I brewed 26 gallons of beer in a garbage can ;-)

Put the starter batch to good us. Cross your fingers to see this American Pale Ale ferment to completion in a garbage can (food grade) without any major flaws.

Took about six hours to brew about twenty or so gallons of beer plus the five gallon starter for a grand total of about twenty six gallons. I've been thinking of doing this for a long time, but, it didn't all come together until last night. Some of the highlights include siphoning twenty gallons of beer into the fermenter in my basement from outside. Brewing a five gallon batch of starter beer the night before. Having two kettles going at once. Using almost an entire thirty-three pound jug of malt syrup. Staggering the boils so I could keep both batches going in parallel as much as possible. Aiding in the process was my old turkey fryer burner under the second kettle. When it came to chilling the beer, I chilled the first, transferred to the fermenter and chilled the second during the transfer of the first.

We're not done yet though. After the initial, basically open, fermentation I'll rack it off into five gallon kegs for a secondary, and closed, fermentation. This gives me more leeway allowing the beer to sit without getting infected.

Whew! :-) Now, about that all grain batch.

EDIT: Nate asked how much it cost...

Approx 25 gal batch made from
1 x 5 gal starter batch
2 x 10 gal main batches
Both use late extract additions to increase hop utilization and keep color light.

Wyeast Amer Ale II yeast $6.25
no steeping grains
1 oz Northdown $1.56
malt extract (see below)

yeast - pitch the entire starter batch into main batch
2 lbs steeping grains - $4.50
4 oz Sladek $7.5 (bought by the pound)
2 oz Northdown $3.12 (bought by the pound)
malt extract (see below)

33 lb pilsner malt extract - $78
might be a pound or two more

Approx $100 for approx 25 gal of extract homebrew. Less than $10 a case. Assuming I didn't make any mistakes in my math and memory.

Not included in price...
ice for chiller?
my time


nate said...

I've been wanting to try brewing up a huge batch like this for a long time. Good to see someone doing it.

I'm curious...how much did it cost?

Adam said...

I must have had too much coffee, because, this is way too detailed. Anyway I added the price info the the post.

Chicago Water Guy said...

Try using food grade clear trash can liners for easier clean up.

travis said...

Cheers! Big batch brewing is a great way to drive down the cost of supplies. What is crazy about 10gal plus brew day is going back to a 5 or 10 gal after, it just seems so easy. Now start all grain!

Adam said...

Thanks Chicago Water Guy :-) I'll remember that.


I have the ingredients. I just need to do it. Thanks for the encouragement.