Poll: What is your investment in homebrewing?
How much money have you invested in homebrewing?
What is your most expensive piece of equipment?
(It would be interesting to note if there is any correlation between the amount invested and the quality of the brew. Quality would most likely be more related to years of experience as would the amount spent.)
Around $1,000 in equipment and where I am right now I can comfortably brew 11 gallon batches as often as I like and bottle the proceeds. If you look at the cost savings of the IPAs and stouts I brew versus buying a similar product at the store I am actually down to about $500 in total investment so far and that will go down to about $0 after another year unless I feel the need to upgrade any equipment (which I don't).
I have been hesitant to add it up. I started in November, and I am guessing that I am close to 2000 (excluding ingredients) with more to go. I still need a fermentation chamber (and keezer dispensing may get added). Hope to be done soon. And I am probably on the low side compared to all of the fancy builds that I see out there....but this hobby takes a lot of equipment.
I never did this to save money though. I needed a hobby...and this one seemed logical. Love it so far, and still cheaper than golf in the long run.
4 corny kegs
5 6.5 gallon carboys
1 5 gallon carboy
8 gallon brew kettle (5 gallon batches)
22 quart brew kettle (small batches indoors)
Camp Chef propane burner
CO2 regulator and 5 pound CO2 tank
bottling supplies (capper, cleaner, vinator, caps, brush, spring loaded dispenser)
corny attachments and hoses
cleaning and sanitizer supplies
autosiphon (large and small)
stoppers / airlocks / mesh bags / o-rings for cornys /
Carboy handles / Carboy carriers
Bottling Bucket and spigots
Yeast stirrer with flask
Drill for barley crusher
I'm somewhere under $5k. I've never actually thought to stop and add it up. It wasn't all in one shot, like any hobby a little bit here, a little bit there. Quality isn't necessarily equal to the amount spent. Proper technique and sanitation is a must and will go much farther in producing quality beer than expensive equipment. You can buy the most expensive sports car out there - if you don't know how to drive stick or corner properly, you're going to get beat by the better driver. Likewise, you can make crappy, off-flavored beer using a Sabco.
If I had to pick the single largest expense to-date, I'd say it was switching to kegging. A dozen kegs, building a keezer and the associated tap system, and the fact that it made my bottles and bottling supplies surplus. (Although I did find a buyer for them on craigslist.) That said, it was arguably the best process improvement I could have made - eliminating the effort of dealing with many cases of bottles. Over time, it has paid for itself.
I'm at <$500 but only because I'm doing extracts right now. I've probably only spend around $200 on equipment in TOTAL! However I plan on doing all grain soon and I've slowly been collecting the few extra additions that I need. Also, I don't keg and don't plan on it because I like to put my beer in bombers, champange bottles, and those fancy Belgian bottles with the corks!
What I have for about $200
1 6.5 glass carboy
1 6.5 fermenting bucket
1 borrowed 5.5 gallon glass carboy
1 3 gallon SS kettle
2 spray bottles. 1 for Star San, 1 for Water
1 flask for hydrometer readings
3 or 4 bungs
3 or 4 airlocks
1 bottling bucket
1 bottling wand
3 or 4 filter bags/muslin bags/ strainers
1 (crappy) wine thief (it's to short for my 6.5 carboy)
lots of caps
3 brushes of various sizes for cleaning
72 quart converted coleman xtreme cooler for 10+ gallon batch mash tun (the cooler was a gift, the hardware I bought)
Things I got for free through reuse:
1 1 gallon glass jug (for yeast starters and small brews)
2 1/2 gallon glass jugs (yeast starters)
All my bottles
Eye Dropper for saving yeast
Things that I need to buy to go all grain:
stir plate (I'll build mine)
15 gallon kettle (looking for a sanke or the boilermaker)
propane burner and attachments
1 or 2 more fermenting buckets
mash paddle (I'll try to make this as well)
I may be missing a few things for what I need to go AG but I'm getting equipment for 10+ gallon batches so that I don't have to upgrade in the future. Plus I may buy pumps to make the lautering process and the moving of wort easier but that would be a luxury that will have to wait!
I guess if we're not talking ingredients, just "stuff" related to brewing, I'm probably around 2 grand. I built a keezer last spring, that when all was said and done, probably cost me around a grand for everything. By brewing system is really pretty ghetto- Turkey fryer and cooler for outdoors, and I also do indoor stovetop small batch ag brewing often too. But I just have accumulated a lot of "stuff" over the years, to aid in my process, and made a bunch of things.
I have probably a dozen fermenters of various sizes for instance. I have a 5 gallon oak barrel. I have a refractometer, I have probably a half dozen or more thermometers, 3 hydrometers....I have three autosiphons. I have three ebay temp controllers, one on my keezer and two wired modules for temp control of fermenters (and even when I cook sous vide) I even have a couple coffee urns that I use when I'm doing stove top ag to heat strike water that I got from the salvation army, that sometime I'm going to turn it into a small batch rims or herms system.
For years I always bought brewing stuff for myself for Christmas....But this year I couldn't really come up with anything that I felt like I really needed or had to run out an get, though I want a floor corker for wine and champagne bottles and probably down the line a ph meter, (but I haven't played with PH in all these years, so it's not a priority.)
Actually this year my gifts to myself have been all Chracuterie related; a bunch of little odds and ends to cure meat and make sausage, I just for example picked up from Granger on my way to work a humidity controller, just like an ebay temp controller but it fires a humidifier when it reaches a certain set point. I also bought a cheap ultrasonic humidifier to hook up to it, and a hygrometer. Plus a bunch of plumbing parts and a larger aquarium pump for a cold smoker.
Equipment only - about $1700. This includes plumbing on my porch for a sink, wooden stand with 2 burners and a cooler tun. And my newest addition - a fermentation chamber big enough for 3 carboys.
Ingredients = another $1000
34 batches so far. With enough grain and hops for 6 or 7 more.
Which means I need to amortize those fixed costs a little better. (aka, brew more, buy less)
I thought I was doing pretty good at just under $500, which includes a keggle that's only used a few times a year, a mill, and a few gifts. But then I rememered my 17 fermenters and had to tack on another $350. With some incidentals like tubing and hydrometers that get replaced from time to time I'm sitting at about a grand.
I'd say around 2 grand..I have a couple chest freezers (lager and fermenting), a kegerator w/ 10 kegs and all the hardware for a two tap system. I have a bunch of plastic buckets and better bottles for fermenting. A keggle and burner and with all the other odds and ends, mash tun, a couple SS kettles etc. I would say around $2000..Maybe a bit more.
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