Brewing small batches

General homebrew discussion, tips and help on kit and malt extract brewing, and talk about equipment. Queries on sourcing supplies and equipment should go in The Store.

Brewing small batches

Postby tarkasteve » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 3:26 pm

Hi,

I'm starting to get back into brewing and was considering working on my skills by brewing up smaller batches of beer rather than the usual 23L quantities. The advantage (as I see it) to this is the faster turn-around time for brewing (not having to drink/store large volumes), easier-to-handle equipment (smaller fermenters, etc) and is better suited to working in a small kitchen. I've seen this done in a video on basicbrewing.com where they brewed a 6-pack, but I was wondering if anyone here has tried this and has any advice?

Also, does anyone know if smaller demijohns are available anywhere?

Thanks,
Steve
User avatar
tarkasteve
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sunday Mar 09, 2008 1:34 pm

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby Old Gil » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 4:54 pm

I personally wouldn't bother making a six pack, too much time for so little beer. maybe try making about 10 - 11 litres with some malt extract and adding your own hop additions during the boil, or maybe just a kit with nothing else. I know you can get small 15 ltr fermenter's but the demijohn i couldn't say :)
Is it beer'o'clock yet
Old Gil
 
Posts: 215
Joined: Friday Nov 09, 2007 6:43 pm
Location: Melbourne

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby SpillsMostOfIt » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 5:09 pm

I routinely make small batches in my Pilot Plant Kettle that I ferment in my 8.5litre fermenter (a plastic Decor storer from the supermarket). I sometimes brew down to six bottles.

This is because I like brewing just a little bit more than I like drinking beer. Demijohns down to five litres in five litre multiples are available. I am currently ageing a couple of meads in 10litre demijohns. The G&G website is a reasonable starting point for ideas on what sizes are available.
No Mash Tun. No Chill.

No confirmed fatalities.
SpillsMostOfIt
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Friday Nov 24, 2006 5:07 pm
Location: Collingwood, Australia

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby Kevnlis » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 5:18 pm

Honestly I have never made a batch of beer that was not drinkable. It is just as much work to make a half or quarter batch as it is to do a full batch. Granted I would get a quicker turn around, I average 1 and a half full batches a week anyway ;)
Prost and happy brewing!

Image
O'Brien Gluten Free Beer
User avatar
Kevnlis
 
Posts: 3380
Joined: Tuesday Jul 10, 2007 5:15 pm
Location: B-Rat

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby Chris » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 6:38 pm

Also, brewing smaller batches is often more difficult than brewing larger batches. The main reasons are: small mistakes are magnified, temperature variations are more problematic, and hops (if using kits) are all out of whack.
A beer in the hand is worth two in George Bush...

"They say beer will make me dumb. It are go good with pizza"
Psychostick
Chris
 
Posts: 3716
Joined: Tuesday Oct 04, 2005 1:35 pm
Location: Northern Canberra

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby tarkasteve » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 7:14 pm

SpillsMostOfIt wrote:This is because I like brewing just a little bit more than I like drinking beer.

Oh, I enjoy drinking the beer, don't worry about that :) I just want to get some recipes and techniques down pat before I start generating vast quantities of booze.

Kevnlis wrote:Honestly I have never made a batch of beer that was not drinkable. It is just as much work to make a half or quarter batch as it is to do a full batch. Granted I would get a quicker turn around, I average 1 and a half full batches a week anyway ;)

Yep, I realise I'm just creating extra work for myself but that's half the point.

BTW, what's the feeling about using demijohns for fermenting? The only downside I can see is that they would be hard to clean.
User avatar
tarkasteve
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sunday Mar 09, 2008 1:34 pm

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby tarkasteve » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 7:17 pm

Chris wrote:Also, brewing smaller batches is often more difficult than brewing larger batches. The main reasons are: small mistakes are magnified, temperature variations are more problematic, and hops (if using kits) are all out of whack.

Yep, the trickiness of scaling down occurred to me. I'm planning on doing extract brews initially so hopefully any differences shouldn't be too great. And of course, if I cock it up it's only a small batch :)
User avatar
tarkasteve
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sunday Mar 09, 2008 1:34 pm

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby Kevnlis » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 7:36 pm

tarkasteve wrote:BTW, what's the feeling about using demijohns for fermenting? The only downside I can see is that they would be hard to clean.


Yeah there is that... and they break easily :evil:

You also have to be sure to keep them from getting light struck and skunking the beer. I know it sounds silly, but pour a beer into a clear drinking glass and leave it for a few hours in the sun, taste it against the original that has not seen any sun and you will know what I mean.

Another thing that comes to mind is siphoning the wort which really is a major PITA IMHO.
Prost and happy brewing!

Image
O'Brien Gluten Free Beer
User avatar
Kevnlis
 
Posts: 3380
Joined: Tuesday Jul 10, 2007 5:15 pm
Location: B-Rat

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby tarkasteve » Tuesday Mar 18, 2008 7:52 pm

Kevnlis wrote:You also have to be sure to keep them from getting light struck and skunking the beer. I know it sounds silly, but pour a beer into a clear drinking glass and leave it for a few hours in the sun, taste it against the original that has not seen any sun and you will know what I mean.

You mean it will be warm and flat? :) But yes, I realise UV is death to both yeast and beer.
Another thing that comes to mind is siphoning the wort which really is a major PITA IMHO.

Yeah, that's true, but part of me wants to do this the 'proper' way (ultimately doing full AG brews). Maybe I'm just a masochist.

I think what I'll do is get a a 15L demjohn and a 15L plastic fermenter and use them for primary and secondary to get a feeling them.

Thanks to everyone for their comments.
User avatar
tarkasteve
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Sunday Mar 09, 2008 1:34 pm

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby Chris » Wednesday Mar 19, 2008 6:41 am

Umm... light doesn't kill yeast or beer. It affects the hops, creating a light-struck, skunky flavour that some find attractive in a final beer.

As for killing yeast, I ferment many of my lemonades outside.

As for making it easier to learn to brew, I think you've got things completely reversed. Sounds like you're determined to do it the hard way though. Either way, good luck with it.
A beer in the hand is worth two in George Bush...

"They say beer will make me dumb. It are go good with pizza"
Psychostick
Chris
 
Posts: 3716
Joined: Tuesday Oct 04, 2005 1:35 pm
Location: Northern Canberra

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby timmy » Wednesday Mar 19, 2008 7:08 am

I'm going to start doing half batches for much the same reason as Mr Spills. I've recently started doing partials and am really rapt in the outcome so I'm going to start doing half batch AG's - I only have a 15L mash tun (which is a bitch to sparge from) and a 19L pot. I'll find my feet using 1/2 batch AG's and then buy the bigger better gear to make full batches.
The only problem I could see is the accurate measuring of hops, since my digital kitchen scales only read in 2g increments. But when I get some more accurate ones I should be sorted.
Also - I'm planning on using those 10L water containers from the supermarket (the ones they sell the spring water in) to condition in as they are easy to store stacked up in my beer fridge.

Cheers,

Tim
timmy
 
Posts: 837
Joined: Saturday Sep 09, 2006 11:34 pm
Location: SE Melbourne

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby Pale_Ale » Wednesday Mar 19, 2008 7:23 am

I've done 12L batched before and they work great if you are tweaking a recipe. Yes, it goes without saying that if you just spend another 10 minutes here and there throughout the process you couold have twice as much beer, but to me I have plenty of beer, both home brew and commercial to drink, so I would rather not waste beer or spend those extra few minutes if I'm just trying to refine a recipe.
Coopers.
Pale_Ale
 
Posts: 1233
Joined: Wednesday Oct 25, 2006 10:46 pm
Location: Adelaide, SA

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby SpillsMostOfIt » Wednesday Mar 19, 2008 7:55 am

I find small batches to be considerably quicker than big batches. It takes less time to come up to temp and take it back down again. Less water if you're into the whole chilling caper, etc, etc. If you're a BIABer, it becomes very civilised indeed because there is little that can't be cleaned in the dishwasher at the end of the escapade.

You need a good set of scales to be sure, but you had those anyway, didn't you? *sniffff*

If you're going to translate recipes from the small system to a bigger system, you need to take into account the amount of energy you're pumping into the pot. I believe that this makes a considerable difference to the outcome of the beer. I'm currently working on a technology solution for my electric Pilot Plant to ensure I use the same energy to wort ratio for any given size of batch.

Of course, if you don't carry the Engineer Gene (aka the Pedantic Bastard Gene), you don't have to worry.
No Mash Tun. No Chill.

No confirmed fatalities.
SpillsMostOfIt
 
Posts: 789
Joined: Friday Nov 24, 2006 5:07 pm
Location: Collingwood, Australia

Re: Brewing small batches

Postby padalpop » Monday May 04, 2015 5:33 pm

Hi,

Please explain where did you get it in Australia. Or if you know tell me about the availability in Melbourne (if possible)
padalpop
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Friday May 01, 2015 8:50 pm


Return to Making beer

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests

cron