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CascadesBrewer

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Experience similar to @Immocles...

I have a pair of 3 Gallon Fermonsters that I really like. They are a good size for 1.5 to 2.5 gallon batches.

I picked up a pair of the glass Little Big Mouth Bubblers (LBMB) with spigots. The size is great for getting a finished 1 gallon of beer. My only complaints about the glass ones are 1) the hole for the spigot is very roughly cut (I had one replaced because of cracks in the glass around the hole), 2) the hole for the spigot is higher than I would like and leaves a lot of space below the spigot and 3) they are quite heavy.

Because I like wasting money on random cheap gadgets...I picked up a pair of the PET LBMB. I have not used them but they look great. The price is probably my biggest potential issue. I also picked up a 1 gallon Fermonster to try out as well. I have not used that one yet either. It tops out at about 1.2 gallons of liquid, so probably good for 1.0 to 0.9 gallons of wort.
 
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I'm going down to 1 gallon over 5 gallons because the new house doesn't have enough room for a 5 gallon run, and SWMBO doesn't want me to spend money on EBIAB or Propane system, so limited to stove top brewing.
2.5 gal stove-top batches are practical on many stoves. An induction cook top would be another potential heat source for brewing 2.5 gal batches.

In the "1 gal" batch size range, I personally like the idea of getting a "12-pack" at packaging time. For me, that typically requires around 1.5 gal in the fermenter when fermentation is complete.
 

jkuhl

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I'm typically a 1 gallon brewer, I feel 1 gallon gives me plenty of variety (because I can make 3-5 different meads and wines and ciders) and room for error because deleting a bad batch doesn't mean dumping $60 of honey and $40 of fruit (might be a little tanked on my own cider as I type this)

I have a few two gallon buckets and some 1.5 gallon wide mouths from Northern Brewer that I use for meads with fruits or other large adjuncts that won't be fun to stuff down a narrow neck carboy.

I did however sign up for an in person class at a local meadery for a five gallon batch, so I have a five gallon bucket (and two more when my orders arrive, one for bottling and a spare for racking). But due to the price of honey, I'll probably just be doing beer in that fermenter in the future.
 

AlexKay

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I think the 1-gallon Fermonster is a better design than the LBMB, but there’s no denying that the extra headroom comes in handy. I also ferment in 1.75-gallon kegs with shortened dip tubes and a hole in the lid for an airlock where the PRV would be: they’re easier to clean, have more room, are better sealing, are unbreakable, and there’s no need to worry about light (a big plus). Downsides are you need CO2 to get the beer out, and they’re much more expensive.
 

TestTickle

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I like the little big mouth bubbler. I have one w a spigot. it’s closer to 1.5G I believe so there’s room for krausen, but I usually shoot a bit larger than 1g and use a blow off.
I love fermonsters. My 3g is my main and I fill it to where it starts to taper at the top and again use a blow off until it starts to slow. Then switch to an airlock. Also you can prime bottles individually and bottle straight from the fermenter.
+1 on the Little Big Mouth Bubbler. I have three that I use when I brew smaller batches. I think it's technically 1.4 gallons, and I ferment 1.25 gallon batches in them which is right at the top ring. Headspace has never been an issue at all and I get anywhere from 10 to 12 beers depending on the beer. They are way easy to clean also. I personally haven't had much luck with the ones with the spigot. I bought two of them a couple of years ago - one cracked where the hole was drilled and the other looks like it's starting to. The first two I bought with no spigot are still going strong.

EDIT: I have the glass versions, I haven't shopped for quite awhile and didn't even know they now have PET versions.
 
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jkuhl

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I love the LBMB, I have two, one with a spigot, one with out. I used one for a caramel apple bochet and there was plenty of room for a gallon of liquid and a huge mesh bag of apple slices.

Racking was incredibly easy, just pull out the mesh bag and rack as usual. Which made clean up super easy too.

And the mesh bag doesn't interfere with flavor, still got a strong fuji apple taste in the final product.

I'm liking wide mouth fermentors and buckets for anything with a lot of fruit.
 

Immocles

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I love the LBMB, I have two, one with a spigot, one with out. I used one for a caramel apple bochet and there was plenty of room for a gallon of liquid and a huge mesh bag of apple slices.

Racking was incredibly easy, just pull out the mesh bag and rack as usual. Which made clean up super easy too.

And the mesh bag doesn't interfere with flavor, still got a strong fuji apple taste in the final product.

I'm liking wide mouth fermentors and buckets for anything with a lot of fruit.
That sounds really really tasty
 

TestTickle

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Elric

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@abweatherley While not ideal, you can certainly do a 5 Gallon batch on a decent stove top if that is what you want. It will be a very gentle boil, and will take a while to get there, but you can do it and I have several times prior to getting my brewzilla. I am all over the place with brew sizes and do anything from 1-5 gallons. For 2 gallons or less I brew on the stove, for larger I use the brewzilla. For smaller batches I ferment in the 1 and 3 gallon sized fermonsters and love them. For the one gallon I have it setup like @Dgallo with a solid lid and posts and have a diptube inserted that gets me nearly every last drop of beer during a pressure transfer. For the 3 gallon I put in a spigot and just do gravity transfers. For 3 gallon + brews I either ferment in my fermzilla or my 5.5 gallon Anvil kettle with the ferment in a kettle kit.
 
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Reporting back on this -in the Nov. 17, 2005 episode, Bob Hansen of Briess says, to paraphrase, you'll get about 0.75 to 1 degree Lovibond darkening after a 45-minute extract boil. With "reduced volume" brewing, the color darkening happens faster.

Timestamp 48:50: http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/mp3/bbr11-17-05.mp3
Thanks for reporting back and especially for the timestamp!

There's a recent Brew Strong Q&A episode (Dec 7, 2021; Brew Strong | Question and Answer | The Brewing Network), starting at about @ 42:45, where they talk briefly about color changes for wort during the boil. Short answer: no concerns about a 60 minute boil darkening wort.
 

abweatherley

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@abweatherley While not ideal, you can certainly do a 5 Gallon batch on a decent stove top if that is what you want. It will be a very gentle boil, and will take a while to get there, but you can do it and I have several times prior to getting my brewzilla. I am all over the place with brew sizes and do anything from 1-5 gallons. For 2 gallons or less I brew on the stove, for larger I use the brewzilla. For smaller batches I ferment in the 1 and 3 gallon sized fermonsters and love them. For the one gallon I have it setup like @Dgallo with a solid lid and posts and have a diptube inserted that gets me nearly every last drop of beer during a pressure transfer. For the 3 gallon I put in a spigot and just do gravity transfers. For 3 gallon + brews I either ferment in my fermzilla or my 5.5 gallon Anvil kettle with the ferment in a kettle kit.


I get what you are saying I literally don't have the space in my house to do 5 gallon batches. Also I am the only craft beer drinker in my circle so I don't really want to sit on 48 bottles of my own craft beer. When I have other recipes I want to try Including a RIS and a sour.
 

HardyFool

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EDIT: I have the glass versions, I haven't shopped for quite awhile and didn't even know they now have PET versions.

I brew 1.25 gallon batches in the PET versions, and: a) I love the extra headspace two, big thumbs up on these, and; b) despite the higher long term fermenter infection risk, the spouted versions do indeed work great and I'd be hard pressed to recommend a small batch fermenter more highly
 

TestTickle

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I brew 1.25 gallon batches in the PET versions, and: a) I love the extra headspace two, big thumbs up on these, and; b) despite the higher long term fermenter infection risk, the spouted versions do indeed work great and I'd be hard pressed to recommend a small batch fermenter more highly
How thick is the plastic? I bought a Fermonster a few years back and hated it. The plastic is so thin that I was constantly squeezing air out and sucking it back in anytime I moved it. Also, I have read a lot of complaints about the regular BMB and the lid staying on during fermentation (although I think others suggest that it's operator error). Is this a problem with the smaller version?
 

HardyFool

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How thick is the plastic? I bought a Fermonster a few years back and hated it. The plastic is so thin that I was constantly squeezing air out and sucking it back in anytime I moved it. Also, I have read a lot of complaints about the regular BMB and the lid staying on during fermentation (although I think others suggest that it's operator error). Is this a problem with the smaller version?

I want to say, oh, a millimeter? Not quite two, maybe 1.5? But yeah, I get that to some degree, and my trick is to just add the "cap" to the airlock once I've gotten the lid on; after that, it's not too big of an issue.

And yeah, I've had a single beer blow the lid off actually (though it turned out fine as a beer), but most of the time it's a non-issue. I strongly suspect that a blowoff tube will nullify that issue if you expect your yeast to be particularly active, i.e. for a starter'd ale pitch or, definitely, a Kveik fermented hot.

Which is all to say, technically those are things, but the advantages of the fermenter (it's light, it has a spigot, you can buy a lid with two ports for thermowell'd fermentation like I do, you can clearly see through the vessel) far outweigh them.

Finally, one last note on the airlock, if you keg from the fermenter, it's as easy as it would be on a glass one to feed a tube, hooked up to the gas port on a purged keg, down the neck of an airlock. I recently literally just straightened out a paperclip, left a little hook on the end, and was able to lift up the "cap" on the airlock without issue and feed that tube in for a painless closed transfer.
 

CascadesBrewer

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How thick is the plastic? I bought a Fermonster a few years back and hated it. The plastic is so thin that I was constantly squeezing air out and sucking it back in anytime I moved it. Also, I have read a lot of complaints about the regular BMB and the lid staying on during fermentation (although I think others suggest that it's operator error). Is this a problem with the smaller version?

I just checked mine and the LBMB are maybe a touch thicker than the 7-gallon Fermonster, but they are stiffer to to the small size. The 7-gallon Fermonster is quite a bit thicker than my 1-gallon or 3-gallon Fermonster. You really need to squeeze the LBMB hard to get it to flex much.
 

mashpaddled

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A 2-gallon frosting bucket from a bakery or grocery store makes a good small-batch bottling bucket.

If you have trouble finding these or convincing a bakery to let you have one you can buy similar buckets from hardware stores in the paint area. Double check that they are food safe but often they are white or clear.
 
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I am actually thinking about downgrading some of my brewing to 1gal batches. THat way I can test variations of a recipe more quickly and easily. I like the idea of only committinq one gallon for a recipe tweak
It looks like 1 gal batches will be a nice upgrade (;)) to your test batch brewing process.

Another thing the big boy 5-Gallon brewers (see OP ;)) do is mash & boil enough wort to make a 5 gal batch and a 1 gal batch at the same time. So one can brew those test batches in no time at all.
 

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Is there any issues using a full package of DRY yeast in a 1 gallon fermentation. Us-05 specifically
 

hotbeer

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Is there any issues using a full package of DRY yeast in a 1 gallon fermentation. Us-05 specifically
That'd be a good question all by itself and deserving of a thread of it's own so we don't have to cut through all the other stuff tossed about in here and sometimes not knowing what reply is for what question or comment.

It'd definitely be overkill. I might think a geyser if it all kicked off at once.

If you have any left, you'll probably get to bottling quicker. But you might experience those things with yeast that don't typically matter for homebrewers. Like off flavors from all the yeasts doing their thing and not having enough beer to shower in before they go to sleep.

Why not try a 3 grams and then go from there on subsequent batches and increase it to see what it does for beer? If you don't want to save the packet, then toss it in the bin.

You are talking about an 11 gram or so packet aren't you?
 
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abweatherley

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That'd be a good question all by itself and deserving of a thread of it's own so we don't have to cut through all the other stuff tossed about in here and sometimes not knowing what reply is for what question or comment.

It'd definitely be overkill. I might think a geyser if it all kicked off at once.

If you have any left, you'll probably get to bottling quicker. But you might experience those things with yeast that don't typically matter for homebrewers. Like off flavors from all the yeasts doing their thing and not having enough beer to shower in before they go to sleep.

Why not try a 3 grams and then go from there on subsequent batches and increase it to see what it does for beer? If you don't want to save the packet, then toss it in the bin.

You are talking about an 11 gram or so packet aren't you?

Yes a Standard 9-11 gram packet of US-05


 

HardyFool

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Yes a Standard 9-11 gram packet of US-05

For an ale (though not a lager), that's a bit of an overpitch, and to keep things easy I always use this calculator. I had terrible luck using the manufacturers' suggested pitch rates, and this is right on the money, usually, judging by fermentation speed and ester levels.

Finally, how to actually do this? I like to flame the edge of the packet, flame my scissors (and by that I mean literally passing a lighter, briefly, along the desired edge - I do 1-2 seconds per "thing"), cut open the sachet, prop it up in some small, light cup-shaped object, toss it onto the scale, tare, and pour out yeast until the negative weight on the screen is close enough to my target pitch mass.

Et voila.
 
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I am actually thinking about downgrading some of my brewing to 1gal batches. THat way I can test variations of a recipe more quickly and easily. I like the idea of only committinq one gallon for a recipe tweak. So it isn't perfect... I only have a gallon to drink and it is going to be at least okay.
This is why I love 1 gallon. I love that I can have idea and quickly try it. Also if it is a bad batch I don't feel as bad dumping it.
 

GrowleyMonster

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I am quite sure that with some of my big starters I have severely overpitched a batch or two. Just my experience, but it doesn't seem to have ever hurt anything. I doubt that a standard sachet will hurt anything. OTOH it is meant to be about right for a typical 5 gallon batch, so you are paying 5x the normal amount for your yeast if you pitch the whole pack. Maybe you could just pitch about 1/4 of it and seal the rest up? If you make one gallon batches you are probably going to be brewing once or twice a week, at least, so it won't have to keep that long, and you do have a fridge, after all. I don't think it's a show stopper either way, myself. Anyhow you are only risking 3 or 4 lbs of fermentables so if it sucks, then only a gallon sucks.
 

BongoYodeler

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I use a half pkg of dry yeast, most often US-05, and the vacuum seal and freeze the rest for next time. Dividing it up more than that just doesn’t seem to be worth the effort/price.
 

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I'm gonna try a whacky idea this weekend

Since, word is, gallon bottles of water (like distilled) come sterilized, making hard seltzer should be as easy as sanitizing a stick blender, sanitizing a fermenter, pitching the water, tossing in salts and corn sugar, blending (which probably oxygenates sufficiently, though I'll hit it with pure O2 because why not), and pitching yeast.

Right?
 

Rish

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I'm gonna try a whacky idea this weekend

Since, word is, gallon bottles of water (like distilled) come sterilized, making hard seltzer should be as easy as sanitizing a stick blender, sanitizing a fermenter, pitching the water, tossing in salts and corn sugar, blending (which probably oxygenates sufficiently, though I'll hit it with pure O2 because why not), and pitching yeast.

Right?
You might want to add some yeast nutrient to make them happier.
 

HardyFool

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I figured that was implied (I'm using Seltzer Max, because it was given to me for free - I bet that Omega Labs stuff works great too), but hey, might as well spell it out for anyone who doesn't explicitly know, and if starting from distilled it probably wouldn't hurt to toss in some CaCl2, though I haven't yet pulled up my old saved Hard Seltzer articles so don't quote me on that, or the quantities
 

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I have considered dropping down batch volume. I don't drink that much so 5 gallons lasts me a long long time. Even when I give it away. The only drawback I see is the increased frequency of brewing.
As a new brewer I welcome the chance to brew more. I had never really considered doing small 1-2.5 gal batches but this has given me something to think about. Smaller batches = more times to improve process
 

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CascadesBrewer

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This does not appear to be an early April/All Fools Day joke.

Hmmm...$18 for a kit to make 16 oz of beer? I guess that makes those $18 4-packs seems more reasonable! To be far, it looks like most of the expense of the kit is in the "equipment" pieces included like the canning jar, lid and swing top bottle. I am curious what the "Green Fermentation Lid" is. It must be something like this silicone lid: Silicone Fermentation Airlock for Mason Jars | MoreBeer
 

HardyFool

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Fyi, we can now order 6g sachets of Steam Hops through Beermkr's website, which could be pretty useful - in principle, one could make a simple malt/hop "tea" by adding character malts and steam hops to water at ~170˚, letting it cool, adding it to sterile water, blending in DME, pitching yeast, et voila - some of the easiest beer imaginable

I'll personally be trying out this exact method shortly - imagine that plus Lutra and a spunding valve and you could have a two- or three-day Stout with basically zero effort!
 

bwible

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Fyi, we can now order 6g sachets of Steam Hops through Beermkr's website, which could be pretty useful - in principle, one could make a simple malt/hop "tea" by adding character malts and steam hops to water at ~170˚, letting it cool, adding it to sterile water, blending in DME, pitching yeast, et voila - some of the easiest beer imaginable

I'll personally be trying out this exact method shortly - imagine that plus Lutra and a spunding valve and you could have a two- or three-day Stout with basically zero effort!
- and for what - $40 for a 12 pack by the time you’re done?
 

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Hmmm...$18 for a kit to make 16 oz of beer? I guess that makes those $18 4-packs seems more reasonable! To be far, it looks like most of the expense of the kit is in the "equipment" pieces included like the canning jar, lid and swing top bottle. I am curious what the "Green Fermentation Lid" is. It must be something like this silicone lid: Silicone Fermentation Airlock for Mason Jars | MoreBeer

Hmmm. Why not:

Save and sanitize a 1L soda bottle. Prepare 75cL of wort by your preferred method. Add wort and yeast to bottle, leave the cap loose until the krausen falls then tighten the cap, give the bottle a test squeeze every day until it's good and taut, then cold crash & gently decant into a pint glass.
 
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