Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > is homebrew better than commercial beer?
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:01 PM   #11
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My beer preferences are pretty tame in comparison to many. But I will say that when you pick up a fine commercial example of a classic style - you will be hard pressed to duplicate it at home. A few examples really stand out to me - the first is Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. This beer is very delicately balanced with subtleties that really make it a fine example of APA. Most homebrew versions are over the top with hops. SNPA is a 58 degree lob wedge while most homebrew is a baseball bat. The second example is virtually any beer from Fullers. The English beers are a lesson in complex malt flavors that virtually escape any effort, at least on my part, to duplicate them. If you can find a good bottle of 2005 Vintage Ale, you will experience one of the most delicate and complex beers you can buy commercially. If I could do half of what Fuller's does, I would die a happy brewer. The last example, don't laugh, is Budweiser. There are about a dozen homebrewers in the nation that can successfully pull off a style like this. It's near impossible. Now, most people don't want to brew like this - and that's fine, but if I paid you money, I'll bet you couldn't do it. There are NO flaws in this beer. None. There is nowhere to hide in this beer. If it isn't perfect, it will be horrifyingly obvious. It's brewed for the masses, but that doesn't mean is isn't hard to do.

If you think you are close to your favorite style - the true test is a side by side taste test. I have failed this test many times (actually, almost every time), even with beers that I was very proud of - but that's why the commercial guys get paid. They are good - some much better than others, but for the most part, they are good. Do they brew swill occasionally? Oh yeah, big time. Luckily, those aren't the beers I'm after.

As a brewer, I think it's fun to use the great commercial beers as a guide to improve my brewing because brewing is fun and I enjoy the process. It also keeps you humble. That's important too. I have two fridges in my beer room, one is packed with my efforts, the other with commercial beer. Whenever I feel cocky, I'll open my favorite commercial beer for a good dose of reality, then try again.



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Old 06-23-2008, 02:32 PM   #12
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For me, I love to brew and I think it tastes great. Most of the time, I try and brew stuff that would cost me a lot more for the same amount of beer. If I wanted something like Budweiser, I would just buy it. I cannot make it any cheaper and I would probably mess it up.

I used to brew more and am now getting back into it. Many of the beers I like are close to $9 a six pack here. If I can create something similiar, then it will be cheaper for me. My neighbors all drink BMC, but that just means I do not have to share with them. SWMBO and I get to drink most of it.

Homebrewing also expanded my beer horizons. I can't say that I would have tried a barleywine before I started homebrewing. I may not have tried 90 minute IPA either. That is one of my favorite hoppy beers now. Prior to Homebrewing, I drank many different styles, but not like now. If I go to an area on a trip, I look for local brewpubs or local brewed beers to try.

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Old 06-23-2008, 02:55 PM   #13
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I think good beer is good beer no matter the source or style. I prefer to drink good beer, and I do not care the source of the beer. I enjoy brewing beer and I like the beers that I brew. Overall I drink more homebrew than commercial, but I always love trying new beers.
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:10 PM   #14
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I would take a guess that for every batch I make that I'm really proud of, there are probably 20 commercial versions that would kill it. I don't care at all. I'm even happy to make beers that are absolutely subpar to their commercial equivelents becuase I'm into it 50% for the hobby itself and 50% for the beer.
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Old 06-23-2008, 04:17 PM   #15
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I'd say I've only made 2-3 that are even in the territory of a decent commercial microbrew.
For me it's more about having fun experimenting with ingredients and sharing the results with my friends and family. To me the 'I made it myself' factor makes it taste great every time.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:04 PM   #16
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Definitely worth it. I make clone brews I can't get locally and have my own recipes that aren't available period. That doesn't stop me from hitting various brewpubs, because there are beers I like but don't want a lot of. I would never make a Belgian Wit, for example, much as I like one now & then. Then there are craft beers that are so good, I buy them by the case.
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:16 PM   #17
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I'd like to chime in here. It is an interesting question. When I first started homebrewing I was very satisfied with the results because of the quality of ingredients used as well as of course the freshness factor. And I have to tell you as I'm sure you will all agree. Things always taste better when it was your own two hands that made them.

I went through a phase where I said to myself I will never buy beer again and only drink homebrew. But time to brew became a factor so I had to out of drinking necessity start buying commercial beer but it was all craft stuff. No BMC for me. Flavor and freshness is everything. Those are the 2 biggest things I have learned from homebrewing and beer in general.

So I think any homebrewer with practice and patience can definately make better beer than what is available commercially. For the most part
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:20 PM   #18
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One thing I've noticed is that some commercial beers that claim to have a lot of hop aroma really don't have that much compared to a dry-hopped homebrew.

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:21 PM   #19
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No one else makes beer just how I like it.

Beer is good for anything from hot dogs to heartache.

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Old 06-23-2008, 08:38 PM   #20
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It may be easy to assume we slant towards our own beer just because we made it...but:
  • When company comes over and they head straight down to the taps in the brewshop...
  • When family asks you to brew up three kegs of beer to bring to a family gathering...
  • When the SWMBO's co-workers insist on having an after hours get together at your house...just because of the beer...

That's when you know that it is more than just a case of favoritism.

Really and truly, homebrewed beer is worth it...when it's brewed well.

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