Author Topic: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches  (Read 1384 times)

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #15 on: August 30, 2021, 03:12:22 pm »
Ha! Come on Professor, you know that's not true!  ;D

I notice a difference, but I am certain that it is all in my mind. :)

Offline Saccharomyces

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #16 on: August 30, 2021, 03:15:44 pm »
I brew primarily 3.5-gallon batches and use 3-gallon kegs.  That is about as small and as large as I want to go for stand brew length.  I currently also have a larger setup in which I brew 5.75 gallons and keg 5 gallons, but that is in the process of being sold off.

Offline Tfwebster

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #17 on: August 30, 2021, 04:53:48 pm »
Thanks,  all - great feedback.  Ordered a 2 gallon fermenter. 
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Offline ttash

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #18 on: August 30, 2021, 10:41:04 pm »
I too, have two systems, but I'm keeping both. I have a 3 gallon that feeds 2.5 gal kegs, and a 10 gallon system that feeds 5 gal kegs.
The main criteria that dictate my brewing activity are time, or lack thereof, and weather, i.e. it gets really cold here in the winter.
During the winter,  I have lots of time to brew, so I brew in the kitchen with the 3 gal where it's warm and cozy.
During the other months of the year I have very little time to brew because of my work, so I brew on the big system to produce 5 or 10 gallons of kegged beer because I know it may be quite a while before I can brew again.
I have to say that I love brewing on the 3 gal rig. It's just so easy, and simple, like it used to be before this hobby got so hopelessly out of control. 🍺

Offline BrewNerd

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #19 on: August 31, 2021, 02:43:56 pm »
I started with one gallon batches for that very reason.

Cheaper and less heart breaking to dump one gallon than five if it doesn't turn out as hoped.

Takes up less space (sorta') and I can get more practice brewing smaller batches more often.

Still curious as to why 5 gallons seems to be the standard size for recipes and equipment. Clearly a conspiracy is afoot with carboy manufacturers...

Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #20 on: August 31, 2021, 09:43:24 pm »
I figured out five gallon batches were too big for my drinking needs when I started brewing so I started scaling down to three gallon batches which is a bit more manageable when you're the only person drinking it but you want to brew all the time. Eventually I dropped down to one gallon batches which let me brew even more. Now that I have room for a kegerator I'm brewing the odd gallon batch but my normal, pull a pint beer, goes into three gallon kegs which still last surprisingly long.

For smaller batches the two biggest hurdles are accurate measurements and maintaining temperatures during the mash. For measurements this is really easy: as majorvices pointed out above switch to metric. Buy a jeweler's scale that gets down to tenths of grams. You'll want to accept life with a refractometer because filling a test flask for a hydrometer is a notable amount of your batch.

For maintaining mash temperatures I tried basically everything. Stovetop direct heating was difficult to control (especially over electric coil). Sticking it in the oven without heat didn't help enough and unless you have an oven that goes below 170F it's too hot. Sticking the pot in my cooler mash tun also didn't help. I also disliked the results of all of these BIAB processes. I ended up with a lot of trub which ate up fermentation vessel headspace. I tried using my ten gallon cooler but the grain bed was too wide and it still lost too much heat and had poor conversation. I didn't love any of those batches. I ended up buying a two gallon cooler and replaced the spout with a ball valve like other cooler builds. I donated the cheap equipment originally in my ten gallon cooler to the smaller cooler and upgraded that mash tun. I had to fiddle with different washers to get a good seal on the two gallon cooler but now it operates just like the larger one and maintains temperatures within a degree or two of the ten gallon cooler.
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Offline BrewNerd

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #21 on: September 02, 2021, 03:01:21 pm »
For smaller batches the two biggest hurdles are accurate measurements and maintaining temperatures during the mash. For measurements this is really easy: as majorvices pointed out above switch to metric. Buy a jeweler's scale that gets down to tenths of grams. You'll want to accept life with a refractometer because filling a test flask for a hydrometer is a notable amount of your batch.

That just solved a problem that I didn't even know I had.. I have found this forum to my liking..

James Hoffman (a coffee blogger and YouTuber) did a review of scales but made no mention of a jeweler's scale. +1 for home brewers. I also seem to remember thinking a chemistry professor from many years ago was way too obsessed with significant digits. Oh the folly of one's youth.

If you're interested, here's the link to the coffee guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIzFhnZ32Y0&t=252s

Offline beersk

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #22 on: September 03, 2021, 10:13:03 am »
I brew both 3.5 gallon batches (2.5 gallons final into keg) and 5.5 gallon batches (5 into keg) and prefer the small batches. I use the same system for both, but the small batches allows me to do a full volume mash and ferment in kegs, which is a huge plus. It takes getting used to spending the same amount of time with only half as much beer at the end, especially when you want to share it with people. But the process is much simpler with the full volume mash and lower stress.
Lifting is a lot easier and I can stack 2.5 gallon kegs in my kegerator.
Jesse

Offline erockrph

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #23 on: September 03, 2021, 02:44:47 pm »
I started brewing 3 gallon batches after I made my first batch from a kit and realized that 5 gallons is just way too much for me. I like to brew, so I'd much rather brew smaller batches more often. The only reason I don't go smaller than 3 gallons is because the work is the same for me for any size up to a full 2.5 gallon keg. I'm not really worried about ingredient costs, and I don't mind dumping beer. When I need to free up a keg  I don't really care whether I dump a pint or a gallon.

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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Brewing Smaller All Grain Batches
« Reply #24 on: September 07, 2021, 08:36:54 pm »
For smaller batches the two biggest hurdles are accurate measurements and maintaining temperatures during the mash. For measurements this is really easy: as majorvices pointed out above switch to metric. Buy a jeweler's scale that gets down to tenths of grams. You'll want to accept life with a refractometer because filling a test flask for a hydrometer is a notable amount of your batch.

That just solved a problem that I didn't even know I had.. I have found this forum to my liking..

James Hoffman (a coffee blogger and YouTuber) did a review of scales but made no mention of a jeweler's scale. +1 for home brewers. I also seem to remember thinking a chemistry professor from many years ago was way too obsessed with significant digits. Oh the folly of one's youth.

If you're interested, here's the link to the coffee guy: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIzFhnZ32Y0&t=252s

He's reviewing scales designed for a particular purpose which is to fit under coffee equipment and measure hot liquid and primarily on a gram basis. I don't think tenths of grams make or break a coffee or espresso beverage in the same way a tenth or two extra of a brewing salt can throw off your water profile on a gallon batch of beer. Conversely, I don't think a smart scale built to survive near boiling liquids is a necessary tool for beer brewing--but not sure it's necessary for coffee or espresso either.

A jeweler's scale might be needlessly precise for brewing but the more precise I got with the water profile the better my smaller batches tasted. For $10 it's been a fantastic purchase.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing