Wednesday, November 16, 2011

100 Gallons of Beer

Not too long ago, in SheppyBrew Stats Q3 2011, I mentioned "It looks like I have a shot at hitting my 100 gallon limit for the year". For those of you who don't know, it is legal in the United States for an individual adult to home-brew 100 gallons of  beer for personal (non-commercial) use. A household of two or more adults is allowed 200 gallons per year. State laws differ. Colorado's home-brewing law pretty much simply says it is legal to brew what is legal according to the federal law. There are still a couple of states that don't allow legal home-brewing at all. It sort of sucks to be a home-brewer in those states. But, luckily that is not something I have to deal with.

So, I am allowed to brew 100 gallons of beer. My wife and I together are allowed to brew 200 gallons. When I started home-brewing (way back in 2009), that 100 gallons seemed like a completely impossibly huge number to hit. The 200 gallon limit was way beyond my wildest dreams.

I have almost 6 gallons of Buckwheat's BPA fermenting right now
I'm sure if you are not a home-brewer, it blows your mind that anyone could brew (and drink) that much beer. If you are a home-brewer, neither of those numbers seem all that big.
You know you're a home-brewer if you think the legal limit of 100 gallons of beer is too low.
I actually do not think I will get to 100 gallons this year, and I know for sure I won't get to 200. But, I mentioned on my favorite home-brewing forum (almost a month ago) that I am approaching the 100 gallon benchmark, most of the responses put my little number to shame.

The first response was something like:
That's impressive. I would assume some of those you're either giving away or providing as refreshment at parties or something. Hard to imagine drinking 100 gallons of anything...much less a year. But is definitely awesome you hitting that mark.
So, I impressed one person. I'm sure there are other brewers who were also impressed but said nothing. But, there are also those who chimed in with things like:

I brewed 25 gallons in September and October alone.
I'm at 90 gallons right now. Hitting the hundred mark won't be a problem. Wow. Never even really realized how much I'd brewed.
I just looked at mine, and I'm at 80. That's hilarious, I would have had no idea.
I'm at about 72 gal for the year, including three batches fermenting, but with three LBK's going I have no doubt I'll inch past 100 for the year.
If my calculations are correct (I am 3 homebrews deep) I have brewed 95 gallons so far this year. And since 13 gallons of that is fermenting or conditioning, that means I have drank 82 gallons of homebrew this year. Not too shabby.
I am currently sitting at 86 gallons with 3 5 gallon batches to still make so I should be well over the 100 gallon mark at years end.Never really put much thought into this end of it .Just kept on brewing.I intend to hit the 200 gallon mark next year !!

So, for the majority of the responders, my almost 100 gallons is less than impressive. Other home-brewers do even more than this group of guys. I know lots brew way more than allowed by law (shhh... don't tell the authorities).
And ... what do I do with all that beer that I brew? Well, My wife drinks a fair amount. This year, I've given away quite a bit of it. I even use some of it for to cook with. But, it probably doesn't surprise you that I drink most of the beer that I brew. Good thing home-brew is so good for me.

100 gallons of beer is actually quite a bit.

When I was passing out HopToberfest Vienna Lager at work,  I mentioned that in 2011, I had already brewed over 80 gallons of beer to one of the recipients. He is not a home-brewer, and so was amazed by the big number. 
"Much more than that, aren't you in the commercial brewery range?"
 Of course, the smallest commercial brew system I've ever heard of is a 7 barrel system, so one of even the smallest commercial batch would yield more than twice as much beer as I've brewed so far this year.

I guess it is all about perspective.


  1. Um...I drink almost 100 gallons of milk in a year.

  2. Man you are becoming a mini-brewery! I'm lucky if I get in two 5-gallon batches in a year (ya I'm a lazy homebrewer). Don't know how you manage to pack away all that beer - I guess your neighbors must be happy to see you brewing - they know they're going to get some new beer to taste soon eh?

  3. I just hit 97.13 Gallons for 2011 and have 4 brewdays slated for December to take that number well across the 100 mark

  4. I'm not surprised, Scott. You were one of those people I was thinking of when I said "Other home-brewers do even more than this group of guys".