Chadlock (hadlock) wrote in geekbeer,
Chadlock
hadlock
geekbeer

Nanobrewing?

Back in June thaen posted about nanobrewing, aka batches smaller than 5 gallons, most commonly 1 gallon batches. For those of you who missed that episode,
So this weekend, we're going to start in on The Nanobrew. This is a one-gallon system that has many advantages:
- Fast batches (estimate < 4 hours for an all-grain)
- Fast turnaround
- One pack of yeast will easily ferment two or even three batches
- Much easier to begin automation tests than with a full 10 gallon batch

And, of course, one disadvantage: It's only one gallon of beer. But who cares? It's not like we're going to stop brewing the 10-gallon batches.

The outline of the initial edition of the Nanobrew looks like this:
- Grab a stainless steel pot, like for pasta. Make sure it's free of starchy goodies from past pastas.
- Heat 1.2 gallons water, or thereabouts. Add grain, but not directly to the water. Just use a grain bag (you thought they were worthless!)
- Mash with the grain bag.
- Sparge using a seive + collander, pretty much as normal, making a "filter bed" with the grain. Gravity measurements will be very important here.
- Boil and hop as normal, also in the pasta pot.
- Cool in the sink or wherever. Or with ice. It's only a gallon of liquid.
- Put in a clean and sterile milk jug. Cap. Shake briefly (to aerate). Remove cap, add yeast, add bubbler, leave alone.
Since they haven't posted a write up about this on their website yet, Has anyone done this, and would they be willing to share their experiences/thoughts/tips? This sounds like an excellent way to brew half a case at a time, since I'm a very fickle beer drinker. Belgian Trappist ales for a week or two, framboise next, then stout for a week or two, etc etc. 5 gallons of a hard lemonade batch gone slightly awry (secondary fermentation w/champagne yeast) is tiring to drink after a while. Brewing a gallon batch of my latest crazy brew each week would keep things interesting, and help refine/understand the process of brewing better, and how different temperatures, quantities, and ingredients affect the beer. Additionally chilling the wort is really simple, since you have such a low surface area to volume ratio, compared to that of a 5 gallon carboy.

Also, I haven't reached the point of doing an all-grain batch yet; I'd like to buy homebrewing supplies in bulk to cut down on trips to the brew shop, since they're about an hour's drive round trip for me. How long will pale/dark liquid malt extract keep for in an airtight container? My brewshop pressurizes their LMExtract with CO2 to prevent oxidation; how much of an issue will oxidation be to a home user who might use 10 lbs. over three 1 gallon batches over three weeks? The longest I've kept LMExtract has been about two hours before brewing.

Photos of the nanobrewing process would also be greatly appreciated. I think it would be great to see a wallpaper image of 6 or 7 half gallon milk jugs in a row bubbling away at different stages of primary and secondary fermentation.
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