Why You Should Get into Home Brewing
If you’re the kind of beer drinker who loves trying something new every time you go out or often find yourself walking out of the liquor store with a “Build Your Own Six-Pack,” home brewing might be for you.
While home brewing does require some initial investment, it can be a great way to cut down on your beer spending once you have all the basic equipment. A decent reusable kit can run you $80 to $90. Most starter kits include:
- A fermenting bucket with a grommeted lid and airlock
- A bottling bucket with a bottling spigot, bottle filler, and bottling tubing
- A siphon and siphon tubing
- A beer bottle brush, bottle capper, and caps
Larger kits may also come with a stainless brew kettle, a cleaner/sanitizer, and a stainless mixing spoon.
The ingredients you get will depend on your desired brewing method. If you choose to go the all-grain beer route, you’ll have to crush and roll your own barley grain and steep it in hot water. There are many ways to perform this technique, and it allows you to measure the amount of hops added, giving you greater control over the taste.
However, some beginners may want to use a “super batch” instead. This is a pre-hopped malt extract that you simply boil and pour into your fermenting bucket. You can also get un-hopped malt extract if you’d like to experiment with your own hops. (Keep in mind that there are over 100 different hop varieties, so be sure to do your research before picking some up.) This method, with the additional purchase of yeast, costs roughly $30. While the all-grain method is cheaper, it can be more difficult to perform.
The Cost-Effectiveness of Home Brewing
While the initial costs of home brewing may seem a bit high to some people, plus the added effort and time it takes to actually brew the beer, get this. One batch of homebrew will give you about 53 beers. If you exclude the purchase of the kit, this comes to about 56 cents for a 375 mL beer. Now, who wouldn’t take that deal?
The Brewing Process
Once you have your brewing kit and ingredients, it’s time to start learning how to brew. There are plenty of websites out there to help you get started brewing your first batch of homebrew. The American Homebrewers Association has an easy to follow home brewing guide for beginners. For those wanting a more comprehensive guide, the one on drinkcraftbeer.com is a good choice. Once you master the basics and are ready to conduct your own exBEERiments, Marshall Schott run a great experimental beer blog called Brülosophy.
All in all, the brewing process should take roughly five weeks. This includes sanitizing your equipment, boiling and mixing your ingredients, the fermentation process, and bottling.
So, if you love beer and aren’t oppose to putting in a little extra effort, why not give home brewing a shot? Who knows, you may even become the creator of your next personal favorite.