One of the best and cheapest ways to make your own beer is to buy bulk ingredients that can be combined in different ways for lots of different recipes, instead of using the malt extracts that are manufactured and sold according to ready-made recipes. This involves spending more time steeping your grain, boiling it with the hops, and more care and dedication, but it is extremely affordable. Whether you want to grow your own grain, which can be bought from a seed bank, or buy it in bulk from wholesale homesteading and home brewing supply stores, brewing the all-grain way really unlocks the flavor of your favorite recipes, or allows you to come up with your own special brews. You can purchase five, ten, or fifty pound bags of malted barley, wheat, and other grains, yeast starter kits, hops and hop seeds of all different varieties, and put them into your brews as you see fit. There are lots of places on the Internet, including this web site, which can recommend particular combinations of barley, rice and hops to put in your brews. The best way to find out what tastes good is to experiment, which is the most fun part about the whole home brewing experience. Take a recipe and substitute one ounce of barley with a different strain, and see what you get. It may turn out surprisingly better than the original recipe. Instead of malt extract in a can, pre-formulated and predictable, you can use all fresh ingredients from your own garden or your own supply of grain, and the earthy tones of the grain will come out in the beer in a way that is better than the best beer on tap you’ve ever tasted.
Home brewing with your own supply of ingredients is not only cheaper, but gives you much more control over the outcome of your own recipes. You can even save the yeast from previous batches and reuse it, saving you hundreds of dollars per year. All-grain beer is popular in Europe, and some of these traditional all-grain recipes have been around for centuries. You can have a beer that is rich with wheat and dark-roasted barley for a smooth and bitter stout, or an amber-colored lager beer for that traditional American flavor. The choices are endless, and the choices are up to you. The alcohol volume will largely depend on the quantity of ingredients you add to the wort, which will affect the sugar density. It also matters what strain of yeast you put into the wort, and the amount of time required for fermentation and conditioning will be affected by your choice of ingredients. It is great to have this kind of control over your beer recipes, and you can make beer that is vastly superior to what they sell at the bar or the liquor store. Grain can be stored for months or years in air-tight containers, and it can be used in small amounts over a long period of time. This is where the cost-savings of this fantastic hobby come in. One six-pack of beer at your local grocery store will usually cost $10. With home brewing, you pay less than a quarter of that in total for the ingredients used, and beer can be made using the tap water out of your faucet. In a short amount of time, you will find that brewing beer the all-grain way makes a lot of sense, and you will be amazed with the results. There is no reason to rely solely on malt extracts to do your brewing when you have the basic brewing technique down, and you can adjust the flavor profile of all your favorite beers according to taste. There is no one to tell you the right or wrong way to put together a recipe. All-grain brewing lets you express yourself in a most artful way while enjoying the best beer there is.