Does the Bible say much about alcohol?
Yes, alcohol is mentioned numerous times in the Bible.While beer is mentioned in the Bible, wine is the predominate form of alcohol that is referenced. The word for beer is translated as "Strong Drink" in some translations, and wineskins translated as "bottle". The Bible also makes many references to the folly of being drunk. Based on these references, it is clear that God has provided the blessing of beer and wine, but does not want us to be drunk.
Here are some statistics of how many times each word is used according to the excellent Bible Search Engine at BibleGateway.com. It should be noted that "Beer" is the name of a city in the Bible and those references were removed from this count.
- Wine - 216
- Wineskins - 10
- Beer - 9
- Drunk - 64
- Wine - 216
- Bottle - 14
- Strong Drink - 19
- Drunk - 77
- Wine - 216
- Wineskins - 8
- Strong Drink - 20
- Drunk - 79
- Wine - 251
- Wineskins - 8
- Strong Drink - 20
- Drunk - 79
Is Beer mentioned in the Bible?
Yes. There are a number of references to beer as a specific form of alcohol.
Positive: Beer as a Blessing
Proverbs 31:4-9 It is not for kings, Lemuel—it is not for kings to drink wine, not for rulers to crave beer, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed, and deprive all the oppressed of their rights. Let beer be for those who are perishing, wine for those who are in anguish! Let them drink and forget their poverty and remember their misery no more. Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Isaiah 24:9 No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
Isaiah 56:12 “Come,” each one cries, “let me get wine! Let us drink our fill of beer! And tomorrow will be like today, or even far better.”
Negative: Warning Against Drukeness
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
Isaiah 28:7 And these also stagger from wine and reel from beer>: Priests and prophets stagger from beer and are befuddled with wine; they reel from beer, they stagger when seeing visions, they stumble when rendering decisions. All the tables are covered with vomit and there is not a spot without filth.
Micah 2:11 If a liar and deceiver comes and says, ‘I will prophesy for you plenty of wine and beer,’ that would be just the prophet for this people!
Isaiah 29:9 Be stunned and amazed, blind yourselves and be sightless; be drunk, but not from wine, stagger, but not from beer.
Did Jesus drink alcohol?
Yes, Jesus did drink alcohol by his own admission.In Luke we read a quote from Jesus himself that says:
Luke 7:33-34 "For John the Baptist came neither eating bread nor drinking wine, and you say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and you say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’"This is obviously NOT a reference to unfermented grape juice, based on the choice word "drunkard".
Why did Jesus turn water into wine for His first miracle?
The account of Jesus making wine is documented in John 2:1-12, and is cited by John as Jesus's first miracle (v11). He is at a wedding party, which customarily lasted for many days, and they ran out of wine. V10 states it is the point in the party where the "guests have had too much to drink". Jesus not only makes wine, but he makes it for people that had already drank a lot of wine.
Watered Down Wine and Bad Wine is a Sign of God's Judgement
Isaiah 1:21-22 See how the faithful city has become a prostitute! She once was full of justice; righteousness used to dwell in her—but now murderers! Your silver has become dross, your choice wine is diluted with water.
Deuteronomy 32:32-35 Their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah.Their grapes are filled with poison, and their clusters with bitterness. Their wine is the venom of serpents, the deadly poison of cobras. “Have I not kept this in reserve and sealed it in my vaults? It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip; their day of disaster is near and their doom rushes upon them.”
Psalm 60:1-3 You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! You have shaken the land and torn it open; mend its fractures, for it is quaking. You have shown your people desperate times; you have given us wine that makes us stagger.
Psalm 75:7-8 It is God who judges: He brings one down, he exalts another. In the hand of the Lord is a cup full of foaming wine mixed with spices; he pours it out, and all the wicked of the earth drink it down to its very dregs.
Proverbs 4:14-17 Do not set foot on the path of the wicked or walk in the way of evildoers. Avoid it, do not travel on it; turn from it and go on your way. For they cannot rest until they do evil; they are robbed of sleep till they make someone stumble. They eat the bread of wickedness and drink the wine of violence.
Isaiah 24:6-7 Therefore a curse consumes the earth; its people must bear their guilt. Therefore earth’s inhabitants are burned up, and very few are left. The new wine dries up and the vine withers; all the merrymakers groan.
Isaiah 24:9-11 No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers. The ruined city lies desolate; the entrance to every house is barred. In the streets they cry out for wine; all joy turns to gloom, all joyful sounds are banished from the earth.
Isaiah 25:6 On this mountain the Lord Almighty will prepare a feast of rich food for all peoples, a banquet of aged wine — the best of meats and the finest of wines.
Jeremiah 25:15 This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, said to me: “Take from my hand this cup filled with the wine of my wrath and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. When they drink it, they will stagger and go mad because of the sword I will send among them.”
Zephaniah 1:12-13 At that time I will search Jerusalem with lamps and punish those who are complacent, who are like wine left on its dregs, who think, ‘The Lord will do nothing,either good or bad. Their wealth will be plundered, their houses demolished. Though they build houses, they will not live in them; though they plant vineyards, they will not drink the wine.
Good Wine is a Sign of God's Blessing
Deuteronomy 11:13 So if you faithfully obey the commands I am giving you today—to love the Lord your God and to serve him with all your heart and with all your soul — then I will send rain on your land in its season, both autumn and spring rains, so that you may gather in your grain, new wine and olive oil. I will provide grass in the fields for your cattle, and you will eat and be satisfied.
Deuteronomy 14:26 [Regarding use of the Tithe offering] Use the silver to buy whatever you like: cattle, sheep, wine or other fermented drink, or anything you wish. Then you and your household shall eat there in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice.
Deuteronomy 33:28-29a [Moses blesses the Tribes of Israel] So Israel will live in safety; Jacob will dwell secure in a land of grain and new wine, where the heavens drop dew. Blessed are you, Israel!
Judges 19:19 We have both straw and fodder for our donkeys and bread and wine for ourselves your servants—me, the woman and the young man with us. We don’t need anything.”
2 Kings 18:31 “Do not listen to Hezekiah. This is what the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me and come out to me. Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards, a land of olive trees and honey. Choose life and not death!
Psalm 4:7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound.
Psalm 104:14-15 He [The Lord] makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for people to cultivate — bringing forth food from the earth: wine that gladdens human hearts, oil to make their faces shine, and bread that sustains their hearts.
Proverbs 3:9-10 Honor the Lord with your wealth, with the firstfruits of all your crops; then your barns will be filled to overflowing, and your vats will brim over with new wine.
Proverbs 9:1-6 Wisdom has built her house; she has set up its seven pillars. She has prepared her meat and mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her servants, and she calls from the highest point of the city, “Let all who are simple come to my house!” To those who have no sense she says, “Come, eat my food and drink the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways and you will live; walk in the way of insight.”
Ecclesiastes 9:7 Go, eat your food with gladness, and drink your wine with a joyful heart, for God has already approved what you do.
Song of Songs 1:2 Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth—for your love is more delightful than wine.
Song of Songs 7:9 May the wine go straight to my beloved, flowing gently over lips and teeth.
Isaiah 36:16b-17 Then each of you will eat fruit from your own vine and fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, until I come and take you to a land like your own—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.
Jeremiah 31:11-12 For the Lord will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the Lord—the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more.
Jeremiah 40:12 They all came back to the land of Judah, to Gedaliah at Mizpah, from all the countries where they had been scattered. And they harvested an abundance of wine and summer fruit.
Joel 2:19 The Lord replied to them: “I am sending you grain, new wine and olive oil, enough to satisfy you fully; never again will I make you an object of scorn to the nations.
Joel 3:18 “In that day the mountains will drip new wine, and the hills will flow with milk; all the ravines of Judah will run with water. A fountain will flow out of the Lord’s house and will water the valley of acacias.
Does the Bible say alcohol consumption is a sin?
No. The Bible states that we should avoid drunkenness, but does not state that alcohol consumption is a sin. On the contrary, the consumption of good wine was described as a blessing of God.This answer may surprise people who have been led to think that alcohol consumption was a sin to be avoided by the righteous. However this position is not supported by the Word of God.
Does the Bible say drunkenness is a sin?
Yes. The Bible clearly warns against Drunkenness. Drinking is not a sin, but being drunk is.God's word says we need to be sober, as it is not wise to be drunk and can lead to debauchery. In an even more direct statement, Paul declares on multiple occasions that drunkards will not inherit the kingdom of God. Here are some examples of scriptural warnings against drunkenness:
Ephesians 5:17-19 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord.
Galatians 5:19-21 The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
1 Corinthians 6:10 Nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
Proverbs 23:20-21 Do not join those who drink too much wine or gorge themselves on meat, for drunkards and gluttons become poor, and drowsiness clothes them in rags.
Romans 13:13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
Proverbs 20:1 Wine is a mocker and beer a brawler; whoever is led astray by them is not wise.
1 Thessalonians 5:6-10 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.
1 Timothy 3:2-3 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money.
Does the Bible call us to abstain to avoid causing someone to fall?
Yes, but only when we are knowingly tempting someone.Some argue that we should avoid drinking at all times because we are called to avoid leading others into temptation:
Romans 14:21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.We agree that you should not drink alcohol knowingly in the presence of someone struggling with alcohol. However you can comply with this Biblical teaching while enjoying a glass of beer or wine in public, as long as you aren't purposefully drinking in front of someone struggling. We can't really help unknown people with unknown problems. It is ok to choose to abstain, but if we really want to avoid all sources of temptation for other people, then we would need to abstain from: meat (as stated in Romans), sweets, gluten, cholesterol packed foods, and high-fat foods since all of these have potential to cause an unknown person with health and/or obesity issues to be tempted and fall. The bottom line is that we each need to decide what we believe is moral according to God's plan for our lives. I may believe it is ok to enjoy a beer, while another person may not believe it is a wise thing to do. We each need to live our lives according to our beliefs such that we honor God with our personal faith. This is exactly what the two verses after Romans 14:21 speak of:
Romans 14:22-23 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.We should not ask someone to drink alcohol if they believe it is wrong, but we should share our personal beliefs with them (such as this website). Each of us is on a continual journey to understand God and his will for our lives. Our beliefs can and should change over time as we learn more about God, but we should always honor the beliefs that people currently maintain by not tempting them to violate their faith in God.
Are wine references in the Bible really just references to grape juice?
The Bible uses Hebrew and Greek words that represent grape juice and wine, which is ambiguous when interpreted as a single word. However it is clear when read in context of the chapter, that Jesus made and drank wine.The Bible makes many references to wine, including direct references by Jesus, so the opponents to alcohol are left to produce an argument that reconciles this fact with their belief. They typically argue that Biblical references to wine is actually a reference to grape juice. Let's take a closer look at this argument:
John 2:7-9a Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water”; so they filled them to the brim. Then he told them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the banquet.” They did so, and the master of the banquet tasted the water that had been turned into wine.Some argue that He made grape juice. They base the argument on the Greek word used here Oinos (οἶνος), which is used to represent both fermented and unfermented grape juice. This is an accurate translation, as ambiguity exists in the original Greek word. However when understood within the context of the passage, it becomes clear that Jesus made wine, not grape juice. This is a wedding party where wine would have been drank, not grape juice. Verse 10 supports the case that Oinos represents wine:
John 2:10 “Everyone brings out the choice wine first and then the cheaper wine after the guests have had too much to drink; but you have saved the best till now.”A person's judgment is not affected by drinking too much grape juice. Jesus clearly supported the practice of drinking wine. In fact, according to this scripture, he brewed a lot of it: 120-160 gallons!
Acts 2:13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”The Greek Word for wine here is Gleukos (γλεῦκος), which is translated as "New Sweet Wine". People claim that "New Wine" is a reference to grape juice, but again, when read in context the Apostles strange behavior (filled with the Spirit) would not be attributed to grape juice. It would be attributed to drinking too much wine.
- Christian Assemblies International. Hebrew and Greek Words Translated as 'Wine' . http://www.cai.org/files/theme-sheets/en/b/sb0074au.pdf
Did wine in Bible times contain very little alcohol?
No, the wine in Bible times contained enough alcohol to cause people to get drunk, which would have been more than "a little" alcohol.The answer is we don't know the alcohol percentage for a typical ancient wine, but we do know it was strong enough to make people drunk. Therefore we can be confident that the references to Jesus and wine were not in reference to grape juice or wine with very little alcohol.
Does the Christian church allow alcohol?
It depends on the church denomination. Some allow alcohol consumption while others do not.There are three different categories of Christian denominations with regards to their position on alcohol: Moderationism, Abstentionism, Prohibitionism
ModerationismThis category of denominations believe that alcohol is a blessing of God that may be used in moderation rather than being shunned as a sin or unrighteous indulgence. They believe that drunkenness is destructive and that God calls us to avoid drunkenness.
- Lutherans 
- Reformed Churches: Presbyterian[2a], Christian Reformed [2b]
- Roman Catholics 
- Eastern Orthodox 
- Anglicans (The Church of England) 
- Jehovah's Witnesses (not a mainline, fundamental Christian denomination) 
This category of denominations don't believe that alcohol is inherently sinful but believe it is wise to avoid alcohol due to personal temptation of drunkenness, and the possibility that you may tempt another person to not drink responsibly. They believe that drunkenness is destructive and that God calls us to avoid drunkenness.
- Baptist 
- Pentecostals 
- Methodists 
- Salvation Army 
This category of denominations believe that alcohol consumption is inherently sinful and therefore must be avoided on a moral basis. They believe that all Biblical references to moral drinking refer to unfermented grape juice. As time distances itself from the prohibition, many of these churches lean more towards Abstentionism, but still believe people should abstain from alcohol, and perhaps more strictly than historically Abstentionist denominations.
- Southern Baptist Convention 
- Seventh-Day Adventists (not a mainline, fundamental Christian denomination) 
- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (not a mainline, fundamental Christian denomination) 
 Lutherans: Luthern Church - Missouri Synod. "LCMS Frequently Asked Questions: Contemporary Issues" Retrieved 2014-06-09. http://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=576. "The Bible nowhere condemns the proper and responsible use (consumption) of alcoholic beverages, and neither does The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Scripture does warn strongly and repeatedly against the abuse, misuse or excessive use of alcoholic beverages, and the Missouri Synod has also repeatedly warned against such dangers."
Have church leaders embraced alcohol historically?
Yes, historic leaders of the Christian church have condoned alcohol consumption.Early Church Father's Position on Alcohol
How did WWJB come into existence?
WWJB was born out of a love for beer and a love for God.Co-founders Chris and Matt are a couple of Christian friends that love beer and would get together at a local brewery and appreciate a good pint of beer (or two). At one of these meetings they realized that other people who love beer may like to come together to learn about beer and learn about God. They realized it could be a way to engage people that they would not have the opportunity to meet if not for the common appreciation of beer. Chris was a homebrewer and Matt wanted to learn how to brew. With all of this in mind, they decided to start a group with the following objectives:
- Teach people how to brew beer
- Brew beer together
- Host beer tastings to learn about different beer
- Host open discussions about people's questions about God
Is WWJB really a necessary mission?
Yes, we believe this mission is necessary.We believe God is working to connect with people where they are at in life, and beer is one of those culture items that has been a roadblock in recent history instead of a blessing that brings people together in God. We are joining God and His work to cultivate relationships that are rooted in God. We believe this is a mission that is not only necessary, but something that we are called to do.
Couldn’t WWJB tempt people (especially alcoholics) to drink irresponsibly?
A WWJB event should NOT be conducted in a way that encourages people to drink irresponsibly
- People should not be encouraged to become drunk. God calls us to avoid drunkenness.
- People should not be allowed to become drunk. Cut people off if there is a concern. It is better to share an uncomfortable moment than to allow someone to become drunk.
- If someone has made the mistake of drinking too much, then they should not be allowed to drive home. Someone should give them a ride, or else someone should call them a cab. As stated in point (2), this should never happen in a WWJB encounter anyways.
- One should not share a beer with someone who believes God has called us to abstain from alcohol.
- One should not share a beer with someone that struggles with alcohol or has a history as an alcoholic.
- The leader of a group should make it clear that the group is not an appropriate choice for anyone that struggles with alcohol. If this is a concern with an attendee then it is probably best to ask them to leave. It is not healthy for such a person to subject themselves to temptation, and the group leader should
Romans 14:20-21 Do not destroy the work of God for the sake of food. All food is clean, but it is wrong for a person to eat anything that causes someone else to stumble. It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.We also need to honor other's faith in God. In keeping with the Paul's remaining guidance in scripture (next two verses), we need to honor people's decision to abstain from alcohol.
Romans 14:22-23 So whatever you believe about these things keep between yourself and God. Blessed is the one who does not condemn himself by what he approves. But whoever has doubts is condemned if they eat, because their eating is not from faith; and everything that does not come from faith is sin.If someone's personal faith believes God calls for abstinence from alcohol, then drinking would be purposeful intent that dishonors God according to their faith. We should not ask someone to drink alcohol if they believe it is wrong, but we should share our personal beliefs with them (such as this website). Each of us is on a continual journey to understand God and his will for our lives. Our beliefs can and should change over time as we learn more about God, but we should always honor the beliefs that people currently maintain by not tempting them to violate their faith in God.
How can a person start a WWJB group?
Anyone can start a WWJB group. We don't officially commission groups, but we encourage you to engage in WWJB-inspired encounters. It may be a one-on-one encounter after work where two people connect at a local pub to enjoy beer and share their heart about God. On the other hand, you may be led to form a group that meets to enjoy beer and make connections rooted in God.
Click Here for List of Study Guides
Tips and RecommendationsStart the meeting with a beer event
- Host beer tastings where attendees bring a couple beers to share. This encourages learning about different types of beers. You may even pick a beer style to focus on for a given meeting.
- If you have a brewer in your group then brew a beer together as a group. Most people that appreciate beer are interested in the brew process. Sample the raw ingredients (barley + hops), show people how to brew, and then bring the group back together in a few weeks when the beer is ready to drink.
- If you choose to brew as a group, you don't need to brew every meeting. We chose to study one aspect of the brewing process each meeting, to help people learn more about how to brew since watching the process once is not enough to master the craft.
- Keep the group open to questions. The leaders and group members may not have all the answers, and that is ok, just be honest that it is a good question that you can't answer. Perhaps you can research the question and bring answers to the next WWJB meeting.
- (b) Bring some questions or discussion topics to help get conversation going if nobody steps up with a question.
- (c) Encourage people to be real with each other. If they are frustrated with God, or if they aren't sure they believe in God, then create an open and safe environment where they can voice their heart. The point of WWJB is to lower the fronts that people typically bring, so that they can connect with each other and speak from their hearts.
- (a) Either start with prayer, end with prayer or start and end with prayer.
- (b) It is important to invite God to the WWJB event. It is also important to demonstrate prayer if there are people in attendance that are not accustomed to praying. The WWJB mission emphasis connections between people and connections with God. We connect with God through prayer, so it is important to pray at a WWJB event.
- (c) Encourage others in the WWJB group to pray. The leader should pray if noone is comfortable praying in a group. However this is a good opportunity to give people the courage and practice of praying publicly in a group setting. It is our experience that many Christians pray in private, but have difficulty praying in front of others. Use WWJB to help them overcome such fears because Jesus called us to pray together in groups:
Matthew 18:19-20 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Click Here for List of Study Guides
Recommended Study Guides
What are some recommended study guides for WWJB groups?
There are many study guides available. This FAQ is used to collect a list of books recommended by WWJB groups:
Adventures in Missing the Point: How the Culture-Controlled Church Neutered the Gospel (McLaren & Campolo)This is the book that we used to kick off the first WWJB group in Allendale, MI. It is a great book to lead discussions on topics that both Christians and non-Christians struggle with. Sometimes Christians think that they are beyond "seeker" studies, but these fundamental topics can be a refreshing look into what we believe and why we believe. It is relevant to WWJB as it focuses on recognizing the difference between Culture and Biblical teaching - a topic that is central to any debate about beer and the church.
Publishers Description: There is a stirring among churchgoers. Many are looking at how the Christian faith is being played out, wondering if somehow we’re missing the point. What if there is more to our faith than just getting our souls into heaven? What if there is a power in the gospel that’s been kept under lock and key because of our culture-controlled church? If we placed our beliefs and their origins under the microscope, what would we see?
If you’re brave enough to take an honest look at the issues facing the culture–controlled church—and the issues in your own life—read on. Do you ever look at how the Christian faith is being lived out in the new millennium and wonder if we’re not doing what we’re supposed to be doing? That we still haven’t quite “gotten it”? That we’ve missed the point regarding many important issues? It’s understandable if we’ve relied on what we’ve been told to believe or what’s widely accepted by the Christian community. But if we truly turned a constructive, critical eye toward our beliefs and vigorously questioned them and their origins, where would we find ourselves?
How much does it cost to get started brewing beer?
$50-$200 depending on how you want to startedAn introductory kit start for as little as $50. The introductory kit allows someone to try out brewing, but most people that decide to pick-up the hobby will invest in a better homebrew kit which still only costs $150. After adding $40 of recommended optional eqiupment, you can still get started for less than $200.
Download Recommended Brewing Equipment List
For more details see the FAQ item "What is the recommended equipment to buy when first starting to brew?"
What is the recommended equipment to buy when first starting to brew?
Introductory Kit: ~$50Mr. Beer (www.mrbeer.com) is probably the most commonly known supplier of homebrew kits for people just getting started. These kits allow you to get started for a little over $50 are are intended for casual introductory brewing. They only make 2 gallons of beer (~20 12oz bottles). They are the easiest to brew, but there have also been many reports of beer gone bad in these kits. This is typically due to lack of emphasis on proper sanitation which leads to a bacterial infection (yuck). They are plastic based fermentation vessels and bottles. Once the plastic is scratched, it becomes nearly impossible to sanitize. The Mr. Beer ingredient kits are very simple, including hopped malt extract, which keeps the brewing process a simple as possible, but also can keep the beer flavor profile simple. The cost of the Mr. Beer kits works out to about $8-$10 per gallon ($0.80 - $1.00 per bottle), which is a bit on the high side for simple tasting beer.
Recommended Standard Kit: ~$150The Brewer's Best Deluxe Starter Kit (www.brewersbestkits.com) is the recommended option (we have no financial interest in this company). These kits are more common for the serious homebrewers, including most all Mr. Beer customers that decide they really do want to engage this hobby. If you are serious about getting started, you may want to save some money by skipping introductory kits and starting with this option. The attachment is our personal recommendation which includes the Deluxe Starter kit (~$100) and a few additional items which are required (~$45) bringing the total cost to about $150. This kit brews a 5 gallon batch (~50 12 oz bottles) which is a standard homebrew recipe size. The recipes include actual leaf hops (not just hopped malt extract) and specialty grain (barley) in addition to some malt extract. The brew process requires a few extra steps to steep the specialty grains and to boil the hop leaves to extract the hop oil. However this is easy and you are rewarded with a much fuller, more complex flavor profile. The cost for kits at most homebrew supply shops is about $7-$8 per gallon ($0.70 - $0.80) per bottle, and therefore less cost for better tasting beer. We can say from personal experience that these kits make some amazing beer that can win awards at beer tasting contests.
Download Recommended Brewing Equipment List
Recommended Premium Kit: ~$190There is an additional $40 of recommended add-ons that supplement the Brewer's Best Deluxe Starter kit listed above. This brings total cost to $190. The additional equipment is outlined in the attachment. It includes:
- 6.5 gallon glass carboy for primary fermentation - to replace the plastic fermentation bucket which limits visibility of the fermentation process (fun to watch) and can harbor bacteria in scratches.
- Stainless Steel Brew Spoon - to replace plastic spoon which can be difficult to sanitize when scratched.
- Thief and/or test tube to aid in measuring the wort and beer gravity - to know when it is finished fermenting and % alcohol in final brew
5 gallon Kegging System: ~$190Most everyone starts brewing by bottling the beer. However you soon learn that washing and sanitizing ~50 bottles, and then filling/capping them takes a little bit of time. Additionally, the carbonation process using priming sugars, pressurizes the beer in the bottle but can lead to flat beer or over pressurized beer (and exploding bottles) if the final fermentation in bottle does not go as anticipated. These leads homebrewers to adopt a kegging system (although not normally until they get the hang of brewing). The keg allows you to adjust the carbonation level until you reach the best level. It also allows you to carbonate your beer much quicker, and start drinking it much quicker after it is fermented. Without question, the most common keg used by homebrewers is the Cornelius keg (aka Corny keg), because it is a perfect size for a 5 gallon batch of beer. Corny kegs were used in the past to deliver Coke and Pepsi syrup to restaurants, however they are not used anymore and there are warehouses of used Corny kegs that you can find for $35-$50. You can even find them acid washed with new seals at this price, but many sources will also sell you a keg that requires you to acid wash and replace the seals. There are two main types of Corny kegs, with ball lock fittings or pin lock fittings. Most homebrew shops carry connectors to interface with either type of keg. You also need to CO2 tank, which can be refilled at local welding shop or fire extinguisher shop. Most homebrewers pickup a 5lb or 10lb tank. They need to be checked and re-certified (~$20) every 5 years for most shops to refill them, so keep that in mind when comparing the price of new and used tanks. You can simply store the keg in a fridge, or you can modify fridge by adding a tap or tap tower. Small dorm fridges work well, and some can even fit two kegs comfortably. Download the Recommended Brewing Equipment PDF above, which also includes the options for the premium kit