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Author Topic: Batches <5gal  (Read 1307 times)

Offline madscientist

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Batches <5gal
« on: July 09, 2010, 11:02:45 am »
Most of the kits i've seen (and recipes for that matter) are at minimum 5 gallon.  Is it possible to brew something less, like a 2 gallon batch?  Obviously I can cut the amounts of the ingredients to corrispond to the size I want, but is it that simple?  Will this affect the flavor if I attempt to scale it up later?
Homebrewed since 2010

Offline weithman5

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Re: Batches <5gal
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2010, 11:58:42 am »
yes you can. sometimes hop utilization may be a little different.  also depending on your rig,  it is about the same amount of work in terms of sanitation and cleanup to brew the 5gal.  some people lose some wort during the process and this amount doesn't change with size so you may lose 1 quart in 5 gallons and 1 quart in 2 gallons which makes a little bigger impact.
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Offline lazydog79

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Re: Batches <5gal
« Reply #2 on: July 09, 2010, 12:06:49 pm »
Definitely.  Back before kids, if I was trying a recipe I was unsure of, I'd only do 3 gallons.  Sometimes, I still wish I did that - I've got two cases of not very good CAP right now  :'(  I quit doing smaller batches because my brew days a preciously few these days.  If I'm going to take the time, I might as well get two cases out of it!  I'll still do 2.5-3 gallons if it's something I don't really want two cases of - fruit beers, really big beers, etc.   I'm still the primary consumer of my product, so if I think I might get sick of it quick - I'll do a half batch.

If you are going to do a lot of recipe scaling, I'd recommend one of the brewing softwares - BeerSmith, Promash, or BeerTools.  I suck at doing the math, so I'm glad to have the computers do it for me.  For me, it takes all the guess work out of brewing.  None of them are very expensive.  Beersmith was about $20 when I bought it.  There is also several free, online spreadsheets you can use.  I used this one before I went AG and bought BeerSmith:

Offline kgs

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Re: Batches <5gal
« Reply #3 on: July 09, 2010, 12:21:29 pm »
I routinely make half-batches (mostly all-grain at this point) for a variety of reasons. It does take almost as much time, but the physical process is easier and you either end up with a great batch you horde because it's so small or a lame batch you at least have the room to hide in a dark closet hoping it someday improves. Also, if you're working with smaller equipment all around, it's easier to clean... and half as much water comes to a boil faster... and half as much beer cools down faster... and you can really get a good shake on your carboy (especially if you use Better Bottle)... and I can move a lot faster lugging three gallons than 5.5. ;)

Because of the wort-loss issue, I scale to 3 gallons and that actually turns out to be 2.5. Which is fine.

Beersmith conveniently has built-in scaling. Because it doesn't round up or down, after scaling, I generally smooth the numbers to a more rational amount (e.g. I'm not going to ask my LHBS for .97 lbs of a grain :) ). But that's fine too. I prefer entering the recipe in its original size and then scaling it and saving that as a second copy marked as a half-batch, just so I know what I started with.
K.G. Schneider
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Offline hopaddicted

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Re: Batches <5gal
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2010, 01:31:07 pm »

I started with smaller batches when I switched to AG and was very happy with the results. I am squeezing in the last couple of full batches before I am forced back inside to brew when my wife delivers number 2 in a couple of weeks.

Smaller batch is less heat and more manageable on the stovetop, so does have its advantages, especially if you are making specialty brews or completely new recipes for you.
Primary: Lambic
Secondary: Oktoberfest, German Pilsner, Double IPA,
In Bottles: Lucknow IPA clone, Rough Rider Brown Ale clone,
John Harvard Imperial Stout clone, Hoppy Amber, Witch's Brew (Habanero and Smoked Corn Small Ale), Porter, Dunkleweizen, Dry Stout, Irish Red Ale, American Maple Wheat Ale, Black Wit, Belgian style Wit, Belgian Golden Strong Ale
Kegged: IPA, Saison, Hoppy Brown Ale