I like brewing, but I don’t like the idea of bottling a 5-gallon batch, and I don’t want to spend the money for a kegging system. I decided 1-gallon batches are the best for me because I still get around 8-10 beers but I can rotate recipes and styles rapidly.
For carboys I use 1-gallon glass jugs from Whole Foods. I buy their apple juice, pitch in a packet of bread yeast, some yeast nutrient, and pectic enzyme, and top it off with an airlock in a #6 bung. After two weeks I bottle a delicious dry apple cider and have a carboy ready for my next batch of beer. So far I have 4 1-gallon carboys.
For all-grain batches I use a kitchen stockpot with a grain bag for a mash tun and boil pot. Currently I use a sink of cold water for cooling, but I’ve decided to put together an immersion chiller so I can get a nice cold break., not to mention keep my roommate’s sink clear.
I have a nice mini auto-siphon that fits perfectly in the 1 gallon glass jugs I use, and a couple thermometers and a hydrometer. Not much gear is needed for 1 gallon batches!
Currently I grab the pico all-grain kits from Homebrew Exchange here in Portland for convenience, but I’m going to start building my own recipes.
With a 1-gallon brewing system a brew day lasts from 2-4 hours depending on whether I use malt extract or all-grain.
The one missing piece in my brew system is a fermentation chamber, which I’ll be building in the next week or so.