Last weekend I gathered some brewing gear up and headed out to show some friends how to brew beer.
But, I didn’t grab any large pots or big burners. I needed no pot larger than two gallons and could have done my boil on a camp stove. In fact, everything I needed fit into a six-gallon bucket (the list is toward the bottom of the page.)
We were brewing a one-gallon batch of beer.
This size is perfect:
- If you want to try your hand at brewing beer without spending wads of cash on a five or ten gallon set-up.
- If you don’t want to spend wads of cash only to find you don’t like drinking five to ten gallons of the same thing.
- If you have an apartment with little space.
- If you want to experiment and not commit to five or ten gallons.
We made the batch using a German Blonde kit from Northern Brewer. (If you are interested in creating your own, you can find a similar recipe farther down this post.)
We started with putting the grain (for added flavor and color) into the kit’s muslin sack and putting that in 3/4-gallons of warm (~140 – 160F) water. We steeped the bag filled with grains for 10-15 minutes and then removed it and brought the wort to a boil. Once the weak wort began to boil we added the 1-pound of NB’s dry light pilsen malt extract and the hops they provided in the kit. The boil lasted 45 minutes.
My brewzaster happened with my hoping that adding four pounds of ice would cool and melt after the boil (assumption being a 1/4 gallon loss to evaporation which leave 1/2 gallon of hot wort). The ice worked well at cooling…it was the melting that didn’t happen–it looked like a pot of iced coffee with cubes of ice filling the pot. So, I transferred the wort to the carboy and added some bottled water to bring the wort up to one gallon. (The original gravity was 1.040SG)
Once we had a gallon of cooled wort, we added one-half package of yeast (no need for a starter with a one-gallon batch) and put the cap and air lock in place.
We plan to bottle it next week.
Call Me Irresponsible Blonde recipe
- 3 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)
- 16 oz Extra Light Dry Extract (3.0 SRM)
- 0.23 oz Willamette hops [5.50 %] – Boil 60.0 min
- 1/2 package of Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) Yeast
Steep grains for 10-15 minutes at ~150-160F (65-71C). Remove grain bag and bring to a boil. Once a boil has started, add hops (watch out for boil over). Boil for 60 minutes and cool. Transfer to a fermenter and add 1/2 package of yeast. Put air-lock (partially fill air-lock with water and sanitizer or vodka) or blow-off apparatus (tube on air lock opening and the other end of the tube in a jar of water and sanitizer) on the carboy and put in a cool (about 66F) and dark place for 10-14 days. Check daily to watch for over-active fermentation.
What you need to brew a one-gallon batch
- Beer kit or beer recipe ingredients
- One to two gallon pot (i.e., your brew kettle)
- One-half gallon of sterile ice
- One-gallon carboy fermenter with airlock
- Stirring spoon
- Scale (optional)
- Meat or candy Thermometer
- Hydrometer (optional)
- Cleaner (e.g., PBW – Powdered Brewery Wash)
- Sanitizer (e.g.,Star San)
- Mini-siphon or sterile flexible tubing
- Large measuring cup
- One gallon bottled water
- Stuff for after fermentation has completed:
- 11 sanitized 12-oz bottles (to be used in 10-14 days after brewing)
- Bottle capper
- Bottle caps (if you don’t want to mess with capping, you can use swing-style cap bottles)
- ¼ cup corn sugar or sugar tablets (e.g., NorthernBrewer.com’s 8 oz Fizz Drops)
 For small batches we can estimate ~0.25-0.30 ounces of pellet hops per tablespoon.
- Tips for small batches of beer (razebrewing.com)
- How to Brew Small Batch Beer in Your Kitchen (chow.com)
- 7 Tips for Using the Homebrew Kit Santa Brought You (drinks.seriouseats.com)
- Laid-Off Journalist Does Greatest Public Service of All: Brews Unemployed Reporter Beer (blogs.sfweekly.com)