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Old 06-01-2009, 06:27 PM   #1
joejaz
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Default Recession Brewing

I've been out of work since November, I'm sure some of you are in the same boat. What have you been doing to cut down on brewing cost without seriously compromising the quality of your brew? I've switched to dry yeast and do mostly all grains instead of extracts.

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:36 PM   #2
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+1 on the dry yeasts, and then I reharvest them when done (pitch to a yeast cake).

I bought four pounds of hops from hopsdirect.com, which brought the per-ounce cost down to the neighborhood of $0.72-1.14, or 1/3 the cost of my LHBS.

A bulk grain buy is coming up next. 50lbs of 2-row will take care of me for base malt for at least six months.

I have gotten into the hobby only fairly recently, which means I've spent quite a bit of cashola on equipment, but I am trying to spend wisely. I watch craigslist like a hawk for stuff. There are some good deals out there!

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:38 PM   #3
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Make lower gravity beers. It is a small cost savings but it is a little bit every time. Also, wash that yeast. Even if you are using dry, you can still wash it to stretch a penny further.

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:40 PM   #4
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1.) Went all-grain
2.) Befriended a brewmaster for dirt cheap grain and hops.
3.) Harvest yeast.

I used to brew $50-$70 five gallon partial mash batches. Now I brew $30 ten gallon all grain batches. (Which includes propane.)

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:47 PM   #5
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I'm in the exact same boat as you. I've been out of work (well, now I'm a "stay-at-home dad"). Going AG definitely helped lower costs since I inherited pretty much all the equipment I needed. I have been reusing all yeasts, either by washing or just jarring up the slurry, which saves ~$7 per batch. My last couple batches cost $25 each, b/c I reused yeast and already had some of the hops I needed on hand. I just went balls out on ingredients for an IIPA though - just had to do it - damn hop addiction!!!

Another thing I did was to put a "beer jar" next to my keezer, so my friends can contribute to ingredients for future batches. I've actually gotten more than expected - 2 buddies put $20 each right away, so that's almost 2 more batches right there. I guess they appreciate not spending $5 a pint at the pub, and my 4 on tap are just as good or better.

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Old 06-01-2009, 06:50 PM   #6
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While I haven't cut back on spending much (other than buying in bulk), I have recently put out a tip jar during the weekly poker game. Several gallons are consumed in that one night each week. I love to brew, and love to share, but was it becoming quite costly. Now the tips each week cover a 5 gallon batch. Everyone is happy

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:17 PM   #7
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All grain brewing in bulk.

I just ordered five pounds of hops from hopsdirect at really good prices compared to my LHBS.

A small place by where I live sells 50 lb sacks of 2-row for only $33!

If you're using wet yeast consider using dry yeast for most styles. I pay $6-7 for wet yeast but only $1.75-2 for dry.

For a pale ale with 4oz of cascade, 10 lbs base grains, 1.5 lbs specialty grains, and a packet of yeast: $15.26 or only 39 cents a pint

That doesn't factor in propane,iodophor,CO2 or anything but still an awesome deal considering I used to pay $17 for enough LME to make a beer.

It does take a bit more investment in equipment and planning. You need a grain mill plus all the other all grain equipment. Also need to buy supply of hops and grain.

Another idea to save money is to brew cider. I use cheap cider/juice from the store at $3.48 a gallon and pitch a $1.75 packet of nottingham.

Easy to make and tasty and cheap at only $3.83 a gallon.

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:17 PM   #8
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I'd love to have a tip jar, but Oregon law precludes it. Fargin' OLCC.

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Old 06-01-2009, 07:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyBoy View Post
1.) Went all-grain
2.) Befriended a brewmaster for dirt cheap grain and hops.
3.) Harvest yeast.

I used to brew $50-$70 five gallon partial mash batches. Now I brew $30 ten gallon all grain batches. (Which includes propane.)
Slightly OT: Tommy, are you sourcing grain and hops through Willoughby Brewing Co?
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Old 06-01-2009, 07:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by khiddy View Post
I'd love to have a tip jar, but Oregon law precludes it. Fargin' OLCC.
I'm sure there are ways around this. Call it the kids "College fund" or Venture capital or some crap like that. Stupid bureaucrats! Why can't they just leave us alone! It's not like this is a profit venture for you.
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