Does size matter?

For those who like to brew BIAB just using their stovetop.
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Does size matter?

Post by no-more-peroni » 3 years ago

New to BIAB, I only discovered it yesterday and hope to be brewing by the weekend. I have only brewed with kits in the past, was going to go to extract, but found this and its obviously the way to go for me.

The question is I would like to brew every week or two to practice and get better so I would love to brew with a 15 liter pot and ferment about 5 liters for each batch. Is this OK, or is t just too small? (I am just checking as I have been told that size matters.)

Any advice really appreciated.


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Post by shibolet » 3 years ago

5L is perfect!
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Post by thughes » 3 years ago

The only downside is making just 5L of absolutely excellent beer. Dive in with both feet and post any questions you may have, we're here to help.

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Post by 2trout » 3 years ago

Well,

If you ask my wife more is always better! :lol: Not necessarily bigger, just more :lol: !

I agree with Shib and Todd, I would point out that if you enjoy the brewing process, frequent small batches allow you to have more fun while fine tuning your brewing process!


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Last edited by 2trout on 07 Jan 2014, 23:24, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by smashmouth » 3 years ago

I only have one batch under my belt, but my logic was the same as yours and that was my plan. However, I received a 20L kettle for Christmas, so I didn't have to make a go of the 12L one I was trying to make work.

In my (one and only) batch I started with 12L and ended up with ~7L in my 20L pot, so you shouldn't have any issues hitting your mark. You can also add water or sparge a bit (do some searching on here) to bring you boil volume up to hit you final numbers if needed/desired.

I can't recommend the BIABacus enough, it took care of all the water issues for me so I could focus on the more fun parts of planning the recipe. I went from no experience to all grain, and I probably would not have attempted it without the BIABacus.

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Post by no-more-peroni » 3 years ago

I had tried The Calculator but was rather daunted by BIABacus. However I went back, opened a beer (as per the FAQ) and looked at it again and its great. Friendly site too, glad I found it. Looking forward to the first brew.


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Post by soccerdad » 3 years ago

I think I would brew every other day just to get familiar with it all :)


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Post by PistolPatch » 3 years ago

no-more-peroni wrote:... was rather daunted by BIABacus. However I went back, opened a beer (as per the FAQ) and looked at it again and its great.
:lol: That should be in a BIABacus testimonial section. Very plesed to see you opened the beer and got through it nmp :). Also welcome to the site - great first post you did :salute:.

Only thing I have to say here is that small batch sizes are quite hard to measure out so make sure you have scales that will measure small weights. As you can imagine, measuring say 3 grams of hops or dried yeast on a set of bathroom scales will not work :shock:.

The other thing that is hard to measure in small batches is volumes and gravities. A gravity sample often requires 200 mls of wort so try and ensure that when you do take a gravity sample that you are able to return it to the wort somehow.

When taking final gravities, instead of taking several samples, just take one after active fermentation has finished. Leave your hydrometer in the jar and leave the jar next to your fermentor. Cover both of them with something that will stop wild yeast or bacteria falling in. Now you can watch the hydrometer rise as the gravity drops without wasting any more wort.

;)
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Post by no-more-peroni » 3 years ago

Good point about the hydrometer, I had not thought about that. Has anyone used a refractometer for testing SG?

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Post by BobBrews » 3 years ago

no-more-peroni wrote:Good point about the hydrometer, I had not thought about that. Has anyone used a refractometer for testing SG?
Lots of people like the quick and easy refractometers for starting gravity. Lots of folks don't like the refractometers and don't trust them. You can't use them for final gravity (because of the alcohol) so lots here just use the hydrometer both times (SD and FG).

I use both when and (if) I remember too? When I bought a "refrac" it was just that they looked so cool and easy to use. I did compare the numbers to the "hydro" and it was close enough for me! (I brew with the "horse-shoes and hand-grenades" method). "Close", is good enough! The problem I had with the hydro is that when I filled the tube with wort. It was to close to filling a glass and I would drink two or three before remembering that I was suppose to be checking gravity. (I have a problem)? Sweet wort is not that good anyway?

Newer refractometers have the gravity readings on the scale so there is no conversion. Maybe they will be able to rescale for final gravity? maybe they already have?
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Post by porkpie » 3 years ago

re: refractometer

I thought I had gone to heaven with the refractomoeter. So much less fuss, less to clean, less waste, less worry. More awesome!

But, it never read right, even with a conversion calculator (accounts for alcohol and requires starting gravity) like this one:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/refractometer-calculator/

On my first batch I used the hydrometer when I was bottling and the gravity was bang on according to the recipe. So maybe I need more calibration or something.

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Post by mally » 3 years ago

If you are interested in refractometers, I did a study in this post here. Scroll down to post #15 for the actual study.

I haven't used the northern brewer FG calculator so I cannot compare it, but I find the Sean Terrill converter is comparable with hydro readings.
see here
Last edited by mally on 10 Jan 2014, 16:13, edited 2 times in total.
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Post by porkpie » 3 years ago

Thanks Mally, I'll check out the links and give the calculator a whirl for my next batch.


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Post by porkpie » 3 years ago

Very interesting study on refractometers Mally. As I was reading I started wondering if filtering would work, and then the forum started talking about filtering. But nobody posted about results of filtering.

I think using a refractometer you could use a little scrap of filter. Just touching it to the glass may transfer enough liquid for the reading.

Did you ever try filtering wort?

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Post by mally » 3 years ago

I never got around to doing any more experiments.
I was also a bit worried where it would lead (& end). For example, do one test, then another question is raised or queried, do another test, etc. etc.
It would have been better to have an agreed clear set of steps to follow but...

Still, it was useful to get that far, and anybody else could continue I suppose.
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Post by porkpie » 3 years ago

I did a quick test with the liquor from some Rum Cherries.

It measured up around 28 Brix--I don't remember the exact number. Then I poured some on a scrap of some organic cotton sheets (nice and tight weave ;) ) and touched the drop on the bottom to the refractometer. It dropped .6 Brix, which seems large enough to matter.

As you say, questions. Is the top of the Brix scale linear to the bottom of the scale? I don't know if the same thing will happen once we get down to the 2-8 end on the Brix scale.

But, it seems like it would be worth some experimentation with filtering wort. My stout was quite cloudy until I threw it outside to cold-crash before bottling.

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