Author Topic: Small batches?  (Read 1269 times)

Offline dons

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Small batches?
« on: August 11, 2011, 11:13:27 AM »
My wife drinks very little beer.  She does not drink mine (IPAs, Belgians, Farmhouse, etc) and I do not drink hers (Porters, Stouts).
Now that I have 2 months worth of beer stocked up, I want to brew some for her, but I want to make a very small batch - no more than 2.5 gallons, preferably less.

Question:  are small batches as simple as cutting the ingredients all the same percentage and following the exact same process as a 5 gallon?

Never having made a Porter, anyone got recommendations for a good one that is straightforward?

Thanks!
Don
I've finally figured out my problem.  I have Cenosillicaphobia.

Offline euge

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 11:35:53 AM »

Question:  are small batches as simple as cutting the ingredients all the same percentage and following the exact same process as a 5 gallon?

Yes.
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Offline tschmidlin

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #2 on: August 11, 2011, 11:37:58 AM »
You could make Denny's BVIP recipe and leave out the BV.  Or if you have Brewing Classic Styles, every recipe from that I've tried has been good.
Tom Schmidlin

Offline hokerer

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #3 on: August 11, 2011, 12:15:07 PM »
Question:  are small batches as simple as cutting the ingredients all the same percentage and following the exact same process as a 5 gallon?

You may want to figure on something slightly greater than 50% as your losses from things like deadspace, racking, etc. won't any different between five and 2.5 gallon batches.
Joe

Offline gymrat

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2011, 07:22:16 AM »
On that note, is there any problem with fermenting 2.5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon Ale Pail?
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Offline akr71

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 07:32:50 AM »
As long as its a closed fermenter, you should be fine, but I would take hokerer's advice and do at least 3 to 3.5 gallons.
Andy

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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #6 on: August 12, 2011, 07:53:00 AM »
I've made ~80 small 2.5 to 3 gallon batches in 6.5-gallon buckets, and here's what I can tell you.  If you bottle or keg within a month after fermentation subsides, you'll be okay.  But if you are super lazy like me and leave it in the bucket for like 3 or 4 months before you get around to bottling it, you are very likely to have oxidation and/or contamination issues.  After 12 years of brewing in nothing but buckets, I just got a 5-gallon glass carboy.  I figure this will have a better seal from oxygen and wild critters than a simple bucket has.  Sounds good in theory, right?  But you're basically right -- it's totally possible to make excellent beer in half batches in buckets, at least if you're not lazy, and it is indeed as simple as dividing the whole process in half (or in the case of 3-gallon batches, by 3/5).  I've got dozens of ribbons to prove that it works.
Dave

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Offline mxstar21

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2011, 08:05:37 AM »
Better Bottle makes a great 3 gallon carboy.  Its square shaped, and will fit nicely in my ferementing fridge so I can ferment several batches at once, as opposed to the round carboy, which I can only fit one.

Offline weithman5

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #8 on: August 12, 2011, 08:47:45 AM »
i brew 1 gallon batches now though i may boost back up to 2 gallons. i have fermented in the hdpe milk jugs from costco and the motts apple juice pet bottles from costco. i have been lazy in getting these racked and have even lagered in them for a few months before transferring to bottles.  i have had no significant oxidation issues. i have now figured how to keg in these and have pressure tested etc.  i just haven't bought the co2 or regulator and valves. in wanting to go up a little further, menards sells water in 4 gallon carboys. these are pet and not the number 7 plastic that is used for most water carboys.  i have found some 2.5 gallon hdpe jugs on line for about 12 bucks that i may buy and use these as fermenters and kegs.
Don AHA member

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #9 on: August 12, 2011, 08:52:39 AM »
in wanting to go up a little further, menards sells water in 4 gallon carboys. these are pet and not the number 7 plastic that is used for most water carboys.

Aren't Better Bottles PET?  Would these water bottles be essentially the same deal?

Not that I need more carboys, but now and then I'll split a batch and a smaller vessel would be nice...
It's all in the reflexes. - Jack Burton

Offline weithman5

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #10 on: August 12, 2011, 09:14:10 AM »
yes, i don't know about thickness, but like i said, no problems yet using the motts apple juice bottle and i wouldn't expect an issue with the water bottles. i do have one and it was cheap with water only a few bucks.  my plan is to invert, build a cap that has two ports and use one to harvest yeast and the other as a vent.  kind of like a conical. i am going to try this with the motts bottles also
Don AHA member

Offline hike20

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Re: Small batches?
« Reply #11 on: August 13, 2011, 03:54:07 PM »
All I do are 2.5 gallon batches. I mash in a 5 gallon cooler, boil in a turkey fryer pot, and ferment in the 3 gallon better bottles. I'm kegging now and just use the regular 5 gallon ball lock cornies. I've got things tuned so that my setup works very well for me and I'm really enjoying it. I can have 3 taps running all the time for variety and rarely have a beer that get's past it's prime Not that all those same things don't apply to most brewers I know that do 5 or 10 gallon batches...They just have a lot more people helping drink their beer.

Best investment for me was BeerSmith. It makes scaling recipes easy. I've tweaked my equipment setup and efficiency in BS so I get consistent results. I set up a profile for Brewing Classic Styles too that makes entering and scaling recipes a snap.