Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

I think I need 2.5gal batches!

I’m rapidly coming to the conclusion that a 1 gal small batch is insufficient, even when it’s just me drinking, and I don’t want it to always be just me. However, I still think the 5 gal is too much. The current plan I’m kicking around in my head is to get a 3 gal carboy and do half-batches with the 5 gal kits…that will open up many more recipe choices as well. However, I’m a little worried about how well the remaining half will keep. Can I freeze everything? I would guess the specialty grains (I’m doing extract brewing for now) would be the biggest problem?

i have 3 - 3 gallon better bottles. They hold 3 gallons with a little head room (i use a blow off assembly for the first few days - only had one make it into the tube so far). what you could do is just double or triple everything from 1 gallon batches with no leftovers. Or make the 5 gallon batch and split it into 2 fermenters.

How long does it take you to go through 2 cases? Because most home brews will keep at cellar temps. A 5-gal batch is essentially 2 cases.

I’m in the same boat as the OP. I am making 1.67-gallon batches (1/3 of a standard 5-gallon batch).

One solution is not to buy kits, just buy the ingredients you need. But everything will keep for a while, so you can still buy and store ingredients of you prefer. Uncrushed grains will keep for a year or so at cellar temperatures. Hops will last for several years in the freezer. Dry yeast keeps for a couple of years in a refrigerator. Any liquid yeast only lasts for about 8 months from the date of manufacture. I tend to go with dry yeast more these days for this reason.

The best thing to do would be just to buy a very small amount of ingredients so that you can always use fresh stuff. Of course… I’ve got a lot of ingredients that I’ve accumulated for many years. Does beer quality suffer as a result? You bet your batootie it does. One of these years I’ll throw everything out and just start over fresh. It is worthwhile to get your ingredients as fresh as possible. But will they keep for a little while? For a year? Yeah, they will.

What about crushed grains? I’ve generally purchased crushed grains on the assumption that the fancy grain mill at the store does a better job than I do by whacking a bag of grain with a rolling pin. :slight_smile:

Crushed grains will go stale a lot faster. I don’t store my grains crushed so I cannot say how long this takes exactly, but imagine how long an opened box of corn flakes will last as compared to an unopened box. Maybe a couple of months? Not any longer than that. Perhaps if you vacuum sealed them, they would last longer… but who wants to go through that kind of trouble.

It all depends on exposure to air and humidity. Uncrushed grain will stay good pretty much indefinitely if it is stored in a sealed container.

That’s about what I thought. Oh, well. I’m not opposed to vacuum sealing if that will do the trick, and it’s certainly cheaper than a grain mill. Worst case scenario, I toss the occasional few ounces of grain on someone’s compost heap. :slight_smile:

A follow up to Dave’s post.

I’m with you on smaller batches. My only problems is yeast. What I tend to do two batches and split the yeast between them.

Question: Can you use half of a package of dry yeast and then freeze the other half? What about liquid yeast (especially White Labs)?

Thanks,
Rafal

[quote=“Adso of Sierpc”]A follow up to Dave’s post.

I’m with you on smaller batches. My only problems is yeast. What I tend to do two batches and split the yeast between them.

Question: Can you use half of a package of dry yeast and then freeze the other half? What about liquid yeast (especially White Labs)?

Thanks,
Rafal[/quote]

I see no reason why you couldn’t freeze half a packet of dry yeast. I’d put fold the packet over a couple times and stick it in a ziplock bag. I have an extra packet of dry yeast in the freezer right now.

Liquid would probably be more of an issue since a lot of it comes in smack packs that are not really re-sealable. I would imagine the White Labs would be alright though. You may have to do a starter after freezing liquid yeast though.

You can use half a pack of yeast. But do not freeze it. Freezing can kill it. Refrigeration is appropriate.

A vial/pack of liquid yeast is just about the right amount for a 2.5-3 gallon batch of ale, since it is about half what you want for a 5 gallon batch, depending on the gravity.

For my small batches with White Labs yeast, personally I use half a vial but I make a starter. If I was in a hurry I might just throw the whole vial in and skip the starter, but this is still risky. I prefer to use dry yeast as often as possible, then I can use a half a pack without a starter and it’s just a lot easier. All kept in the refrigerator – do not freeze.

you can buy a very small amount of ingredients because its work nice sometimes.

I guess I should research the cost of buying individual ingredients vs. the kits. Of course, if I can keep the unused half of the 5 gal kit for, say, six months…then I’m good…but I’m betting the crushed grain might be an issue.

It’s not a space issue, so doing the 5 gal kits in double batches doesn’t help…and sure, I can go through a couple cases but the thing is, at least right now while I’m experimenting, I want to brew every couple weeks, something different. At 5 gal amounts, I can see that adding up quickly.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com