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  • FIRST POST
    • Fuzzy14
    • By Fuzzy14 1st Aug 18, 4:12 PM
    • 39Posts
    • 61Thanks
    Fuzzy14
    Why You Should Home Brew
    • #1
    • 1st Aug 18, 4:12 PM
    Why You Should Home Brew 1st Aug 18 at 4:12 PM
    Hello,
    There are already some really good threads on home brew from a few years ago (like this) and I really don’t want to tread on their toes but I just want to explain why you should home brew, the outlay required and the potential savings. Because you’ll save loads!!! In one year I’m looking at a £800 saving, and I’m not a huge drinker.

    Wine priced £4.50 in the supermarket costs me 67p per bottle - 85% saving (£20 kit producing 30 bottles)
    Beer priced £10 in the supermarket costs me £2.18 - 78% saving (£12 kit producing 40 pints)
    Cider priced £5 in the supermarket costs me £1.56 – 69% saving (£18 kit producing 23 litres)

    First when you saw the words “home brew” you thought of real ale, a bloke in his shed, beard. It really isn’t like that. I’m currently brewing wine, Stella equivalent beer and moving into gin soon. And the quality surprisingly good, as good what I usually buy in the supermarket.

    What got me started looking into it was the Scottish Minimum Pricing on Alcohol which sent my favoured cider up from £3 to £5 a bottle. Yes, it’s a good thing but it made me consider how much I actually spent on alcohol. And you’re probably lying to yourself, go on be honest. Over the course of a week I was probably looking at a case of Stella (10 cans for £10) for me and 2 bottles wine for my wife. So that’s £19 per week. Easily £1000 per year when you factor in Christmas and parties.

    By my reckoning in the last 6 months since I started I’ve spent £220 on ingredients and equipment and produced the equivalent of £602 of alcohol, a saving of £382 so far and this will only get better now I don’t have to outlay on more equipment.

    The problem with home brew is getting started. You need to spend a minimum of £30 on equipment, and then wait up to 4 weeks for it to be ready. After that, you’ve got 30 bottles of the same wine, when you might feel like mixing it up. The key to it is brewing different batches but that means you need more equipment and bottles. It’ll come with time, you have to start somewhere so for wine, I consider the minimum to be:
    • A large 23 litre bucket (hereby known as fermenting vessel) (£20)
    • A very long plastic spoon (£2)
    • The bubble thing to stick on the top (£2)
    • A hydrometer (they’re cheap and worth it) (£3.50)
    • Syphon tube (£3)
    • You probably have your own measuring jugs and funnels you can use.

    Start saving the bottles of wine, you’ll need 30 of them to start with. Ask friends to keep them aside in return for a filled bottle. I have found the 30 bottle kits far easier to work with and more efficient than the 6 bottle kits.

    After a while when you’re in the swing of it you should consider buying:
    • A second large bucket with a tap to assist syphoning and bottling
    • Demijohns (£8)
    • Beer pressure barrel (£35)

    I initially bought some of this from the internet and Amazon however I have since found a local home brew supply shop run by a really helpful lady, it may cost a few more pounds more but her advice has been invaluable. Wilko also have a pretty good range.

    To start you off stick to the kit wines, something like Young’s 7-day Chardonnay kit is a good start (£20). You get all the ingredients you need (concentrate, finings, yeast) except the “fermentables” (sugar). Standard granulated sugar is good enough for now, you need about £2 worth. There’s some great tutorials on YouTube and online forums so I won’t bore you with the details. The main thing is to make sure everything is sterilised (making a mistake here is the best way to brew a batch of vinegar), really pay attention to what you touch and have a deliberate way of working.

    I find that I need quite a bit of space for the sterilising, washing and bottling so most of this is done outside on my decking. You will need a bit of space for storing bottles and equipment when not in use.

    Sadly the other thing you need is patience, planning and time. The best way to get that home brewed taste is to drink it too early. If in doubt, wait! That’s perhaps the biggest issue in getting started, you’ve spent £60 on equipment and wine kit and have to continue to buy beer/wine while waiting for it. Over time you can build up the additional equipment and bottles so that you can have one brewing/maturing while drinking the other.

    I have now produced
    1 Chardonnay wine, 30 bottles, fully consumed (cost £20 equivalent worth £135)
    2 Cider 23 litres, 6 litres remain (cost £18 equivalent worth £57)
    3 Rose wine, 30 bottles, 6 bottles remain (cost £15 equivalent worth £135)
    4 European lager, 40 pints, fully consumed (cost £12 equivalent worth £55)
    5 Pinot Grigio, 6 bottles, mellowing in attic ready September (cost £20 equivalent worth £30)
    6 Chardonnay, 30 bottles, just ready! (cost £20 equivalent worth £135)
    7 Premium Belgian beer, currently fermenting ready in 3 weeks (cost £25 equivalent worth £55)

    And I have found every one I’ve drunk so far to be just as good as what you can buy in the shops. Indeed, I’m currently waiting for my beer to finish and I’m not happy to go back to mass produced cans while I wait.

    Cheers
Page 2
    • davemorton
    • By davemorton 2nd Aug 18, 2:57 PM
    • 27,107 Posts
    • 325,176 Thanks
    davemorton
    Yep we have the tall brew fridge (adapted from a regular one). Would also recommend the reusable wine bags- when sanitized properly they can be used many times.
    Originally posted by Floss
    I have never tried the wine bags, nearly did, but I have an inexhaustible supply of screwtop wine bottles, so just use them
    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
    Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires
    • LandyAndy
    • By LandyAndy 3rd Aug 18, 11:17 AM
    • 24,553 Posts
    • 51,797 Thanks
    LandyAndy
    I have been distilling my own spirits for years as well, cracking stuff it is.
    Come round for a blind tasting sometime.
    Originally posted by greyteam1959
    That would be my fear.
    • Fuzzy14
    • By Fuzzy14 3rd Aug 18, 12:58 PM
    • 39 Posts
    • 61 Thanks
    Fuzzy14
    Regarding the OP, I would like to know what kit you are buying for £20 if it contains everything because the kits I bought needed brewing sugar extra (which you have not costed so presume it was included?). If not then this needs to be reflected in your OP as the wine would be more than 67p per bottle etc.Also you need to include steriliser in your list of required equipment.
    Originally posted by Niv
    I was recommending the Young's 7 day kits which come out at £20 as a starting point for people to get into it as it produces a perfectly drinkable wine (in my opinion). Yes there are more expensive kits out there but the point of the thread was to show potentially how much could be saved and what the initial costs were. You are correct, Young's kits need 4kg of granulated sugar from your cupboard or local supermarket which pushes the price up by £2 or to 73p a bottle.

    I should also note that the quality of home brew supplies have come a long way since the 1960s.
    • z1a
    • By z1a 3rd Aug 18, 5:46 PM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,569 Thanks
    z1a
    I brew about 60 litres of wine a month & have been doing so for the last 10 years or so.
    Excellent stuff.
    I also brew my own beer & bottle it.
    The only way you can tell that it is not shop bought is the quality, absolutely superb without all the cr*p that is put in overpriced shop bought beer.
    The secret with home brewed wines & beers is LEAVE IT ALONE for a couple of months to mature.
    I have some bottled beers & lagers that are nearly 3 years old.....beautiful stuff it is.
    I have been distilling my own spirits for years as well, cracking stuff it is.
    Come round for a blind tasting sometime.
    Originally posted by greyteam1959
    Blind, being the operative word.
    • z1a
    • By z1a 3rd Aug 18, 5:48 PM
    • 1,583 Posts
    • 1,569 Thanks
    z1a
    Hadn't noticed LandyAndy with the same opinion.
    • greyteam1959
    • By greyteam1959 10th Aug 18, 12:03 PM
    • 2,501 Posts
    • 1,149 Thanks
    greyteam1959
    You cheeky lot.........
    At least I know exactly what goes into my distilling not like the spirits you buy off the shelf.....with NO ingredients on the bottles !!
    • davemorton
    • By davemorton 11th Aug 18, 1:14 AM
    • 27,107 Posts
    • 325,176 Thanks
    davemorton
    I brew about 60 litres of wine a month & have been doing so for the last 10 years or so.
    Excellent stuff.
    I also brew my own beer & bottle it.
    The only way you can tell that it is not shop bought is the quality, absolutely superb without all the cr*p that is put in overpriced shop bought beer.
    The secret with home brewed wines & beers is LEAVE IT ALONE for a couple of months to mature.
    I have some bottled beers & lagers that are nearly 3 years old.....beautiful stuff it is.
    I have been distilling my own spirits for years as well, cracking stuff it is.
    Come round for a blind tasting sometime.
    Originally posted by greyteam1959
    So.............you/your house are consuming about 1 and a half litres of wine A DAY, plus beer and spirits?
    “Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”
    Juvenal, The Sixteen Satires
    • greyteam1959
    • By greyteam1959 11th Aug 18, 5:42 PM
    • 2,501 Posts
    • 1,149 Thanks
    greyteam1959
    Nope.......I do have one of two friends !!!
    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 11th Aug 18, 7:27 PM
    • 8,425 Posts
    • 26,557 Thanks
    DigForVictory
    I home brewed in demijohns as a young teen. I don't actually like red wine much, but I flogged the contents as a base for mulled wine for a fiver a demijohn (to my parents, who vetted it) & that paid for my Christmas presents.

    Everyone happy.

    Freeze distilling the white wine at University attracted only the seriously reckless & I let the hobby slide.
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