Dividing larger grain recipe kits into smaller brew sizes

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hotbeer

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Is it reasonable to buy a recipe kit for a 5 gallon batch and divide the milled grain bag, hops and any other dry ingredients to smaller sizes and save for later brewing?

I'm not ready to go bigger yet. To me a two or three gallon at a time will be about right and I already have the stuff to handle that size batch.

Nor do I really want to get into designing my own recipe yet. Even having to cherry pick my stuff to fill a recipe already known is not desired by me yet. To much trouble for the level of fun I'm ready to have.

So I guess the big thing is will that bag of milled grains be able to be divided with the expectation that all the assorted grains are evenly distributed? That's my main question.

I'd think hops and other stuff being individually packaged.... I think... will be easy to divide up by count or weight. Sure there is a worry about shelf life after opening that vacuum sealed bag but that's for me to worry about. I'm the one drinking the beer. :yes:

Yeast.... Usually optional on many sites. Dry, I'm sure I can divide it. Liquid... If you can save yeast from the fermenter and raise it I'd think you can grow and divide a new bottle for as long as needed. And keeping yeast might be interesting and one of the things I get into next. I've made my own and kept starters for sourdough bread going for a long time. Got one going right now... of course that's bacteria mostly, not so much yeast.

Durn... to long a post again. Sorry, I over do it many times. Thanks for bearing with me long enough to read it all.
 

Jag75

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Yes you can seperste them in half as best you can. I'd stick with dry yeast in your situation. Do you have a LHBS that you can get stuff ?
 
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hotbeer

hotbeer

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There are no LHBS's that I know of. But I've never really looked. There are some micro brewers around selling their beers in the retail markets.

I was thinking of online suppliers. More have recipe kits for five gallon batches. Those that have 1 gallon kits tend to have only a few choices. Brooklyn Brewshop has the largest selection of 1 gallon recipe kits and some 5 gallon which is opposite of what I'm finding elsewhere.

I'd rather be right in the middle with a 2 1/2 gallon kit. Which is where a 5 gallon kit fits the bill if I can reliably count on splitting it with reasonable success.

I imagine I'll try one soon just to see. Was throwing this out to others to see if there are any snags I haven't considered.

Certainly I could just order two 1 gallon kits and be happy. But like I said, I only find a good selection of those at Brooklyn Brewshop.
 

Immocles

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So I guess the big thing is will that bag of milled grains be able to be divided with the expectation that all the assorted grains are evenly distributed? That's my main question.
It depends.
Some online retailers will add the entire grain bill into one giant bag, all mixed up. Some won't.
I used to buy cheap 5G unmilled all grain kits off amazon from Homebrewer Outpost. Turns out that those kits were actually originating from MoreBeer.com. Oftentimes the price would be about half of what their actual site retails them for. Those grains were always packaged separately and made for splitting batches really easy. It was an easy way for me to build up a bit of a grain inventory even without brewing the actual recipe. They did NOT include yeast, as I recall. I've never bought an unmilled kit straight for morebeer, but I would think that their kits would come with the grains bagged separately as well.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Is it reasonable to buy a recipe kit for a 5 gallon batch and divide the milled grain bag, hops and any other dry ingredients to smaller sizes and save for later brewing?
It works until it doesn't.

Consider buying a grain mill, then stock enough ingredients to brew a variety of recipes. There are a couple of topics here (as well as a couple of blog posts) that talk about stocking ingredients. If the ingredients get "old" don't be afraid to dispose of them (or brew at batch 'for science').
 

Sunfire96

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I buy 5 gallon kits from kegconnection.com/homebrewsupply.com and brew them 2.5 gallons at a time. They will mill the grain if you select that option, and then I write a note on the final bill to please keep all grain separate. I use dry yeast as well. I used to buy from Brooklyn brew shop, but their kits are too pricey for what you're getting IMO
 

VikeMan

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So I guess the big thing is will that bag of milled grains be able to be divided with the expectation that all the assorted grains are evenly distributed? That's my main question.
It depends on how well you mix them. Straight out of the bag, I wouldn't count on it at all. There's no reason for the supplier to have homogenized the mixture.
 

Coastalbrew

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I will look at the published recipes from various places, then scale the recipe to my desired batch size, and buy the ingredients in the appropriate quantities for my batch. Many shops like keg connection, home brew supply, atlantic brew supply, etc publish the recipe sheets on their websites for all or most of their kits. Atlantic is where I buy my ingredients because they are close and sell everything by the ounce. The folks there are really friendly and knowledgeable and they have one of the best selections I've seen online. They will pack everything together or separate and offer no milling, single and double milling depending on how your want it. I will typically get the ingredients for two 3G batches at a time, so I can get some variety in my beer and take advantage of their flat rate shipping which is only $8.

If you are going from 5G to 2.5G just divide everything on the recipe sheet in half and your good to go. I usually do 3G batches which is a little more math involved, but ABS had a calculator right on their site that does it all for me. Easy peasy!
 
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hotbeer

hotbeer

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Yeah, thanks. I did figure that I'd have to mix more thoroughly any grains that were in the same package. A 3.5 gallon boil is about the biggest I think I can do on my current setup which is my stovetop.

Splitting a 5 gallon batch down the middle sounds about right for me. And for now that boil that results in 2.5 gallons or so of wort can be split into three different 1 gallon glass jugs I have from when apple juice and other stuff came in glass jugs. I figure having the same boil go into three different fermenters will let me see what the results are for different additions or methods I go about dealing with things during the ferment.

Thanks for the tips on websites. I finally got down to searching the other night and did find those along with others.

Now I just need to decide what basic mix to get.
 

jerrylotto

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I'm not sure why it has to be homogeneous. I was just brewing a stout that has a huge grain bill that was way too big for my mash tun so I did an iterative mash. Instead of mixing everything up and doing both iterations identically, I did my first step with all two row pale. Still half the weight of the total grain bill. The second half had all of the darker malts, chocolate, patent black, Munich as well as the balance of the two row. Worked out perfectly and hit my OG to two decimals.
 

VikeMan

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I'm not sure why it has to be homogeneous.
It has to be homogenous (for @hotbeer) because he's going to make two separate batches, on two different dates, i.e. he's not combining the results of two mashes or two boils.
 

NSMikeD

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I brew 1/2 batches from kits a few times a year. Most kits separated the grains, but see no reason why you couldn’t mix the evenly if they came pre mixed. Just need a large enough container and go to work.

+1 on ordering dry yeast. I use whole packets for 2.5 gal batches. I used to divide but experienced no down side to over pitching (others might disagree). You could pitch direct and not rehydrate which supposedly would lower the cell count yet remain sufficient. On occasion I will order a different yeast, for example fir an English ale you might use SafAle 04 on one batch and Nottingham on the other.

also, while not necessary, milling your grain own can give you better control and thus results.

Fwiw, I put the recipes in BeerSmith (I’m using Brewfather now) just to see what the software says about the kit. I can then use that recipe as a base and tweak it. One of my favorite kits was John Palmer’s Elevenses brown ale. Toasting the oats was a great suggestion in the recipe sheet. It available from Northern Brewer.
 
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