The 1-Gallon Brewery

I like brewing, but I don’t like the idea of bottling a 5-gallon batch, and I don’t want to spend the money for a kegging system. I decided 1-gallon batches are the best for me because I still get around 8-10 beers but I can rotate recipes and styles rapidly.

For carboys I use 1-gallon glass jugs from Whole Foods. I buy their apple juice, pitch in a packet of bread yeast, some yeast nutrient, and pectic enzyme, and top it off with an airlock in a #6 bung. After two weeks I bottle a delicious dry apple cider and have a carboy ready for my next batch of beer. So far I have 4 1-gallon carboys.

For all-grain batches I use a kitchen stockpot with a grain bag for a mash tun and boil pot. Currently I use a sink of cold water for cooling, but I’ve decided to put together an immersion chiller so I can get a nice cold break., not to mention keep my roommate’s sink clear.

I have a nice mini auto-siphon that fits perfectly in the 1 gallon glass jugs I use, and a couple thermometers and a hydrometer. Not much gear is needed for 1 gallon batches!

Currently I grab the pico all-grain kits from Homebrew Exchange here in Portland for convenience, but I’m going to start building my own recipes.

With a 1-gallon brewing system a brew day lasts from 2-4 hours depending on whether I use malt extract or all-grain.

The one missing piece in my brew system is a fermentation chamber, which I’ll be building in the next week or so.

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Brewing Cider for Beer Lovers

Cider is up and coming here in the Pacific Northwest as more cider makers tap into the draft drink business. Bars and taprooms are increasingly adding one or two taps as an alternative for people who haven’t quite developed a taste for beer. Cider makers are trending away from sweeter versions to drier selections, and are experimenting with dry-hopping. Serious Eats has selected 6 American Ciders for Hop Heads, or with a trip down to your local Whole foods, you can brew your own.

Dry-hopped cider

Brewing your own cider is simple, especially if you already home brew beer:

  • Get a 1 gallon jug of apple juice. I get mine from Whole Foods.
  • Get a packet of yeast. I had the best results from English cider yeast, but you can use ale, champagne, or yes, even bread yeast.
  • For a drier cider, add a cup of table sugar to the jug.
  • (Optional) Chuck in your favorite aromatic hop to taste. A half ounce works for me.
  • (Optional) Add a half teaspoon of pectic enzyme for a clear cider.
  • Pitch the yeast.
  • Attach a blow-off tube with a #6 bung to the jug.
  • After a few days, replace the blow-off tube with an airlock.
  • After 2 weeks, bottle your cider with a teaspoon of table sugar for carbonation. If you use the Whole Foods apple juice, there will be a lot of sediment. Don’t bottle that.
  • Wait at least another 7 days for the cider to carb up.
  • Drink and enjoy.

I know a lot of brewers out there are horrified that I would suggest bread yeast, but it works, is cheap, and tastes alright. The yeast functions quite well too. My experiment with bread yeast started with original gravity at 1.040 and finished at 0.998 for 5.5%ABV (two weeks).

English cider yeast was far better though. My last batch of English cider started with original gravity at 1.050 and finished at 0.998 for 6.8%ABV (I left it for four weeks).

Both of those batches I didn’t add the table sugar, so be aware that the sugar content varies in each batch of apple juice. You can add sugar for more consistent results, but I don’t bother. I prefer to just bang together a batch as fast as possible and not worry too much about the details. I usually don’t measure gravities when I make it. One gallon is enough for about 8 12oz. bottles.

So go forth and experiment! Add hops to your own cider, or find a dry-hopped cider at your local grocery store or bottle shop and let me know what you think here or on Twitter or Instagram: @BeerMeetsWorld.


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Oregon Brewer’s Festival Favorites

The 25th annual Oregon Brewer’s Festival just wrapped up, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorite beers in no particular order:

Hardly any lines on Friday.

10 Barrel Brewing Raspberry Crush. This is a fantastic sour ale with a perfect tart flavor. It was also a festival favorite; the queue on Saturday for this beer was one of the longest I saw. I’m glad I tried it Friday. I first discovered 10 Barrel Brewing last year in Bend during my friend’s bachelor party weekend. They’re putting out some impressive beers.

Anderson Valley Brewing Company Summer Solstice Cervesa Crema. This cream ale has been one of my favorites the past couple years at the Brewer’s festival. It tastes like vanilla cream soda and is perfect on a warm sunny day. I can’t help but compare other cream ales to this one, and it’s hard for them to measure up.

BridgePort Brewing Co. Stump Town Tart. Bridgeport hasn’t impressed me the last few years, but this fruit beer puts them back at the top of their game. Try it if you can find it, but be careful, it’s easy drinking for 7.8 ABV.

Dogfish Head Craft Brewery Positive Contact. This wasn’t available to the public yet when it came to the Brewer’s festival, and they only describe it as an “experimental beer.” High alcohol, yeast character, and low IBUs reminds me of a Belgian style Triple, but Dogfish never really brews to style. Whatever it is, it’s delicious.

Double Mountain Brewery Goliathon. At 11% alcohol, this was the strongest beer at the festival. Normally beers with high alcohol are quite sweet, but this has enough hop character to balance it out.

All-in-all, a better selection of beers than last year (anyone remember some horrible mint beers?), but far more crowded, probably because it was the 25th anniversary. I only stuck around for a couple hours early on Saturday. Early Thursday and Friday are the days to go, and Sunday, but most of the popular beers are tapped on Sunday. The next big festival for me is the fresh hop festival, hope to see you there.

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