Making Beer in Large Batches at Home

My first batch of beer: Russian Imperial Stout

Making beer at home can become a passionate hobby for those who enjoy good, flavorful beer and a passing interest in do-it-yourself. You have the opportunity to explore techniques, ingredients and flavors to customize the experience of your beer.

For me, the journey began over 12 years ago when I spent an afternoon at a friend’s house while he made a batch of beer. After that, my interest in homebrewing fell by the wayside in pursuit of starting a family, moving, getting into debt, then struggling out of debt and establishing an emergency fund for my family.

Once my family was fairly secure financially, I allowed myself to spend the money for an equipment kit. Actually, I think my wife ordered me to do it as a celebration of being debt free. After my first batch, a Russian imperial stout, I was hooked. Enjoying the beer I made was only rivaled by sharing with people I care about.

Large Batch Brew Kettle
One of my first ten gallon batches, splitting in to two fermentation vessels.

With several friends and family members “helping” me drink my homebrew, I quickly realized I needed to start producing larger batches. Upgrading from 5 gallon batches to 10 gallon batches not only allowed me to produce more beer in one batch, it allowed me to split a batch into large fractional batches or many smaller batches. These fractional batches allow me to experiment with different yeasts, dry-hopping techniques or fermentation temperatures.

Brewing a ten gallon batch adds a small amount of time to the brew day. Rather than spending 5 or 6 hours brewing a five-gallon batch, I spend 6 or 7 hours to make 10 gallons. This is incredibly more efficient for the brew day.

The only drawback is I haven’t found a way to halve the time it takes to bottle. Eventually, I hope to start kegging, but that’s an investment I can’t fund yet.

Brewing beer at home is enjoyable, but the results are the best part. I’ve been homebrewing since 2009 when I brewed my first batch.

Making the beer is only part of the enjoyment. Sharing the creation with friends & family is the best part. Being able to explain what you did and give a few moments of enjoyment to people who matter to you makes the time & effort worthwhile.