How crazy is homebrew for our wedding (experienced mead/wine/cider)

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dizzy2

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My partner and I decided to get married! We are doing heavily DIY.
We already are brewing wine, mead, and cider. These have gone really well so far probably bc wine is easy and my partner had been brewing cider/mead for years. And also we got good starting materials.
Thinking about whether or not to venture into homebrew. I'd imagine a lot of the technique translates over, though it does seem a bit more complicated. My partner always avoided it since he thought it was too much hassle. I know his brother used to do it though and has equipment.
If I can source bottles cheap aka free trying to see if it's worth the bother. Another idea I had is to see if the local brewery would help us can it. I know bottling day is one of the more annoying parts.

Lots of time for us to do it, I guess the main concerns are how much work is it really, and is it actually going to save much money or not? Of course the experience will be fun and unique so there's that factor.
 
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Strictly financially, unless homebrewing is a new hobby you want to pickup and continue into the future, I don't think that it's financially worth it to get into just for the wedding. Sure 5 gallons of homebrew will only cost anywhere from $25-40 whereas a pony keg from a brewery could be $60-150, but once you start factoring in all of the additional equipment, time, and test batches, you probably wont end up saving any money.

If I were you I would focus on what you currently make and pick up a few kegs of local beer to serve alongside it!

That said if homebrewing is something you want to get into, you've found a great website to start!
 

grampamark

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My partner and I decided to get married! We are doing heavily DIY.
We already are brewing wine, mead, and cider. These have gone really well so far probably bc wine is easy and my partner had been brewing cider/mead for years. And also we got good starting materials.
Thinking about whether or not to venture into homebrew. I'd imagine a lot of the technique translates over, though it does seem a bit more complicated. My partner always avoided it since he thought it was too much hassle. I know his brother used to do it though and has equipment.
If I can source bottles cheap aka free trying to see if it's worth the bother. Another idea I had is to see if the local brewery would help us can it. I know bottling day is one of the more annoying parts.

Lots of time for us to do it, I guess the main concerns are how much work is it really, and is it actually going to save much money or not? Of course the experience will be fun and unique so there's that factor.
You said “lots of time”. How much is lots?

Making beer isn’t rocket science, but, home brewing rarely produces “let‘s serve this to our family and friends” quality beer on the first try. Sometimes, not even on the 10th try.

As noted above, unless you want to pursue brewing as a hobby, you won’t save any money. And the time it will take to keep trying until you get an acceptable result is time that could be used for making other preparations.

Far be it from me to discourage anyone one from taking up my favorite hobby, but if this is going to be a one-off, just for the occasion, I‘d suggest you find out what your anticipated guests like and buy an appropriate amount. :cool:
 
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dizzy2

dizzy2

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I am kinda interested to get into, I'm the newer one to brewing of the two of us and it's been fun so far! But I know that wine is a lot easier than beer.
That seems pretty cheap for a keg though! I was looking around and anything halfway decent is $60-80 for a corny keg, pony looks like $150-225. Prices seem a bit higher here (and these are from a nearby tax-free state)
 
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dizzy2

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Lots of time means I work part time, also have until the fall if not 2022 to figure this out. OK. I guess the best thing probably is to start small and see if we like the process or not. A fun date night hopefully!
 

Barbarossa

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Making beer isn’t rocket science, but, home brewing rarely produces “let‘s serve this to our family and friends” quality beer on the first try. Sometimes, not even on the 10th try.
Got my batch #8 on tap right now. #9 and 10 and kegged but not ready and #11 and 12 and fermenting.

#8 is good. Well, good enough for me. But definitely not good enough to impress people and even less to start mass production of it.
 
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brewing beer is a fun and enjoyable hobby, yes it takes time to produce a good beer. however i have served my beer at a couple weddings, mine included, and it is rewarding. however the first batch i served at a wedding was after i was after about 6 or 7 years in the hobby. so i would say if you want to get into the hobby certainly go for it, but maybe dont EXPECT to be ready to serve it at your wedding but if you get to the point that you are happy with the beer your making come that time then go for it. so i guess i would say definitely brew beer, its a blast. i dont think youll be disappointed even if you dont serve it at your wedding.
 

Jim R

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I don't even like to give my beer to my immediate family because they don't want or appreciate it enough to make it worthwhile for my long brewing days. They would much rather have Miller Lite or Michelob Ultra which is fine. Most people simply don't want homebrew or even better craft beer if it doesn't taste like Bud Light.
 

cactusgarrett

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Another idea I had is to see if the local brewery would help us can it.
Unless you have a very close friend in a high position at this brewery, you should probably abandon this line of thinking. Canning beer is a big to-do at a brewery, nation-wide can shortage aside.

Making beer is easy. Making GOOD beer isn't as easy. Picking up homebrewing definitely isn't the best way to save money on obtaining beer, if that's one of your primary motivators behind this line of thinking. I'd venture a guess that 99% of the people on the forums here will tell you that. If you start this up and you find this is a hobby to keep after trying a few times, there are a number of corner cutting measures you could employ to facilitate serving at an event (mainly surrounding scaling up and serving in bulk). However, you gotta walk before you can run. So if you truly do have the time on your hands, brew as frequently as you can.
 

cactusgarrett

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I don't even like to give my beer to my immediate family because they don't want or appreciate it enough to make it worthwhile for my long brewing days.
I still have PTSD from 15 years ago when I thought spending a couple months to brew and serve at various events (block parties, etc.) would be awesome, only to see cups and cups of my precious craft sitting around, abandoned in the sun.
 

Barbarossa

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I still have PTSD from 15 years ago when I thought spending a couple months to brew and serve at various events (block parties, etc.) would be awesome, only to see cups and cups of my precious craft sitting around, abandoned in the sun.
People understand the price of everything but the value of nothing.
 

kartracer2

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Yeah, make sure you "read the room" before jumping in for the event. I have lot's of friends that only drink beer, but beer to them is BMC brands and light beer at that. That said, I would certainly advocate giving homebrew a try for your selves, You probably have most everything needed to get started already at your disposal.
Good luck !
Cheers, :mug:
Joel B.
 

Beermeister32

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I vote for kegs from your favorite craft brewery. You will have great beer to start out a great wedding.

The alternative will be possibly yucky beer to start off a weird wedding. I can hear the comments already...!

It takes a long time to get dialed in making great beer. Focus on making the wedding party the best you can, that means finding the best commercial craft brews that people will love.

Save the hobby beer for later..... you will have plenty of time for that!
 

cactusgarrett

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One thing you can do - what I did for my wedding - make a batch of beer for just the wedding party (head table). I brewed up a batch of beer and hid it under the table and served out of a Party Pig (back when that was a thing - I've dated myself!). Had to hide it because we had our reception in a more traditional hotel conference room and they didn't allow carry-ins. That way I got to serve my beer (making it special) and didn't have to bend over backwards to generate an enormous volume. And your closest friends are less likely to abuse your precious brew.

Another option is to make a "wedding beer" and store some away for years and drink it on a special anniversary. You could then revisit the recipe over the years after you've honed your homebrewing skills and see how it improves with time. There are a NUMBER of different options you can go with this if you want to incorporate your own homebrew into your wedding.

Cheers!
 

catalanotte

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My partner and I decided to get married! We are doing heavily DIY.
We already are brewing wine, mead, and cider. These have gone really well so far probably bc wine is easy and my partner had been brewing cider/mead for years. And also we got good starting materials.
Thinking about whether or not to venture into homebrew. I'd imagine a lot of the technique translates over, though it does seem a bit more complicated. My partner always avoided it since he thought it was too much hassle. I know his brother used to do it though and has equipment.
If I can source bottles cheap aka free trying to see if it's worth the bother. Another idea I had is to see if the local brewery would help us can it. I know bottling day is one of the more annoying parts.

Lots of time for us to do it, I guess the main concerns are how much work is it really, and is it actually going to save much money or not? Of course the experience will be fun and unique so there's that factor.
I've been to a few weddings that served homemade wine or cider. It was a nice personal touch from the friends or family members that made it. I agree with most of the comments below that beer is tough to get right the first few times. Maybe stick to what you know and put a bottle of your wine or cider on each table with a personalized label for a toast. If you do venture into beer brewing, jump right into a corny keg set up, it will save so much time over bottles and make serving that much easier. Congrats and have a great day.
 

Studnougat

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If you have access to brewing equipment from your partner's brother, why not try a batch and see how you like it? You would have to get bottles (which are getting expensive), bottle caps and capper. Bottling with Starsan (no-rinse sanitizer) makes bottling a lot more tolerable. A little bottling wand also helps. Bottling a 5 gallon batch isn't all that much work. I would start with a partial mash beer kit of a style you like, give it a go and see if you like the product. Depending on how you do things it wouldn't be all that big of an investment (especially if you get the bottle for free).

It also all depends on scale and goals. If your goal is to have a variety of good homebrewed wine, mead and beer for 50 guests, you could probably get that done. If you want the best beer in the world for 200 people, that is probably unrealistic. I throw a big Oktoberfest at my house every year (well except 2020) and generally have between 50-100 guests and we usually go through about 10 gallons of homebrew Marzen beer and/or cider/apfelwein. I always have a cooler full of bud light/whatever for those who just don't like homebrew. I also use a keg, so that decreases labor a lot on preparation. I only use partial mash beer kits and have been very satisfied with the product and we always float the keg.

These guys are right that you aren't going to master homebrew in a year and that you won't be able to make something better than the professional master brewers out there, but I think you can produce a very good product that you can be proud of and your guests can enjoy. Costs are difficult to really factor in, but I can say that on average, I can produce a 5 gallon batch of beer that I am happy to drink for about half of what it would cost to buy from a brewery. This, however, does not factor in start up equipment costs. I think it took me about 8-10 batches for me to "break even" on equipment (but I bought an inexpensive kegerator and keg).
 

Matts99004

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I've been brewing since '85, so I have some experience. I did three corny kegs for a recent wedding, 1 each of a Blond, an IPA, and a Stout. It went over quite well - but some of my batches in years before that, that would not have been a good idea for an event. +1 on @cactusgarrett above: "Making beer is easy. Making GOOD beer isn't as easy." Craft beer sounds more reliable.
 

bkboiler

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Why not join a local homebrew club make some friends and offer to trade them some mead for a keg of their brew?
Alternatively, I went to a buddies wedding a year ago where homebrew was served. Was pretty clearly from extract, but very enjoyable nonetheless!
If you wanted to bottle...and knew a bunch of friends that already have bottles, your mead equipment can do most of the job to making an extract batch. You're just missing a pot! Maybe pick a wit so the yeast is fairly forgiving?
 

Ridenour64

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You should definitely start making beer. I vote for buying commercial beer for the wedding though. At least go into it with that thought and see where it goes.

I’ve been making beer for a few years now. I prefer my beer over most breweries that I’ve been too. That said, I’m getting married in 2022 and I will still buy commercial beer to serve. There will be enough going on that day so the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not people are enjoying my beer 😂
 

Toxxyc

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If you have year (like it seems you have), go for it. You're already making wine and mead, so you're no newbie. You have a lot of experience in fermentation and the treatment of yeast (which is harder in wines than in beers, to be honest), so I say go for it.

I'd also say to forget about canning/bottling, but instead get a few cornys. Fill them up, hook them up and let people help themselves.

If I started brewing before our wedding I would have served the guests homebrew. It's cheap enough to make and people tend to enjoy my beers. A lot.
 

jrgtr42

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First of all, congrats on the engagement!!!
For the question at hand, I would very first check the laws in your state to see if it’s even allowed to bring and serve homebrew at venues. It’s possible they may not even allow homemade wine and mead.
when I got married, I wanted to serve, but the laws prevented it at any venue that had an alcohol license, which was all of them. I eventually compromised by serving my homebrew at the engagement party, which was in someone’s backyard. For the wedding, we had the venue bring in a few cases of craft beer to supplement the BMC plus Sam Boston Lager they generally have.
 
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Snuffy

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Brew a batch. Give it a try. See what you think. Then... brew another. And congrats! :mug:
 

apache_brew

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A wedding can be a big under taking. I’m planning on brewing for my best friend’s wedding at the end of this year. Depending on what your expectations are, there’s a lot of logistics that need to be accounted for. Can you serve legally at your venue? How many beer drinking guests? What types of beers do those beer drinking guests like to consume?Duration of drinking? Indoor? Outdoor? Serving method? (Kegs, self serve, cobra taps and ice buckets, makeshift kegerator, renting portable kegerator with refrigeration, using venue kegerator indoors, bartender serving, do you have refrigeration to store numerous kegs of carbonated beer ready for transport), do you want to be hands off the day of? Do you want to serve crystal clear beer? Mind you, most of these concerns revolve around serving draft beer (which is what I intend to do at my event)
That being said, I’d plan on brewing atleast once a month from now until 6 months before your big day to get familiar enough with the brewing process and happy enough with the end product to determine if what you can make is good enough to serve. At that point you’ll have a good idea of the time commitment needed per batch lifecycle and can superimpose that onto the rest of your schedule that involves planning a wedding.
 

apache_brew

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A wedding can be a big under taking. I’m planning on brewing for my best friend’s wedding at the end of this year. Depending on what your expectations are, there’s a lot of logistics that need to be accounted for. Can you serve legally at your venue? How many beer drinking guests? What types of beers do those beer drinking guests like to consume?Duration of drinking? Indoor? Outdoor? Serving method? (Kegs, self serve, cobra taps and ice buckets, makeshift kegerator, renting portable kegerator with refrigeration, using venue kegerator indoors, bartender serving, do you have refrigeration to store numerous kegs of carbonated beer ready for transport), do you want to be hands off the day of? Do you want to serve crystal clear beer? Mind you, most of these concerns revolve around serving draft beer (which is what I intend to do at my event)
That being said, I’d plan on brewing atleast once a month from now until 6 months before your big day to get familiar enough with the brewing process and happy enough with the end product to determine if what you can make is good enough to serve. At that point you’ll have a good idea of the time commitment needed per batch lifecycle and can superimpose that onto the rest of your schedule that involves planning a wedding.
 

BGBC

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There will be enough going on that day so the last thing I want to worry about is whether or not people are enjoying my beer 😂
This, but also just the stress of serving it - bartenders having issues with homebrew kegs, etc.

If it was me, this would be one thing I wouldn't want to be stressing about on the big day.
 

bkboiler

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If you're looking to save money...it didn't even cross my mind to homebrew for my wedding even though I had a few batches under my belt. I checked cost of kegs and the cheapest option was to pickup a few different cases at costco.
You can get your wine/champagne while you're there!
 

BrewZer

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One of the best compliments you can get on your beer: "Say, can I have some more of this?"

So brew a couple of batches, invite close friends who will be honest to try them, and see how it goes.

And read, read, read the threads on this board. Learn from our mistakes.
 
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I know I'm a month late on this thread, but I agree with previous posts: if your family member already brews, make some beer with them. If you like their beer, maybe ask them to brew it for you if you're not sure that your beer prowess is going to be up to serving to guests. My first few times making beer were so bad, I quit for 20 years. The last 3-4 years, I have been making better beer each time (not counting the infected batches that were straight dumpers). I also have been brewing (in addition to one-offs) ~20 batches of pale ale each year for the last 2 years, so that recipe is just dialed in. I can make Pale Ale in my sleep that I would serve to impress. If Bro's beer isn't up to your standards either, go craft and give your guests a selection.

I catered my own wedding. Let me also pitch this in: the less you do on the day of, the better. No matter how you plan it, it's a crazy day.
 
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