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2.5 gl Extract Batches?

Hello,
First time post and have questions. I was a long time all grain 5 gl batch brewer but gave it up a couple years ago and sold all my equipment. Now I got pulled back in but want to down size to 2.5 gl extract batches which will give me more room and a quicker brew day.

I’m thinking of just basically cutting 5 gl batch recipies in half but I want to boil the whole 2.5 gl, use a chiller, ferment in a 3 gl carboy and keg in 2.5 gl corny. Here are some questions.

How much water should I start with for a 60 minute boil and is it even nessessary to boil that long? I was thinking 3.5 gl.

Will hop utilization be more or less with the lesser amount of wort boil?

What about mix matching light, amber, dark and other extracts instead of steeping grains? Sounds like extracts are a little better than they use to be and there is more detail of they’re ingredients.

Thanks for any tips

Start with 3.5 gallon and tweak the boil-off based on what you end up with. 1 gallon extra is a good place to start. If you have a 60 minute hop addition, you need to boil the full 60 minutes to get the bittering anticipated for the recipe. You will have higher hop utilization due to the lower gravity of the wort. There really is no way to substitute the specialty grains with extract. Extract just can’t impart the same flavors and color.

If your boil-off is more than 1 gallon, add additional water to the fermenter to reach 2.5 gallons and record the results. add this amount plus 1 gallon to the next boil to end up with 2.5 gallons in the fermenter. Have a blow-off hose ready, half a gallon of headspace may not be enough.

Do you plan on purchasing kits and just using half the ingredients? If so, freeze any extract you have left over but it’s my advice to use it up asap.

Thanks for the tips mvsawyer. I think I’m going to start out with 3lbs Briess amber dry malt extract and some Cascade hops for an American Pale Ale. I think it will be easier using dry malt for measuring purposes and Promash will help with the calculations.

Also looking into 2.5 gl kegs priming with 2oz corn sugar and using those small co2 dispensing canisters instead of a co2 tank. It may take some experimentation to get the correct carbination but I kind a like the idea.

+1 to mvsawyer I would add that you can ferment in 5 or 6 gal. fermenters with no issues. Welcome to the forum and back to brewing. :cheers:

I thought about just using a 5 gl carboy again but the smaller 3 gl fits so nicely into my sink, is easier to handle and takes up less space.

It feels good to be back, I brewed for over 20 years pretty heavily then all of a sudden lost intrest. After brewing a few batches with my future son in law the passion came back and I got thinking of an easier way that would take up less time and space.

I would use the 5 gal. carboy to ferment in if you can.The more space, the better. It might be more heavier than a 3 gal., but not too much. It’s not liquid weight anymore, just glass weight.

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