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It’s been about 2 months since we started our joint hobby of homebrewing beers. I will say this – it is incredibly fun and a relaxing way to spend an evening most times.
Since we got the equipment kit and some supplies to start off with, we’ve beenbusy every week making a batch. So what have we made so far? Glad you asked 🙂
- Chestnut Brown Ale
- Everyday IPA
- American Amber Ale
- Chocolate Maple Porter
- Gluten Free Orange Spiced Belgian Ale
- Traditional Dry Stout
- Smoked Wheat
- Summer Saison
I’m proud of the different styles we’ve tried out so far. To get familiar with the brewing process we’ve been using recipe kits, both the all grain ones for the smaller 1 gallon batches and the extract kits for the 5 gallon batches.
However, we’re looking to move beyond them. At the same time we also want to keep things within our budget, hopefully save some money with our new hobby.
Using Recipe Kits for Beer
Many times when starting off with homebrewing, using a recipe kit makes the learning process a lot easier.
Recipe kits are prepackaged with pretty much all the ingredients you need to make a batch of beer, including malt (perhaps in extract form), hops, and yeast.
The correct amounts are included so you can simply follow the recipe included and be set.
|Receipe Kit||Cost||Bottles Brewed (12oz)||Cost Per Bottle/6pk|
|American Amber Ale||$33.50||50||$0.67/$4.02|
|Chocolate Maple Porter||$15||10||$1.50/$9.00|
I think you see two things right here:
- The 5 gallon brews are very cost effective, with the prices being much better than what we find at the stores.
- Using the recipe kits from Brooklyn Brew Shop is not the way to save money.
The dilemma is that I find the Brooklyn Brew shop brews to be my favorites in terms of tastes. The good news is that I’ve come up with a solution that allows me to enjoy their recipes while keeping my wallet in safe condition. We’ll be moving from buying their recipe kits to using their recipes from their book and gathering the ingredients ourselves. Now that we’ve brewed and bottled a few batches I feel confident enough to leave the 1 gallon kits alone.
How much can I save by doing it ourselves? Take the Chocolate Maple Porter – my husband’s favorite brew by far. Using the recipe, I priced out the supplies at the local brew shop for a 1 gallon batch.
One Gallon Ingredients
- 1.2 lbs American 2-row malt ($1.35)
- .3 lb Chocolate malt (87 cents)
- .2 lb Caramel 15 malt (46 cents)
- .2 lb Black Patent malt (87 cents)
- .4 oz Fuggles Hops [hop pellets] ($2.85)
- Nottingham Ale Yeast ($3.98)
That brings the total cost to (drum-roll please) $10.38, which brings the price per bottle down to around $1.38 or $8.28 a six pack. I already have maple syrup so I’m not including that in my estimates. For the hops and yeast I can’t buy fractional amounts from the shop, so that added to the cost.
If I decided to go ahead make a 5 gallon brew the total would come out to $22.38, which brings the price per bottle down to around $0.45 or $$2.70 a six pack. The biggest limitation would be that the recipe would be converted to an extract one instead of all grain, so I’m not sure how the flavor would come out. Perhaps we can it out later this year and I’ll share my notes on the batch.
Making Beer at Home
While I believe that you can save money by brewing your own beer, I don’t think you should have it as a hobby if that’s your sole reason for doing it.
It does take time to brew and bottle your beer, which some people may find annoying. However it’s been a fun activity for us to share in as a couple and with friends.
I’d love to hear from you guys. How many of you like to make a homebrew together?