First One-Gallon Batch!


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Jul 16, 2012
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Got half of my first one-gallon batch done. I'm doing a Grodziskie/Graetzer and want to "dial in" the recipe. Since I don't want five gallons of marginal beer, I'm brewing only one gallon with the intent to scale up if I like the results. The procedure is easy: Calculate the recipe, round values to values you can measure (for example, my scale can only measure one-gram increments so hops are in grams). I'm using a bag for my lauter system - immerse the bag in the water, heat it to strike temperature in the kettle, keep tempering - the temperature changes quickly in a stainless steel pot - and stir frequently. To sparge I just dump my sparge water in, stir, let stand a bit and pull out the bag, letting it drain in a strainer that fits my 5-gallon pot. I'm souring the mash so my lacto is confined to a kettle I'm going to boil for an hour so contamination of my brewery equipment shouldn't be a problem. Tomorrow night, if soured enough, I'll complete the brew.
One-Gallon Lubelski (the Little Lubelski?) is in secondary - got super attenuation! Gravity is down to 1.009. Tastes good too, despite being fermented a bit too warm for the European Ale yeast. There's a subtle tartness from the sour mashing that works nicely, too. All in all, not a bad experimental batch so far.
Experimenting small is a smart idea!

Can you explain sour mash to me?
Second one-gallon batch went much more smoothly. I'm getting the equipment settings dialed in. Measuring volumes and measures this small introduces a lot more variability into the process - I think that's inevitable - but I'm convinced you can brew good beer on this small a scale and I'm also convinced that as a proof-of-concept, it's a better approach than going for the whole five gallons. If it isn't good, you dump a six-pack and chalk it up to experience, if it's nearly good, you know what you need to adjust to scale up and if it's excellent, drink it, scale it and relish the fact that there's so little of it in the world and it's all yours!
@Oly, it's a common procedure for souring a beer or for mashing whiskey. Here's a How-To reference:

Being a native Kentuckian, I'm interested in the "Kentucky Common" style once popular around Louisville. Various references disagree but, as close is it is to Bourbon country, what the brewers probably did was reverse the grain bill for a whiskey and sour mash it. So I intend to do that for an upcoming small batch of Ky. Common. My procedure for the Graetzer was to mash and lauter, then introduce the lacto for a day - I want very subtle sourness there. One caution: Lactobacillus, while common in the grains, can take over a brewery! Be very cautious with it and sterilize anything that touches a Lacto culture before using it anywhere else in the brewery.

I may buy a cheap food-grade bucket from Home Depot for this process and paint on it in huge letters "LACTO".