We have been brewing 5 gallon batches pretty extensively for the last couple of years. We will occasionally brew 10g batches when the need arises, and will be moving toward 10g batches now that the brewery is mostly complete. Pretty much any kit you can mail order is a 5g batch, and there is certainly nothing wrong with them, except for the fact that they don’t last…
I recently brewed a 5g batch of a Black IPA that was a kit from http://austinhomebrew.com, and while the kit wasn’t exactly what I was looking for (more on that in another post), it was super delicious. I’ve been super busy with home renovations recently, which has prevented me from brewing too much, but I have 5 excellent friends, who helped me out by putting the beer in the keg when it was ready, and “storing it for me.” Of course, a couple of pints had to be sampled during this storage, probably to the tune of 1/2 a gallon. My 5g batch was 4.5g before I even got to take it home.
A few weeks later, a friend is throwing a party, and I am told to bring beer. My choices are my homebrew or some off the shelf thing. I like to think my homebrew is tasty, so I take that. It’s a hit. The 1/2g I took over on Friday night to sample turns into 2 more growler’s worth on Sunday when we have a smaller get together. My 5g is now down to 3g. Still plenty of beer left, right?
Whenever anyone comes over, I give them a pint of my homebrew. Again, I’m happy with it, and want to show that home brewed beers can taste as good as commercial beers. For every pint I give my friends, I need to partake in one as well. If I have only 5 friends come over, I have gone through yet another gallon. I like to think I have more than 5 friends, and those friends will like my beer enough to drink more than one pint, so we’ll call it 2g for friend visits.
This leaves me with 1g of beer for myself, to drink with dinner, or after mowing the lawn, or whenever I want to enjoy a homebrew. I usually use imperial pint glasses, which means I have 8 glasses of beer to enjoy. Those 8 glasses spaced out over 6 weeks is insignificant, though each one is incredibly enjoyable, I just wish I had more.
Keep in mind, this problem only exists for the ones you like. I’ve brewed some beers that I can’t give away to people, and it just sits, and sits, and sits. The 5g batch feels like an entire 1/2 keg and something you can never get through. Come to think of it, maybe the 5g batch isn’t such a bad choice.