Thinness or thickness of the mash makes virtually zero difference and should not impact mash time at all. Experiment and see for yourself.
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My viewpoint is select the right tool (mash schedule) for the job. Yeah I might try mashing short for NA 2 row or 6 row, not British or German malts.
I knew I was going to miss a detail in the conversation: I asked him about attenuation and whether or not it would be affected. His response was none at all.
In my experience the difference is maybe twenty minutes between bottling a one gallon and a five gallon batch.
After many years of 3 and 2.5 gallons I am happiest now at 1.7 gallons or occasionally I splurge and make 2 whole gallons. Everything scales pretyy easily, I can brew on the stovetop in a bag and chilling and bottling are a cinch. Tons of advantages and the only drawback if any is the increase in cost per bottle. If I can brew more often and have greater variety then I am a very happy man. Still trying to drink up those 9 cases of beer and cider that have been accumulating for years but I am finally making good progress, down from 11 cases a few months ago.....Why is there an increased cost per bottle? In my case I still buy my base malts in bulk. I'm actually brewing much more since doing 2.5 gallon batches biab. And yea, bottling is a piece of cake, probably 45 minutes start to finish. Plus I'm always in a good mood on bottling day what with the sampling and all.
Chinook, Simcoe, and Columbus are the big 3 (to me).