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Old 05-20-2012, 04:13 AM   #1
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Default inventory stock question

Just how much does the causual brewer keep on hand for last minute brewing and planned brew day? FYI- I do both extract and AG.

I almost always just went to the LHBS and got what I need for that particular brewday and recipe. Now I am trying to keep more stuff in case I want to brew last minute or when the store is closed.
I keep several lbs DME of different types and several dry yeast packs but not much else in the way of ingrediants. Today I went to the LHBS and strocked up on several packets of different hops and more variants of yeast. Decided against ukeeping LME as its messy and I will do some partial grain with the dme. Also bought several pounds of basic grains, from maris otter to plain 2row and some pilsner. I plan to try brewing just a gallon at a time for a few times just to experiment. What types of specility grains should I try to keep and what about crystal malts? Anothr question is recipes, I can cut the normal 5 gal batch numbers down but not sure about how to get the amount of hopsdown to acceptable level. thanks for your input.

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Old 05-20-2012, 04:34 AM   #2
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Stock the stuff you need for every single brew. I mean star san, PBW, iodine, whirlfloc, etc. Ingredients that your LHBS might not have next month, stock up.

Crystal 60? Marris Otter? Let the LHBS store it and mill it for you. That's what they're there for.

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Old 05-20-2012, 05:58 AM   #3
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I keep all the cleaners, additives, caps, gadgets and chemicals as I have been doing this for a while now. The LHBS is too far away and closed early in the evenings. I want enough stuff if someone comes by and wants to see how its done I can show them or if I just want to brew on the spur of the moment I can. I am just wondering what others keep in their brew inventory, maybe like their favorite general brewing strain of yeast or hops?

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:12 AM   #4
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I'd love to buy grain in bulk and just keep it around. I typically buy base malt in 10 lb bags (I might as well move up to 55 lb sacks) and my normal LHBS only sells specialty grain by the pound (although I do occasionally shop at a few other shops that are a little further away that do bulk), so I often have a few pounds of any given base malt around and at least a couple ounces of a number of specialty grains around. Every 6 months or so I do a cleanup beer to use up whatever specialty grains have been sitting the longest. I'm very limited on fridge and freezer space, so I typically only buy yeast or hops shortly before I plan on using them. I do however, keep a regular stock of all the general supplies- Star-San, PBW, Irish moss, yeast nutrient, water salts.

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Old 05-20-2012, 06:46 PM   #5
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I buy grains by the (55lb) bag and can fill 2, 5 gallon paint buckets with it. I guess if you want some of the specialty grains in stock you could buy some 1 gallon buckets as long as you get some with lids.

I would keep base malt, a crystal for hops, buy some that you use often in bulk. Farmhousebrewing supply sells hops in 4oz increments witch is nice. Then maybe keep a few packs of notty around because its a pretty good all purpose, maybe S-05 as well.

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Old 05-20-2012, 07:01 PM   #6
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For spur of the moment brewing keep an extra grain bill (or even 2) crushed and ready to go. As a casual brewer it just doesn't make sense to keep every grain you might want to use around the house. Crushed grain will keep for months.

If you have no monetary limitations, no issues with space or finding time for your hobby you are truly blessed.

I have thrown out grains, hops and yeast that I never got around to using. I have had batches that sucked due to using ingredients that weren't fresh. I have spent hours planning, organizing and cleaning that I could have spent brewing more often. In my experience it is more expensive and less convenient to buy in bulk.

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Old 05-20-2012, 07:49 PM   #7
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Once I stepped up to brewing 12 gallon batches, it only made sense to get my own mill and buy grains in bulk. You pay $.50 on the dollar by buying a 55# bag as compared to 1-5# at a time from the LHBS. Our club does bulk grain buys once or twice a year.

To answer the original question I typically try to keep the following on hand in larger quantities 25+ pounds worth:
2-Row
Marris Otter
Munich
Pilsner
Wheat

In lesser quantities ~10-20#:
20L
60-80L
Rye
Chocolate
Black Patent
Roasted Barley

Hops:
Northern Brewer
Centennial
Columbus
Mt. Hood
Amarillo

Yeast:
I usually have a slurry of 1056 on hand
SO5
SO4
Any other specialty yeast I'll get before the brew day.

I do have to buy the occasional hops or a pound or two of specialty malts from the LHBS for different recipes but I can brew a lot of different beers on a whim with what I keep on hand. It may sound like a lot of grain, and it is, but 12 gallon batches average 22-30# per batch so you can burn through it pretty quickly.

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Old 05-20-2012, 07:56 PM   #8
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My logistics are determined by the fact that there's no (real) LHBS in this area.....so I rely on the Internet for most of my shopping.

The other big factor is that I do the bulk of my brewing in the Spring and the Fall, total maybe 12-15 batches a year. So there are two large online orders each year, each including a 55 lb. bag of 2-row, with occasional supplements if I get motivated to finish a brew season with something different.

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Old 05-20-2012, 08:07 PM   #9
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I have no close LHBS, so I tend to shop in bulk and can brew on a whim whenever I want.

I have maris otter, Munich malt, US 2 row, Vienna, and pilsner malt on hand.

I also have crystal: 10L, 20L, 40L, 60L, 80L, 120L and caramunich and other cara- malts like dark Simpson's and light Simpson's.

I have acid malt (always, for pH adjustments), black malt, roasted barley, victory, biscuit, and chocolate malt plus other items like torrified wheat, flaked barley, oats, flaked corn, etc.

I have about 13 pounds of hops in my freezer.

It's overkill, probably. But I almost always have what I need. I brew twice per month, more or less.

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Old 05-20-2012, 09:24 PM   #10
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The OP is brewing 1 gallon batches. Let's say he brews twice a week, every week. 104 Gallons per year.

With 2 lbs per gallon you save $1 per batch. A decent mill costs around $200 plus. If you don't consider the cost of time, space in your home and your labor you will start to save a few dollars in around 2 years.

For hops you will use 1 oz per gallon and save yourself another $0.50 by buying in bulk. That's $52 per year savings! Except that 7 lbs of hops will take up most of your fridges freezer which costs $20-25 per year to run. Are you buying a second freezer or evicting your icecream and frozen veg?

Also consider that if everyone thought like this your LHBS will go out of business. Is that worth saving $30 per year?

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