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Angus
08-29-2005, 02:40 PM
I am looking for opinions from the more experienced (which is everybody) as to what is the smallest batch that it is advisable to make. In particular, are there any real problems or issues with doing very small sample batches of 1.5 litres in 2 litre plastic coke bottles?

The reason I ask is that I can buy about 8 different varieties of honey from my local Outpost grocery store. It is not cheap though. Rather than buy 3 lbs. for a 1 gallon batch, it occurred to me that I could brew 8 1.5 litre samples, using the Sweet Show Mead recipe, with 1 lb of each honey per batch. I could then taste the results at the same time and make notes on how the honey flavor is maintained in the Mead. From this, I would know what I like for future batches without spending lots of money on honey (I happen to have 8 spare airlocks from my beer brewing days).

Thanks for any insight.

WRATHWILDE
08-29-2005, 03:53 PM
I don't see any reason why you couldn't.

Wrathwilde

Mynx
08-29-2005, 03:54 PM
I've split a 1 gallon batch into 4 - 1 litre test batches. I was lucky enough to find glass juice containers that my airlocks fit :)

lostnbronx
08-29-2005, 06:51 PM
There isn't any reason why you couldn't do this, though, for some of us, the "spillage" per racking is more than one liter!

-David

Jmattioli
08-29-2005, 08:27 PM
I am looking for opinions from the more experienced (which is everybody) as to what is the smallest batch that it is advisable to make. In particular, are there any real problems or issues with doing very small sample batches of 1.5 litres in 2 litre plastic coke bottles?
(snip)
Angusl,
As everyone said there is no reason you couldn't but to answer your question, yes there are real problems or issues with small batches like that. None of them of course are severe.

#1 All Ingredient quantities have to be more precise for small batches for consistant results.
#2 There is much more percentage waste when racking.
#3 There is a lot more work for the quantity you get as a reward.
#4 Headspace can be more of a problem.
#5 Temperature of the Must is less stable with small quantities.
#6 Plastic bottles work but are not recommended for many reasons including some additional sanitation and storage issues.

Personally I recommend a minimum 1 gallon batch in glass for accurate experimentation. I have made smaller on one occasion but find it impractical unless you are dividing up a larger batch for experimentation of secondary additions which is not the case you quoted. (All have different honey to start.)

Joe

Meriadoc
08-29-2005, 09:10 PM
doesn't surface area have an effect on ... (well, i can't quite remember what i was reading ...) something?

or was that adding oak, that i'm thinking of: surface area, vis a vis oak, is an important consideration?

Angus
08-30-2005, 08:13 AM
Very good points Joe, thanks.

I am lucky in that my basement is very stable all year round, so temperature should not be an issue. As for loss during racking, the greater percentage would be a great pity. I suppose I have to decide if it is worth it. The loss of any Mead is a tragedy.

My biggest concern is item #1. I once got a very good Hot Cross Bun recipe from a baker in England and attempted to make them one Easter many years ago. His batch recipe was for a very large quantity to be sold in his bakery. I made a very small batch. I just could not get the taste to be the same as his, no matter how I tweaked the recipe. The same could be true here. I may give it a go anyway, just for the fun of it, and cross my fingers that I get good results. I will get a CO2 dispenser to fill the airspace. Hopefully this will reduce the surface area issue some by removing the oxygen.

P.S. My first batch of Ancient Orange is bubbling away nicely. How do I wait another 5-7 weeks with it calling to me so?

byathread
08-30-2005, 10:28 AM
P.S. My first batch of Ancient Orange is bubbling away nicely. How do I wait another 5-7 weeks with it calling to me so?


You start new batches!! :D

That's my trick. Makes it easier to forget about. I keep 2-3 5gal batches and about 8 1gal batches going. This way I've always got things to do: pitching, racking, bottling. And I'll actually have plenty of mead for gifts and aging...I hope!!

Cheers,
Kirk

Angus
08-30-2005, 02:17 PM
Distraction. That's the key is it?

OK. I may try my hand at Pat's "Fall Metheglyn". It should be perfect for Christmas of '06. Then I will put together another Ancient Orange. Then maybe a nice Sweet Show Mead, followed by a Cherry Mead. Then tomorrow, I'll try my hand at a Cyser and then maybe a nice bubbly semi-sweet and then......