Author Topic: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?  (Read 1100 times)

Offline MichaelScottPerkins

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Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« on: June 05, 2018, 04:07:03 PM »
I used to brew all the time 10-15 years ago. Then a divorce, two moves, a career change, and... well... life... all kind of took over. But now I'm back!!!

I've never brewed all-grain batches, but that is all really all I've ever wanted to do. So I am in the market to buy a new Brew Kettle. The first question I've had to ask myself is... do I want to pony up for a 15 gallon kettle right out of the gate, so that I will have the peace of mind of knowing that I won't have to "upgrade" later... or should I just keep it simple and modest with an 8 gallon kettle for 5 gallon batches, so that I can still use the buckets, glass carboys, and the few things I do still have from back in the day?

This is honestly less of a question about money, and it is less of a question about storage space, and even less of a question about the inconvenience of having to possibly upgrade later.  I am basically only really interested in hearing what you guys think about 5 gallon batches vs. 10 gallon batches. To anyone who has ever brewed more than 5 gallon in one boil... can you please give me your opinion on the matter?

Did you think things like...

  • This batch is okay... but now I've got 10 f****** gallons of a "just-okay" beer.
    I've already drunk 7 out of the 10 gallons over the last X months... I am so sick of this beer, I wish I had only brewed 5 gallons.
    Managing 10 gallons of any liquid, transporting it from this kettle to that kettle and into these fermenters etc... just moving it... 10 gallons really does create a hell of a hassle. I should have maybe just done 5 gallon batches, and brewed two batches.

Those are the thoughts that I've been wondering might come to be.




Offline willm85

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2018, 04:16:25 PM »
Who says you can't make a 5 gallon batch in a 15 gallon pot? I do it all the time with my electric BIAB system.

Offline EnkAMania

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #2 on: June 05, 2018, 04:29:44 PM »
I started with a ten gallon pot, but soon realized I "needed" a fifteen gallon pot.  I do only five gallon batches. 
Some day we'll look back on this and it will all seem funny

Offline jeffy

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #3 on: June 05, 2018, 05:03:14 PM »
You don't always end up with the same 10 gallons of beer in a ten gallon batch if you change up the yeast in each half or treat half of it with herbs or spices.  This is what I do.  From a ten gallon batch I get five gallons of one beer and five gallons of something similar yet different.
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Offline chezteth

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2018, 05:35:36 PM »
You don't always end up with the same 10 gallons of beer in a ten gallon batch if you change up the yeast in each half or treat half of it with herbs or spices.  This is what I do.  From a ten gallon batch I get five gallons of one beer and five gallons of something similar yet different.
I definitely agree with this. You can try different yeasts or add other ingredients to try something different. My thought is, get a larger kettle now if you are considering brewing larger batches. It will help resolve the added cost of upgrading later and allow you more flexibility.

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Offline Kevin

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #5 on: June 05, 2018, 05:36:48 PM »
I have a 3 vessel system made of 15.5 gallon converted kegs. I do 10 gallon batches... 5 gallon bathes... even BIAB sometimes on it. I would suggest the bigger system.

To answer some of your direct questions:

- This batch is okay... but now I've got 10 f****** gallons of a "just-okay" beer.
A legitimate concern. One I've had myself. Solution; only make 10 gallons of recipes you've already made in smaller batches and really like.

- I've already drunk 7 out of the 10 gallons over the last X months... I am so sick of this beer, I wish I had only brewed 5 gallons.
I've never gotten tired of a beer I liked enough to make for myself. Solution: similar to above, only make 10 gallon batches of the beers you really like.

I just made 10 gallons of a cream ale... my second 10 gallon batch of the same beer in 2 weeks time. I really, really like that beer with 15 gallons in the keggerator (5 are already gone) I am nowhere near tired of it.

- Managing 10 gallons of any liquid, transporting it from this kettle to that kettle and into these fermenters etc...
This became my issue after undergoing hip surgery a while back and then it dawned on me... I don't have to move it all in one trip.

Here is a possible overall solution for you. It might be pricey as far as the initial investment but it could solve your space issues and some of your liquid transfer questions. Look into an electric BIAB system. Usually they are just one kettle that you use for both mash and boil. You can often store all the basket, hoses, pump etc right in the kettle after use. Several systems come in 5 gallon batch to 10 gallon batch configurations... or larger.
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Offline chinaski

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #6 on: June 05, 2018, 06:06:41 PM »
I've found ways to continue using equipment that I bought initially and then replaced as my brewing methods evolved.  I've never wished that I have more than 5 gallons of anything I've made.  Whatever you decide, I recommend starting with smaller batch sizes so you can brew more frequently and improve.  Good luck!

Offline MDixon

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2018, 07:09:46 PM »
You don't always end up with the same 10 gallons of beer in a ten gallon batch if you change up the yeast in each half or treat half of it with herbs or spices.  This is what I do.  From a ten gallon batch I get five gallons of one beer and five gallons of something similar yet different.

This is what I almost always did with 10 gallons. Even more interesting, split it 60/40 and add water to the 40 to hit a different OG so you end up with a strong beer and a weaker beer. Doesn't have to be 60/40, it could be 55/45. I like doing that with an Alt to end up with an Altbier and a Sticke Altbier. There are all kinds of variations you can do so you don't end up with 10 gallons of the same beer.
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Offline Robert

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #8 on: June 05, 2018, 07:15:42 PM »
•You always need a bigger pot than you think.   Way bigger. And 10 gal is cutting it perilously close even for 5 gal batches.
•Buy once, cry once.
•Never be afraid or ashamed to dump beer.  Nothing compels you to drink anything you don't want to (except maybe alcoholism,) so nothing wrong with chalking it up to experience,  cutting your losses and moving on.
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Offline tommymorris

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #9 on: June 05, 2018, 07:22:32 PM »
I brew 3 gallon batches about once per month. I can barely consume that. I could move to 5 if I took more to parties.

I don’t know how people who brew large batches get rid of all the beer.

Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #10 on: June 05, 2018, 08:26:00 PM »
I brew 10 gallons, typically, but vary the yeast for something different, occasionally(last week’s blonde had Empire for 5 and Hot Head for 5).  If nothing else you find out which yeasts you like and don’t prefer.

Usually when I brew 5 gallons I end up saying ...”damn that went fast, I wish I had another 5 of that!”

Cheers.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #11 on: June 05, 2018, 08:28:21 PM »
I could move to 5 if I took more to parties.

I don’t know how people who brew large batches get rid of all the beer.

Friends all want the good homebrew once they try it.  I have people over all the time and send Beer with them when I need space in the serving fridge.
Hodge Garage Brewing: "Brew with a glad heart!"

Offline Frankenbrew

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #12 on: June 05, 2018, 09:29:29 PM »
I have the capability to brew 10 gallon batches, but I never do anymore. It made my brew day longer and harder, and, frankly, by the time I'm done drinking five gallons, even with the help of my friends, I'm ready to move on to the next thing. Never could stick to one kind of beer--that's why I homebrew!
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Online BrewBama

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Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2018, 09:34:01 PM »
I brew 5 gallons about once a month and keep two kegs on tap at a time. Usually one lighter one darker. That keeps me brewing, cleaning, racking, conditioning, researching and prepping the next recipe, and buying ingredients on a fairly regular basis throughout the month.

I couldn’t use 10 gallons on a regular rotation like that but that’s just me.


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Offline majorvices

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Re: Five gallon batches, or go all in on 10 Gallon batches?
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2018, 10:55:20 PM »
To the question of 5 or 10 that depends really on how much you like to drink, how much your wife likes to drink your beer and how much your friends like to drink your beer. I generally brewed 10 gallons batches (I commercially brew now) because I like to drink beer and so does my wife .... and so do my friends. But many times I would scale down to 5 depending on the style. It sucks when you get home from work on a Friday night and blow a keg, but it is awesome when you have a second one ready to go.