Is there any problem using a 5 gal kit (bucket for formenting) for 1 or 3 gal recipe kit

Hello experienced brewers!
I am very new at brewing, having only done one batch. I don’t have a lot of refrigerator space to store bottled beer so I was thinking about trying a 1 gal recipe in my 5 gal kit. Of course I’ll use the correct amount of ingredients to make 1 gallon, but I was wondering if fermenting in a 5 gal bucket would/could cause a problem. The only thing I could think of is that there would be more oxygen in the fermentor but that’s about it. Does anyone know if this would work just fine?



It will work and the O2 won’t be a concern as the CO2 produced will push it out. BUT… yep there is one…

You won’t yield much finished beer in the end due to the surface area of a 5gal bucket. But there is still hope. Our host sells 2gal buckets which are perfect for what you want while still providing headspace for blowoff.

Keep in mind that your 1gal brew will net about 10 beers. That’s not much beer for the work.

Thanks for the quick reply. Oh that’s an interesting point about the surface area. Yeah 1 gal seems pretty small, … maybe I’ll change to three. In that case or in either case I’ll make sure I get a appropriately sized fermentation bucket or carboy

I do 3 or 3.5 gallon batches in a 5 gallon bucket all the time, it works great! But as loopie says, don’t do a 1 gallon batch in one, you’ll leave far too much behind when you transfer because of the depth of the beer.

Get yourself a 5 gallon food-safe bucket at your favorite home box store, get an omega lid and a fermenting bucket lid grommet, drill a 1/2" hole in the lid, and ferment away! Cheapest fermenter with a positive seal you can get.

You mentioned refrigerator space. You don’t have to refrigerate all your bottled beer. I usually only refrigerate what I’ll be drinking in the next week. I agree longer does help some brews but I have kept bottles in a 60 degree basement for 6 months.

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With one exception, all my batches for the last year have been 3- gallon. I have some 5-gallon plastic BMB’s for primary, which are technically sold with the intent of being secondaries for 5-gallon batches. I also have some 3-gallon better bottles which I use occasionally for secondary.

While I see no issue fermenting 3 gallons in a 5 or 6.5 gallon bucket, I would assert it leaves too much headspace if you want to rack the beer off the yeast cake into a secondary vessel that big. A secondary is great for harvesting yeast, but otherwise the merits have been debated. So either get a smaller secondary vessel, or simply join the secondary debate on the “not needed” side.

The other benefit to 3-gallon batches is that it opens the door to stove top, indoor All Grain brewing. I use a 20-quart pot. Brew-day blizzard? No Problem!

If you already have a bucket tilt it on edge to decrease surface are might work.

If you plan on brewing ales instead of lagers, there is really no need to keep all of your finished beer in a refrigerator. I have beer that has been sitting in bottles in the basement for over a year now and it keeps just fine. The important part is to protect it from light as much as possible and protect it from constant rapid temperature swings. Storing it in a basement is usually pretty effective for storage.

That said, if you want to do 1-gal batches, you’ll want a smaller fermenter. I’ve done ‘half’ batches (2-3 gallon) in my normal fermenters with no problems, but it’s a lot of work for a little beer, especially if you get into partial mashing or all grain brewing. I brewed for just over a year on the stove top and found quickly that a half batch would max out my ability to mash an all grain brew without making too big of a mess in the kitchen, so I made do. Now I’ve moved outside and stepped up to 10 gallon batches of all grain, but that’s another story.

Welcome to the hobby/addiction!

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I have gotten 2.5 gallon food grade plastic buckets at the grocery store deli. Never measured the exact volume. They previously held frosting. Tight fitting lids with o-ring seals. Cost $0.50 apiece. To turn these into a fermentor or bottling bucket a grommet for the airlock or drill a hole for a spigot.

Cake frosting buckets from Wal-Mart bakery would work great.

They are free.

Thanks guys! This info is really helpful. I never even thought of getting frosting buckets, and it’s good to know that I can keep the beer unchilled longer then a few weeks.

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