It's been over a year since I last wrote about
homebrewing. Well, I guess I was rather doing than talking about it. The number
of batches has been steadily increasing, the latest #35 is a red Pale Ale with
lots of Ekuanot hops. Overall I've been following the seasonal styles
tradition, meaning that I brewed a few lagers last winter (Helles, Dunkles and
a very good strong Schwarzbier), some wheat beers in summer (both Bavarian and
Belgian Wit), and Pale Ales and Stouts in between. My clones of the Sierra
Nevada Pale Ale (SNPA) and of the Chimay Red Belgian Dubbel came out very
nicely. Next up are lagers again, starting with a Bohemian Pilsner.
With two years into the hobby, it makes sense to add up some numbers. I've now
brewed 988 liters of beer with an average strength of 5.5% alc/vol and average
batch size of 28 liters, where the size has been increasing over time once I
figured out that you can dilute wort after boiling to make more of a weaker
beer. This suits me well since I prefer highly drinkable beers to the show-off
Summing up my order history on the relevant webshops for ingredients and equipment, I
arrive at 1200 EUR. Adding another 200 for things unaccounted for, I get
71¢ per half-liter-bottle, which I usually use. This is about 75% of the
price for the very cheapest beer that you can find in Swedish alcohol monopoly
shops, and about a fifth of what a SNPA sets you back there.
Contrary to many other hobbies, I can therefore safely claim to actually having
saved money with it. Although this was not the initial intention and still is
far subordinate to the joy of making drinking my own beers, I like that
homebrewing is not a money-sink for me. I'm sure it can be that, and is for
some, but I've been following my usual rule of buying
less and only very modestly upgraded the
equipment. For example, I still use the same 30L-kettle for mash and boil as
for the very first batch.
I also built a magnetic stir plate from scrap material that I had lying around. This is useful when harvesting yeast from bottles and to increse the cell count to get an adequate pitch rate for a batch.