It goes without saying that making beer at home is the best hobby in the world; way better than collecting stamps… I mean come on, it’s bee… but how much does it cost?
When someone asks me how much does it cost to make beer they are usually surprised when I share with them how inexpensive it can be.
The biggest cost of making beer is obviously going to be your equipment, but once you have your equipment the actual cost of making beer is quite low.
Decide How You Are Going to Make Your Beer
There are different ways you can make beer from home and of course the cost will differ depending on which method you choose to start out with.
In this post I am going to give you a brief overview of the 3 main methods people use to brew beer; the costs associated with the equipment you need to get started and the cost of the ingredients for each method.
The 3 brewing methods we will look at are:
– Making Beer with Beer Kits
– Partial Mash Brewing
– All Grain Brewing
So lets get at it…
Here is a link to a detailed overview of everything you need to make good beer => How to Home Brew – The Complete Guide
Making Beer With a Beer Kit
Most people when they get started out making beer they keep it simple and start with the basic beer kits. This is the method I first started with and that I recommend you start with.
… The equipment you purchase to make beer from a kit you will continue to use as you progress to the other methods of brewing… as you progress you will simply need to pick up additional equipment to add to what you already have.
Using a basic beer kit to start making beer will allow you to keep costs low and also teach you the fundamentals of making beer. So it’s a great place to start your beer making adventure.
Making beer is not hard, but like anything else there are things you need to learn and by keeping it simple and inexpensive while you are learning you will not be as worried about losing a batch. God forbid, but it can happen!
As for the equipment you need, the cost will be around $100.00 – $150.00. This will provide you with all the equipment you will need to make beer with a kit, and usually this initial start up cost will include your first beer kit with it…
… a pretty reasonable price to get started in such a great hobby.
The beer kits that you will use each time you want to make a new batch of beer cost on average around $25.00. Which results in about 5 – 6 gallons of beer depending on the kit itself…
1 gallon has 128 ounces in it… a typical can of beer has about 12 ounces in it… sooo in 1 gallon of beer you are getting the equivalent of about 10 cans of beer… so in a 5 gallon batch that would be 50 cans of beer and of course in a 6 gallon batch that is 60 cans of beer for the price of around $25.00.
Which means the equivalent of one can of beer is costing you around .41 – .50 cents each.
So when someone asks me “how much does it cost to make beer”, I tell them… pretty damn cheap! 🙂
The Coopers Home Brew Kit has all the equipment and ingredients you need to brew your first beer. I always recommend them to people new to the hobby.
Partial Mash Brewing
The next step up from making beer with a kit for most people is called partial mash brewing…
Partial mash brewing is one step away from all grain brewing. (All grain is where the very best beer for the best price is made).
Partial Mash Brewing is a great step on the journey towards being an all grain brewer and teaches you some important brewing principles.
… I am not going to get into the exact step by step process of how to brew with this method as the purpose of this post is to outline the costs associated with how to make beer and not give you a full tutorial on brewing.
Needless to say partial mash brewing is not difficult and costs a little less than brewing with the beer kit that we just talked about.
With partial mash brewing you are going to use malt extract (either liquid or dry)… kind of like the stuff that came with the beer kit, except it is not pre-hopped and you will be boiling it.
The big difference here is you are also going to be using some actual grains, about 3-6 pounds.
The cost for ingredients for this method of brewing will be around $15 – $25… in most cases less expensive than brewing from a kit… but in all cases it is going to make better tasting beer.
Equipment wise, you are going to want to pick up:
– a 5 gallon stove top pot/kettle, Cost: $30 approximately
– a 2-3 gallon stove top pot/kettle Cost: $20 approximately
– 2 muslin bags, Cost: $14 for bag of 25 approximately
– a large strainer, Cost: $10 – $20
You may already have the kettles/pots and strainer at home and will only need to pick up the 2 muslin bags.
However the total cost for all equipment needed you are looking at approximately $75 to make partial mash beer.
I have found that the best kit for partial mash is a Brewers Best Beer Kit.
Cost to Make All Grain Beer
Alrighty… Making all grain beer in my opinion is where you want to get to eventually.
Do not rush the process, learn how to brew beer with the other two methods first; but your goal if you want to make really good beer is to become an all grain brewer.
With all grain brewing you are making beer using the ingredients from scratch, to include base grains, specialty grains, hops and yeast.
Total cost on average for a 5 gallon batch is about $20 for the ingredients. A very inexpensive price for making beer that sells in most pubs for $6 – $9 a pint!
Equipment wise is where things getting interesting…
Depending on which method of all grain brewing you choose to pursue the cost is going to be different…
Yes there a different ways to make beer with this method. It all comes down to how much equipment you want, how much time you want to spend brewing on a brew day and how much cleaning up you want to do.
Myself I recommend a method called Brew in a Bag. It is by far the most economical way to start making all grain beer AND the beer tastes just as good if not better than the other methods.
Whereas with Brew in a Bag you could get all the equipment you need to get started for about $100.00, some of the other methods could cost you $500 – $1000.00 plus.
To Sum It Up
Brewing beer does not have to be expensive at all. It is a great hobby, lots of fun and the end result is that you end up with good – great tasting beer for a fraction of the price you would spend in the store for lower quality, not as good tasting beer.
If you have any questions about how to start making beer by all means put your question in the comment section below and I will be more than happy to help you out!