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5 Gallons

I love homebrewing. I love creating something of my own and possibly something that no one else have ever created. My only problem is that I hate making 5 gallon batches of homebrew purely because it is the standard. I think that I am going to start making some small batches in the range of 3 gallons. My reasons behind this are two fold. First is that I hate, hate, hate (did I mention I hate) bottling my homebrew. It is the most labor intensive part of the whole process and kegging would make everything so much simpler. Soon Nate, soon. 3 gallons is much quicker to bottle than what 5 gallons would be becasue when all is said an done, it is going to be half as much, or about a case worth of beer.

The second reason is that I get tired of drinking the same beer over and over. Maybe it is my beer review taste buds that crave something new, but I find that the two cases I get from 5 gallons sits around of a long time. Making smaller batches will help me clear stuff out and also give me the chance to brew more. The only real problem with brewing smaller batches is that it takes the same amount of work to brew a 20 gallon batch as it does a 3 gallon batch. I am ok with that since I am doing it for myself only. I’m not a competition brewery by any means and I still enjoy a good commercial beer on a normal basis.

The Homebrewers’ Recipe Guide

10-23-01When I first started doing 5 gallon batches of homebrew I picked up two books. The first was the Joy of Homebrewing and the second was  The Homebrewers’ Recipe Guide. I figured that the JoH was a great teaching book but didn’t have a lot of recipes, and  I wasn’t totally ready to start formulating my own, so a recipe book was the next best thing.

The Homebrewer’s Recipe Guide was the book I went with after looking though several in the homebrew shop. There were other books out there with 300+ recipes and others that catered to making clones, but this book had a good mix of original recipes and some clone ones. The other thing I really liked was that it offered holiday and seasonal beer recipes.

It comes with “more than 175 original beer recipes” and a lot of helpful hints to help you out along the way. The other thing that I really liked is that the beers are broken up by style. You can easily choose a style that you want, and then go for a specific recipe in that style. Most styles have three or more different recipes to choose from. The book is broken up as follows:

  • Bitters, Pale Ales, and Other Regional Ales
  • Brown Ales, Porters, and Stouts
  • Lagers
  • Bocks, Doppelbocks, Barleywines, and Strong Ales
  • Fruit, Herb, and Smoked Beers,
  • Holiday and Seasonal Beers
  • Brewery Copycats
  • Meads, Lambics, and Ciders
  • Food and Beer, Beer and Food

Clearly there are a ton of options and it even ventures into meads, ciders, and food recipes. All of the beer recipes are extract based but if you are an all grain brewer you could easily convert everything over to make it work for your needs as well. I have probably outgrown the book for recipe purposes right now, but I do refer back to it for the Brewer’s Tips and for some guidance on recipe formulation.

A lot of homebrewers put down recipe books because they don’t think the books really deliver on what they say. They might be right, but this book gave me a lot of guidance and helped me along my brewing experience. The recipes I used from the book always turned out pretty good. I think the biggest thing I learned was how to develop my own recipes. You can see how a beer is put together from a recipe book, and what flavors you should be looking to develop in a particular style of beer. That is where this book was the most help to me. I still pull it out from time to time to help me out. Charlie Papazian does the foreword for the book if that is any indication of the quality of it.