Originally Posted by munchausen
That's awesome. I've been wanting to do that for a while. I have a friend who makes incredible beer. He's also a trained chef, but if I could do it 75% as well as he does I would probably save a lot of money.
from what I've read, it's note really a huge moneysaver if you are already buying expensive beer....It's cheaper, but not if you value your time (although it doesn't take that much time...but I bet you could buy an awful lot of beer for an hour or two of your billable rate).
The thing is that its really not that hard to make great beers. You're working with fresh quality ingredients and producing beer that's not going to get trucked around in the heat and languish on store shelves. So just buying a kit and following the recipe makes you some pretty tasty stuff once you sort of know what you are doing. Plus, if there is something you don't like, you can tweak the ingredients.
So if you are making $25-$30 (5 gallon) kits the beer comes out to being inexpensive. If you are making $50-60 kits, it gets a little harder to make the value proposition, but you should be getting some pretty badass beer. e.g. one of the big homebrew shops collaborated with Surly to make a a Furious recipe kit...it goes for $60 when they manage to have it in stock, but should be damn good (and its not like you could buy Surly in your area).
edit: and its not like the $30 kits are necessarily worse. In my inexperienced view, it just seems that some styles require much more expensive ingredients. Ingredients for a big stout cost more than than a pale ale, but both recipes may be rated 5 stars and you don't want to drink a stout after mowing the lawn.