1 Gallon Batches: Irish Red Ale and Sierra Madre Pale Ale

In the past two weeks I’ve brewed one gallon batches of the Irish Red Ale and the Sierra Madre Pale Ale. Theses are my first two batches with steeping grains and boiling hops. During my first batch, the SMPA, I followed the instructions perfectly. I started my boil with 1.25 gallons of water. However, I ended with only about .5 gallons and had to top off with water to get to the full gallon mark. My OG before the water addition was roughly 1.78. So during my Irish Red Ale boil I started with 1.5 gallons. It was perfect as I boiled down to exactly 1 gallon. However, my OG came in low for the brew at 1.38.

So my question is, is it better to start the boil with more water and boil down or to boil with the 1.25 and then top it off? I noticed the second time I turned the heat down lower which I believe helped me boil off only .5 gallons compared to the.75 boiled off with the first batch.

Dissolved sugar in a 1 gallon volume does not care when it got there. Having more water and boiling down vs adding water at end should make no difference. Chances are when you took the gravity readings of the one that you added water, you did not mix well before you took your reading.

I was assuming this as well with the OG on the SMPA. I’m wondering why my Irish red came in a little low as I added everything needed.

These are my first two NB brews, does everyone recommend the 2 weeks fermenting, 2 conditioning or am I looking at longer lengths such as 3 fermenting and 4 conditioning?

For both of those, I would primary for 3 weeks, cold crash and bottle.

If you can do a full volume boil do a full volume boil. You get better hop utilization, less chance of caramelizing or scorching the sugars, and just less guessing about topping off at the end. Only thing is that it is more difficult to cool but at a gallon that shouldn’t be much an issue.

Here’s my advice: get a brewing notebook and write down everything. Water in, wort out, how high the burner was opened to, gravity, pitching temp of yeast, fermentation temp…

Write it down so you can reference it and then after a handful of batches you’ll dial in you process and be rocking out great beer!