Author Topic: Curious...part 2  (Read 1712 times)

Offline jeffy

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2010, 12:01:09 PM »
Where do I find the time?  I brew roughly once a month, more or less, usually 10 gallons.  I set aside the day to brew and generally get some other chores done during the "rests."  The other weekends of the month usually get a little time for kegging, bottling for competitions and cleaning/transferring/testing/improving stuff.

Where do I keep everything?  A couple years ago I got permission from my lovely wife to buy a nice new shed, which I insulated and put a window A/C unit in.  I keep it cool enough to age ales and I store most of the stuff in there, but I also have a very large back porch making it easy to store my brewery, which is on wheels.  We have no kids.  I think that makes a lot of difference.

Pros of small batches?  None unless you plan on making beer you may not want to drink. ;)  You can always take some of the larger batch and experiment with those things you're curious about.  I often split my ten gallon batches into two yeast experiments.

We do have a guy in our club who makes 1-gallon batches of beer and cider.  By the time he sends some off to a competition it's almost all gone.  But he does have quite a variety..... 
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Offline richardt

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2010, 12:20:18 PM »
That was the problem I had with my 2.5 gallon "Mr Beer" kit.  Each batch I did only yielded 13 bombers (22 oz) or 26 bottles (12 oz).  That's not very many if you're giving some to friends.

It's funny how one's definition of friend changes as the beer stock diminishes; it has some parallels to the "Spongeworthy" Seinfeld episode. 

Is your friend "homebrewworthy?"  Brewing 10 gallons makes the decision easier. ;D

Offline hike20

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2010, 12:35:09 PM »
I only brew 2.5 gallon batches (not Mr. Beer) and really enjoy it. Saying that it takes the same amount of time to do 2.5, 5, 10 etc. gallons is not really true. Yes, certain parts take the same amount of time, such as the boil, but I can heat 2.5 gallons to boil in a lot less time (and less fuel) than 5 gallons, and 10 gallons would take forever with my equipment. Yes, I could throw more money into more powerful burners, but people aways assume that all things are equal. Cooling the wort is also much quicker and simpler without needing to buy or make a chiller. Since I have no money or space for kegging, fewer bottles to clean, sanitize and fill means much less time too. Plus finding space to store all of those bottles is difficult for me as well.

Other things I like: I can brew more frequently without figuring out what to do with all that beer. My wife doesn't drink, and most of my friends either don't drink or drink mostly wine. I enjoy having as much variety as I want without the hassle. This also gives me the chance to learn more by brewing more batches. I look at brewing as something I really enjoy, not just another chore I go through to keep in supply. The process as as much fun for me as enjoying the crafted brew that results from it. I'm also using the variety I'm making to induce those wine drinking friends to take another look at beer, and some of them have even asked to come over and help brew.

So basically work in a scale and system that is comfortable for YOU. Don't worry about others who think they have to look down their uplifted noses at other brewers just because they use a different method. The key is to really enjoy what you are doing.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2010, 12:37:27 PM by hike20 »

Offline dbeechum

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #18 on: June 08, 2010, 01:09:33 PM »
For me, I brew, when active, once every couple of weeks until I'm out of space. :)

I also brew 10 gallons, but I actively look for ways to pull more than one batch out of each run.
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Offline lazydog79

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #19 on: June 09, 2010, 05:50:58 AM »
I didn't sound of on your first post because I felt like so much of a small-fry!  :P  Turns out I'm not that bad.  I usually do 5 gallon batches as I am pretty much the sole consumer of my product.  I wouldn't know what to do with more beer!   Well, I would, but I know I shouldn't!  8)  I usually have somewhere between 4-6 different beers I'm drinking - I get bored too.

Time is a major issue for me as well.  Between work, parenting, etc, etc, I am doing good to get a brew a month or so off.  My goal is to produce enough for my own consumption.  As long as I get that done, I'm happy.  I also try to plan it out well.  For example, I'm planning on doing an Oktoberfest next week that will be occupying my fridge for a while.  Consequently, I tried to get all of my summer needs met beforehand.

As for 3 gallon batches, I would say the big pro of that is 1) as you said, space 2) more variety 3) an untested recipe or 4) something you don't want a lot of.  For awhile, I did 3 gallon batches of untested recipes so that if they were bad, I wouldn't have 2 cases of crap!  I got away from doing that, though, when my daughter was born.  Now, brew days are precious, and you can make 5 gallons in the time it takes you to make 3!  I will still do a 3 batch if it's something I just don't want 2+ cases of.

Bottom line - do what you do and don't worry about everybody else.  That's what is so great about homebrewing - you can go your own way.  I like the way the Norther Brewer blog said it best: http://northernbrewer.blogspot.com/2010/03/subsistence-brewing.html  Prosit!

Offline dean

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #20 on: June 09, 2010, 07:11:12 AM »
lazydog79, it sounds to me like you have your game plan worked out pretty well and only brewing what you can drink or will drink makes perfect sense to me.  I used to brew more when my son and daughters were around to consume my brewing habit but now its primarily just me so I've slowed down, way down.  I'm also hankering for lower abv beer lately. 

Offline kgs

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #21 on: June 09, 2010, 01:33:51 PM »

As for 3 gallon batches, I would say the big pro of that is 1) as you said, space 2) more variety 3) an untested recipe or 4) something you don't want a lot of.  For awhile, I did 3 gallon batches of untested recipes so that if they were bad, I wouldn't have 2 cases of crap!  I got away from doing that, though, when my daughter was born.  Now, brew days are precious, and you can make 5 gallons in the time it takes you to make 3!  I will still do a 3 batch if it's something I just don't want 2+ cases of.

I do small batches for all of the reasons noted above, plus the ease of the physical process, and for me the big prep on brew day is cleaning/sanitizing, plus organizing the production line, etc. So doing 2 small batches in a row has worked for me. Come to think of it, if I built a second mash tun I could easily mash both batches simultaneously and do two consecutive boils. But whatever gives you a fun brew day is what it's about!
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Offline richardt

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #22 on: June 09, 2010, 01:53:06 PM »
...doing 2 small batches in a row has worked for me. Come to think of it, if I built a second mash tun I could easily mash both batches simultaneously and do two consecutive boils.

If you want the fermentability characteristics to be the same for both batches, make sure you mash out (temps above 170) both batches for 10 minutes or so to deactivate (denature) the enzymes.  This will fix the sugar profile while you boil consecutively.  If you didn't, then the second batch would have more time convert the sugars (less dextrins, less body/mouthfeel, drier).

Quote
But whatever gives you a fun brew day is what it's about!

Agree.  It should be fun for you.  It's not the size of the batch, it's what you do with it.  :D


Offline weithman5

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Re: Curious...part 2
« Reply #23 on: June 09, 2010, 02:16:47 PM »
on a similar note i have been pondering something along the lines of blending runoffs or changing mid stream,  say take the first run off of a rye and munich then add new grain such as wheat and pale to the tun. or run two separate tuns.  especially pondering if one of the runoffs can be quickly refrigerated ( say the one with a high gravity)  then added on top of the yeast of the low gravity one a week later when it gets racked off.....thus a second brew day from one mash and one starter. 
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