I've made truckloads of beer from malted barley and wheat. But you need to understand. That malted barley is not the same thing as the plain barley. Its been germinated under controlled conditions and just before it sprouts its toasted to dry it out and also to lock in the starch content.
Malted Barley also has a slightly caramel flavor and depending on the kind it can be very dark.
To brew 5 gallons you are going to need about 10-15# of malted barley.
Now I personally could never imagine malting my own barley. Doing a full mash beer brew is an all day affair and there is some magic involved with maintaining the proper temperatures for the correct period of time to enzymatically convert the starch to sugar.
Beer brewing does not need to be done under sterile conditions. It needs to be clean --sanitized--for sure. But not sterile. The wort (unfermented beer) is fairly stable providing you introduce enough yeast and kick start the fermentation process before bacteria can establish colonies. Once the yeast gets going and begins producing lots of carbon dioxide it makes it hard for bacteria to establish a colony.
It takes a fair amount of equipment (most of which can be fabricated if you are creative) and a fair amount of energy to boil the wort for an hour or more.
WHeat beer is a misnomer. Most wheat beers contain mostly barley with some wheat content thrown in to change the taste. But by itself wheat does not have the starch content necessary to produce enough sugar in the mashing process to make a good beer.
Long term storage of hops is problematic. But if you eat what you store etc you should be able to keep hops in the freezer for up to 18 months. They will loose some of their essential oils over time for sure. But will probably be useable for quite some time.
Hop pellets seem to store much better than whole hops and are also easier to clean up when the fermentation is done.
The main issue for me with brewing beer from grain is the amount of time--like I said--a batch of all grain beer is a 12 hour commitment no matter how you slice it and that doesn't include bottling it or cleaning the equipment when you are done. I would never try and malt my own barely. WAY too much trouble.
Also, for SHTF Ale is probably going to be the ticket because its fermented at room temperature whereas Lager's and Pilsners are cold fermented in the 40 degree temps range for up to 3 weeks. Also, cultivating the special strains of yeast for beer making requires some skill.
If you really wanted to store beer making supplies I would probably suggest DME--Deyhdrated Malt Extract--which is a powdered concentrated Malt you can use to make VERY good beer for not a lot of money. You'll need about 3-5# of DME for a 5 gallon batch depending on the kind of beer you are making. Its a very stable item if kept in a cool dry place. You can also use canned Malt Extract which can also be had pre-hopped. Also makes great beer. Also last for several years.
The Bible for beginning homebrewers has long been Charlie Papzian's book The Complete Joy of Homebrewing
“Est Nulla Via Invia Virute”
Last edited by Big Bird; 11-19-2012 at 18:34..