Is Homebrewing Worth it in 2020?
Is homebrewing worth it in 2020?
If homebrewing is worth it is very individual and depends on why you choose to homebrew beer in the first place. In this article, I will go through some of the pros and cons of brewing your own beer at home. And what to think about if you consider start brewing your own beer.
There is something magical and mystical with your homebrewed beer
There’s something magical with your first homebrewed bottle of beer. I think all homebrewers remember there first homebrewed beer. Your first homebrew was probably a bottled beer which had to sit for a while to get natural carbonated in the bottle. So from the actual brew day, you probably waited at least two-three weeks until you got to try your first homebrewed beer. I bet you checked the beer bottles every day for any visible changes in the beer. Looked at the bottom of the bottles after sediment. If you’re a homebrewer, I’ll bet you recognize the story. You might also have made beer labels and given your beer a cool name. Yes, we do that, name our beers.
Your own labels makes it more worth it
Making your own labels is fun and gives a totaly different excperience when you give beer your homebrewed beer away to friends and family. If you want to make your own beer labels and don’t want to jump into a program like for example, Photoshop. I do recommend trying out Beer labelizer which is an easy online solution to make your own beer labels for your homebrewed beer. I will link to it at the end of this article. It is free to get started with so give it a try. I’m not using that personally anymore, I’ve been using Photoshop or Pixlr which is another free online solution. But if you just want to print out some beer labels fast, give Beer Labalizer a try.
Beer label made with Pixlr
Is brewing your own beer worth it when there is so much craft beer to choose from in 2020?
If brewing your own beer is worth it? I guess it depends on the reason why you decided or are thinking of starting brewing your own beer at home. Is baking your own bread worth it when you can buy a lot of different kind of bread at the grocery store? Is anything worth doing that you can buy already made? Brewing beer takes time, and it’s a lot of work. But brewing your own beer at home is a gratifying hobby, which makes you feel proud when you brew a great beer right in your own home.
But you can buy excelent craft beer at the store
Yes, some of us can buy good craft beer at the store. But not all of us. And much craft beer is so old when you buy it at stores so there no resemblance left of the beer it ones where when it was fresh. When will beer and wine get the same treatment as food? The problem is already solved. The food industry does it every day. Ship food all over the world without breaking the cold chain. Brewers put a lot of effort into brewing these craft beers. Which then is left out in room temp, sitting some times in storage for months or at a shelf at the store. When you brew your own beer at home, you get to decide when your homemade beer is perfect for drinking. And you also get to decide what beer to have at home, always.
Something is magical with your own beer
There something magical and mystical with wort turning into beer during the fermentation. It always has been, at least it has been for over 5000 years when mankind started to brew beer from barley. Which actually makes beer one of the oldest drinks that humans have produced. Wort is what we call the beer before we add the yeast. Unfermented wort is a very sweet solution. Tastes like a very sugary tea. Back in the days, no one knew how the wort could turn into beer. It has been described as an act of gods.
The mystery of fermentation of beer was solved
The German purity laws for brewing beer, which William IV, Duke of Bavaria, decreed in 1516 had to be updated sometime after 1857. Initially, beer could only come from water, barley, and hops. But, after the discovery of the existence and the critical role that yeast played in brewing beer, yeast had to be added to the purity laws. So thanks to Louise Pasteur, the magic surrounding fermentation was solved. But not the magical feeling of something that turns into something completely different. Like a larva turns into a butterfly, wort turns into beer. And the waiting for that to happen, in my opinion, make it even more worth brewing your own beer. Cause if it were ready to drink the same day you made it the magic wouldn’t be there.
Louis Pasteur 1885
Craft beer deserves our respect
When someone sends me a homebrewed beer I rush to the post office to get that beer into a fridge as soon as possible. The work that is put into making beer deserves respect. And if we want to have the best beer it demands it. If you’re satisfied with storebought craft beer has to be answered by yourself. I personally think it will take more than just the love for beer to want to become a great homebrewer. I think you need to fall in love with the processes of brewing your own beer at home. For me, I think that what makes brewing your own beer at home worth it. Even if we now know how wort turns into beer. That first glass of every homebrewed beer you make at home is still a magical moment.
How long does it take to brew your own beer at home?
This yet again can vary a lot depending on what and how you brew your own beer. There are so many different beer styles, and so many different ways of brewing beer. But when starting brewing your own beer at home, expect at least to have to wait for two-three weeks until you get to enjoy your first homebrewed beer.
Is brewing your own beer at home hard?
No. If you can boil water and keep all your brewing equipment clean, it is not that hard. Now with that said, there is a lot of ways to make brewing beer very hard and complicated. But again that’s just another thing that makes the hobby of brewing your own beer at home worth it. With homebrewing beer as with most hobbies, it doesn’t have to be hard or expensive to get you started.
Is homebrewing beer illegal?
If homebrewing beer is legal or not depends on where you live, so you have to check that out for your self. But for most countries, including my own country, Sweden. Homebrewing is legal. Fermentation is a natural thing that happens in nature all the time, so it’s hard to forbid.
You will never forget your first homebrewed bottle of beer.
Distilling spirits at home is another thing
Distilling at home is another thing though. Distilling is not legal in as many countries as brewing beer or wine is. In most countries homebrewing beer, wine, and cider is legal if you are brewing for your own consumption. You’re not allowed to sell homebrewed beer or wine, but it’s fine to give away for free. Check the laws for your country before you get started with homebrewing your own beer or distilling spirits.
Can the beer I brew at home be dangerous to drink?
Brewing your own beer is not dangerous. Your homebrewed beer is perfectly safe for you to drink. Back in the day’s beer was drunk instead of water cause it was safer to drink. Because the beer had been boiled before fermentation. But cleanliness when making beer is very important. And I wouldn’t brew beer next to someone’s toilet. Distilling, on the other hand, can be dangerous, but with beer, the worst that can happen is that you end up with a bad beer. Or a beer that not turns out the way it was supposed to. You won’t get sick from drinking your homebred beer. But as its an alcoholic beverage. Drink your homebrewed beer with moderation.
Can brewing my own beer at home save me money?
The economics in homebrewing comes down to a few factors. The answer to the question if homebrewing is cost-effective depends on, in my opinion, how you value your time. More than just money spent. The beer you want to brew and the way you brew it. The ingredients for brewing an all-grain beer is not that expensive. But an all-grain brew day takes typically 6-8 hours. And the work does not end there. That’s just the work before fermentation. Extract brewing goes a lot quicker, but then the ingredients are a bit more expensive. And brewing a beer with a lot of hops like an American IPA cost more than a lager. If we are only counting the cost of the ingredients that go into the brewing of your own beer. Making your own beer saves money. Your time spent must also be weighed against your batch size. It takes about the same time to brew 4 liters of homebrewed beer as like brewing 23 liters. But of course, the bottling day goes a lot quicker. If you bottle that is. But not much, setting up and cleaning is a big part of all steps in the making of beer. Many homebrewers turn to kegging beer to cut down on time. I prefer kegging beer for other reason besides cost also.
Most hobbies often cost more than you save, but it’s up to you
As with most hobbies, they often cost more than we save, cause there is always another shiny new toy to buy. In my opinion, I don’t think saving money should be what makes you get started with homebrewing your own beer. But that is for you to decide. I think you have to enjoy the process of making your own beer for it to be worth it.
All equipment you need to spend your money on?
If you’re not a person that likes shiny new toys. Brewing your own beer can save you a lot of money. But if you’re likely to be upgrading and getting new equipment all the time, like I think most of us homebrewers do. You might spend more than you save in the long run. But that’s why homebrewing beer to most of us homebrewers is a hobby more than a cost-effective way to live. But with all that said. If you just want to make beer for saving money. I don’t think there is much money to be saved. Just go out the cheapest beer you can find, if that rocks your boat. Now I realize that this may vary a lot from where you live in the world. Feel free to comment on that down below. I’m just looking at this from my perspective.
Money to be saved on brewing your own beer at home?
How much does it cost to start brewing beer at home?
It doesn’t have to get expensive to start with homebrewing. You could get started more or less for free. Brewing small batches on your stove. Of course some cost of ingredients. But with that said, spending a little money to get a small starting kit is a good idea. Cause there is some equipment which makes it easier to get started. So even if you can DIY everything with what you have at home I recommending buying a little starting kit. If the hobby of brewing your own beer gets you hooked. Which it most likely will ( Cause this hobby makes you beer! ). You’re most likely going to spend more money as you want to go up in size. But if you’re just doing it for fun, you might be satisfied with brewing smaller kitchen top batches for quite a while.
How do I get into homebrewing beer?
It’s not hard to brew your own beer at home. To get into brewing your own beer, you just have to get started. Take the leap. And there is a lot of forums, YouTube channels, blogs etc to learn from. Like my own blog and YouTube channel for example. I think the best way to get into homebrewing is to buy a small brewing kit. That makes it easy to brew your first beer at home.
I’m not talking about canned beer kits
Instead, get yourself a small homebrewing equipment kit. I would suggest starting to brew a partial mash, extract beer. That gets you to get to know all the ingredients and steps in beer brewing at your first try. I don´t think you should get a canned kit. But that’s just my opinion. You will need some steeping grains, dry malt extract ( DME ), hops, and brewers yeast. I think most homebrewer suppliers have small kits with brewing instructions. Brewing this way will get you more satisfaction than a canned kit, I can almost promise you that. As it feels more real and genuine.
Some rookie mistakes I made brewing beer
Don’t forget to crush your steeping grains if they aren’t crushed already. You can use a rolling pin to smash the kernels with. Or even use a coffee grinder. You’re not after a flour, you just want to break the kernel husks really. If you steep your grains in a steeping bag you will be fine. On my first 4liters or 1 gallon batch, I did not. It was a rookie mistake and me following a bad written instruction. The beer turned out great as the DME where the big fermentable source. But I still got to smell and taste malt and hops for the first time brewing. That wasn’t the only thing I did wrong making my first batch of beer at home. But as I said the beer came out great and it was a magical feeling when I popped the cap and poured my first homebrew. And I was hooked!
Sometimes the perfect pour of your own brewed beer is worth more than any beer you can buy
Does brewing your own beer smell?
Yes, the different stages of the beer brewing process do smell a bit. The mash, the boil, and the fermentation of the beer. To many of us homebrewers, those odors from brewing our own beer at home are a part of the homebrewing hobby. But they can be off-putting to others. I’ve written a blog post just about the smell of homebrewing beer. What different kinds of smells you can expect in the different part of the beer brewing process, and also ways to minimize the smell from brewing your own beer if the smells are bothering you.
Is brewing your own beer at home really worth it in 2020?
To me homebrewing is worth it. And homebrewing also has made me friends with homebrewers from all over the world. And that makes it even more worth it.
Cheers and thanks for reading, DrHans out!
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