I’m a big fan of a good IPA style beer, but lately, it’s getting a bit costly. At about $4 dollars a pint I need to do something, and it’s not giving up a good beer for a Miller Lite!
So how hard is it to brew beer at home? It’s not difficult at all, there is a beginner to expert levels of brewing. You can buy a kit online for around $30 that will make 5 gallons of tasty beer as a newbie. It’s really simple, if you can boil water, you can brew beer. One of the more important parts of this process is pitching yeast, if you get this part right, which I have no doubt you will, you will have alcohol.
The rest of the process is boiling the ingredients for about an hour and then putting the liquid and yeast into a fermenting bucket. Set that aside for 2-4 weeks.
The last part of the process is bottling or kegging, from there you will carbonate for another week or two if bottling and only a couple days if kegging.
That is the basic brewing at home process, all kits will come with instructions from start to finish and what the alcohol content will end up at.
So is brewing beer at home cheaper than $4 dollars a pint? The answer is yes, but I’m going to warn you now, you might get addicted to brewing and start buying lots of fancy equipment!
How You Can Get Started Brewing Beer At Home
I recommend you invest in a similar kit I got over 10 years ago. It’s a 5-gallon beer brewing kit that cost about $100 dollars.
Here is what something like that comes with.
- 5-gallon stainless steel brew kettle (Important you have a large pot to boil in)
- 2 – 6.5-Gallon Fermenting Bucket, Secondary Bucket With
- Bottle Capper
- Bottle caps
- 1 – Beer Kit (IPA, Hefeweizen, Amber Ale) This will probably vary depending on when you read this.
- Tools – Spoon, auto siphon, sanitizer, cleaner
They really set you up with just about everything you need to start brewing, I hight recommend you go this route.
The hardest part about brewing beer at home is waiting for it be done! I’ve gotten pretty good at this so I usually have a batch ready to finish each week. I like to stay ahead of the game instead of running out.
What Kind of Beer Can You Brew?
You can brew lots of great beers! There are some beers that are easier than others and that is why as a beginner its probably best to stick to a simple kit before trying one has several steps and temperature monitoring.
Here is an example of beginner and advanced beers you can brew at home.
- German Style Beer
- Pale Ale
- Belgian Beer
- Wheat Beer
There are tons of options and tons of kits you can use. Eventually, you could get to the all grain stage of brewing, at that point you could start to make your very own recipes.
Brewing all grain takes some skill and more equipment, but eventually, you could brew a great pint for super cheap, like $.50 cents or less.
How Much Does it Cost To Brew Beer At Home
After investing in your equipment, that actual cost to brew is fairly cheap.
The average brew kit cost around $30. That will yield 5 gallons of beer.
5 gallons of beer makes 49 pints of beer. (48.83 to be exact)
= about $.62 cents a pint of home brewed beer.
As I said above, I spend at least $4 dollars a pint for a decent IPA from the store, that is really expensive!
Why is Craft Beer So Expensive
There are so many variables to this question, but I thought it was worth mentioning in this article because the price for a good craft beer is going to go up in the near future.
One reason for that is, climate change is causing shortages due to hot dry seasons, and because of that, there is a big shortage of hops.
Besides hops, craft brewers use quality ingredients and brew smaller batches, supply, and demand. Since these breweries are popping up all over the place, competition is fierce.
Marketing has to be a killer for these companies.
That being said, brewing beer at home is easy and has never been more appealing.
Can I Brew Beer In My Kitchen
Yes, you can, I have brewed beer in my apartment and basement. One tip I have for that is, do not leave that pot boiling all alone.
The reason is, it has the tendency to boil over frequently. If you have a nice big pot, then you should be OK.
I have upgraded to brewing beer in my garage using a propane burner I bought off of Amazon for $30 dollars.
That gives me freedom and it keeps my house from smelling for days after brewing!
How Long Does it Take To Make Beer At Home
On the very least it takes about 4 to 6 weeks before you will be enjoying you’re the beer you made.
The actual brewing process will probably take 3-5 hours at the beginning and another 2-4 hours in the end. Here is why,
You need time to set everything up to get ready to brew, sanitizing everything before and after.
Boiling beer and adding ingredients takes about 2 hours.
Add everything to the fermentor and wait until it cools down before pitching the yeast in. The cooling down could take a while, during that time you could start to clean and sanitize all your equipment.
In total it takes 6-10 hours to brew and about a month before its ready to drink.
Bottle Vs. Keg
When your beer is done brewing and fermenting it has to go it to its final stage before drinking.
You can bottle it or put into a keg. Here are the differences between bottling and kegging.
Bottling is going to be the cheapest but not the easiest way to go.
You can buy some bottles and those can be reused over and over, that part is nice. The hard part is cleaning and sanitizing the bottles for reuse.
That’s extra scary because if the bottle is not clean you could end up getting sick. That has only happened to me once, but I was lazy about cleaning the bottles right away. Instead, I would drink them and just put them back in the case until I brewed another batch.
The amount of mold that comes from a fresh homemade beer is insane! At the very least, rinse out the bottle and turn it upside down to dry.
The other tricky part is getting the beer from the fermentor into the bottles. That takes some skill, also can be messy.
Kegging is by far the easiest best way to go. But you’re looking at another investment. If this hobby grows and you enjoy this, kegging will happen for you for sure!
Another bonus to kegging beer is, its ready sooner than it would be if it were bottled. That’s because you will be force carbonating the keg vs. waiting for the priming sugar to charge up those bottles.
I don’t mind bottles, I’m just not great at washing and cleaning them right away.
How Much Beer Can You Make At Home
As of 2013, you can brew beer in every state legally. However, each state has its own set of rules.
Some laws say you can’t brew more than 100 gallons per year. That’s actually a lot of beer and I know plenty of people that can do that. Have friends over every weekend, It goes pretty quick.
I’m no legal expert here, but I’m guessing the laws are there so that homebrewers don’t get tempted to start selling. (Big guess, but taxes)
Please check your state laws to be sure. Brewing 100 gallons a year would take a while, some laws are kind of strange like you can’t take the beer out of your house.
How Hard Is It To Brew Beer At Home
I hope after reading this article you can see its really not hard to brew beer at home. And it’s fun!
I highly recommend picking up a brewing kit that includes a pot and actual beer kit. The kit will give you everything you need to start brewing, don’t worry about getting bottles yet, you still have a month before we get to that step.
Give yourself about 3 hours to brew on the first day. And another 2 hours when finishing the beer.
Sanitize everything, you won’t have any issues when you go to brew batch number 2.
Thanks for stopping by, happy brewing!