Today we are going to look at the frugalness of Homebrewing Beer. I have never homebrewed beer myself, but “the Dad” who runs the website ClimbingOut suggested that I write a post about it. Never willing to pass up a great idea I thought it would educational and fun to explore the possiblity that homebrewing is cheaper than running to the corner party store to pick up a 12-pack.
After reading a ton about the brewing process I’ve come to the conclusion that you probably should have a love for the product. It does take some work to produce a tasty drinkable product. Judging by the tons of resources, blogs, and magazines about the subjuct I’d say that there are plenty of people who love to brew.
“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.” -Dave Barry
You need to have some equipment to brew the beer. There are many home brewing kits on the market. These kits range in price from $39.99 for a Mr. Beer Deluxe Kit to $499.95 for a Deluxe Kegging package.
The basic items in a home brewing kit:
- 6.5 gallon Fermenting bucket
- Siphon unit
- Bottle capper
- Bottle brush
- Guide book
- Stainless Steel Spoon
- Brew Pot
- Immersion Wort Chiller
- 5-gallon Keg
- CO2 Kegging System
The 4 basic ingredients required to make beer are:
- Malted barley
These ingredients are usully purchased in kits called “Beer Kits”. The Beer Kits are made up of different types of ingredient to produce a receipt (i.e. American Ale, English Stout, Strawberry Shortcake). Purchasing a kit will take the guess work out trying to create your own, as well as produce a batch of beer that you’ll probably find quite tasty when it’s complete. These kits range in price from $27.95 for a American style beer (think Miller or Bud) to $44.95 for a specialty style beer (think Rogue Dead Guy Ale or Sierra Nevada Pale Ale).
- Crushing the Grain
- Cooling the Wort
- Pitching the Yeast
Even though brewing your own beer will take alot of time, does the material costs provide a cheaper alternative to purchasing beer at the store? The chart below does not put a value on the time involved to brew the beer and does not factor in the equipment needed.
The numbers work out to be a WIN for the home brewing based on materical costs; $326.04 saved by brewing a normal “American” beer, and $424.32 by brewing the usually expensive “Premium” beer. Now there are upfront costs involved to obtaining the necessary equipment to become a Brew Master. You could ask for equipment as gifts for your Birthday and Christmas. You can also use any blow money in the budget to purchase the equipment. Once you have the equipment you won’t have to purchase it again so any savings from brewing your own beer will go directly into your pocket.
I want to thank The Dad for helping provide the pictures in the post and for the idea. If you like the idea of having a hobby that will provide you with some yummy rewards, I would recommend you look into home brewing. I would start brewing my own beer today if it wasn’t my 2 month anniversary of quiting drinking.
Good luck and don’t drink and drive!!!
In next week’s Friday Frugal Tip, we’ll look at the popular “Value” menu at the local fast food joints.