Monday, July 6, 2015

A couple of 1 gallon batches for your viewing pleasure

I think I'm in love... not the flighty here today gone tomorrow kind of love, not the passion burning so hot it has to burn out kind of love.   No, this is real, true love.  The kind that lasts.

I'm in love with small batch brewing.

This weekend I brewed two 1 gallon batches of beer.   It was awesome, low stress, and fast.   Cleaning kitchen to clean up under 4 hours for two batches.

Small batch fits perfectly into my ideals of counter top brewing.
  • Affordable batches
  • Low risk experimentation
  • Low Risk Entry into All Grain Brewing
  • More variety
  • Low Entry Cost
  • Easy Lagering with the right yeast strains ( a 1 gallon jug and air lock fit easily into my garage fridge )
  • Super fast chilling (I went from boiling to 68 in 10 minutes with a wort chiller and a sink full of ice water )
  • Easy forced Carbonation in 2 liter bottles... seriously? what could be easier?  faster grain to glass...
If you haven't tried it yet... come on what are you waiting for.   Small Batch Brewing will allow me to brew every weekend.  That is 6-8 gallons of beer every month... and yes... that is enough beer.   I'm not saying I wont still do partial mash batches... I will.   But as I look at my beer cellar (read under the dining room table I have over 200 bottles of beer, but only 5 styles of beer are represented)  The kid needs more variety than that.   Some web resources I have found so helpful in my quest to learn more about 1 gallon brewing.... brain sparging  this guy is an attorney who goes in depth in his explanation of home brewing in small batches, and bullcityhomebrew a homebrew shop that actually shares it's recipes for one gallon batches.  They also have equipment set ups, and a brew school.  I would be remiss if I didn't mention Homebrew Exchange Oregon's finest.   Just type in PICO on their search page.

The only things I don't have that I clearly need for small batch brewing right now are... a refractometer, hydrometers just take up too much wort for a 1 gallon batch, a really, I mean really good digital thermometer, and a really good digital scale.

The day started with dry hopping my Pliny the Toddler.  It should be ready for bottling this weekend.  If you've never had a Pliny the Elder by Russian River I suggest you find the recipe and brew one up. Mine is posted at Brewtoad. Pliny the Toddler
Next step, cleaning the brewery.   I always start by cleaning the kitchen and all of the brewing equipment.  

Next I organized my stuff for both batches.   I always lay out my stuff. I usually put sticky notes by it to remind me when to put in various ingredients.   And I clean, and put away ingredients as I brew.  Not only does it make the brew day a little shorter, it keeps down mistakes that can get made in a messy brewhouse.

Water adjustments?  Sure... I use 5.2 pH stabilizer. I find that I get better efficiency, and perhaps more importantly, my hoppy beers stay hoppy.   I know, I know... many of you will argue that you don't really need pH stabilizer.  The mash will stabilize on its' own.  I know that is a statement that is probably correct.   But, my experience says better efficiency, crystal clear wort, and longer term hop flavor and aroma.  For a small batch just a heaping 1/4 of a teaspoon.

Hops measured, organized and ready for service.   This is 1 ounce of Cascade divided into .25 ounces.  60,10,5,0.  Lots of late additions ensures that I will have lots of hop aroma and flavor.   Ill taste this beer after primary and see if it will need to be dry hopped.  Some Simcoe dry hop might get this beer to exactly where I want it to be, a hoppy, grapefruity, refreshing beer.

Honey brown mashing.   Cascade Ale boiling away.  You might note, if you have a stove like mine, that I set the kettle over two burners.  That tricks the stove into keeping both burners going with out over heating.  I can get a pretty vigorous boil.  You may also note, that my volume is too high on the cascade pale ale.  I tried a no sparge BIAB.  I wont be doing that again.  It is much easier to mash with 1.5 quarts of water, and then rinse sparge up to volume.

I use two, or three timers when doing double batches.  I have brewtimer on my phone.   I use my microwave timer, and I use the ol apple timer (not super accurate but hey, you use what you've got).  You might note the plastic plate in the bottom right of the photo.  It has been cleaned and sanitized, it is for setting things on.   Never set things on your counter, even if you have cleaned them.  It is just good practice to follow, even during the boil.

The chill went fine and fast.  Ridiculous cold break. and very clear wort.   One thing I love about small batch brewing is fast chilling.   I set the kettle into a sink of icewater, and turn my chiller on full blast. I usually go from boiling to pitch temp in 10-15 minutes, sometimes faster.

All in all a good brew day.  And I needed one after last weeks debacle.  Update on last week.  The beer from the mistake is bubbling like a fiend.   It's original gravity was... 1.081.   Well see if Nottingham can get it to a decent final gravity.  If not.  I may try adding a wine or champagne yeast just to see what happens.   

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the post. I'm a small batch brewer myself, and greatly appreciate seeing what others are doing along the same vein.

    In your last sentence, you mention adding wine or champagne yeast...would you do that *instead* of the Nottingham, or in addition to it? If you were to use a second yeast, how would you go about doing so? In secondary? Thanks for your thoughts.