I have been bitten by the homebrew bug. When something interests me, I read and obsess over it for a long time. Sometimes this leads to me doing it, but more often than not I move on to something else. This was almost the case with homebrewing. The 5 gallon brewing setups were a turnoff for all the reasons usually mentioned – I live in a small apartment, I wanted to use the stove, I didn’t want to invest in a lot of equipment, I have pots for 2 gallons at most…. Then I stumbled on BIAB (Brew in a bag) and eventually the Brooklyn Brew Shop 1 Gallon Kits. This is what needed.
I don’t want to rehash the arguments you see online about brewing 1 gallon v. 5 gallons, but I will say that my reasoning was primarily because I wanted to learn to brew, not to make large amounts of beer. I can buy beer from brewers far better than I could dream to be, in every imaginable style. I want to know how grains, hops and yeast can change the taste of my beer. I wanted to expand my beer horizons and stop drinking the same thing – Russian Imperial Stouts – over and over. Brewing will help further my knowledge and appreciation of beer. And I might get some good beers from it.
I want to be proficient. I want to brew a good batch and know that I can do it again, consistently. Online, one argument against small batches goes: “If I brew a good batch of beer, I don’t want just 10 bottles.” But the response is that you should be able to do it again, all the time. I don’t want my brewing to be luck. This is not a craphsoot but a skill.
I love to cook. I love being in the kitchen with music playing. Brewing is an extensions of that. If you want to brew, small batch brewing is for you. If you want to drink lots of beer – go to the store. It’s cheaper and you don’t have to wait 4 weeks. When I understand the techniques of brewing, the ingredients, and can consistently make a good beer, I may step up to 5 gallons or more. Brewing big batches looks fun. I’ll admit that I have already looked at 10 gallon 3-tier brewing systems. But brewing bigger batches should be an extension of wanting to brew not just wanting lots of beer.