Save Money, Buy Less Beer! Make More!
I am sure there is a great divide between reasons why people get into home brewing, there is definite benefits that may be just an added bonus or the whole reason you started brewing in the first place. One of the things I have lost track of though is the amount of money I’ve saved myself over the past few years. I go to the pub quite frequently and find myself paying up to £3.50 ($5.75 USD) a pint in some places (this being the UK). It is in part due to the cost that we find more and more and more of our pubs closing and people going to the supermarket and buying the cheapest beer they can find on offer at the time.
I have no problem with what type of beer people drink whether it be light, fizzy mass produced lager or the “craft beer” that people all to frequently extol the virtues of in comparison to the former. I can say however I can brew a batch of beer for cheaper than anything I can get in my local supermarket. I don’t have to wait for offers on my favourite type of beer, I’ll just buy the ingredients and brew it.
How Much Does It Cost To Home Brew (Or How Much Can I Save)
The amount of experience you have as a brewer will effect how much it costs to brew. If you have never brewed before then you will have to get some equipment together first and this obviously costs (although you can pick up a lot of stuff second hand). Also whether you brew all-grain or using extract/beer kits will have an effect on the cost of ingredients so let’s break it down.
Initial Outlay For Equipment:
There are a lot of places online, or if you have a local home brew shop you can pick up equipment so have a look around. Plus like I said before look for second hand equipment because you can get some absolute bargains. Typical brewing equipment kits have something like the following:
A good price for this equipment would be around the £60 ($99) mark and with this you can either pick up beer kits from you home brew shop or if you have a large enough pot, you can make your own malt extract beers, using your own recipes. This allows you to make pretty much any sort of beer you can think of and of course is less than paying for the finished product in the shops.
Take a look at this post for more tips on buying home brew equipment and supplies
Cost of Ingredients
Now of course if you have the equipment it’s a case of getting the ingredients so let me give you an actual example. The last three recipes I posted here I have the exact prices for because I use brewing software that has the prices listed from my usual supplier. The last three recipes weren’t really the normal beers that you go out and buy (one of them was a Barley Wine at just over 10% ABV). Here’s what they cost me to brew:
All the recipes were all formulated to make 19 litres so in total that’s 57 litres or approximately 100 pints of beer. I made 100 pints for £37.68 ($61.88) or just under 40p ($0.66) a pint.
It doesn’t matter what offer your supermarket has at the moment, you’re going to struggle to find a cheaper pint. Bear in mind that these prices are for brewing all grain and whilst the equipment is more expensive because as well as the stuff listed above you’ll need a mash tun and kettle, it’s obvious it will pay for itself over the course of a few brews.
What About Malt Extract and Beer Kits
Both beer kits and malt extract are options to the home brewer and will make a pint around the 50p – 75p ($0.80 – $1.23) mark depending on what you go for and require only a few basics to get going. This offer from BrewUK for instance gives you all the equipment you require including a barrel (so you don’t have to bottle) for only £65.00 ($106.74). By the time you make your second beer kit you’ll have recovered the initial expense
As with anything shop around to find the cheapest prices for everything you need to buy and the saving stack up in a very short space of time.
Getting Started Home Brewing
If you’ve never brewed before and you would like to get started then check out the How To Make Beer page that lists all the content on Mash.Sparge.Boil that you’ll need to get started. Plus stick around or subscribe because I’m shortly going to be releasing a free ebook to get people started brewing all-grain on a small scale. This means a lot of the equipment used for bigger batches is not needed or is a lot cheaper.