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Beese

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Hi,

I’ve started brewing with a 1 gallon kit (Brooklyn BrewShop one). I did the initial all grain brew from the ingredients that were included, and it came out really well.

Me being me, I’ve decided to go full pelt at this. I found some recipes for 1 gallon brews, and I decided to invest in a larger pot for the mash and boil and get a bag for BIAB, rather than spurging.

Yesterday I did my first brew from the recipes; a Black IPA. The recipe itself stated that the target was to get 1.3 gallons or wort, but I ended up with over 1.5. A gallon is now fermenting, and I’ve bottled about 2.2 litres in some sanitised containers, because I didn’t know what to do with it.

So, 2 questions (or question groups!):

- I don’t really want to end with loads of leftover wort. This brew called to use 9 litres of water, but in future, could I start with less water? Say 7 litres? If I did that, would the beer end up stronger? If so, could I (or should I) adjust the malt bill to compensate?

- Can I brew this half gallon of wort I have left? I can get another 1 gallon kit quite easily, but would it turn out quite bad, if the carboy is only half filled? Or is it worth a shot?

Thanks for your help!
 
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Beese

Beese

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Another option would be to get a slightly larger (1.5 gal or 2.0 gal) fermenter. Scan through this topic for ideas on fermenters -
1-Gallon Brewers UNITE! - starting around the year 2018 and continuing to the end.
Cheers BrewnWKopperKat! That's definitely a consideration. Although finding those 1.5-2 gallon fermenters seems to be slightly difficult. Most seem to jump from 1 up to 5 gallons. I'll have a look through this thread, though.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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For the rest of your questions, you may find the answers over in 1-Gallon Brewers (in the same time period I mentioned). If not, ask your questions there - it's a friendly group of people, focused on really small batch brewing, and they are generally very willing to help out.
 

Pappers_

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Recipes can only do so much for you in terms of hitting your targeted volume. That's because all of our setups and processes vary a little. In your case, you might have gotten a different final volume because your rate of boil-off was different (less) than the person who put together the recipe. That in turn could be because your boil kettle is narrower than the one used by whomever put together the recipe. Or s/he boiled more vigorously and more of their wort boiled off. I don't know that boil off is your issue, but its illustrative of the many ways in which recipes need to be tweeked for our particular situations.

About what to do with your extra - you can certainly ferment it in another container. Did you sanitize the bottles before you added the wort? If not, then I'd toss it. If yes, then you certainly could, although waiting to pitch yeast isn't great, sometimes, because it gives the wild yeast the are always present regardless of your sanitation practices a chance to take hold.

Volume and original gravity work in tandem - if you are short on volume, you will often be high on orginal gravity and vice versa.

And welcome to the hobby! Let us know how this batch turns out.
 

madscientist451

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Do you have a hydrometer to check your gravity? If you ended up with more wort than expected, there's a good chance your gravity is low.
I have an unscientific way of determining how much water to start with when brewing small batches:
Beer volume: 2.5 gallons
Evaporation during boil 1 gallon
Kettle trub and absorption by grains 1 gallon
Water needed at beginning 4.5 gallons.
If I'm doing a really low gravity beer there will be less absorption of water, so I scale it back, if I'm doing a high ABV brew, I'll use more water.
The boil off (evaporation) rate is an average of what I get using my stove and pot, your results may be different depending on how intense your boil is. Also if you are doing a short boil beer your evaporation will be less.
As a rule of thumb, I use less water than I think I'll need, figuring I can always add more water if my gravity is high or my volume is too low.
 
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Beese

Beese

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Recipes can only do so much for you in terms of hitting your targeted volume. That's because all of our setups and processes vary a little. In your case, you might have gotten a different final volume because your rate of boil-off was different (less) than the person who put together the recipe. That in turn could be because your boil kettle is narrower than the one used by whomever put together the recipe. Or s/he boiled more vigorously and more of their wort boiled off. I don't know that boil off is your issue, but its illustrative of the many ways in which recipes need to be tweeked for our particular situations.

About what to do with your extra - you can certainly ferment it in another container. Did you sanitize the bottles before you added the wort? If not, then I'd toss it. If yes, then you certainly could, although waiting to pitch yeast isn't great, sometimes, because it gives the wild yeast the are always present regardless of your sanitation practices a chance to take hold.

Volume and original gravity work in tandem - if you are short on volume, you will often be high on orginal gravity and vice versa.

And welcome to the hobby! Let us know how this batch turns out.
Thanks for the insight, Pappers - really useful.

I did a bit more reading on the general blurb from the guy who wrote the recipe, and he does specifically state that his boil kettle is very wide and boils off at a fast rate. That might possibly go some way to explaining the difference, so an adaptation sounds like it needs to be made.

Silly me, I didn't get myself a hydrometer, but I think this is a must (learning curve here!), so I can make sure I'm on course. I'm almost certain that my OG was quite a bit under. The initial 12 hours of fermentation appear to have been fairly unlively, which isn't what happened on my previous brew.

I did sanitise the bottles that I put the wort into, so hopefully they should be fine. I think I might as well give it a go, as it sounds like I could get a bit of extra beer out of it!

Cheers!
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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Although finding those 1.5-2 gallon fermenters seems to be slightly difficult.
See "1-gallon brewers unite" for ideas on where to buy them.

Most seem to jump from 1 up to 5 gallons.
If your objective is to brew 5 gallon batches, don't spend much time on 1 gal brewing. Use recipe software to dial in volumes (or learn the equations), but save your money for 5 gallon equipment.

But, if "every drop of wort/beer is precious", there are approaches in "1-gallon brewers unite" that cover that as well.
 
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Beese

Beese

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Do you have a hydrometer to check your gravity? If you ended up with more wort than expected, there's a good chance your gravity is low.
I have an unscientific way of determining how much water to start with when brewing small batches:
Beer volume: 2.5 gallons
Evaporation during boil 1 gallon
Kettle trub and absorption by grains 1 gallon
Water needed at beginning 4.5 gallons.
If I'm doing a really low gravity beer there will be less absorption of water, so I scale it back, if I'm doing a high ABV brew, I'll use more water.
The boil off (evaporation) rate is an average of what I get using my stove and pot, your results may be different depending on how intense your boil is. Also if you are doing a short boil beer your evaporation will be less.
As a rule of thumb, I use less water than I think I'll need, figuring I can always add more water if my gravity is high or my volume is too low.
Ahh, that's super useful! I will look to apply this for the next brew. It definitely seems like being a bit under is easy to fix. I always hate wasting food, and this is basically the same principle.
 

McKnuckle

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Forget the odd 1.5-2 gallon size. You don't need to size the fermenter so closely to your 1 gallon batch. A 3 gallon fermenter is perfect for 1-2.5 gallon batches, and there are a few commercial options with sealing lids, airlock ports, and spigots.

3 gallon Fermonster with spigot is probably my favorite.

There's also the 4 gallon Anvil stainless fermenter, which gets a lot of use in my brewery; of course it's more bucks but is a bulletproof piece of gear.

Going back down in size, if you really want a small one, check out the 1.4 gallon Little Big Mouth Bubbler.
 

McKnuckle

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Yep, no doubt there are cheap or free options... I'm just advocating for transparent plastic, lids that allow for advanced techniques like pumping fermentation CO2 to a keg, and the invaluable spigot for transferring. May be worth the $25 or thereabouts for general integration into the brewery over the long term.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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I'm just advocating for transparent plastic, lids that allow for advanced techniques like pumping fermentation CO2 to a keg, and the invaluable spigot for transferring.
FWIW, Spigots, larger fermenters and other "advanced" techniques have also been discussed over in "1 gal brewers ..." during the time period I mentioned.

Much like recent discussions with DME/LME, there have been a lot of threads here (and /r/homebrewing) that have moved well beyond the early 2010s understanding of small batches (and DME/LME).
 
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Beese

Beese

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Yep, no doubt there are cheap or free options... I'm just advocating for transparent plastic, lids that allow for advanced techniques like pumping fermentation CO2 to a keg, and the invaluable spigot for transferring. May be worth the $25 or thereabouts for general integration into the brewery over the long term.
A fermenter with a spigot would seem like a godsend. If I had a swear-jar, I'd be broke just doing a 1 gallon syphoning into bottles 🤣. However, I'm UK-based, and I'm struggling to find any that come with them! All the homebrew sites based here don't seem to stock any 1-3 gallon fermenters with a spigot. Everything I can find is a one-off import, with a pretty big postage cost.

I'll keep an eye out, though.
 

jrgtr42

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If this is indeed your first brew, |I wouldn't worry too much about the excess - you could have just as easily ended up short (although it's easier to correct - just top off in the fermenter.)
Did you check the gravity (OG) on the wort you did have? Likely you ended up lower than expected, given more final product for a given amount of ingredients.
How much did you start your boil with? Was it similar to the expected amount in the instructions? How was your boil? You really want it at a gentle rolling boil, more than a simmer, but not a full, hard roll.
Presuming you brew more kits, you'll dial in your rig better, so you know how much you boil off in a certain amount of time, and so on.
 
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Beese

Beese

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If this is indeed your first brew, |I wouldn't worry too much about the excess - you could have just as easily ended up short (although it's easier to correct - just top off in the fermenter.
Did you check the gravity (OG) on the wort you did have? Likely you ended up lower than expected, given more final product for a given amount of ingredients.
How much did you start your boil with? Was it similar to the expected amount in the instructions? How was your boil? You really want it at a gentle rolling boil, more than a simmer, but not a full, hard roll.
Presuming you brew more kits, you'll dial in your rig better, so you know how much you boil off in a certain amount of time, and so on.
It was my first brew where the ingredients weren't all measured out for me, and first BIAB.

Started off with 9 litres of water. The target was to end up with a 1.3 gallon yield, but I ended up with about 1.55 gallons.

Annoyingly, I didn't have a hydrometer for an OG reading, but I'll get one for next time. No doubt it was under the target, though. I think I might have been too overly cautious with the boil, and had it more at a simmer.

All a learning curve, no doubt. Thanks for the tips!
 

Camelot Legends

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Like others have said, measuring using a hydrometer would tell you if it was your boil off rate being the issue. I would say it is.

if you are planning on moving up to larger batches, I wouldn’t spend to much time dialing in your brewing equipment as you will go through it again on lager kettles though it will be easier next time. I’ve never brewed anything less than 5 gallons though I have split up worts to try different yeast/dry hops.

When this beer is complete, I would just pitch the remaining wort right on top of the yeast left in the fermenter and see how it does. I would also try a different hop in the dry hop and compare the two beers. You won’t be able to replicate it but it would be a cool experiment. You could also try and wash the yeast to separate it from the other hops before you pitch.
 
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Beese

Beese

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Like others have said, measuring using a hydrometer would tell you if it was your boil off rate being the issue. I would say it is.

if you are planning on moving up to larger batches, I wouldn’t spend to much time dialing in your brewing equipment as you will go through it again on lager kettles though it will be easier next time. I’ve never brewed anything less than 5 gallons though I have split up worts to try different yeast/dry hops.

When this beer is complete, I would just pitch the remaining wort right on top of the yeast left in the fermenter and see how it does. I would also try a different hop in the dry hop and compare the two beers. You won’t be able to replicate it but it would be a cool experiment. You could also try and wash the yeast to separate it from the other hops before you pitch.
Thanks. I was wondering about this option, but I wasn’t sure whether the remaining wort would be likely to survive the two weeks of fermentation.
 

Camelot Legends

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Thanks. I was wondering about this option, but I wasn’t sure whether the remaining wort would be likely to survive the two weeks of fermentation.
All depends on your cold side sanitation. If the bottles don’t explode, you should be fine.💥 (You might want to crack the tops every now and then to release any pressure if wild yeast does take hold)
 

jerrylotto

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I didn't see anyone ask, but do you boil uncovered in a well ventilated space? If not, you should. Once I start my boil, the only time I cover the pot is afterwards, heat off for kettle hopping and while cooling to fermentation temps.
 

jerrylotto

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Good on you for jumping into the hobby, but I have to ask -- isn't brewing a gallon at a time an awful lot of work for ten bottles of beer?
Probably closer to 11 :) but seriously, small scale brewing is a great way to try new recipes, hone technique, avoid the cost of larger equipment, and simplify cleanup. A lot of techniques tjhat work suffer at scale but that is just learning and growing.
 

BrewnWKopperKat

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isn't brewing a gallon at a time an awful lot of work for ten bottles of beer
It's well known that

1) some feel it's a lot of time
2) some people only want a gallon of beer, and
3) many people start with 1 gal kits and move rapidly to larger batch sizes.

edited for formatting
 
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