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Old 12-04-2008, 08:26 PM   #1
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Default Cost comparison-Extract vs. All-grain vs. Macrobrew

As someone just coming into brewing, I'm trying to get a handle on costs (and justify things to SWMBO).

What are some estimates of what it costs to generate a 5 gallon batch of beer? I'm only interested in consumables such as propane, grains or extract, hops, finings, and yeast. Let's ignore the limitless cost potential of equipment and call water negligible.

My current fridge stocking choice is to support my local High Life to the tune of about $15 for a 30 pack. This works out to about $26.67 for 5 gallons. I definitely enjoy a wide variety of different and interesting beers. I don't see enough difference between High Life and something like Budweiser to justify the difference in price. The smaller price difference between High Life and the less expensive beers does seem worth it to me. The $8 (or more) six packs for the things I'd really like to be drinking seems excessive. I don't expect to best the High Life price, but if I can brew a wide variety of interesting beers for per costs per 5 gallons comparable to something along the lines of bottled Budweiser (around $42), I'd be pretty happy.

I realize there are a lot of variables, and you could spend a lot on grains doing a barleywine or IRS or hops for an IPA. Let's assume we're doing something around 5-6% ABV and hopping it lightly to moderately. I'd also assume for AG that primary grains are bought in bulk and specialty grains by the pound.

Let me know roughly what I'd be looking at for 5 gallons using extract and 5 gallons with an AG.

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Old 12-04-2008, 08:31 PM   #2
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There have been many people doing cost calcualations and comparisons before. You should be able to find a ton if you search. The concensus usually comes to be once you factor in your time and equipment it cost ALOT more. This isnt really something to do to try and save money. You could also go to an online store like austinhomebrew.com and look at the premade kits they have availble to get an idea.

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Old 12-04-2008, 08:39 PM   #3
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I agree if you are looking to save money - not the way to go - stick with the High Life.

I dont brew to save money I brew to get a better quality batch of beer than the High Life can provide.

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Old 12-04-2008, 08:41 PM   #4
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Yeah there's at least 3 threads with the cost breakdowns on here that I can think of. If you search for the ubiquitous AG-vs- Extract threads, you'll find them.

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Old 12-04-2008, 08:42 PM   #5
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i am half and half on this, i brew because i love to make my own beer, and can control the flavor....
but!
it can definately be cheaper than some of the better beers (e.g. a 5 gallon sam adams clone could be brewed cheaper than buying two cases of sam adams)

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Old 12-04-2008, 08:45 PM   #6
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You CAN save money by brewing, but it all depends on how much and what you brew.

A nice $100or so bottling starter kit is cheap, and would pay itself off in savings pretty quickly if you stick to light beers.

I'd say start with a cheap extract kit and see how you like it. AG is a big upfront cost, especially for a casual brewer.

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Old 12-04-2008, 09:00 PM   #7
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I may be wrong, but this thread has led me to believe you can do AG and not break the bank. http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/easy...ng-pics-90132/

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Old 12-04-2008, 09:01 PM   #8
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A nice 5% extract Pale ale kit with yeast will run between $25 and $40 depending on vendor, yeast and hops choices in the kit. Some beers are as low as $20 some over $50.

Add about $4 for propane for a full boil and a few cents for cleaners and sanitizers and it will cost you around $35 for a decent pale ale. You can also make a number of stouts, amber, brown etc. ales for a similar price. Big beers will cost more and it will cost about $5 extra for liquid yeast, which is suggested for Belgians, hefeweizen and other specialty styles.

All grain kits will save you $5-$10 depending.

You can save considerably more by buying in bulk and making recipes from your stock. My average beer costs about $15 + propane. A few people have priced out good beers at under $10, but they have gotten great prices on some bulk purchases.

Will you likely save money brewing? Not if you currently buy High Life. However if you buy micro 6-packs and don't increase your consumption it is possible to get ahead after a half dozen batches are so. But it is not likely you won't increase consumption, and its not likely you will hold off on upgrade temptations. Thus it is the rare person that saves money once they start the brewing hobby.

However it is a fun hobby and very much worth it even if you do not save money. If you enjoy the process it is a moderately priced hobby that you get to enjoy the results of.

Craig

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Old 12-04-2008, 09:06 PM   #9
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between all of my other hobbies.

cars, guns, golf, paintball, video games, etc.

This has been by far the cheapest and intoxicating venture yet.

I do not want to even think about how much more money I have invested in the other stuff.

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Old 12-04-2008, 09:08 PM   #10
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However it is a fun hobby and very much worth it even if you do not save money. If you enjoy the process it is a moderately priced hobby that you get to enjoy the results of.
That's the kicker for me.

It's about the cheapest hobby that's ever caught my attention, so I consider it a savings. I'm not spending my time on something infinitely more expensive!
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