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Easy Stovetop All-Grain Brewing (with pics)

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agenthucky

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Is there any way, or has anyone ever used the first wort hopping technique with this method? I have been interested to use it, but unsure how to do it.
The equivalent process to FWH would be to add them to the kettle once your mash is done. If you transfer your BIAB mash to a different kettle to boil you can add them to that kettle, and transfer the warm mash on top of the hops. If you don't transfer, you can throw them in the mash once the grains are pulled out, and let them sit while you rinse (sparge) the grains. Just let them heat up with the wort.

You can always add them to the mash too!
 

EdMerican

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Just a heads up to everyone, I used a grain bag for steeping and got a bit impatient while heating my strike water. Bottom of the pot got hot enough that it melted my bag. So while it's unlikely to melt the bag, impatience can lead to disaster. (I don't have a strainer :( )
 

agenthucky

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Just a heads up to everyone, I used a grain bag for steeping and got a bit impatient while heating my strike water. Bottom of the pot got hot enough that it melted my bag. So while it's unlikely to melt the bag, impatience can lead to disaster. (I don't have a strainer :( )
To everyone who is talking about heating the kettle with the grains in there, this is another reason to use precise calculation to make everything happen on the fly, rather than the lazier approach of mixing steps
 

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I did two batches using this method this weekend, and I have to say, I'm looking forward to more all-grain batches in the future. I don't feel intimidated by the amount of gear needed anymore :drunk:
That's what I love about the BiaB method... All you need are large enough pots, and a good way to heat the wort up... Both are easy to resolve... Since going to full batch boil sizes, I've come to realize I need to get a propane burner. After talking with the LL last night, it appears that he's not going to be a jackass and be ok with me using the porch (by my gas grill) to boil (I'll get blocks to protect the porch flooring)... I do need larger pots though, since the 20 quart pretty much maxes out around 12-13 pounds of grain... I still have some room left in the main pot (32 quart), but I need to be able to sparge... Going out today to get a larger pot to use. Planning either a 60 or 80 quart, with a steamer basket (to hold the grain bag)... Should be able to do full batch mashes then, or at least be able to mash my large brews... Getting the large pot mostly due to a planned 10 gallon batch in two weekends.

Suffice to say, BiaB is super-apartment dwelling friendly. Especially if you have a smaller place.
 

bovineblitz

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I did a BIAB recently and had an issue with mash temperature... the heat wasn't well distributed and it seemed that the temp dropped very quickly, requiring me to directly heat a few times which is hard to control... that of course led to more poor heat distribution.

Any tips?
 

agenthucky

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I did a BIAB recently and had an issue with mash temperature... the heat wasn't well distributed and it seemed that the temp dropped very quickly, requiring me to directly heat a few times which is hard to control... that of course led to more poor heat distribution.

Any tips?
I've had better days than others as far as maintaining mash temps go. As far as distribution of heat, you need to mix, mix, mix. Unfortunatly, this cools the mash. DB has a good suggestion of filling the kettle to the max, reducing the head space, as that is what cools fastest. He also has a few other tips of layering a towl or blanket around it, and putting a pillow on top (believe it or not, the pillow gets very warm, which helps reduce the heat loss).

A riskier method of maintaining heat which I have been trying as of lately is keeping the burner on low if I need heat, and to prevent the heat loss. This is a double edged sword, the coil for the burner heats the bottom of the pan more so than the top, lots of stirring are required. This cools off the top of the pan though, so there is a fine medium you need to get to to heat/keep heat of your mash. This requires a little practice, you will go too high, and you will not go high enough. Practice makes perfect.
 

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Wrap the pot in reflective insulation also helps... I did that to my 32 quart aluminum pot and heat loss from the sides went way down. I plan on doing that for any pots I mash in, and probably boil in too. If possible, put either a false bottom, or colander under the grain bag. Then it should be safe to apply low heat to the pot, to either maintain the temp, or get it back into the range you need. The false bottom would probably be the best bet, since it should cover the entire bottom of the pot...

I found that mixing from low in the pot helps keep temperatures even throughout... Just only get into it when you need to...
 

djt17

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I did a BIAB recently and had an issue with mash temperature... the heat wasn't well distributed and it seemed that the temp dropped very quickly, requiring me to directly heat a few times which is hard to control... that of course led to more poor heat distribution.

Any tips?
Mix well; then wrap the kettle in an old sleeping bag. I only lose a couple of degrees this way.
 

ErieShores

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The equivalent process to FWH would be to add them to the kettle once your mash is done. If you transfer your BIAB mash to a different kettle to boil you can add them to that kettle, and transfer the warm mash on top of the hops. If you don't transfer, you can throw them in the mash once the grains are pulled out, and let them sit while you rinse (sparge) the grains. Just let them heat up with the wort.

You can always add them to the mash too!
Thanks, I do use two vessels, I'll probably throw them in the wort from the first kettle that gets added to the boil kettle. Sound right?
 

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I leave the burner on low-medium, place the pot like maybe 1/4 to 1/3 on the burner, and watch the temps; when the temps drop a bit on the surface (where the floating thermometer is) stir - this will bring the temps back up to where they need to be. Usually a few sloshes and stirs will keep things even for the hour long mash
 

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I did a BIAB recently and had an issue with mash temperature... the heat wasn't well distributed and it seemed that the temp dropped very quickly, requiring me to directly heat a few times which is hard to control... that of course led to more poor heat distribution.

Any tips?
I take one of the racks out of the oven, put the other rack in the lowest slot, and turn the oven on to 170F. My mash stays right on temp this way. Your oven may require a different temp setting -- I check the mash temp and stir the mash every 15 minutes to make sure it's steady.
 

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:Snip:
Theoretically, if your mesh bag was fine enough, you could capture more particulates, etc. Also, if you can whirlpool efficiently you might save yourself some trub... but if you brew in a bag, you pay the price in trub.

If someone knows of a solution to this, please, share it. :(
I use a method similar to this exclusively. I heat my water in my single pot, transfer to a cooler, mash in a bag, then heat water and sparge in the same single pot.

I too noticed the large amounts of trub in my fermentors. So I have started leaving the wort to settle in the kettle for an hour or so once I am done cooling, and then draining it through the bottom spigot on my kettle. The intake for this spigot is probably an inch from the bottom of the kettle, and most of the trub gets left behind. On smaller batches, I have to tilt the kettle to get the last of the clean wort out.

Doing this has left me with less than half of the cake in the bottom of the fermentor than previously.
 

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I use a method similar to this exclusively. I heat my water in my single pot, transfer to a cooler, mash in a bag, then heat water and sparge in the same single pot.

I too noticed the large amounts of trub in my fermentors. So I have started leaving the wort to settle in the kettle for an hour or so once I am done cooling, and then draining it through the bottom spigot on my kettle. The intake for this spigot is probably an inch from the bottom of the kettle, and most of the trub gets left behind. On smaller batches, I have to tilt the kettle to get the last of the clean wort out.

Doing this has left me with less than half of the cake in the bottom of the fermentor than previously.
I actually noticed a marked decrease in trub once I went to the BIAB method, and also started using the nylon hop bags. The nylon mesh for the grain bags, I'm using, is tight enough that you get no visible particles from the grain into the wort. Same from the hop bags. I draw those tight enough that no hops escape from them. The hop sludge can't escape, to the point that I need to really work to extract liquid from the hop bags while cooling the wort down, so that I get the most out of them. I've gotten to the point where I use one bag for each hop addition (time span) just to make it easier. Means no need to open the hop bag up to add the flavor, and/or aroma hops.

I have heard of larger mesh sized grain bags, but I've not seen them yet. Where I get my grains, currently, crushes them to .039", which could be another factor. At this point, even when I do get my own grain mill (in on the MA/CT grain buy :rockin: ) I'll probably start at that same crush size. For my last three AG batches, I've been getting 78%-82% efficiencies. No real need for me to try and get higher rates. As long as I continue to get the same rate range, I'll be happy (understanding that sometimes it could go outside that range)...
 

wiescins

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RE: Hop Trub

I just toss the pellets in the kettle during the boil, then after cooling run the wort through a screen. It is a pretty fine screen (it came with and fits into my funnel) and gets all the hop particles out while aerating as well.

Are there any drawbacks of doing it this way?
 

Justibone

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RE: Hop Trub

I just toss the pellets in the kettle during the boil, then after cooling run the wort through a screen. It is a pretty fine screen (it came with and fits into my funnel) and gets all the hop particles out while aerating as well.

Are there any drawbacks of doing it this way?
My understanding is that, as long as your screen isn't getting too clogged, or if it getting clogged doesn't interrupt your process, then it's a good way to go. Some people have experienced the filter clogging up the funnel after a little bit, so if that's not a problem for you, then it sounds like you have a winner. :)
 

wiescins

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Justibone said:
My understanding is that, as long as your screen isn't getting too clogged, or if it getting clogged doesn't interrupt your process, then it's a good way to go. Some people have experienced the filter clogging up the funnel after a little bit, so if that's not a problem for you, then it sounds like you have a winner. :)
Filter does clog, but we have 2 and just swap them when brewing extra hoppy beers.
 

agenthucky

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Filter does clog, but we have 2 and just swap them when brewing extra hoppy beers.
I do the same thing, and with my brewing spoon I just mix the funnel and it starts draining it. It takes a while, but it gets all of the hops. I don't see a decline in trub though, I still get a hefty amount
 

tknice

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Filter does clog, but we have 2 and just swap them when brewing extra hoppy beers.
Same thing happens to me so I usually sanitize a bucket and put a disposable paint strainer over it, then just drain and toss.

Seems to work much better than the funnel screen, especially for well hopped batches.
 

brewtiem

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Thank you DB! You inspired me to do a half batch of all grain. Previously I have only done two other batches, both extract. I mashed in my oven, hit 153° for an hour! 1.050 OG...(^_^) Vienna/hallertau.
 

EdMerican

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I did my first AG batch last weekend. Worked great, albeit taking a while longer than extract. One question I DO have though... I have a REALLY thick bottomed kettle, and halfway into the mash the top was 152 while the bottom was 159. No heat from the burner. Didn't seem to cause any real harm, but is there a good way to get around that and have a more consistent temp throughout the kettle? I made sure to stir really well at dough in, then left it alone aside from checking the temp once in the middle and then at the end. I may just go on ahead and go for a cooler MLT soon, but i really like the convenience of the stove top system, trub be damned :D Can't wait to do an Old Rasputin clone via STAG :rockin:

:edit:
After reviewing the recipe for Old Ras, and it calling for 16 lbs of grain STAG is NOT an option :( Oatmeal stout, here I come
 

agenthucky

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I did my first AG batch last weekend. Worked great, albeit taking a while longer than extract. One question I DO have though... I have a REALLY thick bottomed kettle, and halfway into the mash the top was 152 while the bottom was 159. No heat from the burner. Didn't seem to cause any real harm, but is there a good way to get around that and have a more consistent temp throughout the kettle? I made sure to stir really well at dough in, then left it alone aside from checking the temp once in the middle and then at the end. I may just go on ahead and go for a cooler MLT soon, but i really like the convenience of the stove top system, trub be damned :D Can't wait to do an Old Rasputin clone via STAG :rockin:

:edit:
After reviewing the recipe for Old Ras, and it calling for 16 lbs of grain STAG is NOT an option :( Oatmeal stout, here I come

I don't know what you doughed in at, but the top will cool faster than the bottom. I usually stir every 15 minutes, although this will allow for heat to escape. One really good piece of advice deathbrewer had was to try to minimize the head space in the kettle you mash in. The headspace allows for heat to escape, and every time you open the kettle to stir, that airspace gets replaced with cool air. People have tried a lot of things, wrapping it in a towel or sleeping bag, placing a pillow on top (actually works), keeping the heat on the burner on low (I don't reccommend for beginners), and the one that I personally have been having success with lately is turning the stove on low (mine dips to 170F) and putting the kettle in there to mash.

Also people, you can still brew in a bag, and use a plastic cooler. They retain heat very well.
 

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Also people, you can still brew in a bag, and use a plastic cooler. They retain heat very well.
Just make sure the cooler is the right size/shape for that... I tried it on my first AG BIAB batch... Cooler was wrong shape, and size (70 quart Coleman Xtreme)... Still working to get the cooler fully converted over into a MLT for use. Hope to have that done before the next brew day comes along...
 

agenthucky

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Just make sure the cooler is the right size/shape for that... I tried it on my first AG BIAB batch... Cooler was wrong shape, and size (70 quart Coleman Xtreme)... Still working to get the cooler fully converted over into a MLT for use. Hope to have that done before the next brew day comes along...
I don't see how the size or shape play into it, with the exception of the headspace.
 

Golddiggie

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I don't see how the size or shape play into it, with the exception of the headspace.
Try mashing ~12 pounds of grain, in a nylon bag, in a 70 quart cooler, with ~18-20 quarts of water... Not enough water to fully cover the grain bag, and the grain bag isn't large enough to fill the cooler, so you have liquid on either side of it, and not over it... Temperature wasn't the issue, really, it was the grain amount to water amount (was looking to mash at ~1.5qt/#)...

IF the cooler is round, you have a much better chance of getting the grain bag to work well/better... If the cooler is more square, it will also probably work better...

I won't make that error again...
 

EdMerican

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AgentHucky,

I had it in a 5 gallon pot just like DB's with maybe an inch and a half of headspace, maybe a little less. Doughed in at 167 after a good stir to make sure the heat was well distributed. Temp stayed pretty constant throughout the mash, only dropping about 2 degrees, but proportionately. 152 at top, 159 at bottom, and dropped to about 150/156. I consider it a success, as I tasted it last night (It was EdWort's Haus Pale Ale, btw). After a week in the primary it was rather delicious. None of the "gamey-ness" that my extract batches have had after a week in primary. Going to bottle in a couple days and can only imagine it getting better from there.:mug:
 

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I have been doing partial mashes and I am just a handful of batches away from trying out my first full AG brew. I currently have 20 quart and 30 quart stockpots. The batches I've done so far have started at a maximum 4 gallons (boiling down and then topping off with water).

The 30 quart stockpot seems to only actually hold about 28 quarts, and that's filled up to the very top. If I want to get a boil going in that pot, I can probably only do about 6 gallons max.

If I end up with 7 gallons of pre-boil wort, could I start with 5.5 or 6 in the larger stockpot and add liquid to it from the other as it boils down (kind of like doing a risotto and adding broth as it boils away)? Is this a feasible way to get a full AG boil on a kitchen range?
 

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Theoretically that should work. I wouldn't add any of the last runnings with less than 10 minutes left. I would lower the flame to try and minimize evaporation loss. I often start with 6.25 g to finish with 5.25g in the Fermenter on a 60 min boil. Keep a pound or two of dme around in case your efficiency is crap. Saved me only first AG batch. good luck!
 

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I have been doing partial mashes and I am just a handful of batches away from trying out my first full AG brew. I currently have 20 quart and 30 quart stockpots. The batches I've done so far have started at a maximum 4 gallons (boiling down and then topping off with water).

The 30 quart stockpot seems to only actually hold about 28 quarts, and that's filled up to the very top. If I want to get a boil going in that pot, I can probably only do about 6 gallons max.

If I end up with 7 gallons of pre-boil wort, could I start with 5.5 or 6 in the larger stockpot and add liquid to it from the other as it boils down (kind of like doing a risotto and adding broth as it boils away)? Is this a feasible way to get a full AG boil on a kitchen range?
I have the exact same brewpot. I have a smaller 2gal pot also that I keep near boiling at 190F that holds about a gallon for most of the duration of the boil. I then bring it to boil briefly near the end.

The other larger pot I do a full boil on the other burner. I use two 1500W heat sticks to get me to boiling in the "30 qt" pot in no time. I add the extra gallon near the end of the boil to the larger pot when the rest has boiled off. I wind up with 5.25 gallons in the larger pot after addition from the smaller pot (minus the trub) at the very end of my 60 min boil. I have to adjust slightly for 90 min.
 

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How do you measure the amount od LME/DME needed to bring the gravity up where it should be? Is there a rule of thumb for extract additions?
 

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How do you measure the amount od LME/DME needed to bring the gravity up where it should be? Is there a rule of thumb for extract additions?
I use one of the many free recipe calculators though and you don't have to worry with the algebra while brewing but here goes:

DME is 1.044 pppg
LME is 1.037 pppg

Say I need .007 points for a 5 gal batch (I have 1.030 instead of 1.037). Multiply .007 by 5, thats .035, or about a pound of LME. Its actually .035/.037=0.94 lb of LME or .035/.044=0.8lb DME.

I usually just adjust in my recipe calc and just guess and test though in practice.
 

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If I only have a 5.5g pot and a 5g pot, would I be OK with just doing a 4gallon batch? If so, can I just cut my ingredients down a fifth?
 

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If I only have a 5.5g pot and a 5g pot, would I be OK with just doing a 4gallon batch? If so, can I just cut my ingredients down a fifth?
These are my only options as well. I end up doing a "5" gallon batch, but usually only get 4-4.5 gallons out of it. If you use a 5 gallon recipe, your efficiency will be better because you will be using 5 gallon grain bill for 4 gallons. You can compensate for this by adding water during the boil, or topping off when you are about to pitch.

Above is the easy way, but I suggest getting some software and planning your setup by taking volumes into account. I have a brewing profile setup to do just that, it allows for me to calculate what I can expect better than estimating from a 5 gallon recipe.

P.S. don't fill the 5.5 kettle to the TOP for boiling. You will most likely end up boiling over. After many batches using this method, I have been able to handle the boil where the volume is near the top, I suggest sparging for 5.75-6 gallons and just add it to the boil through the 60 minutes (I boil for 75). You will end up closer to the 5 gallon mark if you do it that way, but if you don't mind making 4 gallons batches, and adjusting the recipes, you will have no problem with the equipment
 

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If I only have a 5.5g pot and a 5g pot, would I be OK with just doing a 4gallon batch? If so, can I just cut my ingredients down a fifth?
In a word, yes.

There will be slight differences, however. Hop utilization in particular is not a truly linear equation. The differences presented by boiling only 80% of the ingredients in 80% of the volume, though, will be miniscule, and may well be less than the variabilities introduced by using a different thermometer. YMMV.

So, yes, you can just cut the recipe down to 4/5ths and go at it. :)
 

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These are my only options as well. I end up doing a "5" gallon batch, but usually only get 4-4.5 gallons out of it. If you use a 5 gallon recipe, your efficiency will be better because you will be using 5 gallon grain bill for 4 gallons. You can compensate for this by adding water during the boil, or topping off when you are about to pitch.

Above is the easy way, but I suggest getting some software and planning your setup by taking volumes into account. I have a brewing profile setup to do just that, it allows for me to calculate what I can expect better than estimating from a 5 gallon recipe.

P.S. don't fill the 5.5 kettle to the TOP for boiling. You will most likely end up boiling over. After many batches using this method, I have been able to handle the boil where the volume is near the top, I suggest sparging for 5.75-6 gallons and just add it to the boil through the 60 minutes (I boil for 75). You will end up closer to the 5 gallon mark if you do it that way, but if you don't mind making 4 gallons batches, and adjusting the recipes, you will have no problem with the equipment
Actually, the efficiency shouldn't be any better, you'll just have a higher ABV since the wort will be more concentrated. IF I take my 5 gallon recipe (OG of 1.070) and change it to 4 gallons into the fermenter, the OG changes to 1.087...

I would HIGHLY recommend getting software to help figure it out for you.

You can do some additional things to get the boil pot/kettle damned close to full, and NOT have boil-overs... The easiest is to add 2-3 drops of fermcap-s to the pot just as it comes to a boil. Just leave a bit more space than the actual boil will occupy (the action of boiling, so at least 1/2" from the lip) and you should be safe. I've seen this done in person, and it works.

I would also recommend installing a ball valve into the larger pot, and use it to mash/sparge in, as well as boil. That way, you can change the water, not shift the bag around. Depending on how much grain you're mashing, will determine how much mash water you'll collect. You can then just pull the grain from the sparge pot (or drain it into the smaller pot before getting everything you can from the grain), then pour it all back into the larger pot for the boil. You don't NEED to use a single pot to hold the mash wort. You could use just about anything, including multiple containers/bowls/pots/etc... Since it's going to be boiled, they just need to be clean...
 

agenthucky

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Actually, the efficiency shouldn't be any better, you'll just have a higher ABV since the wort will be more concentrated.
Thanks for the correction, I didn't mean to say efficiency is better, just your amount of extract would be denser. Efficiency won't change with volume, just the density of the extract. I should have used the term gravity and not efficiency
 

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Thanks for the correction, I didn't mean to say efficiency is better, just your amount of extract would be denser. Efficiency won't change with volume, just the density of the extract. I should have used the term gravity and not efficiency
Just making sure we're on the same page... Don't get me wrong... More ABV from the same amount of grain is a great thing... Provided the brew is balanced... If it hits the same FG, you could be looking at an increase of over 1% ABV...

I will say that as much as I liked BIAB while using it, I'm loving using the converted cooler mash tun... Plus, I've installed a ball valve into my main brew pot (converting it into a kettle) which is also a game changer (in a positive way)... Gone from 7+ hour brew days to under 5 hours by also adding a propane burner to the mix. IF you have a way to go there, if you don't have a stove that can get 6+ gallons of wort up to a boil in a decent amount of time (<20 minutes) then I would do it...
 

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What about adjusting the yeast if I'm doing a 4 gallon batch? Should I just put in 4/5 of the packet or is that not necessary.
 
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