Homebrew Hack: The One Gallon Batch

I’m surprised that so few homebrewers brew one gallon batches. Most that I talk to brew at least 5 gallon batches. I’m sure a lot of this is because it’s really easy to find 5 gallon carboys at brewing supply shops. Carboys range in size, with some holding as much as 16 gallons, but the 5 gallon is the one I see on most shelves and in most people’s set ups. If you want to be more ethical in your brewing, consider implementing one gallon batches into your brewing, especially if you’re a new homebrewer.

The Benefits Of Homebrewing One Gallon Batches

Homebrewing is tremendously wasteful, especially when it comes to water. If you’re a beer brewer, water waste is even more problematic. There is a way to offset this, though, and that is implementing one gallon batches. There are many reasons why you should consider going small batch sometimes, here’s three of them to start:

  1. Experiments Go Wrong. My recent mead brewing has been nothing short of a nightmare. I’m having issues with the yeast, had a siphoning fandango that resulted in a lot of mead all over me and the counters, I feel less bad about this because I had one gallon batches. Whether you’re brand new or experienced, whenever trying something new, consider a one gallon batch in the event something goes wrong.
  2. Consume Responsibly. If you’ve got a recipe that works and you’re having people over around the time it will be ready, by all means make a big batch and get it bottled or on the kegerator so that you can share.  But if you’re just brewing for yourself or you and your partner, small batches are responsible. When there’s a 5 or more gallon batch it’s easier to drink more because it’s there. A one gallon batch will often invoke the question: do I really want a second drink right now? Especially when it’s good and you don’t want to run out!
  3. Less water on the front end. It takes far less wweater to sanitize the equipment for a one gallon batch that it does a 5 gallon batch.

One Gallon Batches Are Perfect For New Brewers

Brewing is a frustrating, expensive hobby. If you’re considering getting started with brewing, whether beer or mead or wine or cider or even kombucha, start with one gallon batches. Your equipment and ingredients will be smaller, less expensive and more manageable which leads to better brewing more often.

And yes, you can totally brew beer a gallon at a time.

Urban Brewers, Take Note!

It’s not the 90’s. You can’t, as a lone person, get a two bedroom in a decent neighborhood in Brooklyn and use the extra bedroom to store your equipment. Back in the 1990’s you could easily find an apartment close to the subway (so you could hang out in the neighborhoods where you couldn’t afford to live) and that apartment could grow with you as you got serious with a partner. Hell, in some cases you could have room for a kid or two.

I think about the space I had in Brooklyn in the 1990’s and it’s a homebrewer’s dream come true. These days, it’s impossible to find a lot of space for cheap in most cities. But brewing a gallon at a time requires very little storage space. Currently, we live in a 1,000 sq. ft loft with very little storage and yet my equipment easily fits right in the kitchen. Look!*A small kitchen isn't a problem when you brew one gallon batches.

Small Batch Brewing Keeps It Interesting

Whether you want to try out pomegranate mint herbal wine or brewing sour meads, a mini setup means you can constantly try new things.

Less Waste! Better Ingredients!

I mentioned the reduced water waste from going micro in your brewing, but there’s also less ingredient waste. You can purchase small amounts of what you need at the farmers’ market when you brew small. Furthermore, it’s easier to forage when only making a gallon. Going small batch also means buying local, fresh organic ingredients rather than larger amounts of the cheap stuff.

No matter your situation, there’s room for small brewing in your life.


1- This is actually the condo next to ours, which is for SALE if you’re looking for an incredible space in Bennington. I can’t find the pictures of our space on my drive.

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