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Old 10-23-2009, 12:15 AM   #1
jordan725
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Default Brewing Cheap Beers

Hi all,

Just started brewing beer with a friend, and have been very happy with our results so far. I was wondering, however, what is usually recommended to make beers on the cheap? I am not expecting to make the best beers, but ideally something that is very cheap in large bulk and still better than Budweiser.

Hopefully I won't get flame for this, but my vision is to brew (1) 5-gallon batches of quality stuff for myself and my friends, and (2) simultaneously brew 15-30 gallon batches of cheap beer for things like frat parties.

Any tips or suggestions on where to start? For what we have been doing, it is usually about $30 per 5-gallon batch in extracts/grains/yeast, so not sure where and how to start cutting corners on the cheap batches.

Thanks so much,
Jordan

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:20 AM   #2
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Four things to reduce your costs per batch:

1. Buy your hops bulk. See hopsdirect.com
2. Reuse/wash your yeast from previous batches instead of buying new yeast for each batch.
3. Switch to all-grain brewing
4. Buy your grains for AG batches in bulk.

#1 is easiest to implement, #2 takes a bit more work and #4 will go along with #3, assuming you have storage space.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:21 AM   #3
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Most of the Online retailers have Specials running. I just ordered two extract kits from B3 for $23 and $25 yeast included.
Those here with more experience do all grain and reuse/culture their own yeast.
For frat parties I am sure you will be able to get away with low ABV and few hops which will help keep costs down too.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:25 AM   #4
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The cheaper you get, the more laborious it becomes (and more equipment needed), that is if you want a quality product.
If'n you just want to get sloshed at a frat party, sugar is a cheap addition or substitute for some of the malt.
I've never tried to make frat party hooch though. good luck and drink responsibly,
Signed: Your dad.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:25 AM   #5
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Yeah, All grain will reduce your price per batch quite a bit. If I do a 5 gal batch with 11-12 pounds of grain and 2-3 oz of hops, it costs a little over 20 bucks from my LHBS.

These are beers that a lot of BMC AND craft brew drinkers have really liked too.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:30 AM   #6
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I can brew almost anything for 12-15 bucks for a 5 gallon batch.

Base grains for $.62/lb (Mid Country Malt) ($7)
Hops for less than $1/oz (Hops Direct) ($2)
Yeast is cheap, and you can use it several times (My LHBS) ($2-$3)

You cant get very cheap with extract, extract only gets so cheap.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:40 AM   #7
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Make Mild Ales for your frat parties. Aim for 1.03 SG and 3 - 3.5% alcohol. You can make 10 gallons of a great tasting session mild for the same price as 5 gallons of typical ipa. If people want to drink to get drunk, do shots

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:43 AM   #8
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If all you want is to get ripped at a frat party:

Buy 2 cases of budweiser
Pour into corney keg
dry hop an ounce of random hops in it
Tell all the girls stories about what an awesome brewer you are
Profit?

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Old 10-23-2009, 01:29 AM   #9
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if you do allgrain, i would suggest BM centenial blonde or even cheap to brew, the miller light clone in the database.

but if doing extract, i would buy bulk DME or LME from NCM. Light Dme is $98 per 50pounds from them, then figure $20 or so for shipping. so about $2.50 a pound. lme is even cheaper but i would go with the dme. try to get in on a group buy to get the shipping down to like $4 or 5 bucks.

5pounds of dme=$12.50
hops(buy 1 or 2 pounds from hopsdirect to come out to less then $1 a oz)=2oz =$2
Notty yeast= $2
pound of speciality grains= i dont know, $2?

add a pound of sugar or add some AE to increase alcohol percentage

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Old 10-23-2009, 01:40 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan725 View Post
(1) 5-gallon batches of quality stuff for myself and my friends

Any tips or suggestions on where to start?
Scour this website. It's chock full of the sort of tips and suggestions you seek.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jordan725 View Post
(2) simultaneously brew 15-30 gallon batches of cheap beer for things like frat parties.

Any tips or suggestions on where to start?
No. We don't do hooch here.
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