You’ve arrived at this post because you wanted to ask, “How much does it cost to brew beer”, right? However, your real question is, “Is it more cost-effective to brew your own beer?”
Well, homemade beer is tasty, can be made wherever and however you prefer. If you’ve got a thing for Oktoberfest and it’s only September, why don’t you just host your own?
Brewing your own beer can be a lot of fun and if you’ve got a beer expert in you, you’ll be amazed to see the bubbling fermentation churning away all the microscopic yeast. However, the biggest advantage of brewing your own beer is that it IS cost-effective.
Some even believe you can cut your beer budget in half, if you just make it yourself.
What You’ll Need
The only thing that can follow that bold statement is a brief calculation of whatever you’ll need. So without further ado, let’s quickly go over what made it to the list (check whether you need anything else for your additional preferences).
The ingredients for any 5-gallon batch of homemade beer can include:
- Recycled bottles of commercial-beer (Ten 12-oz for small batch and forty-two 12-oz for big batch)
- Home-brewing kit (for beginners)
- Hydrometer and testing flask (to measure alcohol content)
- Hop steeping bags
- 7 pounds of liquid malt extract ($21.70)
- 1 pound of crystal malt ($1.85)
- 5 pound of 2-row barley (0.88)
- Gypsum ($0.05)
- 2 oz. of Hops ($4.25)
- Yeast ($8.50)
- Bottle caps ($1.50)
Since the equipment you need is a one-time expense to brew homemade beer, we wouldn’t be taking it into account to calculate the per unit cost of your handiwork. This leaves us with your homemade beer-making ingredients and these add up to $38.73. Now if you’re brewing a large batch of 48 beers (5-gallon batch), then your per unit cost boils down to only $0.81/bottle.
Surprised? You can give the calculations a go yourself. Now consider what you recently paid for a 12- or 6 pack of your favorite beer. We prefer a 12-pack of Costco craft beer and it costs us $16. Even though this is already quite thrifty on our account, the per unit cost of commercial beer boils down to $1.33/bottle!
Hence proven, homemade beer is the cheaper alternative of your favorite commercial beers. All you need to do is figure out the perfect recipe, down to the last herb/flavorings, and you will never put down the chance to host a karaoke Friday in your basement.
Still Not Convinced?
If not, here are a few additional things to ponder.
Whatever someone may have had you believe, brewing your own beer isn’t all that hard. It is kind of like baking your own bread, and beer recipes may seem a little intimidating on your first whirl. However, once you have successfully tasted your third batch, you will have developed your own workflow and the rest of your experiences will be like muscle memory.
The most important thing that you need to remember before you begin, is to keep your equipment clean.
Always wipe down your counters with a disinfectant before you begin and make sure you sanitize your brewing equipment and anything that comes in contact with your beer. A popular saying in most homebrew circles is that 70% of the taste of beer comes from efficiently disinfected brewing equipment. The rest of your job is to follow doctrine from your beer recipe.
Of course, there is going to be room for mistakes. If your significant other came to check on you and sneezed over your brew, it doesn’t mean that you should dispose of your hard work.
Additionally, most recipes out there are intended for a 5-gallon batch, which will be able to whip up forty-eight, 12-oz. bottles of beer. If this seems like a lot for your home, then you can always scale down the recipe to something as low as just a 1-gallon batch. This will reduce your bottles of beer to about nine or ten 12-oz. bottles.
Since we gave you an idea of how cheap large batches of beer can be, imagine your savings by only producing a 1-gallon batch of homebrew! Of course, there are a few advantages of brewing small batches too, and here are some examples:
The Advantages of Small Batches
- Lesser upfront expenses
- Easier and shorter brewing process
- You can go all-grain right away
- Better-tasting and better quality beer
- Freedom to experiment
- They prepare you for larger batches
- Some people prefer smaller friend circles
How Much Should You Spend on Brewing Equipment?
Even though we count brewing equipment as a fixed, one-time expense, some readers might believe it to be an important expense in their monthly budget. For this reason, we would recommend any home-brewing kit that can whip up 5-gallon batches. These kits have everything you need to make your first batch except the beer bottles themselves.
Since there are many variations of home-brewing kits out there, you can easily scale down your expenses to whatever you deem fit and still have everything you need to brew whatever beer you love.
Remember: Always clean, sanitize and disinfect your brewing equipment before starting on a new batch – even if it is a brand new kit.
Our Final Thoughts
With your first batch completed, make sure you refrigerate for a couple of hours before you taste-test it. If you managed to nail the recipe, you wouldn’t believe how brilliant your homemade beer tastes, especially considering the fact that it cost you only $0.81 to brew it up.
So which beer are you going to brew for your first time? Start browsing through beer recipes till you stock up on all the essential home-brewing equipment and perhaps a few additional flavors, fancy straws and beer cups.
Bill Carer had once said, “There is no such thing as a bad beer. It’s that some taste better than others.” Well said Bill, but homemade beer tastes better than most and costs a lot cheaper than all commercial beers!