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So I have never done a full mash brew before only ever malt extract brews. But after reading this article thought I would give it a go using a 1 gallon method as oppose to a 5.

However I have a few questions.

  1. Do I simply divide all ingredient quantities by 5 if using a 5 gallon recipe? I figured yes about malt but not too sure about hops, do I still need to use the full amount stated to impart flavour or should I divide the quantity by 5 as well?

  2. The Sparge - obviously I have never done this beforeas I have only ever done malt extract method and thus have no special equipment and don't really want to buy any right now. So using just a colander and or a sieve how would I achieve this stage successfully? I would really appreciate a fairly thorough yet simple explanation if at all possible as I am slightly confused about this stage.

Thanks a lot in advance.

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I have done a couple of batches of about one gallon. (I targeted twelve 12-oz. bottles, which requires a little more than a gallon into the fermenter.) Small batches are generally much simpler than five-gallon or larger batches because they require less equipment and can be done on the kitchen stove. They also require less time so a mid-week brew day is realistic.

However, when all was said and done, I didn't feel like 12 bottles of beer justified the effort. So I bought myself four 3-gallon pin lock kegs (I already had kegging equipment) and started doing 3-gallon batches using the same process as the 1-gallon batches. Totally worth the effort!

So take that for what it's worth. Your mileage may vary, of course. Now to answer your questions:

  1. Yes, you pretty much just divide everything by five. You might find this article helpful. Commonly used brewing software can scale recipes automatically. You'll need a pretty sensitive scale to measure the small hop additions. I find that measuring hops in grams is much easier for small batches.
  2. For small batches, I use the no-sparge brew-in-a-bag method. I bring the entire volume of water up to strike temperature in my kettle, place a five-gallon paint strainer bag inside the kettle, and pour the crushed grain into the bag. After getting the mash to the correct temperature, I set my oven to its lowest setting (170F) and place the kettle in the oven for an hour or so. When conversion is complete, I lift the bag out with the grain inside. I place a colander atop the kettle and set the bag inside the colander to drain while the wort comes to a boil. Once the grains have drained, I discard them and proceed as with any other batch.

PS: None of the links up there are affiliate links. I just provided them to be helpful.

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I started homebrewing with a 1 gallon kit, and I've done several all grain batches with it.

For scaling down a five gallon recipe, you are correct in just dividing everything by five. However, specialty grains and hops that are only small quantities and the five gallon recipe may not come through as strong in the one gallon batch, so you may need more than 1/5 of the original amount.

For sparging, I use a colander and mesh bag. I steep the grains in the bag, then when they are done I take them out and put them in the colander over the pot (I use the same pot for steeping and boiling to keep things simple). To sparge, I pour hot water over the grains to increase amount of water in the boil and to get as much sugar out of the grains as I can. Adding water to the boil at that point gets me close to a gallon after the boil.

The thing that's helped me the most to get better at brewing is to brew. So try a batch and learn what works for you.

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