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Old 07-29-2012, 07:18 AM   #1
lousybeer
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Default Brewer on a budget

Hi all,

I have done some extract brewing, but want to move to all grain. Ive noticed there is a noticeable startup cost for all grain. I'm sure others are in my position and brewers on a budget. I can't afford all the fancy equipment.

I would like to make 5-6 gallon batches. I plan to use an old cooler to make my mash tun. I still need a good size kettle, I'm thinking 10 gallon aluminum. I was thinking of making an immersion wort chiller but looking at the parts at my local hardware store the difference in making my own and buying one doesn't seem like that much of a difference. 20' of copper tubing is already $25. And the cost of bottling is cheaper than kegging. I've heard of people buying bulk grains but where do they get it from?

Can people share their methods of saving money on their brewing?

thanks in advance for your input.

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:36 AM   #2
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LousyBeer the answers are clear
But a few things we must know if you want good beer.
Add to your profile your age and location.
And not necessary but you could add a vocation.
Other wise some might think you are underage.
And with this thought will not give you a gage (advice)

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Old 07-29-2012, 09:21 AM   #3
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You could look into brew in a bag. I do that and just have a big 9.5gal pot & a jumbo bag. Buying a chiller is the way to go. There are a lot of potential sources for bulk grains (but then you'll need a mill). BrewBrothers.biz just sent me some but the usual suspects are Northern Brewer, More Beer, Farmhouse Brewing Supply, Austin Homebrew, etc should all be viable options as well.

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Old 07-29-2012, 10:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beerandloathinginaustin View Post
You could look into brew in a bag. I do that and just have a big 9.5gal pot & a jumbo bag. Buying a chiller is the way to go. There are a lot of potential sources for bulk grains (but then you'll need a mill). BrewBrothers.biz just sent me some but the usual suspects are Northern Brewer, More Beer, Farmhouse Brewing Supply, Austin Homebrew, etc should all be viable options as well.
Brew in a bag is the way to go for cost - don't need to buy a mashtun.

As for bulk grains, check with your local homebrew store and see if they'll give you a deal if you buy by the bag. Even without buying in bulk, though, it will be less expensive than extract.
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Old 07-29-2012, 01:59 PM   #5
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Lousy,
I too am on a pensioners budget, so I look carefully at CL, Ebay and Amazon for the best deals. I also tend to repurpose as much as I can and buy as little as I can get away with. I have had to buy fittings, hose and other supplies, but have really saved a few bucks by accepting the fact that I am not going to build a super show brew stand with a lot of bling and geee whizz factor. I have nearly completed a 3 tier stand with two burners and I am designing my own micro-controller automation system for pretty cheap. I use Wal mart burners, and cheap coolers for my mash tun, as well as aluminum kettles instead of stainless. I have done all of my own sheet metal, building, welding and electronics to save the coins of buying it premade. So far I have about 500.00 invested in all of it and it should be worth well over 2000 whan I am done. I also realize I will never sell it for even what I have invested, but thats just the way it goes. For me it is a personal conquest of the various technologies involved for my own satisfaction. Patience and prior planning will help, but it is a bit of a hump to get over initially for all of us on a budget. So far I have been working on this project since Dec 22nd, 2011 and hope to finish it this year by Christmas maybe.
Wheelchair Bob

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Old 07-29-2012, 02:11 PM   #6
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Their is not much start up cost to going AG. Most of us make our brewing rigs over time. You need to start looking for keggels and then you have to buy a weld-less ball valve. Make your brew kettel first, then all the other stuff comes later. Side note, I wish I could go back in time and not have spent the money on an IC, because by the end I had spent the same amount as a plate chiller, same thing with the cooler MLT, lots of cost to make it then later a keggel is my MLT and the cooler is wasted money. It's not a lot of money if you spaced it out over five years.

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Old 07-29-2012, 02:20 PM   #7
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I think the least equipment intensive way to get into all grain would be Deathbrewer's Easy Stovetop All Grain Brewing.

Bulk buys are a great way to get a lot of one grain cheaply, but you'll save money just buying grains by the pound from an online vendor like Brewmaster's Warehouse.

Find a hop you like and order a pound from Hops Direct.

Use and reuse dry yeast. You can repitch slurry directly without making starters if you plan your batches back to back. I trust dry yeasts from Fermentis for at least three generations.

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Old 07-29-2012, 02:55 PM   #8
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If you have a local brew club, you need to start making conections with them. They may have used gear cheap. Older brewers like to see new blood and will help you out.

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Old 07-29-2012, 03:35 PM   #9
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I use two 12qt pots, mash in the oven. I lauter in a bottling bucket with a colander and a copper manifold. I boil in the same 12 qt pots on the stovetop. I cool in the bathtub.

My fermentation chamber is a big plastic tub with rope handles. I use 20# of ice to start and then rotate in one frozen water bottle every hour or two.

My only extravagance is my carboys. I refuse to ferment in plastic.

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