Minimum viable beer

    Minimalistic brewing for the every day lazy man

25th February 2018

My mates and I have been brewing beer for years. My first brew was in Los Angeles, my buddy Jeremy and I spend $80 on ingrediants including oak chunks, specialty malts and more hops than you could shake a stick at. We spent 8 hours extracting malt, and boiling hops using a timer to add them at the correct time. We brewed a modified clone of a craft Belgian Triple, and oh boy was it tasty. $80 of ingrediants and countless hours of bottling, brewing and cleanup got us about 40 bottles of kinda delish beer.

Now, a soon to be father living in Australia where a 6 pack of a decent craft beer costs $30, I find myself getting into lagers and pilseners. Which to be honest I quite enjoy! So I set out to find the cheapest, easiest beer I could make at home. I had three simple objectives

 

Minimal cost

I cant be spending much money on this, I have every hobby already - this is a practical project.

 Minimal work

As above, I have plenty of hobbies, so this has got to be quick and easy.

Tastiest beer possible

While adhering to point 1 and 2, the beer needs to be nice. For me that means hops!

I started with a $10 Home Brand lager kit. It's basically malt and some hops already ready to go. I have tried these before, and played around with using less sugar or using two cans of malt instead of sugar - but for this I decided to just follow the recipe. One can of malt, on kilo of sugar, 25 or so litres of water.

The kicker was about 150 grams of cascade hops, half were boiled in some water for a while to (maybe?) bitter up a bit, and the other half were just thrown in the fermenter to dry hop while it fermented.

I left it for two weeks, and then bottled in 1.25 litre PET bottles. Why? Because they hold the pressure fine, and because bottling 25 litres of beer took 15 minutes, not half a day. I sanitized the bottles with boiling water, and used mainly sparkling water bottles as we dont have a soda stream so we buy heaps of soda water... Dont judge us, we are recycling the bottles by conditioning beer in them.

I used Safale US-05 Ale yeast instead of the questionable yeast that came with the home brand kit, and let me tell you! After fermentation I felt like I was smelling a really nice citrusy IPA - the wort tastes fantastic, so hopefully it gets better while carbonating / conditioning.

Total cost (cheating, hops and yeast were free from Dave...) $11. Next time, when I buy my own hops and yeast that might climb to $20 or so, so about $0.80 a litre or $0.26 per standard 330ml beer bottle. And total time brewing + bottling + cleanup is about an hour. Havent tasted it yet, but thats PREEEEETY good. Sit tight, I'll update this post when I've tried it!