View Full Version : Ultra small batch, how small?

Douglas E Knapp
09-25-2016, 06:40 AM
I would like to try making mead but I only drink like one glass a week or month so making 5 liters would mean a year's supply plus! I also want to experament with different recipes and stuff so I was thinking that 250ml might be more a good size per batch for me. Will this work or must you make big 5 liter batches?
Any tips? I am a newbie.
Thanks all!

09-25-2016, 10:54 AM
You can get a 1/2 gallon glass jug that will work well as a small fermentor. Yield from 1/2 gallon will only be maybe 2 wine bottles of mead.

09-25-2016, 03:14 PM
Amazon sells fermentation tops to put on quart size mason jars. I do experiments with that one.

09-25-2016, 04:35 PM
Is this a joke? Are you pranking us?

09-25-2016, 06:32 PM
I haven't gone that small yet with mead (so far I have done 3-qt batches in 1-gallon glass "carboys" that originally held apple juice), but I have done 1-qt batches of beer in 1.5 liter "carboys" that originally held wine, to learn individual ingredients. Once I had tasted the specific ingredients, I didn't want more than the 2 bottles that were produced (with one exception that became a regular habit). It was just a matter of scaling down the recipe and using essentially the same process as usual, using smaller equipment. There was little time savings compared to something like 2.5-gallon batches, but the point was to learn, not to produce much volume. With mead, the lifetime can be very long, and conditioning actually lets the mead improve. So, I would just plan to make a regular batch, and enjoy it at your own pace.

09-26-2016, 10:53 AM
My first attempts were with 1.5L soda bottles as fermenters. I got some very tasty results with them. Just follow a simple recipe for a traditional mead. Also: clean, clean, clean, clean, clean!!!!!

09-27-2016, 08:02 AM
My first attempts were with 1.5L soda bottles as fermenters. I got some very tasty results with them. Just follow a simple recipe for a traditional mead. Also: clean, clean, clean, clean, clean!!!!!

good recipe. just for you :p

Douglas E Knapp
10-01-2016, 06:07 PM
No joke.

I think foothillers answer best sums up why I asked this. I like mead. I don't drink much of any alcohol and I like making stuff like mead, bread, mushrooms or whatever. I want to experament with recipes, techniques and ingredients. I am a bit of a connoisseur and that takes lots of taste tests and playing around with experimental batches in order to learn how to make what I really like. I don't want 50 gallons or 100 liters of the stuff sitting around. It would be a lifetime supply for me. :-)

Thanks for all your insights. It is really helpful!

I don't understand trokio's joke about recipes.

10-03-2016, 08:58 AM
I have 4 1/2 gallon jugs that I ferment test batches in regularly. Adjust the recipe proportionally.


10-08-2016, 12:37 AM
I don't drink much mead either (I'm more of a beer guy) and when I do it is generally a small amount at a time, but I have enjoyed doing 1 gallon (appx 4 L) batches. It is easy to experiment & if a batch doesn't turn out, I'm not too upset about it. That size carboy leaves me with about 9 bottles (12oz, 355ml), most of which I give to friends and family, or bring somewhere to share. If nothing else, I would suggest doing slightly larger batches because I always find myself wanting to give a lot away to people, and spread the word about the greatness of mead.
A friend recently purchased some 187ml wine bottles to bottle his mead, he also does 1 gallon batches and likes giving it away. I am considering buying some for my next batch.
Good luck!

10-08-2016, 08:26 AM
I brew mead in one-gallon batches too -- as you say, I generally get 9 or 10 12-ounce bottles per batch. I like being able to experiment with different techniques and ingredients and yeasts, so although I have the equipment to brew 5-gallon batches (I brew beer in 5-gallon batches), I always use one-gallon glass jugs when making mead / cyser / hard cider. Right now I have three different one-gallon batches fermenting. I like the variety, and failed experiments are much less painful when it's only a gallon.

Two downsides: one is that if you brew a batch that you really, really like, it's gone way too soon. Second, for recipes that require long aging, if you decide to taste-test a bottle every four months or so, you run out at just about the time that it's getting really good.