Author Topic: Small Batch questions  (Read 1988 times)

Offline sch21c

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Small Batch questions
« on: August 22, 2012, 08:26:09 AM »
Now that I've got a few 5 gallon batches under my belt, I want to start doing some recipe crafting, etc.  I'd like to dial in to a pale ale that really works for me.  I don't think I want to do it in 5 gallon batches.  Seems like too much product for what I'm considering a series of incremental (and sometimes competing) experiments in recipe changes.  So I'm thinking about doing 2.5 gal batches.  The question I have, is what equipment do you use for fermentation (primary and secondary)?  Mostly concerned about oxidation while sitting in the fermenter(s) with a lot more headspace due to the lower liquid volume.

Any insights/suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
--Sam

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2012, 08:30:41 AM »
Go ahead and use the regular fermenters. don't bother with a secondary unless you are planning on adding fruit in which case you can get a smaller fermenter but in primary co2 will displace all the o2 and oxidation will not be a concern
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline euge

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2012, 09:27:04 AM »
^^^+1

It's kinda hard to swill down 5 gallons of an "experiment". 8) No need to change up any equipment as stated my mort.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline Pinski

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2012, 09:49:57 AM »
It's kinda hard to swill down 5 gallons of an "experiment".

Unless it goes horribly right!
Thank you BEER!

Offline euge

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2012, 10:21:59 AM »
It's kinda hard to swill down 5 gallons of an "experiment".

Unless it goes horribly right!

Those are to be treasured!

BTW Sam keep good notes...
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline erockrph

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2012, 10:25:46 AM »
While I have bought several food-grade buckets in sizes from 1-gallon to 4.25 gallons from Container & Package Supply, I typically use my 6-gallon carboy or 6.5 gallon bucket for my 2.5-3 gallon batches. I don't have to worry about blowoff that way.

If you want to do really small batches, then you could go with 1-gallon jugs. I'm doing this right now with a bunch of different APA recipes to test out different hops. I plan on using them in the future for ciders as well as for souring small portions of various recipes.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline sch21c

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2012, 11:30:03 AM »
Thanks for the quick info.  So it seems like the consensus on this thread is that secondary fermentation doesn't matter (at least for ales).  Is that right?

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2012, 11:31:36 AM »
Thanks for the quick info.  So it seems like the consensus on this thread is that secondary fermentation doesn't matter (at least for ales).  Is that right?

unless you are;

a) adding some post fermentation adjunct such as fruit
or
b) intending to reuse the yeast and also dry hopping the first beer. (this can be avoided by dry hopping in the keg if you have the ability or I supose dry hopping in a hop bag.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2012, 11:48:15 AM »
Thanks for the quick info.  So it seems like the consensus on this thread is that secondary fermentation doesn't matter (at least for ales).  Is that right?

unless you are;

a) adding some post fermentation adjunct such as fruit
or
b) intending to reuse the yeast and also dry hopping the first beer. (this can be avoided by dry hopping in the keg if you have the ability or I supose dry hopping in a hop bag.

+1000
I rarely secondary anything, except for the above reasons. Or if I'm aging a super high gravity beer for months on months.
Amanda Kertz
Kansas City Bier Meister
BJCP National

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2012, 12:45:49 PM »
Thanks for the quick info.  So it seems like the consensus on this thread is that secondary fermentation doesn't matter (at least for ales).  Is that right?

unless you are;

a) adding some post fermentation adjunct such as fruit
or
b) intending to reuse the yeast and also dry hopping the first beer. (this can be avoided by dry hopping in the keg if you have the ability or I supose dry hopping in a hop bag.

+1000
I rarely secondary anything, except for the above reasons. Or if I'm aging a super high gravity beer for months on months.

right, missed that one

c) you need to do a LOOOOOONG bulk aging period. I am going to secondary soon on an old ale because I don't want to tie up a keg and the 5 gallon carboy is just sitting there anyway.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2012, 09:06:33 AM »
Ive actually found that even when adding fruit, a secondary is not necessary unless you dont have enough head space. I usually just wait about 4 days until the bulk of fermentation is complete then dump the fruit directly in my primary.
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.

Offline weithman5

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #11 on: August 23, 2012, 09:10:19 AM »
i do two gallon batches, the two gallon buckets that icing comes in has about another quart and a half of headspace.  i do lagers at cool temps and this works fine.  you can also get 3 gallon buckets as well.  it becomes a bigger challenge. 
Don AHA member

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #12 on: August 23, 2012, 09:56:16 AM »
Ive actually found that even when adding fruit, a secondary is not necessary unless you dont have enough head space. I usually just wait about 4 days until the bulk of fermentation is complete then dump the fruit directly in my primary.

I've wondered about that.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time" - A. Einstein

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Offline jmcamerlengo

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Re: Small Batch questions
« Reply #13 on: August 23, 2012, 10:09:12 AM »
Ive actually found that even when adding fruit, a secondary is not necessary unless you dont have enough head space. I usually just wait about 4 days until the bulk of fermentation is complete then dump the fruit directly in my primary.

I've wondered about that.

I did a side by side with a generic wheat beer with Peaches. Secondary one batch, primary fruit with other. The primary tasted better, i picked up a hint of oxidation on the secondaried batch. If you've got the headspace it works. Its no different than adding honey or candi syrup or sugar syrup to the primary after the bulk of fermenation has completed. FWIW I also dry hopped both of those beers. So the one went something like this.

Ferment for 4 days
Add peaches to primary after 4 days, and ferment for one week.
After a week add dry hops and ferment another week, all in the same primary. Worked great!
Jason
-Head Brewer, Brewtus Brewers in the Shenango Valley. Hopefully opening a brewpub/nano brewery in the next couple years.