Batch size

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I'm a beginner and my first two batches were extract and five gallons. I quickly realized that's a ridiculous amount of beer, when I'm the only one drinking it, not to mention the hassle of bottling it.

I'm now building recipes around 3 gallons into the fermenter. As a newbie, I'm probably losing more volume than an experienced brewer, and I'm still working on my starting water volume (BIAB), but the two batches I've done ended up with 18 and 15 twelve ounce bottles, respectively. That's a pretty good number for me.

I have a few bottles of NEIPA that others actually said was good (I think it's mediocre, at best), 18 bottles of Tree House's Stout recipe that I won't try for a few more weeks and an English Brown Ale, of my own design, in the fermenter. I have high hopes for that one and can't stop sniffing the airlock.
 
I'm a beginner and my first two batches were extract and five gallons. I quickly realized that's a ridiculous amount of beer, when I'm the only one drinking it, not to mention the hassle of bottling it.

I'm now building recipes around 3 gallons into the fermenter. As a newbie, I'm probably losing more volume than an experienced brewer, and I'm still working on my starting water volume (BIAB), but the two batches I've done ended up with 18 and 15 twelve ounce bottles, respectively. That's a pretty good number for me.
What software are you using? It should be able to tell you how much water you need to start with, based upon how many pounds of grain in the recipe, and your desired pre-boil volume. And if you haven't seen this link, doug293cz's chart is amazingly accurate (at least for my full-volume mash, no sparge process)!

3 gallons in the fermenter (which is right what I usually aim for) should get you about 2.7-ish gallons of beer, or right around 27 to 28 twelve oz bottles.
 
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3.5 gallons. Occasional 7 gal split batch.
eBIAB. I use software (BF) to scale.

I used to brew outside, cooler mash tun, bigger batches, etc. but my current system, beer output works for me. I brew more often with it (only 10-12 batches a year though).
 
I started off on a Mr. Beer kit, once upon a time. I quickly upgraded to doing 5 gallon extracts. I did that for 6 years before going all grain. Then, last year, my small batches are 15 gallon and do two of those a week.
 
I started off on a Mr. Beer kit, once upon a time. I quickly upgraded to doing 5 gallon extracts. I did that for 6 years before going all grain. Then, last year, my small batches are 15 gallon and do two of those a week.
Just curious but did you mean your small batches are 1.5 gallons and not 15 gallons?
 
I typically end up doing 10-gallon batches nowadays. Sometimes, that means 5 for the kegerator and 5 for a festival. Other times, I'll split into separate fermenters that get a different yeast/dry hop treatment. This keeps a bit of variety in the lineup but makes the most out of a brew day!
 
I used to brew two different 5 gallon brews on a single day and pitch the same yeast or brew 10 gallons and pitch different yeasts.

These days, I’ve cut way back on my consumption and only brew a solitary 5 gallon batch annually.
 
I used to brew two different 5 gallon brews on a single day and pitch the same yeast or brew 10 gallons and pitch different yeasts.

These days, I’ve cut way back on my consumption and only brew a solitary 5 gallon batch annually.
I cut back to 2.5 gallon batches for this reason and brew evry 6 weeks or so. I want to brew more often but there is no need to and I can't get myself to go to a smaller batch size. I think the minor variances in weight and volume are amplified too much as you go smaller. Some of the speicalty grains and high alpha hops get too small in say a one gallon batch for my interest.
 
Some of the specialty grains and high alpha hops get too small in say a one gallon batch for my interest.
Yeast can get awkward in small batches. Dry yeast is not too bad. You can add 3g of dry yeast to a 1-gallon batch and seal up the rest of the pack for later. It requires more work to split up and preserve some of that $10 to $16 pack of liquid yeast. I don't mind pitching an entire pack of dry or liquid yeast into a 2.5 gal batch, especially if I plan to harvest or reuse the yeast.
 
What software are you using? It should be able to tell you how much water you need to start with, based upon how many pounds of grain in the recipe, and your desired pre-boil volume. And if you haven't seen this link, doug293cz's chart is amazingly accurate (at least for my full-volume mash, no sparge process)!

3 gallons in the fermenter (which is right what I usually aim for) should get you about 2.7-ish gallons of beer, or right around 27 to 28 twelve oz bottles.

I was using Beersmith and just changed to Brewfather.

I was using the 4.5 gallon kettle that came in my beginner's kit and wasn't able to get real accurate on water.

I now brew with distilled water, so it's much easier to get the right amount of water and my new kettle is also marked, albeit, not accurately.

The first batch I did with gallon jugs of distilled water seems to have come out right, as far as volume. I measured my bucket and beer level (still sealed) and calculated the volume at 3.05 gallons, when I was shooting for 3 gallons into the fermenter. I'll bottle that tomorrow and will be curious to see how many bottles I get. Right now, I'm mashing my first brew where I'll use a hop spider, so I'm hoping that will cut down on the liquid loss, throughout the process.

ETA: I just finished bottling my Brown Ale and got 25 bottles. ABV was predicted to be 5.3% and it came out 6%. It's much lighter, both in appearance and flavor, than I expected.
 
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...Right now, I'm mashing my first brew where I'll use a hop spider, so I'm hoping that will cut down on the liquid loss, throughout the process.
Are you squeezing the hell out of your grain bag? You definitely need some stylish brewer's gloves. I put my hops in a paint-straining bag, and squeeze every last drop of wort from them, too!
 
I used to brew two different 5 gallon brews on a single day and pitch the same yeast or brew 10 gallons and pitch different yeasts.

These days, I’ve cut way back on my consumption and only brew a solitary 5 gallon batch annually.
ONE 5-gallon batch per YEAR? Why keep brewing at this point? That's pretty wild. But I guess if you don't mind having the stuff around then by all means... The beauty of the hobby is we can do it however we want.
 
I brewed a 2 gallon batch of a Mexican lager just recently, kitchen sink style to get rid of some excess ingredients. Like @CascadesBrewer mentioned earlier, I just pitched the whole packet of White Labs Mexi-lager (940?) in this batch and will reuse the cake from it on a 5 gallon future batch. I figured instead of doing a 3L starter for 5 gallons, why not just make a small batch to grow the colony and also have something to drink. Win-win.
 
I moved down to 2.5 gal batches as I don’t have people coming over often to drink them with me, and the wife has cut way back on beer. It’s nice to be able to get almost everything done in one day, and bottling isn’t quite the chore.
 
I moved down to 2.5 gal batches as I don’t have people coming over often to drink them with me, and the wife has cut way back on beer. It’s nice to be able to get almost everything done in one day, and bottling isn’t quite the chore.
If I come over you might have to ramp up those batches.
 
I took to 3 gallon batches many years ago because I don’t go through it quickly and I like variety. I’m north of 60 and the smaller batches also have advantages with all the containers being smaller and everything being lighter.

I plan all my batches as 3.5 gallon batches in the software. I collect 4 gallons and boil down to 3.5. 3.5 gallons goes into the fermenter so that I end up with 3 gallons of finished beer after losses. I have several 3 gallon kegs. Or 3 gallons is right about 30 bottles and I still do bottle some stuff, especially stronger beers.

I have an Anvil Foundry 6.5 and an Anvil 5 gallon brewpot. I use the Foundry as a mash tun (I really like having temp control and being able to do step mashes) and I drain to my brewpot after the mash is complete and I boil in my kitchen on my stove. I move the pot about 3 feet and run my wort chiller from my kitchen sink.

I use old school 5 gallon glass carboys as my fermenters. I also have 3 gallon glass carboys I can use for secondary / aging / settling / oaking, etc. I like being able to look at the beer. I have a Fermonster I bought not long ago and I really like that too. I wish Fermonster made a 5 gallon size.
 
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Yeast can get awkward in small batches. Dry yeast is not too bad. You can add 3g of dry yeast to a 1-gallon batch and seal up the rest of the pack for later. It requires more work to split up and preserve some of that $10 to $16 pack of liquid yeast. I don't mind pitching an entire pack of dry or liquid yeast into a 2.5 gal batch, especially if I plan to harvest or reuse the yeast.
Hop measurements can get silly too. .18 oz, etc. Get a good gram scale if you don’t already have one.

But I agree on small batches yeast is a disproportionate cost. I always try to re-use yeast several times. And thats another part of why I always end up with too much beer.

You can make starters and then split off a starter into another starter, but I don’t like the idea of using part of a yeast package and then saving the open package to use later.
 
I started at one gallon, and nowadays do about equal numbers of 2.5- and 1-gallon batches, fermented in 3- and 1.75-gallon kegs, respectively.

I did one or two 5-gallon batches a few years ago. Too much beer, and too hard to lift the kegs.

Every now and then, if I feel like brewing but don't have room in my fermentation chambers for another keg, I'll squeeze in a 1/4-gallon batch. I have the world's smallest Wilser bag to brew these. It's very easy to pull and thoroughly squeeze the grain bag.

At one point I did six 12-ounce batches for a side-by-side malt comparison, but I probably will never go that small again.
 
As I read through the posts I can appreciate what everyone is saying, reducing their output to smaller batches. Lately I have be thinking of the same. I might try reducing my ten gallon batches to five and see how I like that. I could still do a ten gallon batch if something would split or age for a while.

Very interesting to read everyone's reasons for smaller batches. Just keep brewing!
 
As I read through the posts I can appreciate what everyone is saying, reducing their output to smaller batches. Lately I have be thinking of the same. I might try reducing my ten gallon batches to five and see how I like that. I could still do a ten gallon batch if something would split or age for a while.

Very interesting to read everyone's reasons for smaller batches. Just keep brewing!
I love the smaller batches. I started out in 2008 brewing 3 gallon batches because that's all I could manage with a 5 gallon brew post that came with my starter kit. Then moved up to 5 before going back down to 4 gallons and less. I have brewed 5 gallon batches off and on over the years, but 3 gallons has been my mainstay. My process is very similar to @bwible where I collect about 4 gallons in the kettle, boil down to 3.5 and get 3 gallons in the fermenter to get 2.5 gallons finished beer in a 2.5 gallon keg. I ferment in a 5 gallon keg under pressure. It's great.

My 2 leichtbiers (hefeweiss and helles) turned out very nicely. Both are around 3% and don't leave anything to be desired. It might be the ticket for me moving forward and it's inspired me to want to brew a lot more. Pretty great to be able to have a couple half liters and not feel any effects of the alcohol.
 
I have an Anvil Foundry 6.5 and an Anvil 5 gallon brewpot...............

........I wish Fermonster made a 5 gallon size.


I wished Anvil would bring back the 5 gallon kettle and offer one without a valve. I have a Vevor cheapo that came with its own fb, but I lose 1.5 gal of dead space to it due to it having a ball valve. The Mexi-lager I posted about earlier in this thread was doable, but I'd like to be able to have less dead space in that small of a kettle. I may go back to my old 5 gallon no valve kettle on the next batch.

A 5 gallon Fermonster would be nice too.
 
I started off on a Mr. Beer kit, once upon a time. I quickly upgraded to doing 5 gallon extracts.
I'm still using my ancient Mr Beer big PET fermenter for 5 gallon batches, and I aim for 6 to 6. 5 gallons into the fermenter to get about 5 into the bottling bucket.
IMG_20240630_134519.jpg
 
I shoot for between 5.5 and 6 gallons fermenter volume (circa 21-24L) depending on how much volume I expect to lose due to dry hopping. 19L into the keg.

I occasionally fall a bit short though, my recent rum barrel red rye IPA only hit about 15L keg volume.
 
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