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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Help me be even more cheap!
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Old 02-12-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
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Default Help me be even more cheap!

I love home brewing, because it intersects two of my deepest needs...drinking great beer and being 'thrifty'. I'd like some advice from some of this board's more efficient brewers. Keep in mind, I like to squeeze the nickle until the buffalo craps, so here is a description of my current process:

1. All grain, to avoid high DME / LME costs
2. Corona mill, to avoid the $1 extra for crushing from HBS
3. 5 gal round cooler (home depot) MLT and batch sparging
4. Boil on electric kitchen stove in 3 gal batches to avoid propane costs
5. Bottle culturing and rewashing yeasts frequently
6. Buying the most common hop varieties in 1 lb bags ($12 - $15)
7. Homemade insulation board fermentation chamber with hacked home thermostat
8. Fermenting in Homer buckets ($2.47 each)
9. Combined buys with brewing friends to reduce that awful $8 shipping

So basically, I like 3 gal batches because I can brew more often, and going bigger would require a bigger kettle and more powerful burner.

I don't want to compromise the final taste, but otherwise I'm game for anything that can save a little $$$. My time is cheap, since this is my hobby and I enjoy it.

Please give me some of you most innovative cost saving ideas!

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Old 02-12-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
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You can still go with 5gal batches. Just do what extract brewers do when they dont have 7g pots for 5gal boils.... Make concentrated brews and top off with water. Ive never done this but I know plenty of people who have and have had "GREAT SUCCESS"

In regards to the Homer buckets.. are the HDP buckets? (food grade)

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Old 02-12-2012, 09:26 PM   #3
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A favorite quote from various sources (in my case related to Motorcycles)
"Cheap, Fast, Quality ... Pick 2"

I brewed 100Gals (beer and wine) for $700 dollars last year. I aquired a Kegerator, 10 Cornies, 1 CO2 system, 3 carboys, 5 cases of bottles + all wine bottles, all ingredients and a few things I didn't list. I'm all for thrift... but you sound like you're pushing it.

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Old 02-12-2012, 09:39 PM   #4
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Start growing your own hops or find someone who does.

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Old 02-12-2012, 09:43 PM   #5
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I'm pretty happy with high quality beers of any style I choose for around $0.50 a bottle. If a batch goes up to $0.75/beer it's still great if you ask me.

I'm all for cost cutting but not at the expense of drinking beer I want to drink at a quality level I consider to be high.

Anyways, buying bulk grain will save you more money. You could probably split a bag with some of your brewing friends since you already coordinate to order online together.

Reusing yeast will save you money, especially if you're doing 3gal batches... the relative cost of yeast to other ingredients is higher when your batches are small.

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Old 02-12-2012, 10:12 PM   #6
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3. Forget the round cooler and learn about BIAB. I do 3 or 5 gallon batches right on the kitchen stove and the cost is for a pair of paint strainer bags. ($3.76/pair plus tax) You already have the Corona mill, set it tight and make lots of fine particles of grain.

9. Make friends with someone at the LHBS and get the bulk grain delivered with their regular delivery truck. You might get a discount and lower shipping too.

8. Spend a little of the money you saved from the round cooler and buy 6 1/2 gallon pails with lids so you and your friends can get together and brew 5 gallon batches at their place to save you the cost of the heating the water. Get them to give you half their share for being the consultant.

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Old 02-12-2012, 10:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mt_rob View Post
Keep in mind, I like to squeeze the nickle until the buffalo craps

Awesome. That is a sig line if I ever saw one. Thanks!
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Old 02-12-2012, 10:38 PM   #8
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don't brew at all = most savings.

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Old 02-12-2012, 11:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eastoak View Post
don't brew at all = most savings.
I bet you're a laugh-riot at parties...

Cheers!
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Old 02-12-2012, 11:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mt_rob View Post

I don't want to compromise the final taste, but otherwise I'm game for anything that can save a little $$$. My time is cheap, since this is my hobby and I enjoy it.

Please give me some of you most innovative cost saving ideas!
Your thoughts and mine run along similar lines. I agree with nearly every item you list in the OP. Here's a modest suggestion that would require a little upfront expense but might add a good deal of extra capability to your brewing. Brewing on the cook top, in the kitchen isn't my idea of a great time. I tried it for a few batches and started searching for a better solution.

http://www.amazon.com/Cajun-Injector...9089239&sr=8-1

This fryer will allow you to get out of the kitchen — I've setup a brew shop in the basement — and get you into doing 6.5 gallon boils for 5 gallon batches. It works on standard 110/120v, 20 amp circuit. Since it heats via and immersion element basis, it may even save you a bit on your electric bill over an extended period. It's certainly cheaper and more convenient than propane. I've been using one for over 2 years and it works perfectly for my purposes.
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