Home Brewing… Is it worth it?
|July 24, 2012||Posted by 2nobledogs under Basics|
Once people find out that I brew my own beer the first questions they ask are “do you really save money brewing your own beer?” and “Is it worth it?”. Although my process and strategy have evolved over time, the answer it is always pretty much the same. And that is “yes and no”. Yes…you can save a pile of money brewing your own beer and yes…it is very rewarding creating a tasty beverage from grains and hops. On the other hand, if you are like me you have a tendency to take things to the extremes. For example, you might spend all the money you would have otherwise saved on things like constructing your own (or purchasing)a new brew rig, kegerators, and fermentation chambers. Oh, and if you were thinking about including an hourly wage into your calculation, don’t. You will find that it is definitely a labor of love. Brewing takes a lot of time, and some beer types take much longer than others. Not to mention, you will find that there is A LOT of cleaning time.
If you are a beer enthusiast and you enjoy craft beer, then you should have the experience of making your own beer at least once. Extract brewing can be very inexpensive and requires very little equipment. And it is a good method to measure your enthusiasm for the process. If you are like me and tap into your inner mad scientist (read beer geek), then it may make sense for you to try your hand at home brewing. For those more concerned with their budget, here’s how it breaks down:
For extract brewing, you can buy all your ingredients from your local home brew store or from an internet supplier like Northern Brewer or Morebeer. You can pick up an extract kit for about $35 (depending on the type of beer) and has everything you need to make 5 gallons of tasty beer. Doing the math that translates into about 40 pints. That comes to about $0.90 per pint. If you are buying a good craft beer at a bar you are likely paying at least $5 a pint and probably more. A good 22 oz. craft beer at the market is going to cost you $8 to $10 and a 6 pack of 12 oz. bottles is going to run you about $10 to $12.
In short, 5 gallons worth of homebrew costs you about $35. 5 gallons worth of store bought craft beer will cost you about $100 and 5 gallons worth of pints in the pub will cost you about $200. So, yes it can save you some money if all you drink is your homebrew from now on. But, we all know that is not a reality. Your tastes will evolve and you’ll be introduced to new beers and then you’ll try to clone them and then you will do it all over again. The bottom line is, if you want to start brewing beer do it because you love beer and not because you think it will save you some dough. You will find it to be a highly rewarding hobby and will likely meet a bunch of great people in the process.
Also- just to point out the obvious, you’ve probably noticed I did not include the cost of equipment in this analysis. I did that on purpose primary because it pays for itself after just a couple batches. I also, did not include the time commitment in any calculations. We all have different lives and value our time differently. As I stated earlier, brewing beer takes time and a lot of patience. And did I mention a lot of patience?
I hope you enjoyed my little cost/benefit analysis. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below. I look forward to hearing from you.