlock, they are all different sizes.

You can find the seal at a hardware store usually in the plumbling section. I had to replace mine and found one at Ace, which in fact, really is the place.


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Old 12-01-2008, 01:03 AM   #3
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I think that this page should give the dimensions for rubber stoppers:
101 Rubber Stopper Sizes - www.101science.com

You'll want to drill a hole that's slightly smaller than the stopper, obviously, to make sure it doesn't go straight through.

If you want to do 1 gallon batches, you could always get a few smaller carboys or glass jugs.
NORTHERN BREWER: Fermenters and Accessories

I'm not sure how good it would be to ferment 1 gallon in a 5 gallon bucket. It seems like a lot of headspace. I'm sure it would eventually fill with CO2, but while you were waiting for the yeast to make that CO2, the beer would be exposed to a lot of oxygen.
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Old 12-01-2008, 01:12 AM   #4
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Thanks for the help guys!

Quote:
Originally Posted by cdburg View Post
I'm not sure how good it would be to ferment 1 gallon in a 5 gallon bucket. It seems like a lot of headspace. I'm sure it would eventually fill with CO2, but while you were waiting for the yeast to make that CO2, the beer would be exposed to a lot of oxygen.
In regard to the oxygen issue, wouldn't this simply better aerate it while waiting to start fermentation? Do are suppose to shake the hell out of it and get it oxygenated when throwing in the yeast.

My sister has a biochem degree, and she said they once made root beer in a lab. They make it by fermenting it, but stopping fermentation before alcohol is produced. She said that is how it is carbonated.... it releases CO2 and they purposely stop fermentation before it creates alchohol. Sounds strange doesn't it?
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:02 AM   #5
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The hole for the grommet is 1/2" diameter (on my bucket).
I don't think that smaller batches ferment out noticeably faster, and if you are going to do AG, it will take you 4 - 8 hours to produce a batch. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to spend 4 hours brewing 1g beer.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:06 AM   #6
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my first post was crap - so I edited it. it is still crap - but now it's edited.

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Old 12-01-2008, 02:14 AM   #7
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I bought one homer bucket already, just as a sanitizing bucket. But then I found out it was food grade, and home depot had them on sale. so I think the bucket was about 2.5 dollars and the lid was probably 1.5 or something like that. I thought it was a pretty good deal
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:45 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rtockst View Post
Thanks for the help guys!



In regard to the oxygen issue, wouldn't this simply better aerate it while waiting to start fermentation? Do are suppose to shake the hell out of it and get it oxygenated when throwing in the yeast.

My sister has a biochem degree, and she said they once made root beer in a lab. They make it by fermenting it, but stopping fermentation before alcohol is produced. She said that is how it is carbonated.... it releases CO2 and they purposely stop fermentation before it creates alchohol. Sounds strange doesn't it?

Doesn't sound strange. Actually alcohol is still produced, but the amount is so minimal that it is barely worth mention.

And I am not convinced that your fermentation is going to be any faster with a smaller batch. Certainly your aging time won't change any. Let us know how it works.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:56 AM   #9
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I did several 2 gallon batches when I started out, they really take just as long to make, condition and carb as a 5 gallon batch.

You can get food grade buckets with o-ring sealing lids (once used for icing) from your grocery store bakery, probably for free. I've made 4 fermentation buckets from these.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:48 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bernie Brewer View Post
And I am not convinced that your fermentation is going to be any faster with a smaller batch. Certainly your aging time won't change any. Let us know how it works.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ifishsum View Post
You can get food grade buckets with o-ring sealing lids (once used for icing) from your grocery store bakery, probably for free. I've made 4 fermentation buckets from these.
I think I may have just thought this idea up because I've been reading about making yeast starters, and the way some people write about it makes it sound as though they finish fermenting faster. But maybe this isn't true at all. I would still like to try smaller batches at first though just to get the hang of it and not have 5 gal of sub par beer.

ifishsum, you mean a grocery store bakery such as Schnucks, or Dierbergs or something of that nature? I've no clue if you have those stores around you, but they are basically very large stores that do have a bakery section. What size were the buckets you found?

And one question, how do I get the smell of my previous beer out of my primary bucket?


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