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Why Are We Told To Do 23 Litres?

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Juzdu

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I've tried searching for this specific topic, but haven't had much luck.

It struck me during all the research i've been doing into homebrew lately that making smaller batch sizes might be useful at the moment....as i'm just starting out i'm bound to make mistakes, and i'm also looking forward to trying different combinations of pre-hopped kit cans mixed with dry/liquid malt extract, dextrose and maltodextrin, over a variety of different beers such as wheat, pale ale, irish ale etc.

I'd been thinking about how i'd have 23 litres each of my first 5 brews, and that's a LOT of beer to bottle, let alone consume, especially if it's not all that great. So I started thinking about smaller batch sizes, and stumbled across Ian's kit/extract spreadsheet: http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...st&p=410202

While messing around with the various numbers in there, I realised that with almost all suggested recipe combinations, 23 litres of wort actually makes a pretty low-alcohol beer. For example, using Coopers recipe from their website for their Coopers Pale Ale, which is :
1.7kg tin of Australian Pale Ale
Brew Enhancer 2 (500gm dextrose, 250gm each of light DME and maltodextrin)

If you make the suggested 23 litres, then according to Ian's spreadsheet this leaves you with a beer at 3.8% before bottling, 4.2% after secondary ferm. However, if you back it off to 19 litres of water, leaving all the ingredients the same, it suggests a final ABV of 4.9%, something we're all much more used to in our beers.

These numbers seem to work for most recipes, so i'm wondering, is there another reason behind all the recipes calling for 23 litres of wort being fermented?

EDIT: Oh and I also noticed most US home brew recipes call for 5 US gallons, which is, curiously enough, almost spot on 19 litres. So why are our recipes calling for 4 more litres?
 

verysupple

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You ask some very good questions and make some very good points. I'm not sure why they say 23 L but don't do what I used to do and just add more dextrose to boost the ABV - it just makes a watery beer with no body. Certainly you can use some dextrose but I was putting in ~1.5 kg, I think 500g is probably the limit to still make a decent beer. I think you've got the right idea about using the spreadsheet (I've found it pretty accurate) and just reducing the total volume.

EDIT: Oh, also remeber that maltodextrin doesn't ferment and therefore doesn't add any alcohol, only body.
 

jaypes

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Good question.

Not sure if I can explain the answer fully but my fermenter is 30L, I do a kit brew that is 23L. Now when I bottle the stuff I rack it into another fermenter leaving behind roughly 1.5-2L if wort for the pure and simple fact that there is a yeast cake deposit that I dont want in my bottles.

Also the taps on my fermenters are installed exactly at the 2L mark

Hope this helps
 

Yob

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23 liters fits almost perfectly into 28 longnecks (+ a couple of tasters if you can squeeze it out) which almost perfectly fits into 2 milk crates :rolleyes:

not saying thats the reason, or in fact that there needs to be a reason at all, it just works well if using longnecks.
 

petesbrew

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I've tried searching for this specific topic, but haven't had much luck.

It struck me during all the research i've been doing into homebrew lately that making smaller batch sizes might be useful at the moment....as i'm just starting out i'm bound to make mistakes, and i'm also looking forward to trying different combinations of pre-hopped kit cans mixed with dry/liquid malt extract, dextrose and maltodextrin, over a variety of different beers such as wheat, pale ale, irish ale etc.

I'd been thinking about how i'd have 23 litres each of my first 5 brews, and that's a LOT of beer to bottle, let alone consume, especially if it's not all that great. So I started thinking about smaller batch sizes, and stumbled across Ian's kit/extract spreadsheet: http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...st&p=410202

While messing around with the various numbers in there, I realised that with almost all suggested recipe combinations, 23 litres of wort actually makes a pretty low-alcohol beer. For example, using Coopers recipe from their website for their Coopers Pale Ale, which is :
1.7kg tin of Australian Pale Ale
Brew Enhancer 2 (500gm dextrose, 250gm each of light DME and maltodextrin)

If you make the suggested 23 litres, then according to Ian's spreadsheet this leaves you with a beer at 3.8% before bottling, 4.2% after secondary ferm. However, if you back it off to 19 litres of water, leaving all the ingredients the same, it suggests a final ABV of 4.9%, something we're all much more used to in our beers.

These numbers seem to work for most recipes, so i'm wondering, is there another reason behind all the recipes calling for 23 litres of wort being fermented?

EDIT: Oh and I also noticed most US home brew recipes call for 5 US gallons, which is, curiously enough, almost spot on 19 litres. So why are our recipes calling for 4 more litres?
19L recipe fits in a keg.
23L recipe? I don't know. Because it makes more beer and more beer means you don't run out as quick. That's a good thing right?
You are allowed to break the rules and add more to the original recipe.
 

Lord Raja Goomba I

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23L = 22.5L (30 tallies) plus a small amount of yeast cake (generally the 5-7g packet of yeast on a kit brew is smaller than a 12g pack on AG).

As verysupple mentioned - boost beer with Dry Malt Extract, rather than Dextrose for better flavour and bigger body. I think the reason the beers are generally around the 1.040-1.045 mark for kit brews (and these are designed to be balanced, rather than malty or hoppy), is that pushing too much out of this will require you to then hop your beer (more bitterness) to offset the higher gravity and keep the beer balanced.

I rarely brew a beer less than 1.050. Granted, that's AG and a different kettle of fish in some instances, but that produces a 5-5.5% beer consistently, and is possible with Kit and Kilo/Extract brewing and some hopping (if balance is what you're after).
 

ben_sa

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i make 23 L so i can get a 19L corny and a few longnecks/stubbies to put away and age...

Oh and cos i have worked out my pre mash volume finally and dont need to think about it anymore :)
 

JaseH

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I figured it was because that's what fits comfortably into the traditional 25L kit fermenter with some head room?

I actually do 27L batches because I use a 30L fermenter. Same effort as a slightly smaller batch, may as well fill it up!
 

yum beer

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23L is the number that the tin of extract is targetted to make once diluted.

The amount of fermentables you use 'sugar and malts' dictates how much alcohol you produce.

You can mix a kit up to anything from 19L to 26L with adjustments depending on the style and the result you want.

Start at 23L and play around as you get a better understanding of the process and what results you get.

As an example I always like the Coopers Cerveza with 1kg LDM mixed to 21litres.
 

MHB

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I think you will find its a holdover from pre-metric days 5 Imperial Gallons 22.73L was the standard, the Americans do 5 US gallons or 18.93L as their standard home brew batch.
Kits are made with the bitterness balanced to an appropriate target for the market they are to be sold in, if you take a kit designed to give 25 IBU at 23 L and brew it at 19 L the bitterness will go up proportionally 30 (and a bit) as will the OG and resulting Alcohol.
Mark
 

Juzdu

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Thanks for all the quick replies, i'm glad to see i'm just not missing anything. Agree with everyone who said you could add extra fermentables such as light malt to increase the abv and body of a 23 litre brew, but really the reason behind my post was because i'm hoping to make smaller brews using pre-hopped kits while I get the hang of how home brew works.

I currently have down my first brew, which is nothing more than a Thomas Coopers Wheat kit, with 1kg of Dextrose and the kit yeast....as suggested in the instructions that came with my kit from aussiebrewmakers.com.au. Yes i know there were many ways to make a better beer, but I really want to try the basics first so I can compare the results of changing various ingredients.

I have ordered another can of the TC Wheat, and will brew it this way as soon as my current one is finished fermenting:
1.7kg TC Wheat kit
300gm light DME
200gm dextrose
WB06 yeast
To make 15 litres of wort.

According to the spreadsheet that will give me an OG of 1.047, FG of 1.012, and an ABV after bottling of spot on 5%. It does give it an IBU of 25, which seems high for a wheat, but is in the "Balanced" range on the spreadsheet's graph. Actually that does seem to be the major factor of using less water...because the kit can is pre-hopped, the IBU increases when you reduce the overall volume of water used, which makes sense. Dunno if a wheat beer made with a 25 IBU is a bad thing or not until I try it?

Unless anyone thinks using 500gm of light DME and NO dextrose would be a better result? It's a touch lower ABV (4.8%) but might be more drinkable.

EDIT:
Playing around a bit more with the spreadsheet...given I have a 500gm pack of Coopers light DME coming with the TC Wheat can, i'll change the recipe to this:
1.7kg TC Wheat kit
500gm light DME
200gm dextrose
WB06 yeast
To make 17 litres of wort.

That give me an IBU of 22 with an almost identical OG and FG reading.
 

Juzdu

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I think you will find its a holdover from pre-metric days 5 Imperial Gallons 22.73L was the standard, the Americans do 5 US gallons or 18.93L as their standard home brew batch.
Kits are made with the bitterness balanced to an appropriate target for the market they are to be sold in, if you take a kit designed to give 25 IBU at 23 L and brew it at 19 L the bitterness will go up proportionally 30 (and a bit) as will the OG and resulting Alcohol.
Mark
Yes, thanks Mark, I wrote my most recent post before i'd read yours, so good to see I was right on the IBU issue. Of course the easy way to fix it is to not use pre-hopped cans, I could just use the Wheat Malt with appropriate hops to brew a wheat beer with a ~16 IBU count. On that subject, is there any way to tell which hops (and how much) the various companies use in their pre-hopped kits, or is that a commercial secret generally?
 

fletcher

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i'm in your exact spot too mate, still experimenting with my first initial brews and then wanna look to add more hops/attempt grain etc and see the taste differences to find out what i like and prefer and go from there.
 

MHB

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I cant speak for every kit maker on earth but have had a look at how Coopers and Morgans are made, they just make wort in the same brewhouse where the rest of their products are produced, instead of going to fermenters the wort goes to the vacuum evaporators where most of the water and all the hop volatiles are removed.
Coopers bitter with POR and I think you will find all their kits are also bittered with the same, during concentration all the volatiles are removed any trace of hop taste and aroma included. In the kits with noticeable hop taste/aroma they have added hop oils/extract (Coopers IPA Stryian, Morgans Blue Mountains Lager- Hal Oil, Golden Saaz Pilsner Saaz Oil).
By the very nature of the vacuum evaporating process what hop they use to bitter the wort is pretty much irrelevant as the only thing to survive concentration is going to be the Iso-Alpha, there is plenty of good information out there on the bitterness of kits, the Coopers website give the relevant information, as does Ians Spreadsheet and even my BrewBuilder..
I dont think you need to worry about what hop the maker used, just the bitterness and whether or not there is any other addition made to the kit.
Mark
 

seamad

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Try the coopers wheat with a tin of cooopers wheat malt, iirc they are both 50/50 barley wheat, og to what you desire. 3068 woukd give a better result than the wb06, that will get you as close to a german heff as you can with a kit, if that is what you are after.
 

Hippy

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The 23L batch as standard goes back to the law I think Goth Witlam bought about in the early 70s which allowed individuals to brew a maximum of 23L of full strength beer per week for the purpose of personal consumption. before this it was illegal to brew anything stronger than cat's piss. Read this in a how to homebrew book but can't remember which one.
That's why commercial kit cans usually make up to 23L.
In the UK, on April 1963, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Reggie Maudling removed the need for the 1880 brewing license.[1] Australia followed suit in 1972, when Gough Whitlam repealed Australian law prohibiting the brewing of all but the weakest beers and wines as one of his first acts as Prime Minister.[2]
 

Dars183

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The 23L batch as standard goes back to the law I think Goth Witlam bought about in the early 70s which allowed individuals to brew a maximum of 23L of full strength beer per week for the purpose of personal consumption. before this it was illegal to brew anything stronger than cat's piss. Read this in a how to homebrew book but can't remember which one.
That's why commercial kit cans usually make up to 23L.
In the UK, on April 1963, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, Reggie Maudling removed the need for the 1880 brewing license.[1] Australia followed suit in 1972, when Gough Whitlam repealed Australian law prohibiting the brewing of all but the weakest beers and wines as one of his first acts as Prime Minister.[2]
Great find :) Gough the last Prime Minster who I think; gave a damn about the working bloke. . .
 

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