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Old 06-06-2010, 04:49 AM   #1
apo09283
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Default Cheaper to buy or brew?

I realize this is a home "brew" forum but I just have to ask........do you find it cheaper to brew or buy your beer? I like brewing beer as much as the next guy but over the last few years I find that I can buy excellent beer from local breweries for about $50 for 5 gallons. Every 5 gallon batch of brew I make costs more than that for the ingredients alone.

I started brewing about 25 years ago in the UK and brewing was always cheaper. Now I brew about 2-3 batches each year and buy the rest. When I go on road trips I take empty/sterilized cornys with me and stop at various breweries and get them filled.
Bill

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Old 06-06-2010, 04:51 AM   #2
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I think it depends on how you do the math. If you're doing all grain, then the cost of the ingredients will be cheaper than buying the same amount of a quality craft beer. But if you are investing in things like brewing systems and kegerators, it's probably a wash in the long run.

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Old 06-06-2010, 04:54 AM   #3
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Per batch (ingredients only), it's usually cheaper to brew. Overall, it's almost always cheaper to buy.

The startup cost of a home brewery is modest, but not negligible. You will likely constantly buy parts and upgrades for your brewery. It's tough to make up for that overhead with cheap ingredients. If you factor the cost of your time into the mix, your own beer becomes quite expensive. For those of us who continue brewing, the rewards outweigh the cost.

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Old 06-06-2010, 04:57 AM   #4
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it could be where you are getting your ingredents from to. unfortinaly my lhb doubles the price of stuff. i love guiness i can brew a five gal batch for 26 bucks. it cost me 44 bucks for a case. half the price for double the beer a win win for me

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Old 06-06-2010, 05:54 AM   #5
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I'd have to brew a helleva lot of beer with cheap grain to make up for the cost of all the equipment I've bought let alone the time spent. I started off 30+ years ago because it was cheaper to brew your own on simple, cheap equipment than pay for the heavily taxed beer available in Canada. It wasn't great beer and supplies/ingredients were severely limited. As the hobby grew better stuff was available and more was known about how to make good homebrew so then I brewed so I could drink good beer- good microbreweries were still few and far between. Now the only reason I brew is because it is fun, it doesn't save me money and great beer is readily available at my local Safeway.

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Old 06-06-2010, 05:59 AM   #6
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Who would be so silly as to figure in equipment costs? Afterall, you needed that 15 gallon stainless pot and plate chiller for.....lots of...erm...other stuff. If you love sours and can brew good ones, that is very cost effective as commercial ones can often be $20+/bottle.

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Old 06-06-2010, 06:24 AM   #7
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A bottle of homebrew is cheap. I wouldn't even want to calculate how much it costs me to catch a trout!

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Old 06-06-2010, 06:54 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by luthierzan View Post
A bottle of homebrew is cheap. I wouldn't even want to calculate how much it costs me to catch a trout!


GOOD POINT though. It's more about enjoyment than cost. And even with expensive equipment costs upfront and ongoing, with time and more batches, the homebrew costs seem to at least start approaching what retail brew costs.
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Old 06-06-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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I went to the beer store yesterday and purchased a sixpack of dogfish, one same adams bottle and an empty gallon jug. My bill came to $22 for 7 beers. For $25 i can make a 5 gallon batch. The average single bottle of anything decent was $1.85 So yea its cheaper. I dont factor in equipment. Although, I would need to brew around 1300 beers to break even, thats about 6 months worth of brewing.

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Old 06-06-2010, 12:45 PM   #10
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I think a lot of the factor is what you brew or buy. I brewed an Ommegang Hennipine clone for about $30. I work at a place that serves it on tap and it cost $250 for the same size keg. It is also $8 for 750 ml bottles. So if brewing stuff like this i think you would be better off real quick. I also was able to make a beer that was undistinguishable from the original.

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