If you have ever thought about brewing your own beer, you may be wondering what the benefits and drawbacks are. In this article, we will take a look at both sides of the coin and help you decide if homebrewing is right for you.
What Is Homebrewing?
Homebrewing is the process of creating homemade alcoholic beverages from any kind of grain (usually malted barley) using water and yeast. The result? A delicious alternative to mass-produced alcohols like vodka and gin. While there are many different kinds of beers brewed worldwide, most Americans prefer light lagers. In fact, according to market research firm Mintel, 84 percent of American drinkers prefer lighter lager over darker ale or porter. And more than half of them consider themselves “beer aficionados.”
Great Ideas on How to Share Your Home Brew
Of course if you are making great home brew, you will want to share with friends and family to show off your talents. Below are some ideas of how you can share the news that your beer is tasting superbly.
- Setup a backyard adventure by smoking some meat and sharing your brews. Nothing goes together like beer and bbq, well maybe bourbon and barbeque!
- Invite some friends over for a home brew tasting party. Set up a serving table and let everyone enjoy the fruits of your labor!
- If you are on vacation, bring a case of beer with you. Nothing says vacationing like sharing drinks with a companion in the hot sun!
- Share some beer at local events, whether it is an art show, festival or even political event! You never know who you’ll meet or what connections you can make!
Benefits of Homebrewing
But why do so many people want to brew their own booze? There are plenty of reasons — maybe even enough to fill up several pages of copy paper. But here are some of our favorites.
- It gives you control over what goes into your drinks. If you’re concerned about additives, pesticides or other nasties found in commercial brands, then homebrewing might be the answer. Plus, if you enjoy experimenting with various types of grains and hops, you may discover new flavors and scents you never knew existed.
- Homebrewing allows you to try out unique recipes created by others. This is especially true if you use open source software such as Brewtarget, which lets users create custom recipes based off existing ones. For example, if you type in a recipe name, say “IPA,” the site will pull up hundreds of possible results. Not only does this give you access to thousands of IPAs, but you can play around with each one until you come across something perfect for you!
- Brewing beer at home has environmental benefits. That’s because during production, breweries spend millions of dollars heating huge vats of wort (the sugary liquid produced after boiling all those grains). They also run massive refrigerators and employ lots of workers who handle heavy machinery. On top of that, they often pour high fructose corn syrup into their products to boost flavor. All these things add up to tons of waste going straight into landfills. With homebrewing, though, you don’t heat anything, boil anything or filter anything down. Instead, you let nature take its course. Once the fermentation process ends, the leftover sugars become maltodextrin instead of alcohol, which makes great compost fertilizer for plants.
- Homemade homebrew tastes better. Sure, commercial beer isn’t bad. Most of us could drink it without complaint. However, if you’ve ever spent time researching homebrewing online, you know that there are countless ways to craft amazing tasting concoctions. Whether you opt for basic pale ales, hoppy India Pale Ales or stouts, you can tweak your recipe to produce something truly special. Even a simple batch of witbier (a Belgian wheat beer), made from two base malts called white crystal and Carapils, along with coriander seeds and orange peel, packs a powerful punch.
- It costs less money. As long as you grow the grain yourself, ferment it at home and keep everything clean, homebrewing doesn’t cost too much. To purchase the same amount of 12-ounce cans of Coors Light beer ($6.99 per six pack) would require approximately $72 worth of fresh barley, 30 gallons of water and three weeks’ supply of Cascade hops. Another option would be to pay slightly higher prices from local microbreweries, where some owners actually grow their own organic hops. Also, since homebrewers aren’t buying large quantities of materials, they often end up being able to sell their leftovers for profit. Best yet, once you learn how to brew, you won’t have to worry about quality consistency either. Since you’re doing all the work, you can simply repeat your experiments over and over again until you find the best combination.
Drawbacks of Homebrewing
Now that you’ve read through all the pros, let’s talk downsides. Yes, there are drawbacks. One is that despite all the perks mentioned above, brewing takes a lot of patience. During the initial stages of fermentation, homebrewers must watch closely and troubleshoot problems. Afterward, they still have to wait anywhere between 2 months and 1 year before drinking any actual product. Then again, while it certainly helps, having little to no experience with homebrewing won’t help anyone speed up the process.
Another drawback is space requirements. Of course, there’s nothing stopping anyone from starting a brewery inside his kitchen or basement. But if you live alone or share a house with roommates, adding another room onto your living area probably means moving a fridge and freezer somewhere else. Or perhaps you’d rather stick to sipping your beer outside on the patio. If that sounds fun, look no further than your backyard garden. Fresh herbs, vegetables, fruits and flowers provide beautiful backdrops for your creations. Just remember to pick varieties that pair well with the style of beer you plan to brew.
If you were inspired to try out homebrewing after reading this article, please check out resources available online. We recommend searching Google for terms like “how to homebrew” and “homebrew beginner tips,” plus visiting sites like WikiAnswers, YouTube and Reddit. These sources should offer plenty of information on getting started.
Homebrewing has many benefits and a few drawbacks. When deciding if brewing your own beer is right for you, weigh the pros and cons and consider your lifestyle. If you have plenty of patience, some extra space and a taste for adventure, homebrewing may just be the perfect hobby for you.
There are many reasons why homebrewing is a great hobby to get into. Not only does it allow you to brew beer that is far superior in