Building a 1 or 2 gal all-grain setup for testing recipes

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CharlaineC

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I'm looking to build a small 1 or 2 gal for the testing of new recipes and maybe instalation into an rv later on. Before spending the money to order large amounts of grain I would like to find a way to mouse proof (field mice from the wheat fields surrounding me) my brew-house beforehand. I've never built my own AG setup so I really would love some assistance with ideas on making a small one. Seeing I can only ever find the information for larger 5gal or more setups.
 
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SanPancho

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the main question is 1 or 2gallon? 2 gallons is not too hard, as there are quite a few 2.5 to 3 gallon fermenters available pretty much anywhere. one gallon is harder, as you wont find any off-the-shelf 2gallon fermenters. although putting it in one of the 2.5/3gal fermenters isnt horrible by any means. just not ideal. but if you go with 2gallons, you might as well make it 2.5. then you just take any 5gal recipe you see and cut it in half. easy peasy.

the only thing you need to mouse proof is your grain storage. they arent interested in hops. a 5gallon bucket with lid is probably fine for grain storage given your small batch sizes. and cheap. the "gamma lid" option is extra protection, although not necessary.

as to the actual brewing, go for BIAB. just need a kettle and a bag for your grains. that's the easiest way to do small batches, without having to buy a bunch of new gear. in a pinch, you can use same kettle for your 5 gallon batches, but you'll likely experience pretty heavy evaporation during the boil. a smaller kettle will be easy to find at walmart, amazon, etc.
 
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I've never built my own AG setup so I really would love some assistance with ideas on making a small one. Seeing I can only ever find the information for larger 5gal or more setups.

The book Speed Brewing has a couple of chapters on BIAB targeting 1.75 gal kegs. Good ideas on equipment and process.

Mash temperature stability becomes much easier in the 2.0 - 2.5 gal range. In the 1 gal range, people often put the mash in a pre-heated oven.
 
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CharlaineC

CharlaineC

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Thank you both. I'm new to the making smaller test batches before the larger batches idea but I want to recreate some of the recipes I lost and just cant keep the grains on hand like i used to currently.

As for mouse proofing the plastics can be chewed through I learned that with my old brew-house. was forced to switch to steel trash cans with silicone gaskets I cut myself to make them air tight. the mice around here are pretty bad at times. I'm hoping to get a small shead at some point to make into a grain storage or to expand the brewhouse to include room for storage in time. but for now i need to think small during building recipes and go from there.
 

hotbeer

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For all grain 1 gallon batches you are only looking at roughly 2 lbs of malts. So it shouldn't be an issue for storage. 10 pounds of malts fits nicely on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator. Though my spouse wishes I put it elsewhere.

Nothing expensive required for 1 gallon all grain. Though a 1 gallon glass or plastic jug will only ferment about 3/4 gallon. I did find some 5 liter jars that I used for quite a while. And a well equipped kitchen probably has a stock pot decent enough to boil in. And for me BIAB lends itself well to small batches on the kitchen stove. Either with full mashes or partial mashes dunking the bag in clean water to rinse after the mash time is finished.
 
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CharlaineC

CharlaineC

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i have the fermenters 1,2 and 3 gals including modified LBK's my main concern is mash to boil atm.
 

hotbeer

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Why mash to boil? That for me is just as simple as fermenting. Though it is the most messy with pots and all the mess I make in the process that has to be cleaned up.

My only concern for boiling might be if you have enough BTU's in the propane burner of a typical RV stove. But that can be solved easily by getting an induction hot plate if you are going to be at a hookup and have electrical service.

For mashing, I pretty much just hit my strike temp and once the malts are evenly wetted and the temps checked, then I just wrap the pot in a large fluffy bath towel to keep the heat in (stove burner is off of course).
 

aceluby

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My 1 gallon AG setup was pretty simple. 3 pasta pots (if you don’t have 3, goodwill has them cheap), a large strainer ($25 at Target), and a fermenter ($25 for the LBM af Northern Brewer). I assume you already have cleaner/sanitizer/bottler, otherwise spring for the NB 1 gallon kit.

One gallon beer brewing is a treasure trove of info for getting started doing one gallon AG brews. As far as storing grain, start with buying as little as you need. SMaSH beers are great since you can buy 5 lbs of grain and get two brews out of it. Just put the second brew grains in a plastic container to keep away from the mice.

There’s also a great thread in the beginners forum on one gallon brewing, many of us are all grain. One gallon brewing is still my favorite type of brewing, even after getting a nice AIO 5 gal system with a kegerator. I just love the 1 gallon process.
 
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CharlaineC

CharlaineC

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My 1 gallon AG setup was pretty simple. 3 pasta pots (if you don’t have 3, goodwill has them cheap), a large strainer ($25 at Target), and a fermenter ($25 for the LBM af Northern Brewer). I assume you already have cleaner/sanitizer/bottler, otherwise spring for the NB 1 gallon kit.

One gallon beer brewing is a treasure trove of info for getting started doing one gallon AG brews. As far as storing grain, start with buying as little as you need. SMaSH beers are great since you can buy 5 lbs of grain and get two brews out of it. Just put the second brew grains in a plastic container to keep away from the mice.

There’s also a great thread in the beginners forum on one gallon brewing, many of us are all grain. One gallon brewing is still my favorite type of brewing, even after getting a nice AIO 5 gal system with a kegerator. I just love the 1 gallon process.
for me, the one gall is just for making and testing new brews before dropping large sums on a grain bill.
 

aceluby

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for me, the one gall is just for making and testing new brews before dropping large sums on a grain bill.
That’s what I do as well. It’s also good for beers with expensive ingredients. Not sure what I wrote doesn’t apply, maybe you could clarify?
 
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CharlaineC

CharlaineC

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That’s what I do as well. It’s also good for beers with expensive ingredients. Not sure what I wrote doesn’t apply, maybe you could clarify?
wasn't you it was lack of sleep responding just didn't comprehend at the time lol
 

bwible

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Zambezi Special

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I got a real simple set up that works for batches up to 9-10 litre (with a bit of adjustment of recipes).
Most batches are around 6-7 litres though, so close to 2 gallon.
A 10 litre pot that I start off with 7.5 ltr water. Bring to above mash temp (generally 70 - 74 oC, depending on room temp).
Turn off heat.
Add grains in biab bag. Stir a bit. Move the whole thing to cooler box lined with duvet and close the lid.
Remove after mash duration, bring to stove, remove bag, heat wort.
Sparge for higher volumes in fermenter. Don't for smaller volumes.
Boil etc. My immersion cooler doesn't fit as pan is too small so I cool in the sink by putting the pot in cold water, stir water, replace when hot. Sounds primitive, but it works.
At times I add cold water (previously boiled, stored in fridge) for the last cooling & SG correction.
Roughly: 1.8 kg pilsner malt gives me 8-9 litre in fermenter at 1.045 to 1.048
 
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One thought would be to start in about mid-2019 (page 170) to catch the most recent ideas. Some of the brewers are also active over in the Brewers Friend forums (and there are some interesting ideas that don't make it over to HomeBrewTalk).
 
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