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How much do you brew?

On average, how much do you usually have fermenting at one time?


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    29

Scott Ickes

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Kernal Crush had a wonderful photo of his full carboys getting happy and made me wonder how much our group keeps going at any one time on average.  So I thought I'd put this poll up.

Please tell us what your average is when you vote and if you wish you brewed more, or if the level is just right, etc.  Tell your story about your brewing frequency.  Such as, I brew as often as a can, or I'd brew more if I didn't have other responsibilities, or the costs keep me from brewing more often, etc.

I usually have 20 or 25 going, if possible.  I almost voted for 15 to 20 gallons, but that wouldn't be accurate.  There are usually 2 that are undergoing extensive aging for one reason all of the time.  I'll then have 2 or 3 more going that are normal turn around times from brew day to bottling day of about a month or so. 

If I had more money and more time, I'd brew more often and would be in the 25+ range.  That will have to wait for retirement age though. 

I have the ability to have about 42 gallons in carboys full at any one time, but have never had more than 25.  I have had 25 in carboys and started a 10 gallon batch, but was bottling 10 gallons on brew day at the same time.  So I had my carboys dropping from 25 to 15 gallons, while my 10 gallon batch was mashing/boiling.  That was a busy day and I'm glad I had help!
 

Maine Homebrewer

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I've got one large glass carboy that I use as primary, and three five gallon ones that I use as secondaries. At the moment I've got an ale in the primary, an ale in secondary, and a lager in secondary. In the converted chest freezer I've got two lagers in kegs. By the time July rolls around it will be too warm to brew, but I'll have four or five kegs of beer and a batch or two in secondary. By the end of September I'll be running out of beer, but it will be cool enough to start making ale again. Then when the basement drops into the 50s I start making lager until Spring when I make ale again.

During ale season I generally make a batch every other week, and every three to four weeks during lager season.  What I do is I try to brew and rack on the same day, so I can seed the new batch with sludge from the previous.  I try to use three packages of yeast a year. I'll make a Fall string of ales, a Winter string of lagers, and a Spring string of ales. Summer is too hot for brewing. Sometimes I'll do something different like a hefe, but for the most part I just do boring pale ales, IPAs and light pilsners.
 

Scott Ickes

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I put another option up for the professional brewers, that make batch sizes larger than most homebrewers have the capabilities of making.
 

Scott Ickes

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Maine Homebrewer said:
I've got one large glass carboy that I use as primary, and three five gallon ones that I use as secondaries. At the moment I've got an ale in the primary, an ale in secondary, and a lager in secondary. In the converted chest freezer I've got two lagers in kegs. By the time July rolls around it will be too warm to brew, but I'll have four or five kegs of beer and a batch or two in secondary. By the end of September I'll be running out of beer, but it will be cool enough to start making ale again. Then when the basement drops into the 50s I start making lager until Spring when I make ale again.

During ale season I generally make a batch every other week, and every three to four weeks during lager season.  What I do is I try to brew and rack on the same day, so I can seed the new batch with sludge from the previous.  I try to use three packages of yeast a year. I'll make a Fall string of ales, a Winter string of lagers, and a Spring string of ales. Summer is too hot for brewing. Sometimes I'll do something different like a hefe, but for the most part I just do boring pale ales, IPAs and light pilsners.

It sounds like you've settled in on a rotation of some sort.  I haven't reached that stage yet.  I've been brewing for nearly 30 years, but have only been brewing seriously for the last 15 months, so I haven't set any kind of a rotation yet.  I am still defining what brews I want to make on a continual basis, with a lot of experimenting going on.  I think I've settled on an IPA recipe as part of my eventual rotation and a Scottish Ale.  They both turned out well enough, that I want to brew them again.  I have a Russian Imperial Stout aging right now that is a good candidate to join the rotation, but the jury is out on that one, since I've never tasted it carbonated yet.  A bunch of it went into a barrel project that our homebrew club did, so 6 different batches were tasted flat going into the barrel.  I brewed it myself for my own use, but it's still aging in the carboy, but tasted just like the ones going into the barrel.  I'll probably be bottling it at the end of June.
 
K

KernelCrush

Those were just some of my meads, have 10 more gallons of mead still in buckets on fruit. I was gonna get a large capacity wine cooler fridge but that's just dumb once I calculated need room for 200+ 750 ml bottles.  Kegs I think would be better.  Need a walk in cooler.

I keep 4 beer kegs tapped, currently 4 more full beer kegs waiting in the wings, about 4 more empty kegs to fill.  I try to keep it that way.
 

brewfun

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Scott Ickes said:
I put another option up for the professional brewers, that make batch sizes larger than most homebrewers have the capabilities of making.

Hilarious!  ....My first thought was just to say, "depends on how much y'all drink!"
 
K

KernelCrush

I've tried to like mead, but I don't like clover.

The first time I tried mead was a store bought version.  It was so disgusting sweet I poured it out.  Reading some rate beer type forums I found out I wasn't alone. Mead contests that judge commercial & home versions will tell you home is better, way better.  I think the problem in the past is the commercial makers always marketed it as a low cost alternative to capture the wine crowd and had to go cheap on ingredients.  It didn't work and mead got a poor reputation.  Ken Schramm & Michael Fairbrother are changing that.  I still don't like it like beer, but its OK for a change.  I end up giving most of it away.
Clover doesn't make good mead in my experience.  Try a spring wildflower honey variety. Works well with fruit.  Get it from a beekeeper.  They will say they don't heat it or filter it but they must forget themselves.  If its clear its processed.  USDA studies have found that most of what you see in a store isn't even honey at all, just a Chinese sweet syrup.  The best honey you will find will be cloudy with pollen, wax bits, and bee parts straight from the hive.  Use the no heat method with staggered nutrient additions and a couple months down the road you may surprise yourself.  Brad's mead podcasts with the 2 guys above are what got me started.
 

Beer_Tigger

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I do 5 gallon all grain batches.  I have a 4 tap keezer and try to keep it stocked.  Since I am cheap, I tend to make a string of beers based on 1 yeast.  Brew 1, ferment it, when time to rack to secondary I brew the second heavier beer and pour onto first's yeast cake, and so on.
 

mthomebrew

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Currently I'm perfecting some partial mash recipes of my own doing 5 gallons at a time. I'm generally brewing once a month. I have 2 carboys and I like to have one of them fermenting at any given time. After bottling it is not usually more than a couple weeks before my next batch is fermenting. I love my stovetop process but soon it will be time to spread my wings and move it out to the patio. Once I get some upgraded gear I hope to start kegging and stepping the whole operation up a notch. Cheers all!
 

Brewmex41

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Well I have 3 6 gallon carboys, and a 3 gallon that i use. I also have 2 one gallons and a 2 gallon, but I don't brew small batches anymore, plus a keg.
Right now i have 5 g kegged, 5.5g cold crashing (the beer we brewed together), 5.5 g brewed on Sunday and 3g of Barleywine aging away. I will probably brew the collaboration porter next weekend so we can drink it while you brew your batch. So between 10-15 fermenting and 5 kegged.
 

drb1215

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I try and keep between 10 to 15 gallons in some stage of fermentation.  Typically I was brewing every other week, but this has slowed down due to work and inventory is pretty high at the moment (need to drink more beer!!).

As far as fermenters go, I have 3 - 30L Speidels, 3-6 gallon better bottles, 3-5 gallon better bottles, and enough buckets, covers and airlocks for another 40 gallons.

Conditioning and serving I have 10 corny kegs, and enough bottles for another 20 gallons or so.

Equipment (other than I'd like to do larger than 10 gallon batches) is not the issue...  It's time and consumption of what I have on hand are the issues.

-Dan
 

haerbob3

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currently 2 (6 gallon batches 12 total) batches in primary.  4 (23 gallons) batches in secondary and 5 (25 gallons) cornies ready for drinking  So about 60 gallons in varying states
 
K

KernelCrush

I've been thinking about acquiring honey for a one gallon batch.

Honey is gonna vary in sugar every time you get it so its hard to predict an exact batch volume.  I dig out the honey with a quart measuring cup til the pounds are about right, then slowly add water til you hit the gravity you are comfortable with.  I almost always shoot for slightly over 1.110.  71B yeast will drop you 100 points from there. You'll end up at the low end of semisweet.  If you want it sweeter and/or more honey flavor you can always add more later.

My first 2 attempts I made 5/6 gallon batches, split them into 1 gallon batches.  That way you can add fruit(s), spices, etc to one gallon at a time til you find what you want. 

Here are some resources that may save you some time.  My spreadsheet is constantly changing but I attached the current version.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/op4q0m4p9gm5xqg/mead%20blank.XLSX

https://www.dropbox.com/s/gd6peaufgabcfm9/Mead_Maker_of_the_Year_Panel.pdf

https://www.dropbox.com/s/yu7rmq9csa96ht0/melomel.pdf

https://www.dropbox.com/s/17ajbd7i8myepk5/optimizing%20honey%20fermentation.pdf

https://www.dropbox.com/s/0lffh9k9jzsdfwr/Mead%20-%20The%20Newbee%20Guide%20to%20Making%20Mead.pdf

Sorry, didn't mean to drop a BOMM on you.  Its a mead thing.
 
K

KernelCrush

Sheesh!  I'm the only one in the 25 gallon bracket.  I'm starting to believe what my wife says.  Hi! My names KernelCrush and I guess I'm an alco.. :-[

HaerBob you must not have voted.  Help me out.
 

cmbrougham

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Here's what I dealt with yesterday:

uc


That's 20 of the 35-ish gallons I had fermenting before yesterday. The mead (far left) went into tertiary and is the only one still in fermentation/aging. The other three (all beers) were kegged and/or bottled. I still have 5 gallons of melomel in primary, a wimperial stout (imperial that missed the mark) in primary, and a citrus stout-ish thing fermented with San Fran lager resting in the fermentation chamber at 34dF. In my defense, ten of those gallons in the picture were brewed specifically for an event that we were informed today that we are not allowed to bring alcohol to. Oops.

How I haven't been run out of my house by my extremely patient and understanding wife is beyond me. But, don't fret Kernel—I'm with you.
 
K

KernelCrush

Thanks CM, I don't feel so bad now.  The tint on your mead hints at grapefruit?
 

brewfun

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KernelCrush said:
Sheesh!  I'm the only one in the 25 gallon bracket.  I'm starting to believe what my wife says.  Hi! My names KernelCrush and I guess I'm an alco.. :-[

My beer inventory shows about 5000 gallons fermenting or on tap. You're not alone KC, just understaffed.
 
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