You’d think with over 33 years of collective homebrewing beer experience, we would know definitively what a batch size is when reviewing a recipe. Sadly, it’s not true. The good thing is that this measurement can mean different things to different people. In this post and video, we discuss what a homebrew beer batch size means to each of us and why it can differ. Hopefully, it will help you to understand what it means to you and your process.

Why Are We Talking About Batch Size?

So in the Community Brew recipe, if you weren’t paying attention, you would miss that the grain bill is measured to produce a wort volume of 6.5 gallons at the end of the boil.

Since I didn’t pay close attention to that important factor, I didn’t adjust the recipe for my typical procedure of producing enough wort that gets me 5 gallons in the fermentor at the end of the brew session.

To be clear: how I brewed the community brew brown ale vs. what the recipe called for was off by a gallon. At the end of the boil, I had 5.5 gallons of wort which resulted in 5 gallons in the fermentor. I should have had 6.5 gallons instead.

In my mind, batch size is all about what I have in the fermentor. I always create recipes for what is coming out of my kettle and into my carboy.

Mike thinks of batch size as the amount of beer that will be available for packaging. His recipes are set for having more wort at the end of the boil because there is a lot of loss between the end of his boil and when he is ready to get the beer into the keg.

He still brews with 5 gallons in mind but it’s 5 gallons of beer that goes in the keg or bottles.

What To Keep In Mind In Terms of Batch Size

The big takeaway is that no one is wrong when it comes to their idea of batch size. Reading the comments on YouTube, it seems like this topic has many answers. The thing to keep in mind when reviewing recipes is to note the meaning of batch size. This meaning is usually conveyed via the volumes at the beginning and end of the boils.

Look for that piece of information in homebrew beer recipe. If not, your results may vary wildly or in my case, you will brew a beer with a starting gravity 11 points higher than what the recipe was calculated for.

This is not the first time we have discussed recipe translations before. Check out the posts related to grain weights as percentages of total and measuring hops using alpha acid percentages.