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Splitting Coopers 6 Gallon - 2 LBKs

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Can I split a six gallon Coopers recipe among two LBKs putting two gallons in each then add a gallon of clean water to each at kegging/conditioning to maintain the original flavor profile? How differently will the yeast behave in the more condensed wort? My mini fridge only holds two LBKs, though I think I can get a six gallon bucket in it with a low profile airlock setup. Will a six gallon bucket be sufficient and offer a little headspace and trub space?

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lbk ferments 2 gallons and has i think 3 gallons of space total. you need headspace while fermenting unless you want krausen shooting out all over the place.

 

you can split a 6 gallon recipe with 2 gallons and a quarter of water each lbk and stop there. you are making 4.5 gallons using 6 gallons worth of fermentables split into 2 lbks. this will ratchet up the alcohol content of your product. i'll knock it down to just 2 gallons each lbk.

 

for a lark i plugged 6 gallon batch, 10 lbs of pale lme into a recipe engine. then i scaled it to 2 gallons and halved the lme to 5#. it added 3 pts to the starting gravity. a 1.056 gravity 6 gallon beer would turn to a 1.086 gravity 2 gallon beer.

 

so you would no longer have the same style end product.

 

if you put 6 gallons of wort in a 6 gallon bucket... you are still looking at a god awful mess. worse yet, the hole in the lid will clog with krausen and BOOM. i had a very violent fermentation with FIVE gallons in a SIX point five gallon fermenter.. plenty of headspace. it churned out so much krausen that it clogged the airlock. the lid swelled to near exploding. i had krausen shooting out the airlock hose prior to this... had it blew i would have had a geyser of dark brown black foam and stout to clean up.  get TWO 6 gallon buckets. or two five gallon and split the wort evenly betwen the two buckets.

 

does yeast care if you toss a 1.08 gravity wort at it vs a 1.05 gravity wort? maybe.  if you underpitch, use old tired yeast.. definitely. if you pitch fresh yeast and the right amount for the job? no.  it wouldnt care. more food.. more party. yay! yeast pitch calculators are your friend.

 

trub is a natural byproduct of yeast eating. it is essentially yeast poop, dead yeast, sleeping yeast, fat, hop dust, grain dust, etc. you can approximate the amount of trub that you will get in the bucket and compensate by adding more water to increase the final volume (less loss due to trub)...  but that means you need bigger buckets. i just accept the attrition due to trub loss and accept the final product as it will have a slightly higher abv at 4.5 gallons for instance with a half gallon trub loss than 5 gallons with none.

 

hope this makes sense.. im tired and rambling.

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new thought.. i would just make a 5.25 gallon batch with the 6 gallon kit. and use the 6 gallon fermenter. that will leave 3 qts of headspace... and have only a marginal impact to the style and abv.  the .25 gallon would end up trub loss most likely so you will have 5 gallons to bottle. 

 

the beer will be a little stronger than you intended but for me? i could live with that.

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On 5/2/2019 at 11:03 AM, Lukon said:

Can I split a six gallon Coopers recipe among two LBKs putting two gallons in each then add a gallon of clean water to each at kegging/conditioning to maintain the original flavor profile? How differently will the yeast behave in the more condensed wort? My mini fridge only holds two LBKs, though I think I can get a six gallon bucket in it with a low profile airlock setup. Will a six gallon bucket be sufficient and offer a little headspace and trub space?

Alternatively, you could split it among 3 lbk's and put 2 in the mini fridge and make the 3rd a saison and put it on top of the mini fridge. Saisons need little to no temp control.

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10 hours ago, Cato said:

Alternatively, you could split it among 3 lbk's and put 2 in the mini fridge and make the 3rd a saison and put it on top of the mini fridge. Saisons need little to no temp control.

👆👆👆 I would like to second this idea.

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Yes. I split Cooper's 6 gal kits at regular intervals among 3 LBKs and they are each different beers with maybe different yeasts, hops and malt additions.

I use only small pans and never have he 6 gal at once in any container and it has worked out fine for me.

 

The last one was a Dark ale, that was the same additions in each except different yeast and totally different tasting out comes.

For others - e.g. I did this …..

1/3 Cooper's Pilsener HME + 8 oz pils malt + 6 oz booster  + 0.5 oz Saaz flameout aroma hop. Ferment below 68 deg with 1/3 supplied yeast  + 1/3 37/40
1/3 Cooper's Pilsener HME + 8 oz pils malt + 6 oz booster  + 8 oz pils malt  PM, 0.5 oz Saaz boil 15 min and remove ,  0.5 oz Saaz flameout aroma hop leave in. Ferment below 68 deg with 1/3 supplied yeast  + 1/3 37/40
1/3 Cooper's Pilsener HME + 8 oz pils malt + 6 oz booster  + 8 oz pils malt + 2 oz  Cara 20 PM, 0.5 oz Saaz boil 15 min and remove ,  0.5 oz Saaz flameout aroma hop leave in. 0.5 Saaz Dry Hop Ferment below 68 deg with 1/3 supplied yeast  + 1/3 37/40

 

You get your LBKS sterilized and ready with the 1 gall of cold water. You can put maybe 6 cups of water in a pan, bring to near boil and dissolve the Cooper's HME. Split the mixture 3 ways into the LBKs with a ladle. Then you can do the rest of each fermentable additions and hop treatments separately as if they were Mr Beer mixes, and add them to the target LBKs. There is no reason you have to put it all in together.

If you want to be "clever" you may save time by combining the additions and splitting them off at various points to the LBKs. but it needs some planning.

Just make sure you keep the lids on the LBKs any time you are not adding stuff.

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The LBK can hold 2.5 gallons.  If you have an active fermentation, it will likely overflow some.  For example, Nottingham yeast with 2.5 gallons will likely overflow unless on the low end of the temp range.

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Thanks guys for all the help and advice; you’ve improved my understanding significantly. 

 

I’ve settled on two options:

 

#1 Big Batch

 

Turns out a 7 gallon Aquatainer makes an excellent fermenter and will fit nicely in my mini fridge. Aussies are using them for Coopers 6 gallon batches and raving about them. -problem solved.

 

#2 Tinkering

 

I like the idea of iterating my process and tinkering a bit with each iteration. I’ve got two LBKs, and that’s enough for now. I’ve read some stuff here about storing opened cans of HME and the vodka trick.

 

Any more pointers about storing opened cans HME?

How long will it keep refrigerated with a film of vodka on top?

Has anyone tried freezing it?

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On 5/7/2019 at 10:11 AM, Lukon said:

 

 

I like the idea of iterating my process and tinkering a bit with each iteration. I’ve got two LBKs, and that’s enough for now. I’ve read some stuff here about storing opened cans of HME and the vodka trick.

 

Any more pointers about storing opened cans HME?

How long will it keep refrigerated with a film of vodka on top?

Has anyone tried freezing it?

I have stored them  them at ~ 62 (basement floor)  and the dark ones have survived (opened with vodka, and unopened) for a couple of years beyond the date on the can. So you do not have to refrigerate, I think,  if they can stay cool.  Lighter malts may darken up but they should still ferment. See my post on making 3 dark ales in LBKs using up old malts. (That was a Cooper's Dark Ale can. BTW that is a very nice HME. Even standard recipe it come out like a Mild Ale.) 

 

The LBK size is why I use 3. - 2 gal each 🙂

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15 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

I have stored them  them at ~ 62 (basement floor)  and the dark ones have survived (opened with vodka, and unopened) for a couple of years beyond the date on the can. So you do not have to refrigerate, I think,  if they can stay cool.  Lighter malts may darken up but they should still ferment. See my post on making 3 dark ales in LBKs using up old malts. (That was a Cooper's Dark Ale can. BTW that is a very nice HME. Even standard recipe it come out like a Mild Ale.) 

 

The LBK size is why I use 3. - 2 gal each 🙂

 

‘Thanks. That’s almost exactly what I want to do. My fridge only fits 2 LBKs, and I like having control over temperature.

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On ‎5‎/‎2‎/‎2019 at 8:03 AM, Lukon said:

Can I split a six gallon Coopers recipe among two LBKs putting two gallons in each then add a gallon of clean water to each at kegging/conditioning to maintain the original flavor profile? How differently will the yeast behave in the more condensed wort? My mini fridge only holds two LBKs, though I think I can get a six gallon bucket in it with a low profile airlock setup. Will a six gallon bucket be sufficient and offer a little headspace and trub space?

 

Well, I'll tell you what I just did today: I split a 40 pint (5 gal) Muntons can into 2 equal parts, and made my Lime-Pepper Cervasa.  I added 1 full lb of Light DME, I full cup of cane sugar, 2.5 oz. malto-dextrin, zest from one lime and hop sack of 6 medium Anaheim peppers, chopped and blanched.  I'll let you know how it turns out when it's finished.  More to your question, I have split a can of 6 gal Coopers into two batches in the LBK and both batches turned out fine.  Just be sure you do as the others have said and leave enough headspace for the krausen'.  In other words, you get a slightly denser beer than the recipe would  be if made to the full 6 gals in a larger fermenter.  Good luck - do let us know how things turn out!

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