Brewing sake from scratch, though enjoyable, turned out to be more of a chore than expected. So when we went to brew beer, we did a little research and decided to buy the Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System.
So…this is not brewing beer from scratch.
You get this cute plastic beer keg to brew beer in, plus the ingredients for your first batch (which is just ok, admittedly – the ones we tried later were better). After further research, we joined the Mr. Beer club on their website, which allows you to get $5.00 shipping as long as you buy $30 worth every few months. It works out to about $0.70 – $1.00 per beer, which is pretty darn cheap if you like a good beer. Each batch is supposed to make 20 bottles, but we find we squeeze out 22 on average.
Brewing beer with this kit consists of only a few steps. You follow the directions for each recipe, but they mostly consist of mixing what’s in the can with water, heating it up, mixing it with more water, and dropping the yeast in. This tends to take about half an hour. Two-three weeks later, you bring it out and bottle it. We use old beer bottles for our brew, washed out and sanitized (reduce, reuse, recycle!). The capping equipment we already have from our sake. Bottling takes us about forty-five minutes and also involves adding sugar to the bottles for carbonation. Depending on the recipe, you let it sit for another four weeks to six months, and then you are ready to enjoy!
Time-wise this has worked out pretty well for us. We always check the flavor profile and reviews before buying recipes on the site, and are now considering a little experimentation with our beers. It’s not brewing beer from scratch though, so depending on how much of a purist you are, this may not be for you. Cost-wise, this has also worked for us. It’s cheaper than buying the beers we really like at the store, and it’s fun to have a little something we brewed ourselves (sort of). In addition, we always manage to hit a sale on the Mr. Beer site before we buy.
We’re considering trying to brew from scratch at some point so we can do a comparison.
TIME INVESTMENT: Approximately 1.5 hours per 22 bottles
COST: $30 for the kit, $15+ per recipe, $15 for capper (if you don’t have one already), and $3.75 for a bag of errr…a lot of caps…
$48.75 to get going and brew your first batch
In the end, it’s a money-wise venture for premium beer lovers. It feels a little chintzy when you’re pouring things out of cans and adding water, but this is counter-balanced by the fact that the beer is actually tasty, and you can still say you home-brewed it without quite lying.