Friday 12 August 2022

2022 Trends in Homebrewing - Brulosophy General Homebrewer Survey Results

Every year, homebrewing website Brulosophy invite participants to complete a survey to gauge trends and other factors within the homebrewing market and community.

We completed the survey ourselves, and the results have been recently released/published, so we wanted to break down some of the results and share our thoughts on what appears to be trending in the homebrewing industry and community at the moment.

We haven't covered every single question or category within the survey, but decided to select the ones that were interesting or provided an opportunity for further analysis/commentary.


Unsurprisingly, nearly 98% of respondants were male, with the remaining 2% being female. Non-binary and transgender accounted for a little under 1%.

In terms of age, by far the most popular age group was 30-39 years, with representation slowly tapering down through each subsequent decade. We were a little surprised at the low representation of 21-29 year olds - we expected this number to have been a little higher. Guessing that those in their 20's are more interesting in frequenting craft beer venues than making it themselves.

The vast majority of respondents were of course from the USA (62%), with Europe the second largest geographical location at 20%. Oceania was disappointingly low at only 7% which we found a little surprising.

As could be reasonably expected, 84% of respondents were in a  house that was either rented or owned, with apartment owners/renters accounting for the remaining 15% (1% was classified as other). No doubt brewing in an apartment would present numerous challenges which is why participation for those in apartments is so low.

Brewing Profile

There was a reasonably even spread of years of brewing experience - somewhere in the 20% region for most brackets, with a vast minority (4%) being within the first year of their homebrewing journey.

Online resources of course was the main source of education and information for 57% of brewers, with books representing a little under a quarter at 24%. This trend has remain relatively steady since 2019 when this survey was first started.

Of those online resources, Facebook and Reddit each had a share of 30% each, with YouTube being surprisingly low at only 15% - I would have thought YouTube would be more popular with the vast array of different Homebrewing dedicated channels.

Brewers are notoriously time poor and it showed in the survey results with 64% brewing no more than once per month. 35% were able to fit 2-4 brews in per month, but it's somewhat comforting to know that many others struggle to find 4-6 hours to set aside on a weekend to get a brew in.

This likely ties back into the age demographics we previously looked at, with the vast majority of brewers being 30+, juggling young or teenage families, weekend sport and other commitments make it difficult to find the time. On top of that, not everyone is able to drink enough beer per month to free up space in kegs, bottles and fridges for more to be made.

In terms of styles that are brewed, it's defnitely no surprise to see Pale Ales, IPA's and Double IPA's reprenting the vast majority at bang on 50%, though it is worth noting that the popularity of these styles being brewed has been slowly declining since 2018 when it was a little higher at 56%.

Conversely, the popularity of lagers being brewed has been slowly increasing since 2018 when it accounted for just 6%, and has now more than doubled to 13%. Why is this? Quite possibly because of the improved quality and accessibility of equipment and ingredients as well as increased knowledge and information to help brewers make them, and make them good. Lagers can be notoriously difficult to make, since they demand a clean and neutral flavour profile so any mistakes or imperfections can't be masked or hidden with big dry hop loads. New yeast strains that ferment clean at higher temperatures (like Kveik), and the increasing popularity of pressure fermenters which can suppress off flavours when fermenting at higher temperatures are likely also factors at play here that have improved the approach-ability of brewers to try their hand at lagers.

All the other less popular styles have remained relatively consistent from year to year since 2018.

In terms of recipe design, Brewfather and BeerSmith account for 65% combined, with a relatively even share each. Brewer's Friend was the next most popular with a 15% share.

Brewing Basics

When it comes to how brewers are making their beer, a surprisingly high number (30%) jumped straight into all grain. 68% started off with some form of extract brewing - either extract only, or extract with steeping grains.

What is really interesting is when you look at what brewers are currently doing, and that is 95% of them doing all grain brewing. This really demonstrates what is a commonly held belief within the homebrewing industry, and that is that you can make good beer using extract, and it's a great way to get into the hobby of brewing. It's how we got into the hobby ourselves. But if you want to make great beer, and have maximum control and flexibility with your ingredients, process and recipes, then all grain brewing is the way to go.

Sticking with all grain brewing, and it's no surprise to see the popularity of all in one electric brewing systems (like the Grainfather, BrewZilla etc) steadily growing from just 13% in 2018, to a whopping 40% in 2022. These systems make the all grain brewing process so much simpler and more accessible for homebrewers due to their price point - especially when compared to the cost, complexity and size of more advanced 3 vessel brewing systems.

All grain brewing would not be seeing the popularity it is today without the rise of these all in one electric brewing systems.

Moving on to the tail end of the brewing process and we of course have our preferred wort chilling methods. Immersion chillers are by far the most popular, at 61% in 2022, which is slightly down on previous years. We'd liken their popularity to their ease of use, cost, and the fact they are often included with many of the all in one electric brewing systems. The slight reduction in immersion chiller popularity can be attributed to a slight increase in popularity of counter flow chillers over the years, which have now reached almost 20%. A reasonable growth from a share of only 13% back in 2018.  The use of other chillers like plate chillers, or water baths remain relatively unchanged. The hot cubing or no-chill method has fairly low representation, but is more popular in Australia/Oceania which had a relatively low representation in this particular survey as well.

When dealing with yeast, the figures are relatively close with preferences for dry and liquid yeast, with shares of 43% and 37% respectively. 18% reported having no preference so would presumably just use whatever they had available, or was most suitable to the style of beer they were making. We're a little surprised that dry yeast didn't have a larger representation due to it's resiliency, ease of storage and cheaper cost when compared to liquid yeast.

Yeast harvesting has seen 58% of respondents opting not to harvest their yeast at all which has been steadily increasing from 50% in 2020. Saving prior slurries, overbuilding starters and rinsing yeast have remained relatively the same over the past few years as well. Given the relative availability and low cost of yeast - especially in dry format, there just isn't a compelling reason for most brewers to worry about capturing, rinsing and re-using yeast.

Looking at packaging method, and kegs with forced carbonation using carbon dioxide (CO2) has consistently been the leader with around 70-72% consistently since 2019. Bottling was much the same with 26% back in 2019 dropping steadily to 21% in 2022. There are two smaller kegging categories - Keg w/spunding and Keg w/natural CO2 that we'd argue should just be classified under a single "kegging" category, so with all kegging categories added together it comes to 77%.

We're surprised that bottling wasn't more popular back when the survey first started in 2018. Back then it only had a 30% share which seems a little bit low. Kegging is certainly a more efficient method of packaging. No doubt most brewers start off with bottling (like we did), and soon get tired of cleaning and sanitising loads of bottles for every batch of beer before moving onto kegging where only a single vessel needs to be cleaned and sanitised. It also offers the benefit of oxygen free pressure transfers to help reduce the risk of oxidation - a common problem when bottling, especially when dealing with the evidently more popular, hoppy beer styles that brewers are making.

Brew Day Profile

We previously touched on all in one electric brewing systems becoming increasingly more popular over recent years, so it's no surprise to see that outdoor electric systems have also seen a steady increase, especially in the period from 2019 to 2020.

Coinciding with this increase, was a matching decrease in the popular of outdoor propane brewing setups, as brewers obviously opted to go for the arguably safer electric version to avoid having to deal with naked flames and the difficulty in reliable temperature control that comes with it.

The most popular batch size by far since the survey started is 5 gallon which coincides with the popularity of kegging - since the most popular keg format in homebrewing, the cornelius or corny keg, holds 5 gallons or 19L.

When dealing with what is arguably one of the most important ingredients when making beer - water, it's not surprising most brewers opt for the good old reliable unfiltered tap water. Tap water quality in the most popular respondent countries/continents - USA and Europe is obviously perfectly safe and suitable for use with brewing, but we were surprised that as many as 20% of brewers don't perform any water adjustments.

Most brewers we've spoken to wish they had started doing water adjustments sooner, as they can make a big difference to the flavour and mouthfeel of the finished product. Although this has been  trending downwards since 2020 when it was at 27%, 20% is still a decent chunk of brewers. Thankfully water adjustments are incredibly easy since software like Brewfather allow adjustments and calculations to be made without needing a science degree. We expect this trend will continue in coming years with more brewers adopting water adjustments.

Perceptions & Outlook

There's quite a bit to unpack in this one. Starting off with "water chemistry is key", and it's clear the majority of brewers share our sentiment. Interestingly, those that shared a view of neutral or disagreement accounted for around 18%, which ties closely to the 20% value we saw previously of brewers that don't perform any water adjustments.

Our previously stated belief that all grain brewing results are superior to extract is also largely backed up by the survey respondents too.

The belief that first wort hopping provides a smoother bittering flavour seems to be largely neutral, with the same sentiment for decoction mashes making a perceptible difference - we suspect because the majority of brewers don't utilise this method of hopping. It's not something we've ever tried ourselves, as most recipes that we've come across simply don't call for it.

Lager Fermentation needing to be cold was an interesting one, with exactly 50% agreeing with this statement. The surprise here is how many people disagreed with this statement (42%) - with the remaining 8% sitting on the fence. Pressure fermentation methods have proven to give better and cleaner results when fermenting lager yeast strains at higher temperatures which is likely changing homebrewers perceptions on lagers always needing to be fermented cold.

Just over 64% of people disagree with macro brewing being evil, with an even higher percentage (74%) sharing the sentiment that transferring beer to a secondary vessel for conditioning is no longer necessary. 

Finally, the long held belief that boiling for any less than 60 minutes will lead to DMS (Dimethyl Sulfide) remaining in the finished beer seems to be on the way out with 70% of respondents disagreeing with this statement. 30 minute boils are increasingly common and is something we've done numerous times ourselves with no ill effects whatsoever.

Homebrew Shopping

Looking at where brewers obtain their supplies from, the figures have remained largely unchanged over the past few years, with the exception of a slight increase in online shopping in the past couple of years, seeing a 5% jump from 2020 to 2021, most likely related to COVID lockdowns and such.

From 2021 to 2022, there was a further 1% increase again, perhaps neglible but perhaps also indicating that brewers once forced to order online realised the convenience and continued to do so.

Looking at monthly spend and there's a combined 87% who spend less than $100 per month on homebrewing which is significant. It's a bit of a running joke amongst homebrewers that a reason to get into the hobby is to save money. There is perhaps some truth to it, especially given the seemingly endless price rises and inflation seen in global markets in recent times, forcing up the cost of just about everything.

Beer Consumption

This one is perhaps a little surprising, and that is that 68% of brewers only reported drinking homebrew somtimes or none at all on a daily basis. This is a trend that has been rising over the past couple of years, perhaps as people attempt to lead more active and healthy lifestyles and reduce their alcohol intake where possible.

This number also ties back closely to the previously mentioned 64% of brewers who only brew a single batch per month. Hard to brew gallons or litres of beer if you're not consuming it every day.

With regards to beer preference and we've got some really consistent figures since 2018 showing just over 50% of brewers prefer homebrew, with another 38-40% not having a preference between their own brew and commercially made varieties. Unsurprisingly, there's a small minority who prefer commercial beer to their own at around 8%.


Brulosophy reported they had 2173 participants complete the survey, which certainly isn't insignificant, but it would be great to see the popularity of this great and insightful survey increase in future years. Given the relatively small sample size, the results aren't entirely conclusive, though they do certainly illustrate some interesting trends going on within the homebrewing community and market at the moment.

If you haven't heard of or checked our Brulosophy, then we highly recommend you do so. They're almost like the Mythbusters of homebrewing, who often perform experiments - aptly named exBeeriments to check the validity of claims, rumous and old wives tales within homebrewing. The results are often insightful and fascinating.

You can check out the full 2022 General Homebrew Survey Results here


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