I kind of leaned toward the Flemish ale thinking it's supposed to be sour so I could just do the entire batch. I tried some sours the traditional way years ago and was disappointed after the long wait. Over the winter I tried a Gose (wish I could remember the name) and it was great.
Friends helping wise, it depends on who and timing. Had a bunch of takers last weekend for Irish red and blew through five gallons. Sometimes it's all me. The nice part about big batches is you can always set some aside and break out a keg later.
Another question. So you just short boil, cool a little then add the bugs. Just put the lid on your kettle?
EDIT: OK two questions. The lacto or whatever can be built up in a starter or will one pack sour more than five gallons?