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Old 09-05-2008, 06:05 PM   #1
nickhead
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Default Cheapest Extract Recipes (not from kit)

Hey guys - can anyone suggest a super-cheap Extract recipe that still tastes great? Other than Ed Wort's Apfelwein, what are my options? I'd like to stay away from kits and just pick up the ingredients at my local homebrew supplier.

Or - if anyone has any cheap suggestions along the lines of Apfelwein (but maybe some other crazy variation, like, a different type of juice, or something really cool that I may not know about), i'd really appreciate it.

Thanks - I look forward to hearing how the rest of you cut costs without affecting quality too much. I brewed a batch of Apfelwein last week and am truly amazed at how simple and cheap it is. What else is out there?

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Old 09-05-2008, 07:47 PM   #2
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Edwort's Haus Pale Ale. There's a mini-mash/extract version about halfway through the first post.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f66/bee-...ale-ale-31793/

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Old 09-05-2008, 07:58 PM   #3
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What's your price range? Picking up some DME or LME, the cheapest hops you can get for your style preference, and dry yeast should run you $25-$30.

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Old 09-05-2008, 08:00 PM   #4
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Sounds like a good experiment for you. I have been trying to understand the ingredient list for some time.

Try making a small batch of beer, ~3gals with just extract and a small amount of grains from your LHBS.

This will all depend on what styles you like. Pale -->Brown--->Dark Ale.

Try adding and subtracting ingredients from whatever software you prefer. Adjust the amount of Crystal X, carapils, or whatever grains are on hand with your LHBS.

Simple ale: malt extract to your prefered ABV, Crystal 40, yeast, hops.

Consider adjuncts such as cinnamon, ginger, fruit, .... etc. Things you can find in your local produce section.

just my 0.02+tax from a noobrewer.

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Old 09-05-2008, 08:02 PM   #5
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here's the way to save money:

make a lighter beer (less extract = less money)
use dry yeast (liquid yeast is about $8/vial)
do a maltier beer (hops cost money)

go for a mild, cheap, light and tasty.

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Old 09-05-2008, 10:46 PM   #6
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Partial mash to save on some extract cuz malt is cheaper than LME or DME.

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Old 09-05-2008, 10:54 PM   #7
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Someone was working on a BM cream of 3 crops conversion to Extract. I's very light and VERY cheap....Some guys have the All Grain version down to $15 a batch....tha'ts only 29cents a bottle.

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Old 09-05-2008, 11:02 PM   #8
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Edwort's haus pale ale is not that cheap to make using extract or PM. It still costs me about $35 if you expect cheap hops. Not exactly cheap, but not too terribly expensive, and it's tasty!

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Old 09-05-2008, 11:10 PM   #9
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Buy in bulk, not per recipe. Buying by the pound (or 10s of pounds) will save you a ton of money in the long run. The trick is to know which ingredients you use most.

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Old 09-06-2008, 01:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickhead View Post
Hey guys - can anyone suggest a super-cheap Extract recipe that still tastes great? Other than Ed Wort's Apfelwein, what are my options? I'd like to stay away from kits and just pick up the ingredients at my local homebrew supplier.

Or - if anyone has any cheap suggestions along the lines of Apfelwein (but maybe some other crazy variation, like, a different type of juice, or something really cool that I may not know about), i'd really appreciate it.

Thanks - I look forward to hearing how the rest of you cut costs without affecting quality too much. I brewed a batch of Apfelwein last week and am truly amazed at how simple and cheap it is. What else is out there?
Unless you have a local store that charges reasonable prices, you may want to at least look at online prices (for non-kits) including shipping before shopping. I recently visited the not terribly local store that is somewhat local to me and was royally overcharged (.vs. shipped online prices) for some caps and dry yeast, so I guess I won't be shopping there again. I don't need my hand held, and I don't much like places that charge an arm and a leg because they think that being around to hold people's hands is worth a huge markup.

Going cheap needs money up front, because unless you are going to diverge into nastiness (cane sugar, corn sugar for other than priming, and other sins against beer) the secret to cheap beer is 50 lb or 25 kilo bags of dry malt. Load it into gallon or two gallon zip-locs, and store those in a metal container with a tight-fitting lid, to keep critters out of it. If you have local brewing friends, you could arrange a group buy and split the large bags yourselves.

Dry yeast works perfectly well for ales. Also, you can pitch on the lees at least once without a problem, if you haven't left the last batch in primary for too long. If you're willing to put in a bit more work you can clean up the leftovers and get more yeast and less crud, but I've pitched wort in after siphoning the last batch out and it's worked well - I just would not do that twice in a row without taking the time to rinse it out and settle the crud from the yeast, turkey-basting the good yeast (some of which is dead, but dead yeast is yeast nutrient) out from the grot.

Price goes down if you move to all-grain - which I've only read about, not done. I assume that 50lb or 25-kilo bags are still the way to save yet more money there. It certainly is with specialty grains (I've got lots of chocolate malt on hand).

Price goes down even more if you malt & kiln your own barley - which I've only read about, not done. Finally, you can grow the barley and the hops (I've not grown barley, but I do grow hops, and the picking/drying/packing of hops makes buying them look really, not so bad, if your time is worth anything)

Finally, if you are really about the bottom line price, look for canned beer on sale - it's often cheaper than an extract ale that does not delve into corn or cane sugar for a large part of it's fermentables. I'm more concerned with making decent beer, and while that often costs more than the equivalent gallonage of 12-packs of bud on sale, it's cheaper than comparable commercial beer, still.

Branching out from beer, any fruit you can go out and pick for free or for low cost, you can ferment. I'd not suggest getting into bees to save money on honey, though - particularly not with the bee troubles of the past decade or so.

I've done hard cider using no added sugar and ale yeast (dry) which came out very well.
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Last edited by Ecnerwal; 09-06-2008 at 02:01 AM. Reason: add info
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