Perhaps the thing that’s gotten the most strange looks and questions is when I tell people I save money when I homebrew. Apparently no one believes that brewing your own can save you money. But the truth is it really can. My beer may not always be as cheap as a sixer of Budweiser, but it can definitely be cheaper then those craft beers in the store. Take the current summer rye I have bubbling away right now. The ingredients cost around $35 dollars for a 5 gal batch of 5% abv beer. That comes out to around 75 cents per a bottle. However I doubled the water in this batch in order to try and achieve a small beer of around 2.5% abv this has lowered the cost of this beer too around 35 cents a batch. How much does your Bud Light cost per a can? and I promise this has more flavor.
My Summer Rye doesn’t have alot of specialty ingredients though, so how does a bigger beer like my Rose Red compare? Well it came out to around $1.25 per a bottle, or $7.50 per a sixer. Not really that bad considering. Even if making recipes isn’t your thing it still can be cheap. Last time I was in the local brew shop I failed to find a 5 gal kit beer over $50, and these were nice, but spendy, kits like Rogues Dead Guy.
So we now know how much a batch costs, so what about start up? This is the part that intimidates people the most. After all where does one start? Do I need a glass carboy or a plastic food grade bucket for a fermentor? What about a pot? Do I need a propane burner like the guys online say? What is all grain? What is a lauter tun? Do I need a lauter tun?
As you can see it’s overwhelming when you start looking for equipment. Want to know a secret though to creating a free homebrewing kit? Back when I first started brewing consisted of the largest pot I had at the time (less then 3 gal), and several 2 ltr soda bottles for fermentors. There were no thermometers, hydrometers, bubblers or the like. But how this all worked is another post.
Let’s say you want something a little more substantial then the ghetto setup I started with. Let’s say you want to start where most hobbiests start, extract brewing using your cook top. For a pre-packaged starter kit your looking at a starting cost of around $50 to upwards of 2 or 3 hundred dollars. So what are the basics you need for your kit? For a person just starting you will need at least the following. Bottles aren’t listed since you probably have some lying around from all those beers you’ve purchased at the store.
•3 gal pot (5 or more would be better)
•5 gal food grade plastic bucket with a lid that has a spot to insert a bubbler
•capper and caps
Optional things that will help
If one were to scavenge their undamaged fermenting buckets from restaurants then you could theoretically have a brewing kit for under $50 easy. Considering how much other hobbies like golf, cycling, and the like cost brewing is a cheap hobby. Combine that with a good beer that you made for cheaper then the cost of a sixer at the store and one can really appreciate the savings of brewing your own beer.