First batch yielded only 44 bottles

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Thirdeye

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Ok finally got everything bottled up. Yield was exactly 44 bottles. I lost some racking from primary to bottling bucket. Left maybe a half inch of product on top of the yeast gunk at the bottom. That was probably a full beer right there.

Now that I think about it, I must not have had 5 gallons to begin with. The wort level was about 1.5 inches below the support ring around the top of the 5 gallon bucket during fermentation.

How do you guys measure out your 5 gallons when you cook up your wort? I pre-boiled 2.5 gallons of water, measured with a half gallon milk jug. Dumped that into the primary, then boiled up another 2.5 gallons for the wort.

Next time should I top off the bucket up to the support ring when I pitch?
 

CodeRage

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You lost some due to boil off.

Fill your fermenter with 5 gallons of water mark the water line on the outside of the fermenter. Next time throw your wort in and top off to the 5 gallon line.
 

cd2448

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Thirdeye said:
...snip...

How do you guys measure out your 5 gallons when you cook up your wort? I pre-boiled 2.5 gallons of water, measured with a half gallon milk jug. Dumped that into the primary, then boiled up another 2.5 gallons for the wort.

Next time should I top off the bucket up to the support ring when I pitch?
Sounds like you would have less than 5 gallons to start, because the 2.5 gallons of wort will lose some volume during the boil.

The way I do it, I used a gallon jug to add 1-2-3-4-5 gallons to the fermentor and marked the side with a marker pen so that I know where 5 gallons is in the bucket. I then do my partial mash boil, throw the cooled wort into the fermentor and top up to about 5.25 gallons, as you're always going to lose some volume to transfers and wastage. Even that's been a bit hit and miss and I've had some batches with 55+ bottles and others still below 45.
 

Dark_Ale

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I measure and mark everything, my buckets carboys and I have a stainless rod to measure wort amount while I boil. I had the same problem when I began brewing. Sometimes after I sparge I just leave my mashtunn full, and as the liquid drains to the bottom I am able to get a little more out, I make up for loss while boiling this way, Now I have fine tunned my process and only on occasion will I have to do this. You may have to adjust your recipes so that you get more off the boil. Most of the time I start out with 7 gallons, boil until 6gallons then start hop additions, but I like to make stronger darker beers. Try to somehow mark your kettle so that you know where you are during your boil, and try to understand how much you are loosing.
Good Luck!
 

cd2448

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slightly :off: - what can be used to mark the kettle? could I use a staineless steel ruler and just use the gallon measure to fill the kettle and take measurements so that I know x cm = y gallons?
 

CodeRage

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Tap water is okay if you arent on a well or yoiu cn use bottled water. I hear distilled is preferred.
 

Funkenjaeger

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Thirdeye said:
Now that I think about it, I must not have had 5 gallons to begin with. The wort level was about 1.5 inches below the support ring around the top of the 5 gallon bucket during fermentation.
Nobody seems to have picked up on this one yet, so I'll bite... A 5-gallon bucket is not big enough to make a suitable fermenter for 5-gallon batches... Most people who use buckets as fermenters use "ale pails" which hold something like 7 gallons, which gives you more than enough headspace for a 5-gallon batch. I'd say you should either find a bigger bucket, or intentionally brew smaller batches - by using too little top-up water for a 5-gallon batch you are essentially changing your recipe, but if you try to push it and stuff close to 5 gallons in there leaving almost no headspace, you're asking for trouble.
 

CodeRage

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I call my 6.7 ga ale pails 5 gallon just because thats my batch size. But if what Funkenjaeger said is right and it is an actual 5 gal bucket you'll have a mess on your hands :)
 
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Thirdeye

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Funkenjaeger said:
Nobody seems to have picked up on this one yet, so I'll bite... A 5-gallon bucket is not big enough to make a suitable fermenter for 5-gallon batches... Most people who use buckets as fermenters use "ale pails" which hold something like 7 gallons, which gives you more than enough headspace for a 5-gallon batch. I'd say you should either find a bigger bucket, or intentionally brew smaller batches - by using too little top-up water for a 5-gallon batch you are essentially changing your recipe, but if you try to push it and stuff close to 5 gallons in there leaving almost no headspace, you're asking for trouble.
I think the bucket is designed so that its 5 gallons at the support ring. I would think it would be OK, it came with a brew kit.
 

bgrand281

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do we need to boil the top off? and what in the recipe needs to be adjusted? It seems everything comes in premeasured amounts, extract brewing with grain steep?
 

5 Is Not Enough

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bgrand281 said:
do we need to boil the top off?
Depends on your water. I mix with cold tap water from a drinking water safe hose. Others can't do that without risk of infection. I have "city water" with a simple whole house filter
bgrand281 said:
what in the recipe needs to be adjusted? It seems everything comes in premeasured amounts, extract brewing with grain steep?
If you wanted to keep the flavor as intended, you could weigh out and calculate the amounts or enter the recipe into a good brewing software and have it do it for you(or post your recipe and someone here will).

Is it a 5 gallon bucket you've acquired from another source than a HBS?

You could also just use whatever ingredients you have and see how it turns out at 5:4 ;) Some brewers don't really use a strict measuring system for every batch.
 

Poindexter

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FWIW knowing your evaporation or boiloff rate is very important. What I did was add water tomy brew kettle one half gallon at a time, and cut small notches into my charismatric wooden brew spoon.

So as long as i use the same kettle I have a good idea what is going on.

You certainly could use a steel ruler, I like to minimize the number of things I have to clean at the end of the day.
 
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