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Half sized batch using extract Kit

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Glengine

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I'm looking to downsize my batches to 10L or less. I enjoy the brewing process as much as I enjoy drinking the end result, but I'm not a huge drinker and would be lucky to get through a 6 pack a week. Seeing I have limited storage space, I want to brew smaller batches so I can brew more often to experiment.

After doing a lot of reading and research before attempting my partial mash the other week I learnt a lot about fermentables and the gravity of beers. This got me thinking, why can't I just get a kit that requires extra fermentables to bring it up to 19L, but only fill it up to say 10L instead and not add the extra fermentables? A bit of searching around and I haven't been able to find any reference to people doing this. There are recipes using just plain extract and boiling your own hops, but not just throwing in a kit and only topping up with half the water.

Am I missing something obvious here? Has anyone here tried this?

My main interest in this is actually for a ginger beer. I made one late last year using a coopers kit, but did the full 18L by adding extra sugars. I would love to be able to only brew 10L using just the kit, add no extra sugars, and refining the extra ingredients I used to put my own spin on it (I want to use more apples next time, lemon, possibly some chili etc.)
 

carniebrew

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Glengine, no reason at all you couldn't do half size kit brews. Instead of K&K, just do the K! For example, a can of Coopers Australian Pale Ale topped up to a total of 11 litres would yield what should be a very drinkable ~38 IBU pale ale at around 5%abv after bottle conditioning. Use a good yeast like US-05 (you could probably even get away with pitching half a pack but be mindful storing the other half....perhaps re-hydrate/make a starter with the 2nd half to ensure it is still viable before pitching). Ferment at as close to 18 degrees as you can and you have 11 litres of beer for well under $20.

Use something like Ianh's K&E spreadsheet to look at the IBU's of various kit cans...some are a lot hoppier than others...for example a Coopers Sparkling Ale would give you 55 IBU's in 11 litres whereas their Mexican Cerveza gives you only 30.

Using 1 can in 11 litres will also give you an FG of approx 1012, which is fine by me, but if you prefer a drier (thinner?) style of beer, you can add water and dextrose to dry it out while keeping your abv at 5%. For example, 200 grams of dex in an the Coopers Aussie Pale Ale taken to 13 litres will give you a 1010 final gravity, still 5%abv and 33 IBU. Taste may 'suffer' accordingly, but that's up to you to decide.
 

Glengine

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Thanks very much, carniebrew! I thought this was the case but just wanted to double check. Exciting times ahead!
 

bum

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Be careful of the pitching rate you've been advised to follow. Use a pitch rate calculator (as can be found online) to make sure you're pitching enough for the original gravity of the beer you're planning to make.
 

Bridges

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Would it be a problem to keep things simple and pitch the whole pack of us-05? I'm also keen to go down this route and was thinking of a coopers irish stout a onecan if you like.
 

carniebrew

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Google "can i pitch too much yeast" and there's as many opinions out there as there are brewers. I've read where some have said it's almost impossible to pitch too much yeast from a home brewer's perspective. Others say over pitching can mean not enough nutrients to go around, so off flavours are a possibility. The Mr Malty calc says to pitch 5 grams of dry yeast onto 11 litres of wort, so personally that's what I'd do. If you do pitch the whole pack, could you report back on the result? I wouldn't be surprised to hear it didn't do any noticeable harm.
 

Kiwimike

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Just to add a different perspective I think Target are now selling brew kits that only make about 10L.
 

carniebrew

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A guy at work posted on our internal chat board about a "Brew Smith" kit that he bought....the ingredients make 12 stubbies of beer...it comes with a little glass carboy that holds about 5 litres. I'd never heard of it before, but am sure there's something about it on AHB somewhere. Here's the website: http://brewsmith.com.au/

The kit costs $70, which includes all the equipment and your first beer...refill kits cost $20, so it's not cheap for a dozen stubbies....but I guess is an ok intro for brand new brewers who don't drink much, and just want the fun of creating their own beer?
 

Glengine

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carniebrew said:
Google "can i pitch too much yeast" and there's as many opinions out there as there are brewers. I've read where some have said it's almost impossible to pitch too much yeast from a home brewer's perspective. Others say over pitching can mean not enough nutrients to go around, so off flavours are a possibility. The Mr Malty calc says to pitch 5 grams of dry yeast onto 11 litres of wort, so personally that's what I'd do. If you do pitch the whole pack, could you report back on the result? I wouldn't be surprised to hear it didn't do any noticeable harm.
I pitched 11 grams of yeast into a 14L partial mash I put on 10 days ago. When I took a hydrometer reading 2 nights ago and sampled it, it tasted very yesaty / earthy. I'm hoping it's because there is so much yeast still in suspension and it will settle out (it could be a different cause entirely, was the first time I have used grains).


Kiwimike said:
Just to add a different perspective I think Target are now selling brew kits that only make about 10L.
Might have a look into this and see what's is available.


carniebrew said:
A guy at work posted on our internal chat board about a "Brew Smith" kit that he bought....the ingredients make 12 stubbies of beer...it comes with a little glass carboy that holds about 5 litres. I'd never heard of it before, but am sure there's something about it on AHB somewhere. Here's the website: http://brewsmith.com.au/

The kit costs $70, which includes all the equipment and your first beer...refill kits cost $20, so it's not cheap for a dozen stubbies....but I guess is an ok intro for brand new brewers who don't drink much, and just want the fun of creating their own beer?
Those are pretty cool looking little kits, but as you said aren't exactly cheap. I think a dozen stubbies is also a little too small for me, seeing there is about 4 weeks minimum before beer is ready to drink (2 weeks in fermenter, 2 weeks carbonating / conditioning in bottle seems to be about the quickest I can get away with). Doing 30ish stubbies means I should be able to brew fairly frequently (getting the variety that I like) without running out of beer too often and still being cheaper than buying beer from the store.
 

mattymcfatty

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Hey Glengine, I realise this is an old thread but just wandering how you went with it? I'm thinking of doing a stout the same way now so I can store the bottles for winter.
 

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