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Old 11-19-2012, 07:07 AM   #1
The_Brewzer
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Default The $7 brew

So I just recently got into all-grain brewing, and I probably need to go ahead and get some brewing software, but in the meantime I'm looking for some advice on a recipe. I got a great deal on some bulk grains, and with a impulsive buy of a couple lbs of Belma hops from HD at $5.25, I decided I needed to see how cheaply I can brew a drinkable beer. This is what I have so far:

8lbs pale 2-row at $.72/lb
.5lbs Crystal 40 at $1.15/b
2oz Belma at $.33/oz
Washed US-05 yeast (free)

For a total of $6.99 for 5 gallons.

I am thinking hop schedule of .5oz at 60min, .5oz at 15min, and 1oz at flameout.

Any ideas on this recipe? I am very open to suggestion. Is the half lb of Crystal too heavy? I want to give a little body as I imagine the 2-row won't contribute much in the way of body or flavor. I also have Vienna and Munich at the same cost, so those could be potential substitutes. Is 2 oz of Belma on this schedule likely to be very powerful? Should/can it be scaled back? I like hoppy beers too, but the ultimate goal of this is just to make a good, balanced beer as cheap as possible.

Thanks!

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:20 AM   #2
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Half a pound of crystal IMO is not at all excessive. I used over 7 ounces of crystal 60 in an SNPA clone and it was perfect - in a 2.5 gallon batch. Note that SNPA is darker than a lot of pale ales, but still.

Hats off to the cost cutting - I thought $10 for 2.5 gallons was doing good...

EDIT: You got me curious enough to plug it into BeerSmith, here's how it looks. I would definitely try it out.

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Old 11-19-2012, 07:45 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply! Those numbers are about what I was hoping for. It looks a little light on the OG for the style, but that is to be expected with only 8.5lbs of malt. I think I'll give this a try and see how it turns out. As far as the cost cutting, its more for fun than anything, I've brewed my fair share of relatively expensive beers too. I think a few batches like this may help alleviate the extra equipment costs I've incurred for all-grain. Someone told me this is supposed to be cheaper this way! Not that I actually expect to ever break even on this hobby...

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Old 11-19-2012, 08:40 AM   #4
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No problem! Forgot to mention, you should try http://hopville.com/ to tide you over until you have brewing software, it does a fair amount of the things BeerSmith does from your browser and is free.

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Old 11-19-2012, 09:58 AM   #5
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Good to know, I'll check that out. Alhough I think I saw somewhere Beersmith was having a Black Friday sale, that might be the perfect time to get into the software.

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Old 11-19-2012, 11:30 AM   #6
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You may look at Brewtarget also.

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Old 11-19-2012, 12:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewerBear View Post
You may look at Brewtarget also.
Thanks, that one's new to me. I'll check that out too.
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Old 11-19-2012, 01:23 PM   #8
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Do it! For $7, you're looking at something like 13 cents a bottle! I can't even get sody-pop that cheap. Even if it's not an earth-shakingly good beer, you're way ahead of the game.

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:39 PM   #9
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Never heard of Belma hops (is it me or does there seem to be a million new strands of hops out within the last year?), but that sounds like a great economical brew! I too have fun trying to keep my ‘per batch’ costs as low as possible sometimes. I make a mild ale that costs less than $15.00 for ten gallons, including heating power and rewashed yeast.

Yes all-grain is cheaper per batch in ingredient costs, but it usually takes quite a while before you recoup your initial investment of equipment. Usually you end up upgrading prior to recouping your costs (or at least I do).

Wait till you want to go electric, my 10 gallon batches cost me less than $1.00 in electricity, but I probably have over $500 invested in the equipment!

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Old 11-19-2012, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpr121 View Post
Yes all-grain is cheaper per batch in ingredient costs, but it usually takes quite a while before you recoup your initial investment of equipment. Usually you end up upgrading prior to recouping your costs (or at least I do).
I think this is true for a lot of brewers, but it's also something that's up to you as a brewer--there are ALWAYS more gadgets, equipment etc that you can buy and which can make the process easier, simpler, or improve some discrete aspect. On the other hand, the basic equipment you need to brew AG isn't really much more than what you need for extract brewing--a cooler and a spigot are really the only necessary add-ons. I always have to resist that urge to constantly upgrade--I'd love to have an all-electric 1 bbl RIMS setup, but do I NEED it? Not really, and for me, part of the joy of homebrewing is doing really cool complex beers with minimal equipment. Different strokes for different folks.
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