Just discovered this 2015 thread due to the recent posts to it in Nov 2017. There's an older thread too from 2013 - http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ing-98696.html
But a lot has changed in 4 years. The 2013 thread had a lot of discussion of how to brew beer
(and clarification of beer myths) but little discussion of how to adapt beer brewing to a cruising boat
It's surprising that I haven't heard of anyone brewing good beer on a boat
. You'd think one of the YouTube vloggers would be doing it. (Delos only distills, not brews, afaik)
I homebrewed for 8 years. 6 months ago sold
all my equipment
to move aboard. So I've thought about this subject a fair bit.
If you talk to many homebrewers you'll find there are ultimately only two reasons to homebrew:
- Brewing styles you can't find easily commercially
- For the love of the hobby
Price isn't one of the reasons. Unless you're brewing really rare styles, homebrewing is only slightly cheaper than buying
. Also there's no point to brewing crappy beer, because you can find that nearly anywhere in the world, cheaper than you can brew it for. You can brew crappy beer for the enjoyment of the hobby, but eventually you'll probably tire of brewing crappy beer.
So let's talk about brewing good beer on a boat. And I'm assuming you're cruising and at anchor
a good deal. If you're a stationary liveaboard
that's not majorly different than brewing in a small apartment - I did it in a 450 sqft apartment for 3 years and there's nothing particularly challenging about that.
The challenges for a cruising boat are:
: you need to boil ~3 gallons of water
to yield 2.5g beer. Most boat stoves can't do that. You could halve the batch but it'll be a lot of effort for a couple six packs. A turkey
burner off your house propane
in the cockpit
would be the best bet.
: You can get good ingredients in all of the coastal US, some of Europe
and New Zealand
Malt extract can be stored for at least a year and it's the way I would go. Grains will be hard to preserve. All grain could be an option if your ports
have brew shops, or you can receive mail (US homebrew sites ship).
Hops will store about a year (pellets, vacuum packed). Longer if frozen, but you can probably get a shipment once a year.
Dry yeast (ex, S-05) will last a year. You might need to use a bit more or make a starter if it's old.
Vacuum pack specialty grains and make a tiny miller for them.
Brewing uses a lot of water
, but you're going to drink most of it anyway. You lose a bit when doing extract brewing (boil off). But the real losses are in the cleanup and sanitization. So you need big water tanks
, a water maker, or rain water harvest.
Ok so we're set on ingredients.
: you need to keep it around 66-74F for about two weeks. This could be a problem in the tropics. If your boat is colder you can do lagers. If it's hotter, up to about 80F you can do Belgians.
I would bottle and put them in the bilge
, because who has room to store and serve from a keg on a boat? Probably feasible on 45+ footers.
The main hassle is where to put all the brewing equipment
. The brew kettle and turkey
burner are fairly big. A 3 gallon plastic carboy is fairly bulky but you can stuff it in some hole in the stern. You may also want a 5 gallon bucket for reracking/bottling, but most boaters have one already and you can nest stuff in it.
Overall I'd say the biggest challenges are the boiling and the storage
. But none of this is insurmountable. I'm surprised no one has written up their method for doing it. I would, but then I would actually have to do it to test if these ideas work.