Beer Making Tips: From Affordable to Great Beer
Brew beer at low cost. The amount of time you spend brewing makes the small difference in cost between “just right” ingredients and high quality ingredients a minor point. Either way, the cost of brewing a 5 gallon batch is much cheaper than buying a couple cases of beer at the store.
The beer is made with cheap ingredients, so it doesn’t hurt to buy the best. Surprisingly, the cheapest way to brew gives you the best results: Whole grain brewing is the cheapest way to brew when grain is purchased in bulk.
You need a grain mill and a macerator, so a small investment in equipment is needed. But you should be able to make excellent quality beer for less than $2 a gallon, and you could make a light ale for as little as $1 a gallon, or less than 10 cents a bottle (a gallon equals about 10-1/2 12 oz.). bottles). Most of my pilsner beers are around $1.50 a gallon.
Other ways to reduce the cost of your beer are to grow your own hops and reuse fermenter yeast. Easy to make, and it means I don’t have to buy yeast more than once every half a year or so. The hops should last through most winter brews. So all you need is grain, which is about $0.70 a pound on a bulk purchase (much of the cost is in shipping).
Brewing Equipment Basic, simple, inexpensive equipment that gets the job done. Sometimes it adds to the challenge. But through the mystique of brewing and remember illiterate housewives brewed for centuries using tried-and-true recipes and procedures before the dawn of kegerators, ph meters, or hydrometers.
Brewing barrels of beer. After using bottles for years, you can jump into the cheesy barrel (Cornelius barrel). This is an important step because it makes the preparation much easier. You can still bottle, but only a few bottles per batch, and use a cheesy keg to fill the bottles. You can use cheesy barrels as secondary fermentation vessels. You can try the method where you leave the beer in the primary container for about two weeks until it clears up well, and then carefully siphon it up, avoiding transferring any peat.
Bulk purchase of cereals and hops. I bought about 300 pounds of grain and 5 pounds of North Country Malt hops. I have two bags of pilsner, two from Munich, one of pale ale and one of carapiles. This should cover my base malt needs for a year. I can make my favorite house recipes (pilsner, altbier, pale ale) with the ingredients I have in stock. I expect to be working with this supply in about a year, which is the shelf life. I will also call for specialty malts and hops as required by special recipes.
Philosophy of beer consumption. Beer is good food. Beer is healthy when used in moderation. Beer is a great drink.