Just wondering how many beers (bottles) folks are harvesting from their efforts? Most books I have read say that to make sure you have ten bottles per gallon brewed however I have not been lucky enough to ever need that many. Five gallon batch = fifty bottles? I usually average about 36 to 38 bottles and average about 48 - 50 bottles on 6.5 gallon batches. Is there any way to reduce trub so that I may have more beer to harvest? I always seem to loose at least a six pack or more to the “beer gods” due to it being soaked up and lost in the trub. Just after all of the work and time put in I hate to lose six to twelve beers that I could enjoy instead of having to go out and pay $12 for a six pack of a decent IPA. Should I rerack from initial carboy as soon as the trub settles and top off with water to get my full batch without watering it down too much? Just seems like a lot of hard earned / tasty beer being wasted in trub. For point of reference, I am usually brew 6.5 - 7.0% abv extract IPA’s.
I formulate my recipes so that I am getting 5.5 Gal in my 6.5 Gal carboy. That way, after the transferring of primary to secondary & secondary to bottling bucket, I am left with right around 5 Gal. I typically end up with 36 - 12oz bottles & 6 - 22oz bottles. That would calculate out to around 47 - 12oz bottles total.
If you use beersmith2.0, or a similar program, I suggest taking advantage of all of the equipment customization tools they have. Once I customized all of my equipment in beersmith2.0 I was immediately close to hitting my target volumes. If I end up a little under 5.5 Gal I just use a little RO water to top it off to my desired volume. My last two batches I have needed less than 0.25 Gal top off water for each and still end up within +/-0.002 gravity points of my target.
You could also look into cold crashing your beers. This generally compacts your trub and makes it a little more dense. I too brew 5.5 gallons in anticipation of losing 1/2 of it to trub.
I was regularly bottling 52, 12oz bottles in a 5 gallon batch.
Don’t leave anything in the brew kettle. Pour the wort through a strainer to keep the bulk of the trub behind. Using some kind of filter on a siphon will help during a transfer to secondary and/or bottling bucket. I’ve heard of some using panty hose on the outlet to help catch trub. I just used the cap that came with the autosiphon. Are you using buckets? My plastic fermenter bulges in the middle at the bottom. I can leave my capped autosiphon there and rack pretty clean beer. If you’re losing 6-12 beers per batch (1/2 gallon to a gallon), I’d definitely investigate where you might be having issues.
If you’re using Whirlfloc or Irish moss, try skipping it for a batch. I found that my trub was a lot fluffier with Whirlfloc than without, and was able to get an extra beer out of a 1-gallon batch without it. It may take more time for the trub to compact down, and it will be easier to kick it up when you’re racking, but you may be able to squeeze out a few extra brews.
You said you mainly brew IPA’s - do you dry hop? If so, that will suck up some extra beer. But it’s well worth it for that kick of hoppy goodness. If you’re using whole cones, switching to pellets may net you an extra brew or two.
FWIW, my batches get me roughly 3 gallons into the fermenter. After dry hops I net about a case (23-26 twelve oz bottles) per batch.
I agree with mvsawyer. I use a double mesh strainer going from kettle to fermenter. Also tried the sanitized nylon when transfering to bottle bucket. It’s working out nicely so far, although the nylon slows transfer down somewhat. I’ve also been letting the fermenter sit in position for several hours undisturbed before transfer with good results. The only batch that was less than 48 bottles was a dryhopped ipa that got really cloudy after i tilted the carboy during siphon :cheers:
Thanks for the input everyone. Much appreciated. Been using glass carboys and will filter my beer next time before sending into primary. I wish I had a second fridge to cold crash. Has anyone had luck with the cool brew carboy coozie things which you place frozen bottles of water in? And yes, I have been using wirlfloc in my dry hopped batches. I guess since dry hopped beer is supposed to be cloudy there is no good reason to use it. Thanks again folks for assisting me in being able to harvest more delicious beer!
Not to “thread-jack” but I saw the Cool Brew in the recent issue of BYO and was wondering if anyone had experience with it? I do not have any real way of controlling fermentation temps right now and the Cool Brew seems like it would be something that could sit in the corner, inconspicuous, and not have to worry about water or plugs or anything. Just a few bottles of ice. My main issue is that we don’t run the AC very often and the ambient temp in our house is usually +80F in the summer.
The Cool Brew jammy looks like it might do the trick. I think I am going to grab one unless someone has a better idea for an economic way to keep temps down especially for summer batches. Just gonna have to keep an eye on it as the ice melts to keep the temp steady.
A plastic tub from walmart(looks like a muck bucket) for 10 bucks with a couple of frozen 12oz water bottles keeps my fermenters in the low 60s in a 70 degree room. If it’s warmer I think a couple more water bottles would do it.