Irritable Male Syndrome

Friday, September 28, 2007

A few months ago I was sitting at home alone on a Friday night, sucking on a bottle of Sierra Nevada, when I had an epiphany. I thought; hey, I bet it would be much cheaper to brew my own beer. I could do that. All it takes is patience, the ability to boil water, and the almost neurotic, strict adherence to sanitizing and you, too, can brew beer.

Becoming one of those cool guys that brews his own beer never even crossed my mind in the past, though. Up until a few years ago, all I'd ever drink is lighter beers that are super cheap as is, so it was much more efficient to go to the liquor store and pick up the finest case of swill that $11.99 will buy. In, out, and drunk by 5:45pm on a Friday night.

But drinking better beer, beer with any flavor whatsoever, is much, much more expensive. My current favorite, Sierra Nevada is $15 a 12 pack. With as much beer as I drink, it can get expensive, fast. But when you brew your own beer, the ingredients for a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone run from $25-$30, depending on what yeast you use, and the recipe makes 5 gallons of beer, or about 2 1/2 cases.

On the flip side of that, 2 1/2 cases of store-purchased Sierra Nevada would set me back $75. Easies--decision--ever.

Before I could brew my first batch, though, I had to buy all the equipment necessary to brew.

First, I bought a kit with the fermenting buckets, a carboy, some sanitizer, a few brushes to clean the carboy, a bottle capper, and a book on how to brew. All that for the low, low price of $80.

But I still couldn't brew.

Next, I needed an ingredient kit; I chose the Sierra Nevada clone, thinking that if I was going to make my own beer, I might as well make something I know and like. The ingredients were $30.

Surely I can brew now, right? Not so fast. Even though I had the ingredients and some of the equipment, I didn't have all of the equipment.

I needed a $40 brew kettle. Fuck.

And because I'd rather spend money than do anything that required more time or energy, I bought a $50 wort chiller to lower my wort cooling time from hours to merely minutes. Not that I had any fucking idea what wort was, or does, but who cares. My wort needed $50 worth of chilling, and it needed it now.

And piggybacking on that idea that doing more work equals less fun, I decided to jump completely past bottling my own beer, and right into kegging it. I gave up counting expenditures at this point, so let's just use a ballpark figure of $100 spent on kegging equipment. Luckily I had a 20lb tank of co2 just laying around in the backseat of my car, though. If I would've had to purchase that, too, it would've tacked another $70 on to the total. Does it really matter why I had a 20lb tank of co2 wedged behind my passenger seat? I contend that it does not.

Can I brew now? Yes, yes I can! Thank God.

That brew session was almost three weeks ago and last night I had my first homebrewed beer; homebrew that I made. I'm not a braggart, but it's good. Really fucking good. It's closer to Honker's Ale than Sierra Nevada, but it's still better than I expected. Much better. My pride is akin to that of the father of a newborn baby, but, since I'm sure all the beer has rendered my impotent, this feeling will have to suffice.

If you're the countin' type--I'm obviously not--you'll see that their is a flaw in my money-saving plan. There are 60 bottles in 2 1/2 cases of beer. My first batch of homebrew, if you count all the equipment expenses, cost me close to $300. Only 25 more batches until the beer making equipment is justified!

Thrifty I is not.

It doesn't matter that my beer is $5 per 12oz (let's not take into account how much I've spilled, shall we?), or that I just wasted 3 weeks of my life that I'll never get back, or that I'll never get the sticky off my kitchen floor. All that matters is that I can drunk 7 nights a week without ever having to take a bag of recyclables to the bin out back.

That, right there, is worth the monetary waste, because I'm lazy, not because I care about all that 'save the environment' mumbo-jumbo. That's all a bunch of bullshit.


At 12:32 PM, Blogger Molly said...

I wont pay more than $3 a pint. I think thats reasonable.
I suppose I could take my business elsewhere...

At 6:41 PM, Blogger Donkeypuncher said...

Awesome! Welcome to the world of homebrewing.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Daddy said...

Welcome, sir.

Kegging is where it's at for sure.
Good luck.


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