Beer, not rocket chemistry
- Feb 16, 2006
- Reaction score
- Corrales, New Mexico
As many of you know, because I am an EAC and keep throwing it in your face, I have a fairly large brewing set-up.
The thing is that in many ways it is too big for regular brewing. It is great for large batches. The kettle on the right is 40 gallons, the one on the left is 60. When brewing with friends it is great, or when making a strong beer that can age for a long time it is ideal. But if I am just making a batch of plain old pale ale or even an Imperial IPA with a limited shelf life, the batch size is just too big. Anything under 15 gallons is not really so easy. (OK, I hear you about now, "What the hell you bitchin' about you EAC?") But there are times when I just want 5 gallons.
Fortunately I have a nice 20 gallon kettle that works very nicely for smaller batches:
But not everybody has a garage full of steam kettles and so I wanted to open a discussion of practicle brewery sizing. 1/2 bbl kegs seem to be a great size and provide a realistic batch size of about 10 gallons or 2 cornies I know that Jamil has a 15 gallon set-up but appears to prefer to brew 6.5 gallon batches which ulitmately gets him a cornie full.
Maybe it is a question of intent. One answer would be consumption - how much do you drink related to how often you can brew. I don't drink enough to brew a bunch of 20 gallon batches. Another might be focus - do you brew simply to have beer around or do you also brew because you like the process. I love to brew and as soon as I have a batch made I am thinking about what is next. Part of my intent is social, so - do you brew alone or with others. There are different reasons for equipment sizing.
All of this is to say that bigger is not always better, IMEACO.
For a long time I am considering building a SMALL set-up that will utilize two 5 gallon kettles I have kicking around:
They are sweet little pots that were thrown in when I bought the big guys. They are steam kettles and pivot to dump but that may be just too small. They would be great for decoction brewing, or cereal cookers.
Any how, the floor is open. Does size matter?