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Brewing small batches

Hello

I’m a novice brewer, I made my first batch of beer a couple of months ago, I brewed InnKeeper, which went very well but I have a question. I made 5 gallons of the ale but im about the only person I know around here who actually drinks real ale, especially Bitter and certain English seasonal ales. 5 gallons is a lot of beer for me to drink quickly and im keen to brew more ale, so is it possible to brew a smaller amount of ale? I have used and for the time being will continue to use extract kits, so if I wanted to make 2 1/2 gallons should I just divide the ingredients by 2? Or does it not work like that?

Cheers

Paul

Short answer, yes. The problem you’ll run into is trying to accurately split up the liquid extract that most kits contain. It may be better to purchase the ingredients separately and use dry extract rather than liquid. A program like Beersmith[/url] or a website like [url=http://www.beersmith.com/]Hopville

will help with the scaling.

Yep that should work out ok. I would just buy an extra vial of yeast so you have one for each brew.

Second beersmith and switching to dry malt extract for ease of use. Both those will help you achieve your goal.

I know you said you’ll stick with extract for the time being but it might be worth it to look into BIAB (brew in a bag). I just started it for experimental batches I’ve written but don’t want five gallons of something that might be horrible. You most likely can do two and a half gallon batches in your extract pot without having to buy anything other than a big brew bag and maybe a strainer. It’s super easy and would be an easy introduction to allgrain.

[quote=“cam0083”]Second beersmith and switching to dry malt extract for ease of use. Both those will help you achieve your goal.

I know you said you’ll stick with extract for the time being but it might be worth it to look into BIAB (brew in a bag). I just started it for experimental batches I’ve written but don’t want five gallons of something that might be horrible. You most likely can do two and a half gallon batches in your extract pot without having to buy anything other than a big brew bag and maybe a strainer. It’s super easy and would be an easy introduction to allgrain.[/quote]

Big +1 to this!!

I still use my 5 gallon pot for test 2.5 to 3.5 BIAB batches. I did attempt to push the limits with a 4.25 gallon batch…learned my lesson when the bittering addition erupted a bunch of wort and hops all over my stove.

NB’s larger strain bag is actually a near perfect fit for the 5 gallon kettles they sell. http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/larg … -x-19.html

just stick with the 5 gallon batch. none of my friends drink mine. they all tell me it taste great but i drink most of it. it will go faster than you think. brew once a month and youll barely keep up. good luck, its one of the most rewarding hobbies you will ever have.

I’m also new to brewing, but i concur with Don Cuz … i’m currently brewing with two simultaneous one-gallon batches and i’m no where close to the point where i don’t need to buy beer anymore. Let’s say your 5-gal yields you 50 bottles … average just 1-2 beers a day and you’ll drink at the rate you’re brewing. Personally, i’ll be investing in 5-gal equipment as soon as i have the cash and some solid recipes/consistency.

That being said, I have a recipe book geared towards 1-gal batches, but it also details 5-gal versions, which are essentially exactly the same times 5 (at least when it comes to the grain). I’m assuming the same could work in reverse, and i just today tried scaling a five-gallon recipe down to one (brewing with 1/5 of the grain and hops… if you’re not all grain i imagine that extract should work on the same principle). I definitely made beer, and my pitch from 5 hours ago has already started bubbling … but it’s not the colour i expected, so i’m not sure whether that’s a ratio error i made in the downscale, or that’s just how the recipe is. Regardless, it looks like it will be drinkable, so I’m not terribly concerned. If you really want to try to downscale the batch, I say go for it and do what makes sense to you … just be open minded about the outcome and keep us posted on how it goes.

Brewing smaller batches makes for more variety, and will get you brewing more often. Brewing more often will help you become a better brewer through practice and repetition. You can work out your techniques and try brewing more styles, then scale up to bigger batches when you feel ready - or when your friends and family start mooching your fine brew.

I’m also a big proponent of BIAB / MIAB and. like others, use it for smaller batches when I’m playing with a new recipe or when I just want a smaller batch of something different. Extract, minim-mash and BIAB are all probably good options for you (the OP).

Thank you all for your replies, theres some great advice. I definately agree that the beer is going down a whole lot quicker than I thought it would. I suppose im very eager to try as many different ales as possible, since moving to the U.S. from the UK i’ve struggled to find many great ales (according to my taste, im sure they’re great ales really), I even get excited now when I see Boddingtons being sold in Walgreens, so I know somethings wrong. The weathers warming up and Innkeeper is a little heavy for 70f-80f weather, need something a bit lighter. I will definately try the BIAB method, that seems like the way forward.

The only reason I mentioned that I would continue with extract kits is because im new to this and it seemed pretty safe, eventually I want to get to all grain brewing, the BIAB method seems a good step in that direction, need to walk before I can run.

A lot of us here are 3gal brewers, so you’d be in good company. I can crank out a lot of variety this way. NB generally uses their own LME that is packaged in small milk jugs I think, so it should be possible to split batches. Stock a few pounds of specialty grains and you can make modifications to these for even more variety. A bitter with a little chocolate malt could be a mild, stuff like this.

I’d also mention that it is important to save yeast cake for re-use in order to make small batches cost effective. Its a simple thing to do, and you can easily get five or six batches out of a yeast with proper planning and handling.

I think everyone so far has had valid points but I guess it comes down to how often you want to brew. If you love it and have the time to do it go with the smaller batches. On the other hand, if you’re stretched for time and like the end result more than the practice then maybe stick with 5 gallon batches; they will get drank. It just depends on your attitude and time

since i started in 07 ive made 45 extract kits from NB. only a few ive made more than 2 or 3 times. lots to choose from, it will take a long time to go through the list of kits. some i liked better then others but they all went down easy. cant seem to save any. must have to start brewing more. Ive also made 15 batches of wine for the wife. keeps her happy & she doesnt complain too mutch about the smell on brew day. mmmmmm! good luck and keep brewing.

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