Author Topic: Smaller All Grain Batches  (Read 1753 times)

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Smaller All Grain Batches
« on: February 01, 2015, 11:32:36 PM »
Based on my frustration and time put in to bottle a five gallon batch, I'm seriously considering smaller batches. Not one gallon batches, but perhaps 2-3. I realize it takes the same time to brew but I hate bottling with a passion and until my recipes get really drinkable, I don't like to drain pour 4+ gallons.

Thoughts? IF you're doing this, what have you found to be the sweet spot where the smaller grain and hop bill don't fluctuate the end product wildly.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2015, 12:15:08 AM by flbrewer »

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2015, 11:35:08 PM »
Save $ for a keg system. Makes 5 gallons a whole lot more attractive.
Jon H.

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 12:51:14 AM »
Yeah, kegging is awesome. Brings new challenges and investments, but so much easier overall.

Offline bengelbrau

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 01:33:42 AM »
Kegging is indeed easier, but also more limiting. I bottle almost everything, and now have 17 different brews available. I don't have the $ or the space to do that with taps.

Offline JT

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1333
  • Bloatarian Brewing League - Cincinnati, OH
    • View Profile
    • Bloatarian Brewing League
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 01:43:03 AM »
Kegging is indeed easier, but also more limiting. I bottle almost everything, and now have 17 different brews available. I don't have the $ or the space to do that with taps.
You can easily bottle a few brews from your keg to save and have onhand if desired. 

S. cerevisiae

  • Guest
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 01:52:23 AM »
My standard finished batch size has been 3 gallons for some time.  A 3-gallon batch is not much easier to brew and package than a 5-gallon finished batch size.  It's just easier to carry.

Offline tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1998
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 02:40:20 AM »

My standard finished batch size has been 3 gallons for some time.  A 3-gallon batch is not much easier to brew and package than a 5-gallon finished batch size.  It's just easier to carry.
and easier to drink.

Offline bengelbrau

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 03:08:00 AM »
Quote
You can easily bottle a few brews from your keg to save and have onhand if desired.

I still have 17 kegs (which I don't really have) to deal with. No thanks.

Offline JT

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1333
  • Bloatarian Brewing League - Cincinnati, OH
    • View Profile
    • Bloatarian Brewing League
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2015, 03:12:22 AM »
Quote
You can easily bottle a few brews from your keg to save and have onhand if desired.

I still have 17 kegs (which I don't really have) to deal with. No thanks.
Not sure I follow you.  I have 6 kegs.  If I bottle a couple of beers from each keg and save them, I can accumulate as many different beers as any bottler.  Same would be true if I had only one keg. 

Offline bengelbrau

  • Assistant Brewer
  • ***
  • Posts: 146
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2015, 03:39:39 AM »
That would work, if I were to consume all the remaining beer in the kegs after drawing off the few bottles. I prefer to have the 17 or so varieties available in quantity, in all their splendor, and save the kegs for carbing the next batches. And it seems like a balance of hassles... bottling is a pain in the butt, but dealing with taps, lines, pressures, spills, and cleaning also seems line a pain in the butt.

Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3262
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #10 on: February 02, 2015, 05:33:13 AM »
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.....
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3123
  • Barre, Ma
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #11 on: February 02, 2015, 01:22:52 PM »
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.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline flbrewer

  • Brewmaster General
  • *******
  • Posts: 2161
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2015, 02:28:58 PM »
Are there any significant issues with doing smaller batches on larger equipment? By large I mean a 10 gallon BK and 10 gallon MT.

Offline dmtaylor

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3262
  • Two Rivers, WI
    • View Profile
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2015, 02:39:56 PM »
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.

Water and yeast, to name two things.  I buy my water about a quarter of the time, and it gets a bit pricey when you're boiling so much of it off.  Yeast can remain cheap if you use portions of packs and carefully plan so you can use it multiple times.  Inevitably, for me at least, a lot of it gets wasted due to age, at least the liquid stuff.  Still costs the same $6-$8 per pack whether you make 1.7 gallons or 6 gallons.

Personally I don't buy malts in bulk as I brew so many diverse styles, I might not be able to use a 50-lb sack within 2-3 years before it might begin to taste old.  Maybe I could... I guess I never know exactly what I'll be brewing that many years in advance.
Dave

The world will become a much more pleasant place to live when each and every one of us realizes that we are all idiots.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6195
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: Smaller Batches
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2015, 02:44:54 PM »
Are there any significant issues with doing smaller batches on larger equipment? By large I mean a 10 gallon BK and 10 gallon MT.
I can't speak personally to the mash tun, but the bigger kettle will likely have a faster boiloff rate.
Eric B.

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