Author Topic: totally new to this  (Read 2023 times)

Offline wvbeer

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totally new to this
« on: February 01, 2014, 10:51:33 AM »
Hello there,

I have what's probably a dumb question but I just thought it'd be easier to ask you all.  For Christmas, someone got me some equipment to brew 5 gallon batches.  Is it possible to use the same equipment to brew smaller batches than that?  Will the extra space in the fermenter cause any adverse effects? 

Thanks!

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: totally new to this
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2014, 12:49:47 PM »
I figure if you're going to go through the effort of making a batch, might as well do the full five gallons.

To answer your questions, it depends. While fermentation is active and the yeast is splitting sugar into CO2 and alcohol, there will be positive pressure inside the fermentation vessel.  Once the bulk of the fermentation is over, that extra space will be affected by temperature. For example if the temperature in the room drops five or ten degrees, with a lot of head space you could (depending on yeast activity) get negative pressure which would suck back through the airlock. Oxygen is bad for beer, and if you don't have one of the S-style airlocks this could suck airlock liquid into the brew. That could cause an infection.  Some people put sanitizer in their airlocks. I don't want sanitizer in my brew, so I put cheap 100 proof vodka in my airlocks. Just in case.

Go ahead and try a smaller batch. As long as you don't let it sit around for a while and bottle it as soon as it is ready, it will probably work out fine.

I bet you'll like what you make, and your next batch will be a full five gallons.

 ;)
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline haerbob3

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Re: totally new to this
« Reply #2 on: February 01, 2014, 08:27:40 PM »
I started with a MR Beer kit.  After years of brewing came to this realization.  You spend as much time on a couple of gallons as you do on 20.  So why not get the most from your work.  Is there a particulate reason you would rather do smaller batches?  I heard that Brew Demon is good.