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Old 12-07-2012, 06:18 PM   #1
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Default How to save money homebrewing

OK, everyone. Let's hear your tips on how you penny pinch yet still make great homebrews. What do you do to save a few dollars?

I reuse my yeast. I wash my yeast and I use other pre-fermentation yeast harvesting methods. Each batch that I don't have to buy yeast saves me about $8 dollars. I brew at least 2 times a month so in a year I save $192 dollars by reusing yeast! Beat that! (this figure doesn't include DME, water, natural gas, and time).

I would like to hear how others have decrease starter sizes. How have you minimized costs? Do you reuse sanitizer? What about grains?

Let's get our brains together to see how we can all minimize costs yet not affect the quality of our brews!

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:26 PM   #2
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Bulk base grain through group buys. As I refine my recipes and brew more, I expect to begin buying my specialty grains in bulk as well.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:39 PM   #3
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Buying hops and grain in bulk is the safest bet to save cash. Otherwise I don't try to skimp too much on material or supplies. To much at stake.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #4
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You could wash yeast. Grow your own hops. Find another home brewer(s) to buy bulk base malts. Build all your own stuff.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:42 PM   #5
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The only place I try and save a bit of money is through bulk grain/hops - this hobby is not about saving money for me, it's about making great beer.

That being said, I've saved $256.78 buying bulk hops/grains this year versus buying them buy the ounce/pound.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:49 PM   #6
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Honestly, I always use fresh yeast, the cost difference is .10 or less per pint. I buy grain at my local Whole Foods (they have a homebrew dept and they are open 7 days a week!). All of their grain is 1.25 per pound including the Belgian and German pilsners and all specialty grain. They also have very good bulk pricing and there's no shipping. I've also looked into bulk hops but once again I can get them locally for the same price or less once shipping is considered and I don't have to store large quantities.

Most of my capital expenditures are done so it's only variable costs now. I haven't looked into trimming the variable stuff because for the pennies involved it's not worth the quality risk.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:53 PM   #7
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Smaller starters can be made through a couple of different options. One is to use a stirplate. Another is to do stepped starters. Use yeastcalc.com to figure out the difference between a single step starter and either a two or three step starter. With washed yeast, depending on how much slurry you use, you could save significant money on DME that way.

I also get my grain in bulk, easily paying less than half (per sack) that the HBS' typically charge.

Buy your hops in larger amounts, or when on sale/special, and you can save there too.

Personally, I look to save costs where it makes sense. I'm not brewing to make cheap beer, I'm brewing to make GREAT beer that you cannot buy for even ten times the price (or more). Since I'm spending under $1/pint, it's not easy to match the quality (per cost).

If you want to save on gear, do more yourself. Making a keggle is a good start. Or converting that <$50 aluminum pot (15 gallons) into a kettle.

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Old 12-07-2012, 06:59 PM   #8
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For starters, I use boiled down second runnings from my MLT and freeze. Sure it saves only a buck or so but it is quick and easy.

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Old 12-07-2012, 07:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ILoveBeer2 View Post
For starters, I use boiled down second runnings from my MLT and freeze. Sure it saves only a buck or so but it is quick and easy.
If you have the freezer space at least... I don't have that much spare freezer space. My food fridge has *gasp* food in it (and yeast vials soon). The freezer in my brew fridge is full of hops.
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Old 12-07-2012, 07:04 PM   #10
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I filter & reuse 1 gallon jugs of starsan & PBW. I've got some extra yeast packets in the fridge I didn't use before. Partial Mash costs me $25 on average compared to $35-$50 on extract beers. I just bought 5lbs of grains for another batch for $8.42. I can get plain light DME local for $13 per 3lb bag. An 1.5-1.7kg can of LME is $18.35 by comparison.
I bought a pound of 5 varieties of NZ hops when midwest had'em on sale. And my equipment has already paid for itself.
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