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5 gallon carboy kit?

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Dbares

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Hey guys, newbie here. I am piecing together a kit from items that were giving to me. I have a 5 gallon glass carboy. I see all the beer kits are for 5 gallons and require a 6-6.5 gallon carboy (to accommodate for the expansion). Any suggestions or do I need to get a 6.5 gallon carboy? I would like to brew I mid sized batches. 3 to 4 gallon yields if possible. Thanks!
 
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Dbares

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Can I do put 4 gallons of wort in the 5 gallon carboy and be ok without a blowoff?
Issue is I don’t really want to brew 5 gallons of beer, only 3.5 to 4 or so. I only can find 5 gallon kits. Can I just put 3.5 to 4 gallons of the wort from the 5 Gallon kit in the one carboy?
I guess I’d be wasting wort....I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just get the 6.5 carboy. I really rather stick to smaller to mid size batches and have more turnover. Any other thoughts/suggestions for a newbie would be great.
Thanks!
 

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A 5 gallon carboy is fine for 4 gallon batches. Just use a blowoff tube, as recommended above.

You can use a 5 gallon kit to brew a 4 gallon batch. Get a scale and weigh out 80% of the kit ingredients. Except the yeast. Use the whole yeast packet. Save the excess ingredients and, after 4 batches, you‘ll have extract and hops to brew a 5th batch. The only thing you’ll have to buy is a pack of dry yeast. This approach will work best with kits that use DME.
 
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Dbares

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Great, that makes sense. I’ve read a lot on here about blowoff tubes affecting the fermentation process? Is there an amount of wort that would be ok without a blowoff? Maybe 3.5 gallons?
 

Jag75

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Great, that makes sense. I’ve read a lot on here about blowoff tubes affecting the fermentation process? Is there an amount of wort that would be ok without a blowoff? Maybe 3.5 gallons?
Many brewers use blow off tubes , most breweries use them , at least the ones I've been to. Ive put almost 5 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy many times with a blow off tube . I use blow off tube all the time on my cf5 .

You can easily put 4.5 gallons in with a blow off . Depending on what yeast you use . Some yeast really go crazy and some not as much .

Here's a 5 gallon carboy with just a tad under 5 gallons . I just fill up to that point where the edge rounds .
 

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Dbares

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I see you are using an airlock in the picture. How do you know when you should use an airlock and when you need the blow off? It’s one of the other correct?
 

Jag75

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I see you are using an airlock in the picture. How do you know when you should use an airlock and when you need the blow off? It’s one of the other correct?
Yes in that beer . Ive had to clean many of airlock that got all gunned up. After cleaning up a few times I set up a blow off . There's nothing negative about using one . Just keep the blow off tube jar lower then your fermenter. As you can see i didn't fill all the way up to the neck . The one with the airlock here is a solid 5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon carboy
 

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rlmiller

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Many on here may, but you/I don't necessarily, know when there will be need for a blow off, so I use them for all my brews for the first few days then transition to a bubbler when things settle down. Welcome
 

madscientist451

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I see you are using an airlock in the picture. How do you know when you should use an airlock and when you need the blow off? It’s one of the other correct?
I've never used a blowoff tube, but I always leave plenty of room in the top of the fermenter. Also, you should just skip the kits, who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf before they are sold? Start with a simple single malt single hop (SMASH) recipe, get some grain, hops and a BIAB bag and go for it. Brewing is pretty easy, you can make it as complicated as you want to. After the first brew, you can dump your next batch right on the old yeast cake or save the yeast in your fridge and save a few bucks.

 

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Can I do put 4 gallons of wort in the 5 gallon carboy and be ok without a blowoff?
Issue is I don’t really want to brew 5 gallons of beer, only 3.5 to 4 or so. I only can find 5 gallon kits. Can I just put 3.5 to 4 gallons of the wort from the 5 Gallon kit in the one carboy?
I guess I’d be wasting wort....I don’t know. Maybe I’ll just get the 6.5 carboy. I really rather stick to smaller to mid size batches and have more turnover. Any other thoughts/suggestions for a newbie would be great.
Thanks!
Why don't you blow a bunch of money and get a plastic bucket fermenter so you can use all of the 5 gallon kit. You can get a bucket with a drilled lid (hole for airlock) for just over $20 from Northern Brewer and probably a lot of other places.
 

brewdude88

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Not sure where the concern with using a blow-off comes from. Just remember, there's nothing worse than coming home to find the carboy bung (or bucket lid) 20 feet from the fermenter and beer on the ceiling, walls and floor (don't ask how I know). Glass carboys can also suffer catastrophic failure in rare cases if the bung fails to pop out (search "beersplosion" on youtube).
 
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Dbares

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Great thanks. Anyone have recommendations for my first recipe kit? Enjoy session type and NE ipas. lagers as well.

also any recommendations on how to keep the brewing area a constant temp? In the winter our house can go down to 63 when not home and as high as 75 when home.
 

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Take a look at the Northern Brewer five gallon plastic Big Mouth Bubbler with spigot. Easy to clean, carry and transfer beer to the bottling bucket, and safer to use than glass. Just be sure to use something like a 5 lb weight to hold the lid down during fermentation. Gas pressure can sometimes work the lid loose.
 
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Dbares

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I've never used a blowoff tube, but I always leave plenty of room in the top of the fermenter. Also, you should just skip the kits, who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf before they are sold? Start with a simple single malt single hop (SMASH) recipe, get some grain, hops and a BIAB bag and go for it. Brewing is pretty easy, you can make it as complicated as you want to. After the first brew, you can dump your next batch right on the old yeast cake or save the yeast in your fridge and save a few bucks.

Great idea. I will pick up a brew bag that fits my 20 quart kettle. Is there a recommended place to get recipes and the ingredients? I will need to buy everything online as I don’t have a supplies nearby.
 
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Dbares

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Yes in that beer . Ive had to clean many of airlock that got all gunned up. After cleaning up a few times I set up a blow off . There's nothing negative about using one . Just keep the blow off tube jar lower then your fermenter. As you can see i didn't fill all the way up to the neck . The one with the airlock here is a solid 5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon carboy
How far down do you stick the blowoff tube into the fermenter?
 
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Dbares

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All has been very helpful. I have doing a lot of reading. I’m thinking of starting with the brew in a bag method. I will pick up a kit. Any thoughts?
 
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Dbares

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I've never used a blowoff tube, but I always leave plenty of room in the top of the fermenter. Also, you should just skip the kits, who knows how long they have been sitting on the shelf before they are sold? Start with a simple single malt single hop (SMASH) recipe, get some grain, hops and a BIAB bag and go for it. Brewing is pretty easy, you can make it as complicated as you want to. After the first brew, you can dump your next batch right on the old yeast cake or save the yeast in your fridge and save a few bucks.

[/QUOTE

thanks, So you would recommend the BIAB method? Do you have a recipe you would recommend? The more I read the more confused I am getting. I have watched youtube videos on brew in the bag. There are water calculations etc.? I really like the idea of BIAB but need very specific instructions on what to do and what is needed and where to buy online. The only items I have are a 5 gallon carboy, 5 gallon bottle bucket and sanitizer bucket, Have it my cart ready to order:
-5 gallon kettle (can get 8 if it is necessary)
-Tubing
-Siphon
-caper, bottles caps etc
-blowoff cap (I’ll just hook up a blowoff line to be careful)

I know this is a pain, but everyone has been helpful so far.
Any additional help would be great!
 

palmtrees

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All has been very helpful. I have doing a lot of reading. I’m thinking of starting with the brew in a bag method. I will pick up a kit. Any thoughts?
BIAB is great, especially for smaller batches. I've been brewing this way for almost ten years now, and I love it. I do 2.5 gallon batches, which let's me do everything in one five gallon pot on my stove.

If you are still looking for a kit, check out Bitter & Esters. It's a homebrew shop in NYC, and they ship anywhere. I love them because they will do 1 gallon and 2.5 gallon versions of any of their recipes, extract or all grain. It's nearly impossible to find kits for small batch all-grain brewing anywhere else. I've tried a number of B&E recipes and have been impressed with all of them. Plus the kits are packaged to order, so everything is fresh. They will also double crush the grain for you if you ask in the notes field. (Double crushing can help you hit your OG target when brewing BIAB.)
 
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Dbares

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Awesome,
Just placed my order from northern brewer. Purchased the Kama citra. Plan to do 3 gallon batches. Is it as simple as dividing the contents of the kit and using ~2/3 of the ingredients? Anything else I should know before I start my first brew?
 

palmtrees

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Awesome,
Just placed my order from northern brewer. Purchased the Kama citra. Plan to do 3 gallon batches. Is it as simple as dividing the contents of the kit and using ~2/3 of the ingredients? Anything else I should know before I start my first brew?
Yep, just divide by 2/3 for everything but the yeast, which can get slightly more complicated depending on which type you have. If you're using dry yeast, just pitch a half a packet and you'll be fine with anything but very high gravity beers. If you're using liquid yeast, you'll need to pitch the whole pouch into your wort and then buy another pouch when you eventually make that beer again.

This is probably more advanced than you want to get, but if you're using liquid yeast, you could also try making a yeast starter a few days ahead of brewday. There are a bunch of threads here on how to make a starter. Youtube is also very helpful. You can use fancy equipment or you can use very basic stuff you already have. I like starters for small batches in particular because it's easy to grow the yeast population into enough for two small batches. Then you just split the yeast slurry in half--pitch one half into your wort on brew day and then keep the other half in a sanitized jar in the fridge until you're ready to brew that beer again. Probably too complicated for you right now, but it's a good thing to work toward, especially with small batches. I hated spending so much on a liquid yeast pouch just for 2.5 gallons of beer at the end.
 
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Dbares

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Yep, just divide by 2/3 for everything but the yeast, which can get slightly more complicated depending on which type you have. If you're using dry yeast, just pitch a half a packet and you'll be fine with anything but very high gravity beers. If you're using liquid yeast, you'll need to pitch the whole pouch into your wort and then buy another pouch when you eventually make that beer again.

This is probably more advanced than you want to get, but if you're using liquid yeast, you could also try making a yeast starter a few days ahead of brewday. There are a bunch of threads here on how to make a starter. Youtube is also very helpful. You can use fancy equipment or you can use very basic stuff you already have. I like starters for small batches in particular because it's easy to grow the yeast population into enough for two small batches. Then you just split the yeast slurry in half--pitch one half into your wort on brew day and then keep the other half in a sanitized jar in the fridge until you're ready to brew that beer again. Probably too complicated for you right now, but it's a good thing to work toward, especially with small batches. I hated spending so much on a liquid yeast pouch just for 2.5 gallons of beer at the end.
Good to know. Thanks!

I’m just going to start with dry yeast and see what happens. I’ll use the half packet. The only issue I can think of is that I will have to keep using the same beer kit to make use of the spare 1/3 I have left over. Any other ideas/thoughts there?I’d like to try something else every now and then.
 

palmtrees

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Good to know. Thanks!

I’m just going to start with dry yeast and see what happens. I’ll use the half packet. The only issue I can think of is that I will have to keep using the same beer kit to make use of the spare 1/3 I have left over. Any other ideas/thoughts there?I’d like to try something else every now and then.
Honestly, I would do 2.5 gallons instead of three. If you're going to be splitting 5 gallon kits, it wouldn't be worth the headache to me of having to make a beer six times in order to get the math right. If you just split in half, you can buy one kit and make the beer twice. I do it sometimes, and it's not that repetitive if you wait a few batches before you repeat. And there's less to keep track of, too. I don't expect you'll really miss that extra half gallon.
 
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Dbares

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Honestly, I would do 2.5 gallons instead of three. If you're going to be splitting 5 gallon kits, it wouldn't be worth the headache to me of having to make a beer six times in order to get the math right. If you just split in half, you can buy one kit and make the beer twice. I do it sometimes, and it's not that repetitive if you wait a few batches before you repeat. And there's less to keep track of, too. I don't expect you'll really miss that extra half gallon.
Good point. Should I still use a 5 gallon kettle or could I get away with a 3 gallon?
 

palmtrees

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Good point. Should I still use a 5 gallon kettle or could I get away with a 3 gallon?
With your boil kettle, don't go smaller than 5 gallons. You will need all of that space doing BIAB. For a 2.5 gallon batch, you'll mash with about 3.5 gallons of water or so and then will have all that grain in there, too.

(Though if you mean fermenter, then yes 3 gallons is just fine.)
 
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Dbares

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Ready to start brewing. I will do a 2.5 gallon batch. I have a 5 gallon kit. Just double checking....Do I pitch all the yeast or half? If half, how do I preserve the other half for the second brew of the remaining kit?
 

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I'd pitch it all. If you are using half, then just tape the packet over on itself with some clear packaging tape or electrical tape. Put that in a ziplock sandwich bag and put it your refrigerator.
 
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Dbares

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Just used the formula on northern brewer to figure out the amount of strike water (total grain weight x .125) + 4. I took half of my grain weight (3.875) and determined I need ~4.5 gallons of water. They told me to buy a 5 gallon pot! Once the grain is in it is going to go over the sides!?!?
 

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