Q: Can one have too many carboys?
A: No, one can only have too few.
If you ask my wife, I have plenty of brewing equipment, perhaps too much, as there is no room for the 60lb. bags of cat litter anymore in our basement. But is the storage of cat litter, paper towels, or holiday knick-knacks more worthy of basement shelf real estate compared to happy fermenting, or otherwise on-deck carboys?
Maybe this is a rhetorical question. After all, one only needs as much capacity to ferment as they plan on brewing, and consuming. I guess a guy or gal could get by with two or three carboys, maybe less. If you only desire to brew once every 6 months, or don’t get the itch to try anything new, this program of fermentation management will suffice.
Well, this program will never work for me. Maybe not for you either. The issue of capacity get’s at the heart of why I love homebrewing. Now, let me be clear, I’m not speaking so much about volume as it relates to consumption, rather the freedom and ability to brew whatever, however and how much of whatever/however whenever you want. Dig?
Recently I made 15 gallons of NB’s Dead Ringer for a soccer tournament. I dosed three carboys (in secondary) with Chinook, Amarillo and Simcoe leaf hops respectively. At the same time I threw down on a Winexpert Washington Riesling. All the while I had 2 different batches of beer conditioning in secondary. All together this took 6 carboys.
That’s just a normal month of my brewing activity. For many, if they want to brew up a Saison, an American Pale Ale, a Chocolate Stout and/or maybe a Hefe within a short period of time, they need the fementors to get the job done. And for those that are brewing sour beers, dedicated fermentors are a must. You’re going to need plenty of 6 gallon and 6.5 gallon carboys for those wine kits. Lastly, if you’re going to age any big burly beers , this will require a roster of 5 gallon glass carboys.
In other words, there are many reasons to have a plentiful stock of carboys are on hand. Granted, the reasons not to have dozens of carboys may be based in sound logic. But what does sound logic have to do with homebrewing? Well, probably a lot, but the day you realize your out of capacity to ferment and/or age you beers, that sound logic is gonna look really silly.
Cheers to the capacity to explore.