I picked up homebrewing again as a hobby in the summer of 2004. It's a lot of fun, the beer is really good, and the cost savings are significant. I don't know why I didn't start this a long time ago -- well, I do...
My first homebrew attempt was a fiasco. Linda bought me a kit for Christmas, must have been in 1981. It came with most of the equipment, bottle capper, airlock, etc, and the ingredients. I had to supply the fermenter (a 5 gallon plastic bucket) and the bottles. I picked up some long neck Budweiser bottles from a local distributor, and got a plastic bucket from McDonalds. Apparently, having a food-grade bucket is essential so as to not get unwanted chemicals in the beer, and McDonalds was throwing them out, so I got one for free. I followed the instructions carefully, waited and waited, bottled the beer, waited some more, then was finally ready to sample one. It was a gorgeous looking beer, nice head, deep golden amber color. But nasty! It tasted like dill pickles, which is what was originally in the bucket that I got from McDonalds.
Twenty-three years later (and 10 moves, including across the country and to Europe), I found some of the equipment from that kit in the attic -- a big strainer, the airlock, a hydrometer, a bottle capper, and some instructions -- and thought I'd give it another try. I got a brand new bucket this time, and bought the ingredients at a local homebrew shop (Larry's in Kent, WA, excellent store, with very helpful people.) Plus there is a ton of information on the internet about how to brew and what you need.
A batch makes 5 gallons, or just over 2 cases (about 52 or 53 12oz bottles), and generally costs $20 - $24, depending on the recipe. That's roughly 50 cents per bottle, or about $3 per six-pack, or less than half the price of a decent beer at the supermarket. And it's really good beer, better than most of what I used to buy at the store.
This blog is intended to track my brewing adventures, recipes, and mis-steps. I had another website with the first 35 or so recipes, so I'll be copying those here, and entering more stuff.