This is a guest post by Dave, who is also looking to retire no later than 45, but unlike Tim has no kids and doesn’t want any. Dave is from Ontario and is working towards his CGA certification.
I like to make my own beer. I’ve only made beer from kits up to this point though, because the equipment I own is made for 5 – 6 gallon batches of beer and it was intimidating to buy a massive sack of grain to make that may be a complete loss. I wanted to make “all-grain” beer, but just couldn’t get past thinking about the possible waste if I screwed something up, so that idea sat in the back of my head for a year or so . Then, last week I saw this article, which got me super interested again.
I went out on the weekend and bought a 1 gallon brew kit for $55, along with about 2 batches worth of grain that I’ll cook up. I could have gone cheaper and just purchased a simple 1 gallon jug and some tubing, but the kit will allow for some more interesting brewing as it came with a 2 gallon primary fermenter (a food-grade bucket) as well as sanitizing and other “small-sized” accessories to make smaller beer.
A one gallon brew will make about 8 or 10 bottles of beer, which I can drink in a couple of weeks. I like to make things in the kitchen, and making beer every couple of weeks (that I can consume in a reasonable period of time) is a lot more fun – I think I’ll enjoy making beer almost as much as I will drinking it.
I bought one book to get some recipes “Brooklyn Brew Shop’s Beer Making Book: 52 Seasonal Recipes for Small Batches”. My first beer that I’m making this week is a non-exotic “Everyday IPA” – 6 ingredients total for about $15 in ingredients. There are two other recipes that I’m really interested in, one called “S’More Beer”, which has a bit of a chocolatey taste (coming from darker malted barley) and the other called “Apple Crisp Ale” – mostly because I love apple crisp.
Money-wise, there is significant upfront costs to all-grain brewing. A decent barley-crusher (so you can use grain to make beer) is about $150. Add the $55 in gear, and I figure I need to make about 15 or 20 batches of “good” beer to pay for the hobby. I look at it as something fun to do, which at the same time saves me a little bit of money on beer. I thought I would get more enjoyment out of this hobby than buying more golf clubs which won’t help my game at all.
So, I will be making lots of beer in the next little while. What hobbies do you have, and how do you pick them? And how much you would be willing to invest in your hobby?