Author Topic: Small Batch OG question  (Read 800 times)

Offline Jim1960

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Small Batch OG question
« on: September 03, 2014, 03:50:27 PM »
Hi all.

So, I have a number of issues I think I need some help with.

I'm trying several small batches (1G) to try out the recipe before I commit 5 or more gallons of what may be skunky beer.  I'm using my existing equipment - 10G cooler mash tun, 6 gallon SS kettle.  I am afraid I'm not hitting my efficiency numbers like I should.  for example, I'm making a saison with lemon and pink peppercorns.  Let it mash for 75 minutes and then batch sparged.  I use BeerSmith software and it indicated that I should use 4.88 qt @156 for the mash and sparge with 1.5-ish (don't remember the actualy amount) gallons @168.  I did this and got about 1.75 - 1.8 G of wort.  boiled for 60 minutes and then cooled.  Then I checked the post-boil OG and it was on 1.035...  I'm a bit disappointed - I thought I had hit everything as beersmith called out.  But, according to BS, the gravity should have been at least 1.044...  my efficiency was only 35%. 

I checked the mill - it's about .038...  I don't know where to look now...

do I need to invest in other equipment in order to do these small batches?  is the 10G mash tun too large to properly convert such a small batch?

Any help is greatly appreciated.  thanks in advance.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2014, 03:58:02 PM »
Keep in mind, I have no experience with batches this small but here are my thoughts.

A 10gal cooler seems to be too large to sparge 3 to 4 pounds of grain efficiently. 

Have you considered doing BIAB for these batches?  You could do the whole thing in your 6gal kettle.  Others on here do this type of thing and I'm they will chime in fairly soon.

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2014, 04:22:51 PM »
yup, I just did a BIAB batch in a little lunch mate type cooler for a 1 gallon (actually .75 gallon) batch this weekend.

that being said, simply for a saison with pink peppercorns I'd just brew 5 gallons. unless you are using a ton of peppercorns it won't be off putting. I've used them before in brew and it worked great.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2014, 08:51:51 PM »
You pretty much HAVE TO BIAB for very small batches like 1-gallon size.  The equipment for bigger batches is just too big for very small batches.  There can be a lot of losses due to dead space in the mash tun, and just any transfers of the wort around in general.  Crush harder and BIAB.  Then you should honestly see HIGHER efficiency than ever before as opposed to lower.
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Offline Jim1960

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2014, 02:06:16 AM »
Thanks, guys…

After I posted this I wondered if the answer would be BIAB.  I've never done that but have been reading up on it.  That's the course I'll take.

Thanks.

One other question along that line - when I scale the recipe up to 5 gallons or better, what should I see in terms of efficiency?  Provided I have the crush correct and hit strike temps and all that...
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #5 on: September 04, 2014, 02:46:40 PM »
Thanks, guys…

After I posted this I wondered if the answer would be BIAB.  I've never done that but have been reading up on it.  That's the course I'll take.

Thanks.

One other question along that line - when I scale the recipe up to 5 gallons or better, what should I see in terms of efficiency?  Provided I have the crush correct and hit strike temps and all that...

That depends on your system. are you pretty consistent efficiency on full batches? if so there is no reason to think you would get any different here.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2014, 02:50:07 PM »
Using a ten gallon cooler is a disaster waiting to happen. You'll have a hard time sparging well and I bet your temperature fell off significantly with more surface area than thermal mass. BIAB is the most efficient way to brew on that small of a system. You can get a much smaller cooler (like a two gallon cooler) and fit the same manifold on it that you have on your ten gallon cooler but it's much easier to use a smaller cooler with a grain bag as BIAB. I had a hard time maintaining stable temperatures doing BIAB in a pot on my stove for 1-2 gallon batches so I picked up a two gallon cooler and greatly improved my small batch efficiency and temperature control.
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Offline Jim1960

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Re: Small Batch OG question
« Reply #7 on: September 04, 2014, 05:39:48 PM »
Thanks, guys…

After I posted this I wondered if the answer would be BIAB.  I've never done that but have been reading up on it.  That's the course I'll take.

Thanks.

One other question along that line - when I scale the recipe up to 5 gallons or better, what should I see in terms of efficiency?  Provided I have the crush correct and hit strike temps and all that...

That depends on your system. are you pretty consistent efficiency on full batches? if so there is no reason to think you would get any different here.

Usually my efficiencies are pretty consistent when I do a full batch.  but, being an engineer by trade I keep tweaking my process to try to improve so I don't get the same numbers from batch to batch but they are within 1-2 percentage points so I don't really worry about that...
Of all the things I've lost I miss my mind the most...