Thursday, July 30, 2009

Final Mo' Betta Bretta Clone 2 Tasting

About two years ago when this blog was still getting 20 hits a day I brewed my second attempt at Pizza Port’s Mo’ Betta Bretta. The batch was split three ways with half bottled plain, one quarter aged with sour cherries and pinot noir, and the final quarter getting the same cherries and wine with the addition of a vanilla bean.


Last night I enjoyed my last bottle of each of those beers (actually there may be one final bottle of the plain hiding somewhere). It was interesting to taste the three beers back to back to back, they differences were remarkable. As 100% Brett beers they do not have the same aging potential as mixed culture sours, but I have been impressed by how my first attempt at Mo’ Betta Bretta has aged, so I had high hopes for these as well.

I wrote up some tasting notes and posted them last night, but when I checked back this morning they seemed to be gone from the site (I blame blogger, and not the fact that I was sampling three beers while posting…). What follows is a recreation of my thoughts to the best of my recollection.

Mo' Betta Bretta 2
App
earance – Clear golden, with a puffy, stark white head. The considerable carbonation keeps the head inflated for several minutes before allowing it to fall to a thin ring. A bit of lacing sticks to the sides of the glass.

Aroma – Candied fruit is the first thing that comes to mind. There is some sherry notes as well that do not meld well with such a pale beer. It almost smells like an old ale, but without the dark malt component it is very off-putting.

Taste –The flavor has a bit of white wine character, but not in a good way, more like old wine that sat out too long. It needs a touch more sourness or bitterness, as the sweetness is just overpowering. I really liked the flavor when this beer was young, but clearly two years in the bottle is too much for this one.

Mouthfeel – The beer does not have the lightness that it once had despite the strong carbonation. It has lost the acidic edge that really brought it together.

Drinkability/Notes – Sad to say that I had to dump this one. The character just did not hold up over time despite being stashed at my parents’ house in pretty optimal conditions.

Cherry Mo' Betta Bretta 2
Appearance – A beautiful “cherry” red body topped with a head that has just a touch on pink.

Aroma – Really bright cherry aroma up front, but there isn’t much behind it. Hopefully the cherries prevented the oxidation and aren’t just covering it up.

Taste – The cherries again take the lead, still fresh and juicy. There is a little bit of earthy funk as well, but not much. The wine has continued to mellow, at this point I couldn’t call it more than a distant complexity.

Mouthfeel – The acidity from the sour cherries really makes the beer. The strong carbonation really compliments the acid, giving it a lightness that is very refreshing.

Drinkability/Notes - I know cherries are high in anti-oxidants, so that may have been enough to stave off the oxidation that has ravaged the plain beer in just over two years. This is a very nice lightly funky cherry beer, but it lacks a bit in the beer department, it may have done better with some more assertive malts.

Cherry-Vanilla Mo' Betta Bretta 2
Appearance
– Not surprisingly it looks exactly the same as its vanilla-less brother, although maybe the head has just a touch more pink. The head looked to of had more color in the picture from last year, but I’m not sure what would have caused the head color to change over time (might just be the photo).

Aroma – The vanilla compliments and mellows the cherry and makes it seem a bit duller. The vanilla smells rich and sweet, it is a very nice character. Not much else going on in the aroma, even as it warms up a bit.

Taste – The flavor has that great vanilla bean complexity with hints of cigar and fresh leather. This is the sort of character I have always wanted in a vanilla porter or stout but have never really gotten. The cherries are playing back-up, and the wine flavor is completely covered up. The vanilla also mutes that hint of funk and any lingering beer-ish character.

Mouthfeel – The vanilla gives the beer a slightly fuller/sweeter impression. The light tannic quality I noted a year ago has completely dissipated with age.

Drinkability/Notes – The vanilla certainly adds complexity and helps to balance out the brash cherry character, but it comes at the expense of taking away any beer character. It is an interesting drink, but I think I prefer the plain cherry on a hot night like this.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Testing the Alcohol Content of Ice Concentrated Beer

Awhile back I started a thread over on the Rate Beer forums to talk about my Dave Clone (a beer that I freeze concentrated), but it broke out into an argument over how much alcohol it REALLY contains. Normally you measure the gravity (density) of a beer before and after fermentation with a hydrometer and use a formula to tell you how much alcohol there was produced, but with freeze concentration this method doesn't work because there is no way to know the effective original gravity.

After it became clear that no one really knew what the ABV was, I looked into getting it tested professionally to settle the argument. White Labs wanted $75 to run the test, which did not seem worth it to me. After talking to a couple of my nerdier friends to get some ideas I was directed to AJ deLange, the local brewing science guru. I had been over to his house last year for a talk he gave on brewing water as part of a BJCP class and was impressed (to say the least) with his huge brew system (yes that is an extra kettle for doing decoctions), tricked out lab, and command of brewing science.



I was hoping he had some simple do-it-yourself solution to figuring out ABV, but instead he invited me over to do the full ASBC Method test (which he just so happens to have all the equipment for). The first step was to measure out exactly 100 ml of the beer. To do this he put the beer into a flask which was placed into a circulating water bath to get it to exactly 20 C (the flask has a line that indicates exactly where 100 ml of 20 C liquid comes up to).



The testing rig consists of a heater (blue, top center) to boil the beer, a water jacketed condensation column (glass center), and a a 100 ml flask packed in ice to catch the distillate (it was placed below the condensation column on the scissor jack).


It took about 80 minutes to evaporate most of the beer, collecting basically all of the alcohol and most of the water (and leaving a thick syrup behind, but more on that later). AJ said it went faster than any other beer he had done this on (alcohol evaporates easier than water).


He assured me that the small size of the system (still) and its lab use make it legal. The distillate had a light toasted aroma, but as it was the product of a true distillation (unlike my ice concentration) it was illegal to drink.

This clear alcohol/water mixture was then heated in the water bath to 20 C.

AJ used a pipette to top off the flask with deionized water to get to exactly 100 ml (which gave us a solution that contained basically all of the alcohol from the beer, but with none of the sugars).


He then ran the diluted distillate through his Anton Paar DMA 5000 density meter (on the left) which actually does the analysis. The gist of the system (as I understand it) is that a pump (on the right) moves the liquid into a U tube where a magnet vibrates the liquid, the resonance allows the density meter to ascertain the density of the liquid, which in turn allows it to determine the alcohol by volume (since the liquid is composed of water and ethanol and the densities of each are known).


The verdict (after several trials to ensure we had all the water washed out of the tubing), 17.5% ABV (aka 35 proof). Not bad, but not quite as strong as I assumed it would be.


AJ then took the little bit of dark syrup that was left behind in the boiler, and did the same steps (20 C water bath, topped off with deionized water, and analyzed). This was the opposite of the previous test, all the sugar/dextrins from the beer but none of the alcohol.

The results? Nearly 17 P (1.069) of residual real extract. This is the amount of sugar that remained after fermentation/concentration without taking the alcohol (which has a gravity less than water) into account. This may even be a bit low since a bit of sugar had burned onto the flask. This is about the same amount of sugar that my Smoked Imperial Porter had before fermentation... wow.

Next he ran the ice concentrated beer (un-distilled) through the testing system (since this one did not have to be diluted to a specific volume he just used a mini-plunger to load it into the density meter).

The apparent FG was pretty close to the 1.049 I had measured with my hydrometer (correcting for the fact that I measured it at close to 32 degrees).


What all of this means is that despite increasing the FG by 2.08X (from 1.023), the freeze concentration only increased the alcohol by 1.75X (from 10% ABV) (so in this case the freezing selective concentrated the carbohydrates over the alcohol). Not too bad for a home freezer and a sieve. It also means that my effective OG for this beer is 1.173 (a real monster) with 73% apparent attenuation.

During a break in the action AJ took a few minutes to figure out the SRM of the beer. The first step was to dilute it (which took a 6X its volume in deionized water to get the beer pale enough for the test to work).


The diluted beer was placed into a small cube and then into a spectrometer which shot light through the beer ramping up the wavelength in nm increments to figure out the absorption across the visible spectrum.


AJ then took that output and did some Excel magic on it to figure out it is 93 SRM (aka midnight black, although AJ has measured an English stout more than twice that dark), with plenty more specifics to give a complete definition of the color (SDC1 0.217, SDC2 -0.108). SRM only measures the absorption of light at 430 nm, so it doesn't really give you a full picture of what color the beer is (red, brown, gold etc...). AJ figured out what colors to make the cards that the BJCP started giving to beer judges a year ago, so he knows a thing or two about beer color.


On top of the sweet brew system, and awesome lab (substantially better equipped than any we have seen so far while visiting pro-breweries for BrewLocal), AJ has a walk in cooler with taps coming out of the wall.


We celebrated a successful round of testing with a couple of samples from said taps, AJ's Kolsch (crisp and clean), his Pils (beautiful bright hop character), and his Irish Dry Stout (on Nitrogen). Guess which one that is?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

New Kid on the Blog

Food connects people. Toasted baguette with soft, salty butter and seedy strawberry jam with hot coffee; an ear of sweet, fresh July corn plucked from the boil, my dad typewritering through his before I even finish applying the requisite butter-salt-pepper; the spicy bite of the soft, bouncy crumb cake from my grandmother's recipe. All of these tastes, textures, and smells I have indelibly connected to memories of place and people. Whether with close friends, neighbors, family, or complete strangers, our rituals of food, whatever form they take in time and circumstance, are evidence that food feeds more than our bodies when we make and share it with those around us.

So, you may be asking: Just who is this "Fermentationette"? In reality, she is the diminutive version of the Mad Fermentationist (from here, Mike) in a few key respects, being: far shorter in stature; much less learned in the fermenting arts (fermenter-in-training, I believe is my official title); and less measure-y about, well, most things.

What I may lack in stature, mad brewing (fermenting) skills, and detail to numbers, I hope to make up for by contributing a witty, once-weekly post recounting our (Mike and I) latest culinary collaboration; in addition to a beer pairing, likely supplemented with vocabulary and measurements from this blog's creator. For each, I'll do my best to estimate the amounts of time, kind, and temperature as necessary for each stage and ingredient. Keep in mind, though, that we basically make it up as we go, so consider our rough recipes more as guidelines for your preference/imagination.

The forces at work in these weekly adventures revolve around the caffeined collaboration of Sunday (and occasionally Saturday) morning treks to the farmer's market. We make our way seeking what's new, what's fresh, and most importantly, what looks good; ingredients we slowly weave into the haphazard balance of flavor and texture, for some lunch we've dreamed up in our brains.

The idea for such a weekly posting was borne from the fusion of a few well-timed ideas:

First, that people who appreciate and make beer also almost inevitably appreciate the experiment, accompaniment and sharing of food;

Second, that our Sunday food spectacles -- whether a resounding success or "still-technically-edible" -- warrant a record for both progeny's (and our own) enjoyment and learning; and,

Finally, that Mike wants to grow this blog by cultivating new contributors, recognizing the premise that people -- for all their habits and idiosyncrasies -- are as diverse as they are creative; and as hungry as they are thirsty.

Audrey

Friday, July 24, 2009

Smoked Doppelsticke - A True Adambier

With our Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy getting close to its boozy/oaky destination the barrel crew set about deciding what would be next into the barrel. Plenty of ideas were thrown around, but something close to an Adambier was decided on, but we wanted to do something closer to the German origin of the style than Hair of the Dog's Adam (which I was happy about since I had just brewed a clone of it).


We decided to make the beer based on a sort of amped up Alt called a doppelsticke (literally double secret). The group decided on a base of German Munich malt, with some of the same smoked malt that is used in Bamburg Rauchbier, along with some Caramunich and Carafa for sweetness and color. A solid bittering hop addition with no late boil additions (any hop aroma would fade long before it climbed out of the wood we conjectured). Fermentation was by German Ale yeast, which is clean, but accents the malt more than clean American Ale yeast.

Sadly after most of us had already brewed the new batch, the wee heavy started tasting a bit fruity.... then a bit funky... then a pellicle appeared. I think the big oud bruin (as we are now calling it) has a good chance to turn into a tasty beer in a year or so, but that left us without a home for the Smoked Doppelsticke. After a few fruitless calls to local distilleries we decided to each take our portions and bottle them with or without oak as we say fit. Mine is still cold conditioning at the time being without any oak at this point (I'll decide what I want to do with it after it has a bit more time to mellow, right now it is pretty clear, pleasantly smoky, and very malty).


Double Secret Probation

Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
----------------
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 15.75
Anticipated OG: 1.088
Anticipated SRM: 22.1
Anticipated IBU: 48.4
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80 %
Wort Boil Time: 120 Minutes

Grain
------
12.00 lbs. German Munich Malt
3.00 lbs. Rauchmalt (German Beechwood Smoked Malt)
0.50 lbs. CaraMunich Malt
0.25 lbs. Carafa Special II

Hops
-----
2.00 oz. Galena @ 60 min.

Extras
-------
1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 Min.(boil)
0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 Min.(boil)

Yeast
------
White Labs WLP011 European Ale

Water Profile
-------------
Washington DC

Mash Schedule
-------------
560 min @ 155

Notes
-----
Brewed 6/05/09 by myself

Started an all-night mash ~9:30 PM.

Picked up the sparge with 180 degree water 12 hours later. Really slow runoff. Pre-boil gravity 1.068, much higher than I expected.

Chilled to 75, gave 60 seconds of O2, then racked onto the yeast cake from the Oat Pale Ale. I would have liked to get it cooler, but my ground water was at 72. Placed into the freezer set to 60, put a blowoff tube on.

6/26/09 Racked to secondary, temperature left at 60, gravity down to 1.018 (79% AA, 9.2% ABV). Better attenuation than I expected, I assume the overnight mash gets the credit for that.

7/15/09 Dropped temp to 50 to help it clear.

8/9/09 Bottled with 3.375 oz of table sugar. Aiming for 2.5 volumes of CO2. 3 bottles got bourbon soaked oak cubes that had sat in grade B maple syrup for a few days (something like Founders Canadian Breakfast Stout)

11/12/09 First tasting, doing well, nice smoke character, good balance.

1/05/11 Still doing well, the smoke has fallen off a bit, but it is still vibrant.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Distilled Hitachino's Nest Wit Cocktail

A couple months back my friend Tracy Jill dragged me to a cocktail night at Bar Pilar here in DC. It was the last night on the job for their weekly mix-master and he was bringing back his favorites from his time there. The bar had a couple decent taps, but I decided to take in the Epicurean delights (at $11 a drink).

Most of cocktails on the menu were riffs on old classics, or interesting new combinations, many with homemade bitters and other exotic ingredients and liquors. I thought most of them were alright, but I have not not had many cocktails since discovering good beer, they either end up too sweet or too boozy for my tastes. The one standout I tried was based on (surprise) Allagash White, with Plymouth gin, orange juice, honey syrup, and some lemon peel. The flavor was great, wheaty/bready, with some spice and just a touch of sweetness and not a lot of ethanol.


Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was in The Wine Specialist on M St buying some beer (while walking back from $4 happy hour glasses of BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien at Pizzeria Paradiso). As I was walking out a clear square bottle with the Hitachino's Nest owl on the cap caught my eye in the sake display. It was called Kiuchi No Shizuku and the label indicated that inside was the distilled remains of Hitachino Nest Wit beer (aged with extra aromatics), it sounded worth $15 for a try. The aroma was not too bad (orange and coriander and maybe a hint of herbal hops), but at 86 proof the alcohol was too strong for my tongue to get past.


Then an idea struck me, why not soften the harsh edges of the distilled spirit with some of the beer it was distilled from, plus a bit of lemon peel to give it a fresh citrus pop. I added a tablespoon of the liquor to each half of the beer (guessing completely on what to aim for). The results were pretty good, the flavor was close to an imperial wit. I think the beer was a bit past its prime, but the fresh citrus peel helped to cover that up. Although not as good as the original blend at Bar Pilar I thought it was a reasonable first attempt. A small amount of honey and orange juice would help to replace some of the sweetness that a bigger beer normally has, as well as some added complexity.


I realize most of you won’t be able to try this exact concoction at home, but gin is along the same lines as Kiuchi No Shizuku (they are both distilled spirits with herbs and orange peel), and any wit will do. Nothing wrong with playing with your beer a little bit from time to time.

Does anyone else have a good beer cocktail recipe to share?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Palisade Oat Pale Ale Recipe and Tasting

My Palisade Oat Pale Ale is another low gravity batch not to any particular style, that is to say a second International Session Ale. The malt bill is close to that of a special bitter (but it has oatmeal) the yeast is German, and the hops are American. It was inspired by a can of Surly's Bitter Brewer, but really can't be called a clone (it has different malts, hops, and yeast).

I had never used special roast malt (similar to biscuit or victory), palisade hops (a new-ish higher AA% Willamette replacement), or a clean German ale yeast (White Labs 011 in this case), so this is a bit of an experiment as well. All I was just looking for was something crisp and refreshing for the summer without any residual crystal malt sweetness. I was hoping that the oats and the lower attenuating yeast would fill out the mouthfeel without making it too thick or chewy.

This was the starter batch for a smoked doppelsticke that is still cold conditioning. It was originally going to be barrel aged, but those plans were scrapped after our Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy grew a pellicle and started tasting funky.

Tasting 7/12/09
Appearance – Pours a ruddy straw yellow. The beer is clear when warm, but at about 40 degrees the chill haze is very apparent. Nice tight white head with moderately good head retention. A protein rest or some longer cold conditioning would help take care of the haze, but I don't really mind it.

Smell – The aroma is nicely hoppy with some herbal notes back up by a bit of spice. The character certainly leans European, but there is a hint of that dank Columbus flavor that reminds you that it is grown in the Pacific Northwest. Behind the hops there is a hint of bready malt, but it is hidden beneath the pungent hoppiness.

Taste – Nice assertive clean bitterness at first, flowing similar hop aromatics from the nose. The malt is more noticeable in the flavor, giving flavors of bread, saltine, and biscuit. The finish is dry which enhances the hoppiness, I think I made the right choice leaving the crystal out of this one. The yeast is very clean, but it provides a hint of fruitiness that you wouldn't get from Chico.

Mouthfeel – Medium-light body, but that is to be expected from a 4.5% ABV beer. The carbonation is subdued which prevents the beer from coming across as too thin.

Drinkability & Notes – Holds up to its session beer roots, easy to drink on a hot DC night. Not much I would change on this one, if you can't get your hands on Palisades then Willamette, Glacier, First Gold, or East Kent Goldings would be good replacements (pretty much anything would work for bittering).

Palisade Parkway Pale (International Session Ale #2)

Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
----------------
Batch Size (Gal): 3.80
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.28
Anticipated OG: 1.044
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 34.6
Brewhouse Efficiency: 63 %
Wort Boil Time: 89 Minutes

Grain
------
6.25 lbs. Maris Otter
0.75 lbs. Oatmeal
0.28 lbs. Special Roast

Hops
-----
0.75 oz. Amarillo @ 60 min.
0.50 oz. Palisade @ 4 min.
0.50 oz. Palisade @ Dry Hop

Extras
-------
0.50 Unit(s)Whirlfloc Fining 15 Min.
0.25 Tsp Yeast Nutrient Other 15 Min.

Yeast
------
White Labs WLP011 European Ale

Water Profile
-------------
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
---------------
Sacch Rest 60 min @ 152

Notes
-----
Brewed 5/23/09 by myself

Boiled Quaker Old Fashion Oats with plenty of water for 10 minutes to ensure complete gelatinization. Collected 5.75 gallons of 1.030 wort.

Added 2 g of gypsum to the boil to help accentuate the hops.

Amarillos are 18 months old (adjusted down from 9.7%), Palisades are 6 months old (adjusted down from 6.7%).

Cooled to ~70 degrees, 45 second shot of O2, pitched a fresh tube of yeast, put into the freezer set to 60 degrees. After 20 hours there was no action, so I upped the temp to 65. After ~6 more hours there was fermentation starting.

5/31/09 Fermentation seems to be about finished, just a small bit of krausen hanging on.

6/06/09 Racked to a 3 gallon secondary, added the dry hops in a muslin bag. Gravity down to 1.008. Does not have as much bitterness as I was aiming for. Bottled one bomber with 3/4 tsp of cane sugar (this bottle was nice after 2 weeks, but I was glad I dry hopped the rest since it was missing that nice fresh hop aroma).

6/16/09 Bottled with 1.75 oz of cane sugar, aiming for the low 2's carbonation. Gravity was down to 1.008, lower than I expected, but it did not taste thin.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

(Cabernet) Berliner Weiss

After how well my first batch of Berliner Weiss came out, it was only a matter of time before I brewed another one. This time I upped the volume to a full 5 gallon batch because I polished off the first batch far too soon, but other than that I kept the wort production (decoction, mash hopping, minimal-boil) the same.

The only major change I made to the base beer was the yeast/bacteria. The first time I used the great Wyeast Berliner Weiss Blend, but it has not been re-released since. So this time I used some slurry from my buddy Dan (who does the City Brewer blog), he used Wyeast Lacto and some US-05. I also added some Brett L (also from Dan), and the dregs from a bottle of Cantillon for some complexity (the beer got to 1.002 pretty quickly so I doubt the added funk will do much).

After making my own blueberry syrup last year (I liked the fruit flavor, but not the sweetness) I wanted to add some fruit to the beer during fermentation. I was inspired by a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon lambic that my friend Brian made (which incidentally took gold in the NHC East Regionals this year). So I took half the batch and added 34.5 oz of Cabernet grape juice after primary fermentation. Actual grapes would have been even better (that is how the lambic was made), but they aren't in season at the moment. The juice was from concentrate (picked up at the supermarket), but the flavor seems to be pretty good from the samples I have pulled (and the color in the glass is not nearly as shocking as the photo).

I am hoping to bottle soon since this will be the perfect beer for a DC summer that is just starting to burn.

Battle of France (Cabernet Berliner Weiss)

Recipe Specifics (All-Grain)
----------------
Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.50
Anticipated OG: 1.033
Anticipated SRM: 2.6
Anticipated IBU: 0.5
Brewhouse Efficiency: 58 %
Wort Boil Time: 3 Minutes

Grain
------
4.50 lbs. German Pilsener
3.00 lbs. German Wheat Malt

Hops
-----
1.00 oz. Hallertau Hersbrucker @ Mash Hop

Yeast
-----
Safale US 05 Chico and Wyeast 5335 Lacto slurry

Water Profile
-------------
Profile: Washington DC

Mash Schedule
---------------
Pulled the decoction after 5 minutes at the Protein rest. Added hops to the decoction. ~10 min to get up to 155. Left there for 15 min. Boiled 10 minutes. Added back to the mash got up to 140. After 10 min added 1qrt of hot water to get up to 145, should have pulled a bigger decoction.

Notes
-----
Brewed 5/24/09 by myself

DC tap water, carbon filtered.

Slow, cloudy runoff. Batch sparged. Collected 5.5 gallons of 1.033 wort.

Brought to a boil for ~3 minutes, skimming. Chilled to 80, pitched a thin 10 oz of slurry of lacto and yeast from Dan (US-05 and commercial Lacto). I also added some Brett L dregs from Dan. Put into my chest freezer @ 65 degrees.

Some fermentation evident around 18 hours.

5/26/09 Added the dregs of a bottle of Cantillon Vigneronne.

5/31/09 Super cloudy still, looks like particulate. Fermentation seems to be wrapping up, mild sourness, pretty clean.

6/07/09 Took out of the fridge to encourage fermentation/funk to get moving.

6/16/09 Racked to secondary gravity down ~1.002. Half racked onto three 11.5 oz bottles of First Blush Cabernet Juice. Nice tartness. It took a couple days to see the see renewed fermentation from the juice. Left at summer DC room temp.

8/9/09 Bottled both halves with 2.75 oz of table sugar each. Aiming for 3.5 volumes of CO2.

12/01/09 First tasting of both halves, both are doing well but need a few more months to mature.

4/28/10 Took first place in the Sour Ales category in the East Region of the 2010 NHC, scoring a 40.5.

Monday, July 6, 2009

When brewing, what is your average batch size?

< 2.5 gal 6 (2%)
2.5 - 5.9 gal 151 (71%)
6 - 10.9 gal 45 (21%)
11 - 20 gal 8 (3%)
> 20 gal 2 (0%)

Looks like most people do "standard" 5 gallon batches, although a good number go slightly bigger. I really should have broken out the slightly smaller batches since I suspect that would have gotten a more accurate look at the people who brew smaller than 5 gallon batches. As you've probably noticed from my recipes I tend to brew batches around 3.5 gallons, but I'll occasionally brew a 5 gallon batch if I am going to split it (half with fruit and half plain is common for my sours).

I'm impressed by the two people who answered over 20 gallons, those are some impressive homebrew systems (assuming you aren't pros).

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