Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Brewing 13 x 1/2-gallon batches to learn differet hops?

I just started homebrewing this year and all my batches so far were extract+specialty grains. The first batches were 5 gallon each, I recently moved to 2X 1 gallon batches for side-by-side comparisons, and now I’m looking into 2L (less than 1/2 gallon) batches, mostly to try different types of hops. A few questions:

  • Does anyone have experience with such tiny batches? Any special points to consider?
  • I’m considering buying a sampler kit of 13 different hops (1/3 ounce each) and brewing 4~5 batches at a time. Any recommended order? The 13 hops are:
  1. Cascade (US)
  2. Centennial (US)
  3. Chinook (US)
  4. Goldings (UK)
  5. Hallertauer (Germany)
  6. Liberty (US)
  7. Northern Brewer (US)
  8. Perle (Germany)
  9. Saaz (Czechoslovakia)
  10. Spalt (Germany)
  11. Target (UK)
  12. Tettnanger (US)
  13. Willamette (US)
  • To get comparable results I plan to calculate a certain target bitterness, e.g. 30 IBU (Tinseth), and change the ratio between 60 minutes boiled hops and, say, 5 minutes boiled hops so that I achieve the same bitterness with a single type of hops. Makes sense? Should I also add some hops 1 minute before finish?
  • To reduce complexity around the hops and to get the results quicker it would probably make sense to avoid specialty grains and stick with pale LME and ale yeast (e.g. US-05). Should I still add some specialty grains to ensure the resulting beer is also enjoyable to drink? The main goal here is to learn about the differences between different types of hops, but I do plan to actually drink this beer

Thanks in advance!

You are brewing 3 bottles of beer? I realize you are experimenting here. But I would still go for a 2-2.5 gallon batch.

Do you have a scale that will measure the hope to that low of a weight?

I think you will be fine with Lite/Extra Lite DME/LME. DME would likely be easier to work with and measure with a scale.

Thanks for replying.

Each batch should yield 5 regular small bottles of beer (330cc or 12oz). I think it’s reasonable for for an experiment. The reason I can’t brew larger batches in this case is that I’m using a wine fridge for fermentation, to get accurate temperature control. I can fit 1x 5-gallon container, or 2x 2-gallon containers, or 5x 1/2-gallon containers. For this experiment, the last options seems the most suitable, no?

Yes, I have a digital scale capable of 0.1 gram accuracy, and I already ordered one with 0.01 gram accuracy.

That’s a very good point. I’ll definitely use DME.

I agree such small brews is a heck of a lot of work.

Did you ever try Sam Adams Latitude 48 Deconstructed?

I agree, but unfortunately if I want to brew 4 or 5 beers at a time, I don’t have a way to brew larger batches.

No, but I just read about it and it seems like a very cool idea. Seems like it was a limited edition offering and is no longer available…

There was a discussion a while back about someone dry hopping bottles of Bud for a week to try out different hops. Might be easier than brewing that many small batches.

Go for it. Assuming you have four burners on your stove you could knock out four batches in under two hours. I would start by categorizing the hops into styles that are most commonly used together. For example, do all of your american PA/IPA hops first. Then do your European varieties, and then your German. If it were me I would actually pick more American varieties because there are so many wonderful new options for brewing IPAs.

64oz (.5 gallon) / 12oz = 5.333 bottles. With the trub/yeast, I would think you will be slightly over 4 bottles.

Get a 6pk of the 8oz cola bottles to use for the “left over” beer you can’t fit in a 12oz bottle. Or package them all in 16-20oz bottles soda bottles.

[quote=“Nighthawk”]64oz (.5 gallon) / 12oz = 5.333 bottles. With the trub/yeast, I would think you will be slightly over 4 bottles.

Get a 6pk of the 8oz cola bottles to use for the “left over” beer you can’t fit in a 12oz bottle. Or package them all in 16-20oz bottles soda bottles.[/quote]

Or if you are doing 4 small batches at once, take the “left over” bits from each batch and mix together for a “wildcard” batch". Dry hop with everything together.

Sure sounds easier, but I see a few potential issues:

  1. The beer already has hops.
  2. We don’t have Bud here (in Israel). There may be other beers that have low hoppiness, but I’m not sure which ones fall into this category (not my regular cup of beer :wink: )
  3. Opening the bottle to put the hops may result in flat beer.

[quote=“Brew Meister Smith”]
Or if you are doing 4 small batches at once, take the “left over” bits from each batch and mix together for a “wildcard” batch". Dry hop with everything together.[/quote]

I might just do that :wink:

I have multiple burners, but only one that’s really aggressive. I believe the boiling need to be similarly aggressive between all batches to ensure the results are not skewed.

I can’t pick up specific hops, because I’m going to buy a sampler

with a specific 13-hops combination. Good point about categorization. I’ll do that.

This is a template of the base “recipe” for 3 hops additions:

…and this is for 2 hops additions:

Any thoughts? Anything looks off in these screenshots (other than this being a SMaSH recipe which probably won’t result in a very interesting beer)?

Unfortunately, I can’t see your screenshots from work, but I have been doing something similar to this for the last two years. Basically, I brew a series of 1-gallon extract-only batches. Since it is extract only, I only boil for 15 minutes (to develop some bittering while maximizing flavor). I bitter to 40 IBU’s, add 0.25 oz at flameout, and dry hop with 0.5 oz. I am able to keep several batches going in series (boil in one pot, transfer to another to cool via water bath, then transfer to fermenter). I am basically able to crank out 7 or 8 batches in the time span of a normal all-grain brewday.

Here is a post on the AHA forum with the results of this year’s batches. it also has a bit more detail on my process and recipe:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/f ... ic=16663.0

Here are the results from a year ago:

http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/f ... #msg171180

I think you should definitely try it out. You may want to target a bigger batch size, since you will lose some wort/beer to hop absorption.

http://beerpulse.com/2013/03/why-anchor ... ts-fridge/

this would work with any flavorless lager meant to be drunk ice cold.

However, this hobby is great for those who enjoy experimenting, so hop on!

What about a simple hop tea?

I’ve heard these work for aroma, but not necessarily flavor (admittedly, the two are very closely related, and there is a good bit of crossover).

Tangential benefits - I’ve also heard hop tea is a great sleep aid, and it makes you have bizarre dreams. Dig it.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com