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Thinking of going from 5gal all grain to 1gal

i’m a casual brewer who brews 5gal all grain batches. sometimes i make great beers, sometimes i dump them, but when i do make great ones i get stuck with so many bottles. my friends in the area aren’t big beer drinkers, i enjoy buying commercial beers as much as i like to drink my own… and i just can’t go through a 40 bottle batch. i brew for the fun of it, but mostly to give away and share… but if there’s no one to share with i sit on a couple dozen bottles for months.

i’m considering cutting back to 1 gal. batches that will allow me to brew basically for myself. however, i’m used to all grain brewing, while i’m not a great brewer, i have a few years experience of all grain.

my question is… will i just be disapointed doing stove-top, partial mash brews after the (fun) work of doing bigger all-grain batches?

should i switch to 1 gal? stay at 5 gal?

find new friends?

i want to brew more often, but just can’t if i sit on 20+ bottles per batch…

advice?

thanks!

Really depends on how much beer you want. One gallon batches you will get maybe 8-10 bottles so patience on letting them age and condition is huge.

I brew one gallon batches and do all grain. The concept is the same, just different equipment and approach. You will save money but you will spend almost the same amount of time brewing one gallon compared to five gallon. You will save time on sparging and wort chilling (but not by much), and bottling.

Recipe builds are easy, just scale them accordingly.

I’ve thought about doing smaller batches as well, but I can’t imagine only doing 1 gallon batches. All that work and waiting just for a 8-10 bottles?

I did 3 gallons of Irish Stout in February and that has actually worked out very nicely.

Maybe cut back to 2 gallon batches and, yes, find new friends. :stuck_out_tongue:

yeah, it’s a lot of work for just 8-10 bottles… maybe the idea of going to 2 gal or something…

if i went 2 gal, do you think i could still use my 5gal carboy to ferment? is there any reason that would be too big?

could the 1 (or 2) gallon batches be all grain? just about scaling, right?

hmm.

yeah, new friends, too…

[quote=“kcbeersnob”]I’ve thought about doing smaller batches as well, but I can’t imagine only doing 1 gallon batches. All that work and waiting just for a 8-10 bottles?

I did 3 gallons of Irish Stout in February and that has actually worked out very nicely.

Maybe cut back to 2 gallon batches and, yes, find new friends. :stuck_out_tongue: [/quote]

Those are very good options as well. But I would try the 2-3 gallon batches before finding new friends. Making beer is easier than making friends.

I do the one gallon brews to experiment and try new things. If the beer isn’t that great I spent less than ten bucks and have only a few bottles to pass on.

There’s nothing wrong with doing all-grain one gallon batches. Exact same process, just smaller. If you don’t want to make a tiny mash tun, I suggest doing BIAB. Use a 5-gallon paint strainer bag from Home Depot/Lowes. It stretches over a 4 gallon canning pot perfectly for stove-top BIAB.

You can even make starters from your bottle conditioned brews. Save the last oz in the bottle, swirl it around, and add it to about 5oz of cooled wort from your batch for a real wort starter; IME it’s the perfect amount for a 1 gallon batch.

would there be anything wrong with brewing, say, 2 gallons in my 5 gal mash tun? or, again, fermenting 2 gal in a 5 gal carboy?

it is frustrating/a shame to do all the same amount of work, and the dreaded waiting time… only to get less beer… but if half of it’s not being consumed… well, that’s a shame, too.

[quote=“CliffordBrewing”]There’s nothing wrong with doing all-grain one gallon batches. Exact same process, just smaller. If you don’t want to make a tiny mash tun, I suggest doing BIAB. Use a 5-gallon paint strainer bag from Home Depot/Lowes. It stretches over a 4 gallon canning pot perfectly for stove-top BIAB.

You can even make starters from your bottle conditioned brews. Save the last oz in the bottle, swirl it around, and add it to about 5oz of cooled wort from your batch for a real wort starter; IME it’s the perfect amount for a 1 gallon batch.[/quote]

[quote=“taylor12k”]would there be anything wrong with brewing, say, 2 gallons in my 5 gal mash tun? or, again, fermenting 2 gal in a 5 gal carboy?
[/quote]
No, nothing wrong with these options. You’ll probably lose a bit more heat than you’re used to during the mash but shouldn’t be too bad. You definitely won’t need a blow off hose during fermentation. That’s nice.

mathematically, it’s probably easiest to go 2.5 gal.

First off, you mentioned partial mash and if you are doing this small of a batch I would recommend all grain BIAB with no extract. Not sure if that was what you meant but thought I’d say it.

Personally I don’t like the one gallon batches. I thought I did until I made one I really liked and it was all gone in one night :frowning: . After that I switched to two gallons and depending on the beer I’m making and how big of a pipeline I have built up I’ll do anywhere from 2-3 gallons. Bigger batch sizes are also easier in terms of hopping IMO.

You can totally ferment in a five gallon carboy, that’s what I do for the most part. The three gallon better bottles are also really nice to have around. I would recommend picking one up.

Easy solution…drink more! :cheers:

But seriously, I have the opposite problem. I split 10 gallon batches with 2 other brew partners, and we only have enough fermenters to do one batch at a time, so I’m always milking the last dozen or so bottles until the next batch is ready to drink!

Oh to have too much homebrew. What a problem to have!

Easier if you’re doing it off the cuff but if you have recipes in a program like BeerSmith you can scale them to any desired size.

Yes. And you’re right that it’s basically the same time commitment regardless of batch size, but there is a slight difference due to time for heating, chilling, transfers etc. In my experience it seems like there’s a “cutoff” point where there’s a time savings between batch sizes. It may be imaginary, but it seems like anything from 1-3 gallons takes the same amount of time, and 3-7 gallons, and finally 7+ gallons. So for me the only real benefit of doing a 1 gallon batch over a 3 gallon batch is ingredient savings.

I’m surprised nobody has mentioned this solution yet… send the extra to me! :lol:

I love 3gal batches. I get a case of beer plus a 2L bottle for a party.

I was going to mention how cool Beersmith is, but Danny beat me to it! I’ve been doing all 5 gal. batches (only 20 so far) & am the sole consumer in my household. A few friends have tried them, but aren’t into “GOOD” beer! Been keeping up pretty well myself(hence the user name!) but i also want to brew more. Gonna do 3.5 gal BIAB for awhile. Brewsmith is awesome for taking any recipe & scaling it. Check it out. :cheers:

+1

I recently bought a 3 gallon carboy to brew 2.5 gallon batches.
(Reason being, I am experimenting with sorghum beers and the extract comes in the right size for 2’5 gallon batches)

The 3 gallon carboy with head room for a 2.5 gallon batch is a nice easy to handle solution.
That might be the way to go for you.

I’m in the 3-4 gallon camp, usually 4 gallons. That’s what my stove can handle and I ferment in kegs. I think right around 3 gallons is just about perfect. I used to brew 5 gallon batches and after a while, I started to notice that I’d be getting sick of a beer about half way through the keg. I moved to a new place, was force to brew smaller, and loved it. I get to brew more often, rarely get bored of what I have on tap, and just generally learning more by brewing more.
Brew enough to at least make it worth your while. Like others have said, 2.5 gallons, for me, is the cut off. You get a case of beer, which is a nice amount, and it takes about the same time.

Also, like you, I like buying commercial beer for variety, but this year I’ve made a conscious effort to stop buying beer. I pretty much only drink homebrew now, unless I’m out at a bar or restaurant. It’s pretty cool!

Same here, I haven’t bought beer from a store in years, but I have a couple any time I eat out. SWMBO gets annoyed with me every time we go out for dinner, she has to listen to me complain that “I could make a whole batch for how much these two beers cost!!” She’s usually kind enough to remind me that I just spent $100 on a few more kegs, $15 on a CO2 exchange, $150 on another refrigerator, $75 on a bigger mill, etc.

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