Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: rbowers on July 04, 2011, 02:43:03 PM

Title: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: rbowers on July 04, 2011, 02:43:03 PM
I was looking to brew a few test batches in smaller quantities to fine tune some things and experiment a bit.  In general is everything scaled down equally in terms of ingredients?  Any recs on adjustments to yeast pitching?  If I use CO2 to cover the beer in the fermenter is their any problem with using my 5 and 6 gallon carboys or is an additional investment needed for a smaller carboy?  Things to consider for hops?  Dry hopping?  Thanks in advance for any suggestions
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: oscarvan on July 04, 2011, 02:46:12 PM
AFAIK quantities scale linearly. As far as vessel, some people have made studies and come up with optimum dimensions.

If it was me I'd use a 2L soda bottle. You'll need a smaller stopper, or you can use tape..... ::)
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: majorvices on July 04, 2011, 04:18:44 PM
I recall an episode of Basic Brewing Radio where the guy gives some really good tips on small, 1 gallon, test batches. IIRC there was an article in BYO by the same author. I'm too lazy to search right now but I bet you could find it on the Basic Brewing Website.

That said, 5 gallons is a small batch already. thought I put that out there.  ;)
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: tschmidlin on July 04, 2011, 06:22:30 PM
You can ferment in a 5 gallon carboy, although I do test batches in 1 gallon glass jugs (I drink the apple cider first, it's nice mulled with a little apple jack added to the mug).  For yeast, you can scale it down.  I tend to use dry yeast for these and just measure by tsp.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: bluesman on July 04, 2011, 06:36:06 PM
Do you have any brewing software. I recommend Beersmith 2 which now has a scaling function. It's a worthwhile investment.

I recommend using one gallon jugs for test batches as they are easier to handle and will have minimum head space. Just don't fill them up all the way to allow room for the krausen while fermenting.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: nateo on July 05, 2011, 02:56:16 PM
I used to have some 2 gal brew buckets, maybe they were 2-1/2. I used them for big starters and test batches. Just like an ale pail, but little.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: rjharper on July 05, 2011, 05:58:02 PM
i have 6.5, 6, 5, and 3 gal carboys. i often do a 2.5-3 gallon test batch, primary in a 5 gal then secondary in the 3 gal.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: mabrungard on July 05, 2011, 06:48:24 PM
A serious problem I see with really small batches is that the need for precision in measuring grain, hops, and yeast increases.  You can probably get by with a measurement precision of a gram or so with a 5 gal or larger batch, but that needs to be finer when you're only dealing with a few pounds of grain or grams of hops. 
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: Malticulous on July 05, 2011, 08:58:17 PM
Using low AA hops helps.

I have a Mr. Beer fermenter that can make one case of beer. It works very well with stovetop BIAB.

I tried making just over 2L batches using gallon jugs, bottling in 2L bottles and corbonationg with a carbonator cap. I had used the 2L bottles for rootbeer before. That didn't work so well.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: weithman5 on July 05, 2011, 09:22:32 PM
i make one gallon batches routinely.  i use apple juice bottles (motts from costco)to ferment in. bigger batches i can use 2 gallon or 4 gallon buckets.  i have a scale that reads in grams easy enough for hops.  i have actually figured a way to keg in these, (just tested yesterday but not with beer yet).  they can invert and i am now making a conical out of them.  ideally i wish they were 2 gallons.  i scale everything easy enough linearly.  no big thing if they are off a bit since i brew small batches for the variety
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: Will's Swill on July 05, 2011, 11:52:02 PM
Amazing that you can keg inside of a hop.  Now that's a small batch!  ;)

For small batches, my advice is to use a small pot for the boil.  I made beer sludge when doing my last (and only) small batch when I used one of my kettles for the boil.  I should have used a sauce pan...
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: weithman5 on July 06, 2011, 01:55:23 PM
Amazing that you can keg inside of a hop.  Now that's a small batch!  ;)



man i need better grammar ::)

fwiw, i drilled two 3/8 inch holes in the cap lid and in each of these i put grommets and 1/4 in nylon barb hose splicers.  on the inside one of them has tubing afixed that extends to the bottom.  i hooked up the bike pump (filled the bottle 3/4 way with water) and then pressure tested to 20+ psi. held pressure and i could tap the water off.  i can also slide two 1/4inch tubing through these grommets and invert the bottle. doesn't seem to leak. so i am thinking 1 gallon inverted conicals. that i can vent co2 through one line and drain trub/harvest yeast through the other. 
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: tomsawyer on July 06, 2011, 06:33:57 PM
In addition to the measurement issue that has already been mentioned, there is the matter of temperature.  Holding a mash temp can be tougher when there is minimal thermal mass to begin with.  I typically see a 5-10F drop in a 3gal batch mashed in a 5gal cooler.  Fermentation temp is easier to control though.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: kgs on July 08, 2011, 07:24:33 AM
In addition to the measurement issue that has already been mentioned, there is the matter of temperature.  Holding a mash temp can be tougher when there is minimal thermal mass to begin with.  I typically see a 5-10F drop in a 3gal batch mashed in a 5gal cooler.  Fermentation temp is easier to control though.

I don't see drops with 3-gal batches in a 5-gal MT, but I also use a thin mash (more volume) and put a blanket over the MT.That said, I have a 2-gal cooler that is good for very small batches.

Agree on not using too big a kettle. I routinely do 3-gal batches and I use an 8-gal kettle.
Title: Re: Small Batch Test Brewing
Post by: a10t2 on July 08, 2011, 12:02:07 PM
One possible change is that if you're using the same kettle and heat source, your boiloff will remain constant, but be much larger proportionately. That could reduce the boil gravity to the point that it would affect utilization.

That said, 5 gallons is a small batch already. thought I put that out there.  ;)

I was going to say something about how I brew 5 gal "test batches" all the time. ;D