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Got a stupid question

I just received a 5 gallon kit for Christmas. And here’s the stupid question. Can I use a 1 gallon recipe kit in the 5 gallon set up? I’m just starting and don’t think I’m ready for the commitment of 5 gallons of something I might not even like. This is all new to me so please be gentle. Thanks

No questions about brewing good beer are stupid.

I would not brew a one gallon recipe in a five gallon bucket or carboy because of the oxidation risk. In a five gallon fermentor a very large percentage of your volume would be exposed to the air because of the large surface area. There is a blanket of CO2 over the beer when the fermentation is active but soon equalizes with the atmosphere when CO2 production ends even with an airlock installed. The airlock is to keep dust and crawly or flying things out of the fermentor. Using a five gallon secondary vessel for a one gallon recipe would definitely leave you with an oxidized beer. (A couple of good threads on whether a secondary vessel is even needed.)

I would suggest picking up some one-and-half to two gallon frosting buckets from the local grocery store to use as a fermentor and a bottling bucket for the one gallon batches. You can sometimes get them free or maybe up to a dollar apiece. They also usually have a removable o-ring in the lid for a very good seal.

Drill a hole in the lid for a grommet to fit an airlock and a hole to fit a spigot for the bottling bucket.

What are your favorite commercial beers? We can offer advice on complementary styles to brew.

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Bingo.

For one gallon kits, my personal experience is that the Little Big Mouth Bubbler works well. It’s probably a personal “time vs money” trade-off as to which way to go (2 gallon pails vs Little BMB) - order online vs “piece it together”.

One gallon carboys are a distant third choice for fermenting - although I’ve found they work well for storing StarSan.

The basic 1 gal glass carboys w/ airlocks are also only like $8 here at Northern Brewer. I bought one with my 5gal kit just so I can do weird 1-off batches.

Thanks for the info. I’m mostly into my local breweries at the moment. North eastern Kansas ( KC Bier co, Free State Brewery, Boulevard). Porters, Wheat’s, Black Lagers. Not much into IPA’ and not big on the high IBU’s. Any suggestions?

Once you get into bigger batches…one gallon carboys are great for making yeast starters.

How do you feel about a dry Irish stout or a smoother sweeter stout? What kind of wheats do you like? Witbiers Hefeweizens?

So if you don’t like your first batch your going to give up? Well you have the equipment for 5 gallons and it won’t take you any much more time to make. You either make 5 gallons with the kit you have and potentially not like it… or you potentially like it. VS. spending more money on more equipment just to make less beer and it takes the same amount of time. It’s not more commitment to do 5 gal vs 1 especially when you just got the kit for it.

Just sayin. Good luck brother and welcome to brewing

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Not sure about the dry irish stout. Not sure if I’ve ever had one. The sweeter stouts are something I would try. And I like most of the wheat’s regardless of the style.

These are two of NB’s wheat beers I’ve brewed. Liked them both. The Hefeweizen will be soon again.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/witbier-extract-kit Supposed to be a Blue Moon clone but tastes a lot better.

I’ve brewed this dry Irish stout many times. Like Guinness but more flavor. Not the Guinness draught which is devoid of any flavors.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/dry-irish-stout-extract-kit with WY 1084 for the yeast.

I have this partial mash in the fermentor.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/oatmeal-stout-partial-mash-kit with WY 1098.

Planining to do this one soon.

There is this American brown ale also. Moose Drool clone but has more body and flavors than Moose Drool. Another one currently in the fermentor. It also ages very well.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/caribou-slobber-extract-kit with WY 1332

Pick up a couple bottles of the cloned beers for an almost like it taste if you have a nearby store where you can build your own six-pack.

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I use these for starters. Would be great for one gallon batches as well.

https://www.amazon.com/H8O-Polycarbonate-Bottle-Handle-gallon/dp/B00BU95RRQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482765541&sr=8-1&keywords=2+gallon+water+bottle

The dry irish stout is similar to guinness.

I would get a recipe for a beer you know you like and then just make a 5 gallon batch. Nothing worse that making a beer you like and only having a gallon of it. Also, if you dont like it, just bottle the rest and store in a dark place. Try it again a year or two down the road and see if you still dont like it. Your taste buds will change and your beer will change at least a little with some aging. I have yet to make a batch that I didnt end up drinking…

How long can you keep a bottled batch?

They will lose some flavor over time but a year or more will be OK depending on style. IPAs will lose some of the hop bitterness for example. A stout will be fine IMHO. Some really big (strong, high alcohol) will benefit with time. I found some tucked in the back of a closet that were many years old. It was hard to tell what they were by tasting.

You can always give out some samples to friends and family. Probably get a few volunteers here too.

Just like hd4mark says. I have a Irish Red that has been sitting for about a year and a half. Just cracked one open yesterday and it tastes very close to what I remember. Different outcomes for different beers though for sure.

IPAs will lose some aroma from aging for sure but other than that any beer gets better with aging. I have a black IPA that’s 3 years in the bottle and it’s awesome. A rye porter the same age is really just coming into it’s own and a 4 year old belgian dark strong that’s like a fine port. I have 6 month old doppel bock that’s good but I’m betting it will be even better next winter.

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You could even split it into 2 growlers…
Everyone has at least 10 of those, right?

At least ten…problem is they’re scattered all over the place and never seem to make it home! I think I have 3 in my possession ATM.

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