Homebrewing To Save Money During Lockdown
With the lockdown beginning to become an economic cost as much as a cost to our mental health, many of us are having to find ways to cut back. However, while it is common that most of us are having to make some kind of concessions, lockdown is tough work. It is a detrimental issue, one that is only going to leave you feeling worse over the course of time. However, it is necessary to try and make sure that we can eventually be free from the tyranny of COVID-19. Until then, though, do you need to go beer-free?
It makes sense: we are all trying to cut out non-essential purchases. And as much as Homer Simpson might argue with you, beer is not an essential. What is, though, is having a good time and keeping a sense of mental strength during this challenging period of time. That’s why if you are looking to try and cut down on the expenditure without losing fun time, you should look into homebrewing.
What is homebrewing?
The art of homebrewing is as the name suggests – alcohol that is brewed at home. Many draw an eyebrow when they hear the suggestion, but homebrewing has been a classic habit for people across the world for many years. After all, not everyone can afford to pay over £3 for a pint of beer or cider!
When you want to have some fun and still enjoy a few drinks at night, but you also want to cut down on the expenditure, you should look into homebrewing options. Before you get out the barrel and start trying to turn yourself into the local pub brewery alternative, though, you should try and use some of the tips that we have put together below.
The investment pays for itself
The biggest question you need to answer yourself, then, is how quickly you could make a brewing kit pay for itself. The other challenge is that many different brewing kits exist on the market, and very few of them are cheap. Not all of them are great, either so you could spend a lot of money to get not a lot of value back in return. Who wants to do that!?
If you want to avoid that kind of waste, then you should buy a quality beer kit to begin with. You should look for one that comes from a specific named brewery. The likes of St. Peters are a particularly well-respected name within the homebrewing industry. Woodfordes, too, are a good choice and are an ample pick if you are a beginner to the homebrewing experience.
You know the old adage that if you buy cheap, you will buy twice? That is 100% the case in the homebrewing niche. Buy something worth your money, or don’t buy at all!
Setting the scene for your first homebrewing session
Before you use the equipment any time, too, make sure you prepare it accordingly. This means taking the time to thoroughly clean out the equipment before you start using it. You should be looking to use hot and soapy water to help get rid of as much of the residue and build-up as you can. Give it a full wash-out and make sure you are thorough with your rinsing.
When you are finished rinsing it out an getting it clean enough to use, you should use something like VWP. VWP is a powerful bacterial beater that will get rid of any of the potential bacteria that could impact on the quality, taste and/or health of your homebrew.
Now, before you do anything else, promise us that you will follow the key rule of keeping your homebrewing system in the right room temperature. A steady, solid room temperature is the right thing to do without a doubt. You want to make sure that your homebrew retains a neutral temperature throughout the process; never too warm, and never too cold. Do that, and you ill be much more likely to get a beer that comes out the end tasting just as you would have wanted and expected.
This sounds expensive…
It really isn’t! You simply have to avoid buying the dirt cheap products. we recommend that you look for a kit that can provide you with around 30 pints for your money. A good quality kit should give you around 30 pints for £20-30, depending on where you buy from and the supply/demand factor. Remember, you aren’t the only person who has thought of turning your home into a wee DIY pub!
Other investments you should look to make just now include:
- Buying a fermenting bucket; can be bought online and from most DIY stores for about £10.
- A syphon tube to make sure you have a means of filling up the beer bottles (£5).
- Glass bottles to help you make sure you have somewhere to store your beer (depends).
- A bottle capper to help you make sure you can put the cap on your bottles properly (£10).
You could use pre-used beer bottles and soft drink bottles to save some money here, too. You should make sure you give them a deep and thorough cleaning beforehand, though, otherwise you run the risk of the taste being ruined or bacterial build-up ruining the drink itself.
Now that you have a good idea of how to start, how long does it take?
Homebrewing: patience is a virtue you will need
The problem with homebrewing is that it isn’t like nipping to the shop for a few cans of beer. You can’t drink this tonight – or even this week. The fastest turnaround time for a beer that will taste worth the wait is around three weeks.
This takes around one week for the fermentation process to take place. The bottle then has to be properly conditioned which can take a surprisingly long length of time. Get this right, though, and you will be almost certain to have exactly what you wanted. Normally, though, the longer that you can wait for the investment to pay off, the better. If you can wait for longer than three weeks then you beer will taste better for the added investment of time.
Is this complex?
Not really, no. Since you can today buy pre-ready ingredients to make sure that your beer is going to taste just right, it really is just a case of making the mix and then being patient for the process. You will also want to try and do this somewhere that it won’t obstruct other access to other things at home, nor will it pose a risk to anyone.
For example, it is possible that your pressure barrel could become weak and end up failing. This could leave you with a very beer-smelling home! You want to do all that you can to try and avoid this happening. Invest in good quality equipment, look after every part of the barrel, and check it on a regular basis.
Is this going to help me save money, really?
Many people look at the concept of homebrewing to save money with some scepticism. They look and see the initial setup cost and the cost per pint and look at their weekly outlay on beers. Is it not just cheaper to go and buy them from the store and save yourself the time and the effort?
Well, perhaps. It depends on a few things such as how much you spend on beer, and how much time you have to actually invest in the process. If you are someone who has very particular tastes, though, you might enjoy being able to make your own Goldilocks ale; something that tastes perfect for your own personal taste and preference.
If you consider, though, that the average pint of ale made with a homebrew kit will cost you around 50p per 500ml of beer. Go to a pub and ask for that kind of price, and they will direct you to the 1980s!
This is one of the cheapest ways to enjoy a few jars at home without having to keep spending money on supermarket beers. You will find that every time you use a brewing kit you are able to look back and say that you have saved yourself a decent helping. Let us say that your ale gives you around 22l of ale for your time and effort. That means that you could be saving something in the region of £50 per 22l – in a lockdown situation where every penny is a prisoner, that should help to ease a lot of pressure financially.
Alright, it might take some trial and error to get the right taste and it does require some space for storage. But if you factor in the time that it takes, the ease of the process when you buy ready-prepared tools and ingredients, and the fact you can make it taste exactly as you like, and it’s easy to see why homebrewing to save money during lockdown is becoming a primary choice for people up and down the country.
Why not give it a go yourself? You’ll be pleasantly shocked at the quality of the results.