Home-brewing has long been seen as a pursuit for only two kinds of people: the extremely learned individuals whose microbreweries supply the pubs of the nation with the delicious craft beer that we so enjoy; or the overly ambitious shed-tinkerers who push their barrels of barely-stomachable booze on their drinking buddies when it’s their turn to buy a round.
The reality is, you don’t have to be a beer crafting pioneer to make a tasty pint at home. Brewing it yourself (BIY) is both cheaper and healthier than drinking at the pub. And we’re going to show you why in this Mahahome guide.
The beer brewing apparatus
There are really only a few purchases you need to make to get your beer-crafting career started. And all of them can be found in Mahahome’s Kilner Home Brewing Collection.
The Kilner 40 Pint Bitter Home Brewing Kit includes a thermometer, a hydrometer, and various other things that do not end in ‘-meter’ including a steriliser and 25-litre fermentation bucket. It also comes with enough malt barley extract, hop extract and varietal brewing yeast to make 40 pints of the good stuff. All you have to do is add water.
The 12 steps to brewing delicious beer at home
In case we lost you at ‘hydrometer’, we’ll just break down the whole home brewing process into 12 simple steps:
- Place your beer kit in warm water to soften the malt extract.
- Sterilise your fermentation bucket, and all other equipment you will be using - but especially the fermentation bucket - using your steriliser!
- Rinse out the fermentation bucket, then pour the contents of the beer kit into it.
- Add 6 pints of water (or however much it says to add on the kit).
- At this point you may need to add sugar. Again, the kit will let you know how much if any, you need to add.
- Use your thermometer to make sure the mixture is at the desired temperature. Normally around 20-27 degrees.
- Add the yeast and put the lid on the bucket.
- Leave the bucket in a warmish place (about 20-27 degrees, again) for 5-7 days. This is the easiest step. It is very difficult to get this step wrong unless you lose track of time quite easily. If you do, you might want to invest in a funky calendar.
- Use your hydrometer to check the gravity of the brew. When it reaches 1010 and the bubbles have stopped, it’s time to empty the beer out of the bucket.
- Pour your beer into bottles or a barrel and seal it.
- Leave your bottles or barrel again for up to two weeks. Again this is quite easy, especially with a calendar in hand. It might be a good idea to circle the date two weeks in the future when your beer will have finished brewing, and cross out every day before that as you wake up in the morning. That way, when you cross out the day you had circled, you will know your beer is ready.
- Crack open your beer and enjoy! It might not be the best beer in the world on your first try, but after homebrewing a few more times you are sure to become a beer master. Drink Responsibly. We do not advise drinking all 40 pints of beer in one go, even if it tastes amazing.
And there you have it. That is all it takes to start brewing your own beer.
How going BIY saves you money
A Kilner Home Brewing Kit for bitter or cider costs £29.99 and makes 40 pints of beer. Math-smiths among you will have already figured out that that works out at about 75p a pint. Which means not only are you drinking a unique beverage that was born of your own genius, you are also saving a massive amount of money in the process.
According to this interesting infographic from the Evening Standard (WARNING: there is a loud but relevant autoplay video on the other side of that link), the cheapest place to buy beer in England is in Herefordshire, and even there it costs £3.10. That’s around four times more expensive than a home brewed pint. Let’s say you drink 1000 pints a year, and you live in Herefordshire. First of all, you drink way too much beer and you are probably doing serious damage to your health. Secondly, your drinking habit is costing you £3,100 a year. By contrast, if you brewed your own beer you would be paying a mere £750, saving a whole £2,350.
These calculations prove without a doubt that home brewing is much cheaper than drinking out, no matter how much you drink.
How home brewed beer can boost your health
Brewing your own beer doesn’t just save you money, it could also save your health. While it is probably healthier not to drink alcohol at all, research has shown that beer in moderation can be good for you. According to American nutrition enthusiasts Nutritious America, home brewing contains beneficial bacteria, a lot of vitamin B and some friendly antioxidants. All of these things can be found in mainstream, mass-produced processed beer, but in much smaller quantities. If you want to get the most out of your beer, brewing it yourself is the only way to go.