When I tell people I’m really into homebrewing I get met with a number of similar responses. A lot of work colleagues tend to look at me like I’m some kind of alcoholic who should never be promoted. My friends however tend to have more varied responses.
The questions I tend to get most are “how long does it take” and then “is it worth it?”
In regards to the first question, a usual brew day will take between 4-6 hours depending on how quickly I want to get through it. I’m an all grain brewer and tend to not rush it as I enjoy the process. How quickly the beer is ready for consumption depends on the type of beer but I could turn one around in about 3 weeks if required.
The question of ‘is it worth it’ is a far more complex question. What I love about homebrewing is that two people can share the same hobby, yet have vastly different motivations and experiences.
The homebrewer my colleagues are imagining are what I like to think of as ‘traditional’ Australian homebrewers. These are the kind of people who consume a LOT of beer and are looking to make a cheap swill to satisfy this requirement. To these people I say, “Good on you”. If you are doing something that makes you happy then go for it. If you’re looking to get into the hobby for this reason I would note however that mega swill is relatively cheap these days and the cost benefits don’t exist like they used to. If I was looking at brewing for this reason, in honesty, I wouldn’t bother. It just simply isn’t worth your time to save a couple of dollars.
The second type of homebrewers tend to be craft beer tragics who need to get even more involved in the craft beer process. I like to think of it as akin to cooking and getting happiness from making something that people enjoy, even if you can buy it at a restaurant. If I was comparing the prices of making a ‘craft beer’ style beer with a cheap carton of beer, it really doesn’t work out. However, if I compared it with buying a carton of craft beer, then (in the long run) it can work out more economical.
Unfortunately for me however, I tend to get a bit excited about new equipment so my ‘long run’ is looking longer and longer away. Just ask my wife.
So if you’re looking to get into homebrewing ask yourself which one of the above you are. If you are option 2, then feel free to keep reading on. You may just find a hobby that will take over your life.