When I think about my future retirement, I don’t picture myself laying on a sofa like a couch potato. The reason why I want to retire early, is simply because work does not stimulate my creativity enough and takes too much time in my life… I truly believe there is more to do in this world than just being a machine or robot repeating the same boring tasks day after day…
I’m the kind of person who likes working with my hands as much as I like working with my brain.
I thought that creating a new category about one of my passion (Do it yourself to save) would be interesting. Because, people who are handy can save a bundle every year by doing things by themselves.
Let’s see how to make beer and wine :
Dividend Growth Investors have all the same goal when they are in the accumulation phase. They want to be able to save as much money as possible to be able to buy new shares of great undervalued stocks that will deliver them growing streams of dividends over time!
Many dividend growth investors have decided to live very frugally in order to achieve their goal. While I respect that, I still want to live a “normal” life and I want my future kids to live in a “normal” environment. So, I found other ways of being able to save a lot.
I think that we can save by avoiding debts, by doing a lot of things by ourselves, by growing our sources of income (job promotions, sidelines, investments…), spend “normally” without excess and still be able to save a great amount of cash every year that we can throw in our freedom fund.
I love beer! I love wine! I love investing and I love freedom! So I want the cake… and the icing!
My “get rich” with an ebook story!
In 2012, I wrote an ebook about making your own wine, beer and alcoholic beverages. It’s pretty extensive and has more than a 150 pages. I was planning on selling it on Amazon Kindle to receive passive income from its sale and become rich, but I soon realized that taxes would become very complicated for a Canadian since Amazon is based in the US.
Amazon pays you 70% in royalties when they sell one of your ebook. Then, IRS withhold 30% in tax for foreigners. Then, I would have had to declare that income and pay again another +/- 48% of tax at my marginal rate… This would have left me with a net 1,22$ out of 5$ for every sale. Amazon don’t do the promotion for you so that sounded like a lot of work for only hope… Amazon, IRS and CRA would have all made more money than I would have for my work without doing anything!! I found it was pretty unfair…
In order to avoid tax withholding under the tax treaty, one needs a ITIN from IRS or something like that and then to fill out a W8BDEN or whatever the name of this form and claim the tax treaty. And to get a ITIN, you had to mail your passport with a form or pass by another complicated process involving accountant firms or lawyers charging a lot of money in the process… Anyways!! Since there is no way that I will mail my passport anywhere, I decided to wait and analyze the situation.
I wasn’t sure that I would make money out of it, so I decided to put it aside for a while until I could figure out how much all of these complications would cost me and what were going to be my responsibilities in terms of owning a ITIN (reporting to IRS plus CRA?? no way!).
Nothing simple and fun can be simple in this world!!! So this nice ebook still is on my UBS drive waiting for better times! And I’m the only one enjoying it’s full benefits! Miam!
At least I’m going to share some of my knowledge about wine making and beer brewing with you while having a small cup of my own homemade wine!!
Why make your own wine?
Beside the fact that you can save a lot because you could easily make a wine bottle for 1,50$ and a pint of beer for less than 0,30$, making your own alcohol is pretty rewarding and cool!
Plus, you have control over the whole process and you can control what amount of conservative you’re going to put in you beverages. Since many people have strong reactions to conservative products like sulfite, making your own wine could give you back the opportunity to drink sulfite free wine and avoid the allergic reaction and headache that commercial wine gives to many people.
Finally, you will have the possibility to adjust the taste to your own personal inclinations and this is really limitless! Commercial beer and wine can become so… commercial. They all taste the same… Trust me, when you’ll drink a freshly brewed beer of your own production, you won’t want to go back!
Back in the days, our ancestors used to brew their own beer and ferment their own wine and everybody had their own tasty family recipes. Maybe it’s time for you to create yours!
Is it difficult?
Most people think that you need complex instruments, weird ingredients that are impossible to find or secret industrial methods to make your own alcoholic beverages. But they are dead wrong!
Even prisoners make their own “booze” while they are incarcerated. Actually, if you know how to make a soup, then you have all the abilities needed to make your own wine or beer!
You can start a basic kit almost for free by recycling a 1 gallon apple juice glass jar. You would then have to buy an airlock for 1,50$ and you’d be set to start your first 1 gallon batch!
What can I make?
You can make fermented beverages with a percentage between 3% and 14% approximately. This means you can make wine, beer, mead, fruit wine, hard cider, perry, vegetable wine, champagne and so on…
But, you won’t be able to make strong alcohol. For this, you would need a distillery and special tools. Beside the risk of fire hazard, poisoning yourself could be a real threat. Plus, if you plan on distilling your own strong alcoholic beverages, you will need a licence.
Can you finally tell me how to make it???
Yeah! yeah! I will. But give me a second.
Making beer and wine is a process that is somewhat very deceptive. It is so simple that you will wonder why you didn’t make some before.
Alcohol is made by fermentation. In order to start fermenting you will need a liquid (water, fruit juice), sugar (natural sugar found in fruit juice – fructose, cane sugar, corn sugar, honey etc…) and yeast. No!!! Don’t take your mom’s bread yeast. While you could make alcohol with it, it will taste bad and probably turn bad too… You need special yeast (wine yeast, beer yeast) which you can easily find in specialized shops or on internet.
You simply need a fermentation bucket (glass apple juice jar) in which you’re going to mix water (or juice), sugar and yeast. Slowly but exponentially, the yeast will spread and convert the sugar into alcohol, CO2 and sulfur.
When all the sugar has been “processed” (10 to 15 days) or when the alcohol percentage rate has reached the potential you were seeking for, than you can end the fermentation stage and let it sit for a couple of days for clarification. You have made brute wine or beer.
When the beverage is clarified enough, bottle it, and let it age a little, because while you could drink it right now and get buzzed, you will find that the taste is pretty… humm… brute! Aging will refine it and the taste will improve with time.
Most wines can be drink after a 3 months aging process. But, if you can wait 6 months to a year, then it’s better!
How to let it age? Well just let it sit in its bottle away from the sun light and at the room temperature.
Beer from a kit is made the same way. They actually sell great kits for 30$ and these will give you 60 high quality bottles of beer. You’ll only need a 5 or 6 gallons bucket with its lid, an airlock and yeast. Fermentation will take care of the rest!!
Where to start?
Making your own beer and wine is pretty rewarding and fun!
I have described here the basic process of making alcoholic beverages. It can be a little more complicated if you which and you could even add a second and even a third fermentation stage to the process. You could also start from scratch with raw fruits or vegetables bought at the producers if you’d wish. But, really, making your own alcoholic beverage is that simple!
If you want to know more about the process and give it a try, a great book to start with is Strong Waters by Scott Mansfield. He explains in a very easy to understand manner all the know how of making your own wine, beer or other beverages from scratch or from a kit. Plus, you’ll find a ton of easy to follow recipes to start experimenting!
If you would like to start right now and make your first batch of hard cider, you could visit this great website on the subject :
Image courtesy of xedos4 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Disclaimer : While most provinces and states permit fermentation for your own consumption (not for resale), a licence might be needed in your jurisdiction. Verify the applicable laws in your jurisdiction before brewing anything!!