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Brewing on a small scale

One thing I notice scares people off all grain homebrewing is the belief you have to do it on a large scale. They imagine you need huge vats that will spill a hot sugary mess all over your kitchen and a spare room just for a fermentation bucket.

This is not the case though, in fact even in a very small apartment you can brew your own ale and it is very easy to do so.

The first thing to figure out is the volume of beer your wish to brew. For small scale 5 litres (1 gallon) is generally best and that is the amount our kits create. You need to make sure you have a decent sized pot to mash and boil in, you want it larger than the amount of water you are adding so nothing overflows. For our kit we recommend a 6 litre pot, don’t worry about using a thin pot as this actually makes cooling and heating your brew quickly quite easy.

Next you have to figure out the quantity of ingredients. Creating your own recipe is a lot of trial and error, there a lot of useful resources to give you help like this blog but at the end of the day there are no real rules. You shouldn’t be put off because one article says a certain hop isn’t used for a certain reason, they may be correct but there is only one way to find out. Don’t be scared to borrow from other recipes but just because it was posted online doesn’t mean it is good. When using the recipe as a base but changing batch size there are other things to consider, the equivalent amount from dividing or multiplying ingredients may not have the same results. Generally after dividing you will want to add a little more and after multiplying a little less.

Our buckets measure 22 cm x 22 cm x 17 cm, this small size means you don’t even need to store the bucket away as it can easily even be left in a corner of a room. You also want to calculate how much ale your brew will create, 1 gallon creates 8 bottles. Technically it makes 9 bottles but one will likely be full of sediment so best not kept.

And, that’s it! There really isn’t much more difficulty to small scale brewing. You don’t need any extra space, weird equipment or very specific knowledge. For our kits the process takes 3 hours which will be roughly the same for other brews you try. Although there is a lot of technical stuff in brewing you do not need to know it all and convert a shed to do it. It is very easy to make shop quality beer on a small scale.

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