Introduction: Save Money, Make Beer (Prohibition Style)

About: I am a stay at home mother who loves making cool things to entertain my family and improve our lives. What more is there to say?

Making your own beer is fun and cost effective! Use this simple prohibition style recipe to make your own brew.

Step 1: Ingredients / Equipment

Prohibition Ale Recipe
3 lb can of Hops flavored Malt Syrup
4 lbs Cane Sugar (approx 2 cups to 1 lb)
1 Pkt. Beer Yeast (or 2 ¼ tsp Baker’s)
5 Gallons Water (approx)
1 ¼ cup Cane Sugar (for priming)
4 cups Water ( for priming)

2 Fermentation Buckets w/ lids (5 gallon)
1 Airlock w/ Rubber Stopper
53 12oz Bottles
Crown Caps
Bottle Capper
Sterilizing Solution
* (if using bleach be sure to rinse well with water after sterilization)

Step 2: Preparing Your Equipment

You will need to drill a hole in the top of your lid to accommodate your rubber stopper and airlock.

In my case I forgot to borrow my friend's drill bits so I had to make do with my biggest bit then take it the rest of the way with my Leatherman.

Step 3: Wort

Sterilization, Sterilization, Sterilization!

1. Boil Malt Syrup, Sugar, and Water for several minutes in a large pot, until thoroughly dissolved.

2. Pour mixture into your sterilized food grade plastic bucket.

3. Add cold water, almost filling the bucket (leave a couple inches of room at the top) then add Yeast and mix.

Step 4: Lock It Up!

4 .Assemble your airlock (don't overfill the water) and lock the lid tightly onto your bucket.
(You do not want any wild yeast beasties ruining your brew.)

5. Ferment for 7 days.

Step 5: Racking

6. Rack to another sterile 5 gallon container, siphoning off the lees and discard.

7. Cover bucket and secure airlock in lid, again.

8. Let ferment for another 7 days or until the brew is still, with few or no bubbles breaking the surface.

Step 6: Sterilize Your Bottles

The bathtub is a perfect place to wash and sterilize a multitude of bottles.

Step 7: Priming and Bottling

9. Dissolve priming sugar thoroughly with water in a saucepan. Pour into a sterile fermentation bucket.

10. Rack beer into the sterile fermentation bucket, mixing the sugar evenly with the brew*, and siphoning off the lees again.

11.Once racked, siphon the beer into sterile bottles then cap securely.

*It is very important to make sure that the priming sugar is dissolved well in the water and then mixed evenly with the brew. Over-primed bottles are dangerous and can explode, sending shards of glass everywhere with a good deal of force.

Step 8: Carbonation

Flat beer is blasphemy!

13. Carbonation should be complete in about a week, depending on the temperature of where ever you choose to store your beer.

Step 9: The Breakdown

So, in brewing my own beer I was asked whether or not home-brewing was cost effective. I think I answered simply "Yes" at the time. The question has been stuck in the back of my head so I just had to sit down and do the math. Here it goes -

One 6 pack of Average Joe Beer (12oz bottles) 72 oz, Costs approx. $8.00 = $.11 an ounce = $1.33 per 12oz bottle
5 Gallons (approx 53 12oz bottles or 640oz) of Prohibition Ale materials = $9.00 = $.014 an ounce meaning that each twelve ounce bottle costs $.168 cents or about $.17 cents per bottle.

So, 5 gallons of Average Joe Beer costs approx $70.40 vs $9.00 of Prohibition Ale

A six pack (or 72oz) of Prohibition Ale costs $1.008 vs Average Joe Beer's $8.00

The average American in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon, Idaho average per capita consumption*) drinks between 31 - 35 Gallons of beer per year.

So if you consume, lets say 33 gallons per year (4,224 ounces!), you can expect to spend about $464.64 per year on brew (based on our $8 six pack of Average Joe Beer). Meanwhile, if you make your own (based on the Prohibition recipe material cost of $9) you can expect to spend about $59.14 per year for the same amount.

For the purposes of this comparison I did not include the initial equipment costs of home-brewing. The equipment is very easy to come by, cheap, and reusable. You need to get two fermentation vessels w/ lids ($4, I got food grade plastic pickle buckets at the local burger joint), two air locks ($2), a siphon ($15), and 24 12oz bottles ($15), crown caps ($4 for 150 count), a bottle-capper ($20 for a cheapo). This totals out to about $60 investment in minimal equipment. This expense is easily recouped in you first year of brewing even if you make only a single 5 gallon batch.

In conclusion my friends: Save Money, Make Beer.

*Per capita consumption based on "Beer Institute: Shipment of Malt Beverages and Per Capita Consumption By State 2008 (Preliminary) " Report.