Right now I brew once month. This gets me to 60-72 gallons of delicious wine or beer per year. But the limit for home brewers in the US is 200 gallons per year per household. To reach that with 5 gallon beer batches I have to brew 40 times a year. With 6 gallon wine kits I have to make 33 of them. Now, that is starting to be an operation! I don't know if I want to go all the way to 200 gallons (think of my liver) but what would be the next step.

Anyone have experience or recommendations scaling up?


Well, you can either brew more often or brew larger batches. Either way, you'll end up with more beer/wine, so the first question is what to do with it?

  1. Give it away. I tend to give away about 60% of everything I make.
  2. Enter a lot of competitions. Expensive, but it does get the stuff out of the house.
  3. Get (or build) a large fridge for long-term beer storage.

Ok, now you have a plan on what to do with all the beer. I don't know much about making wine, so I'll focus on scaling up beer:

Brewing More Often

I tend to brew twice a month. One way I make this easier is by re-pitching yeast. I'll brew 4 or 5 similar beers in a row using the same yeast. And since yeast can't sit around for long after harvesting, I'm pretty much obligated to brew every two weeks. Repitching also saves me the time and trouble of building up a new starter every time I brew.

Keep time spent brewing to a minimum, mostly. Obviously, if you're going to do this twice a month, you don't want to have each brew day be 18 hours long. Unless you really love triple decotion mashing, keep time-consuming procedures like that to a minimum. Stick to the short & simple steps. Single infusion mash, batch sparge (or no sparge), 60-90 minute boil, etc. You can be done in 4-5 hours, easily. Once in a while try a longer brew day just for variety and fun.

Learn which steps can overlap. As you brew more, you'll learn which steps you can do simultaneously. You can get the ingredients together as the mash water warms. You can sanitize the carboy while the wort chills. Etc. This will also make your brew day shorter.

Keep that equipment clean! If you have to thoroughly clean your equipment at the start of each brew day, then you're just making your brew day longer. Clean stuff at the end of the brew day and store it a place where it won't get dirty before you brew again. Then, on your next brew day, your equipment will already be clean and you only need to worry about sanitizing.

Brewing Larger Batches

There are two ways to make larger batches: buy bigger kettles or make high-gravity partial-boil wort which you then dilute with water in the fermenter.

I lean towards the latter in my brewery. I don't need a 10-gallon (or larger) system. So, on the rare occasions I make a 10-gallon batch, I make 6 gallons of high-gravity wort, split it into two fermenters and then add water to each fermenter to bring them both up to 5 gallons.

But if you're always going to make 10-gallon batches, then invest in a system that can produce that much wort.

  • The MashSpargeBoil blog has a nice post on saving time during your brew day: mashspargeboil.com/tips-to-save-time-home-brewing
    – Hopwise
    May 4 '11 at 18:22
  • 1
    I have never tried high-gravity wort. That is a fantastic idea.
    – nbushnell
    May 4 '11 at 19:51
  • Also, please don't forget that high-gravity wort can be delicious without diluting as well.
    – Mlusby
    May 10 '11 at 13:12

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