Well, I’m sure plenty of non home brewers wonder about this, and if you’re thinking about starting to brew your own beer at home then hopefully I’ll make you see that there are plenty of reasons to home brew.
One fairly common reason to brew your own beer at home is the cost-saving element. I’m not sold on this reason, personally, but it’s a great one to convince your significant other if they’re not keen! If you take away the cost of the equipment, then, yes, brewing your own beer at home is remarkably cheap. In the UK one of the easiest ways to get into home brewing is to use extract kits. These kits are known as pre-hopped extract, and they are basically highly concentrated, sticky, unfermented beer (or wort to be precise- this is what beer is called before it is fermented with yeast). You can choose from a variety of styles of these cans of extract, and you can find them for as little as £10, including a sachet of yeast. Add to that about £1 for a bag of sugar (this boosts the alcohol content a little) and you’ve spent £11. For that, my friends, you can brew around 40 pints, 20 litres or so, of home brewed satisfaction in a glass. Tasty. And for less than 30p per pint, that isn’t half bad. Of course, you’re going to need some equipment to brew your own beer at home. A starter kit might cost you £50 or so, and that might include your first ingredient kit (except the sugar). So if you right off your first batch at £1.25 a pint (still not bad for your own homemade beer that you’ll enjoy more than any commercial brew (because it’s home made and your first)) then every batch thereafter gets you back to 30p a pint. (Try this kit).
Another often-quoted reason to brew your own beer is that you can make it just the way you want it, or you can make your own version of a beer that you can’t find easily or at all wherever you are in the world. And to a certain extent, I’m down with that, although it might not be enough to convince you given the abundance of choice even in budget supermarkets nowadays, let alone specialist shops. In addition to that, you’re going to need a good bit of experience to be able to pull off this kind of creativity and detail.
For me, the best reason for home brewing is that it is so satisfying. Whether you use pre-hopped extract kits, dry or liquid malt extract plus hops (and maybe specialist grains for a partial mash), or all-grain-brewing (in one of its many forms), it doesn’t matter- it is incredibly satisfying to drink a beer that you made yourself. Home brewing feels a little like alchemy. For some it is pure science, for others it is more art, for most, it’s in between the two, but every home brewer in the world knows the satisfaction you get when you crack open that bottle, or dispense the beer from your barrel or keg and sit back to enjoy it. Your friends may or may not partake of your homebrew, and that’s ok, because you made it, and you can enjoy all 40 pints (responsibly) on your own if you have to.
If you’re completely new to the hobby, I really recommend the pre-hopped extract kits. It’s a great way to start brewing your own beer at home. Some snobby home brewers look down on these kits, but don’t listen to them. I’ve made over 400 pints this way, and enjoyed every single one! I had some help to drink them, and no complaints either.
These are some great starting kits and products. Links in this post may be affiliate links- if you purchase any items I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend items I have personally used.
Further articles will follow with procedures for these kits as well as other brewing methods. I, personally, brew using the brew in a bag BIAB method, which is an all-grain method, and I’ll be posting an article about my procedures too. See this article for a taste, although that brew day didn’t quite go to plan!