An amazing 3,265 AHA members took the time to share some information about their homebrewing practices. Both the AHA Survey Sub-Committee and the AHA staff thank all of you for sharing with us! We hope to use the information gathered to help identify what our members want.
While not a complete run down of every answer, here are some of the highlights.
Responses to the question "How long have you been a homebrewer? " broke down as follows:
|1 year or less||11.9%|
|More than 30 years||0.5%|
The average homebrewer responding to this survey indicated they brewed almost every month, or 11.04 batches annually.
65% of the batches were all-grain, while 14% were all extract, 16.5% were extract with specialty grains and a little less than 5% were mashed grains with extract (partial mash).
Ales were the most popular style brewed in the last 12 months (almost 88% indicated that they had brewed this style), while nearly 40% had brewed a lager in the last 12 months.
Pale Ales (Cream Ale, Kolsch, Pale Ale, IPA, etc.) were the most common (80%), followed by Dark Ales (Browns, Porters and Stouts) at over 75%. Strong beers (7% ABV or above) were brewed by 64% of the collective. The least popular styles in the last year were the Dark Lagers (American Dark Lager, Schwarzbier, Bock, etc.) with only 16.8% indicating that they had brewed at least one batch in the last year.
Interestingly enough, when broken down by country categories, American Craft-Style beers (52%), Belgian-Style beers (48.2%), British-Style beers (45.6%) and German-Style beers (42.7%) were pretty closely packed together, with Irish (29.4%) and Scottish-Style beers (23.7%) bringing up the rear.
And within all of these responses, 97.5% indicated that they had ever made a beer, 35.7% a mead, 25.5% a grape wine, 14.6% a fruit wine (other than from grapes), 32.5% a cider, 2.5% a Sake and 3.7% must live in New Zealand, as they indicated they had ever made a distilled beverage ;-)
To paraphrase George Thorogood, when homebrewers brew alone, they prefer to brew by themselves (67.3%) versus with one or more persons (32.7%).
30% prefer to brew in the kitchen, 31% in the garage and 33.2% "outside". 5.8% brew in the basement.
65.8% purchase their homebrew supplies from a local homebrew supply shop, 19.3% from an online/mail order shop even though there is a local shop, 10.8% from an online/mail order shop because there is no local shop and a handful (4.2%) had other, creative ways of acquiring their supplies.
The frequency of purchasing from a local LHBS shop made an interesting bell curve, with 3-4 times a year coming in at 16.2%, 5-9 times a year at 25.1% and 10-14 times 16.3 %.
People were far more likely to purchase equipment via online/phone/mail order than they were to purchase ingredients. Quality of ingredients was by far the most important consideration (65.4%) when purchasing ingredients, while price (17.5%) and origin of ingredients (17.2%) were ranked lower in primary consideration.
When purchasing malt extract, branded, unhopped dry malt extract (21.9%) beat purchase preferences for bulk, unhopped dry malt extract (18.4%) by a smidge. However, if you add bulk, unhopped and unbranded dry malt extract (13.9%), dry beat wet by a large margin. 31% of the members indicated that they do not buy malt extract, and 2.5% use hopped liquid malt extract kits.
While 69.1% of you indicated that you choose malt (grain) based on the style of beer you are brewing, 14.9% said that they don't care about the brand of malt that they choose. 6.7% usually purchase a particular brand of malt, and 1.7% always buy a particular brand, 4.8% don't buy any malt grains.
Finally, 44.7% of you state that you always buy luquid yeast, 38.3% primarily buy luquid yeast, but sometimes buy dried yeast, 12.2% primarily buy dried yeast, but sometimes use liquid, and 3.3% always buy dried yeast. That leaves 1.5% who don't buy any yeast. Either they bum some from a local brewer, or thwey allow for spontaneous fermentation!