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Old 06-23-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
jmprdood
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Default Cheapest to-style beer I could brew

Before anyone starts hating, today I wanted to see what was the least expensive full batch of brew I could make that was to BJCP style. So, not just cheap - but good beer. What's the point of saving a couple of pennies if you can't drink it and enjoy it.

A couple of points up front; I do BIAB in my apartment on a hotplate (I don't have a kitchen. See this thread on my process; http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f14/1st-biab-if-i-can-you-can-309912/ ) so a full batch for me is 4.5G or 36 pints. All costs are what I paid to my door; taxes, shipping and everything else included. I bought grain in a group buy and online, hops online and yeast from ebay (I know some of you don't like the Muntons, but it was the least expensive for this experiment). Lastly, cheap means how much per pint. So with that understood, off we go.

I decided to brew a simple Blonde Ale. I worked out the recipe on Brewer's Friend to make sure it was to BJCP style for a Blonde Ale. The recipe and process was:

BIAB Blonde Ale
Brewed 23 Jun 12 : Bottled??
7lb American Pale; 4oz Carapils; 2oz C-60
Ground fine and mashed @152 for 60min in 10qts water (preboil = 2.75G @ 1072 for 75% efficiency)
Boiled 45 min; .5oz Nugget @45; .5oz Cascade @15
Cooled wort, strained into fermenter and topped to 4.5G; Pitched Muntons yeast @ 60F
OG = 1.045 IBU = 27
Anticipated Values; FG = 1.010? ABV = 4.3?%

Cost break down:
7lb American Pale Malt @ .77 per lb = $5.39
4oz Carapils @ .12 per oz($1.89 per lb) = .48
2oz C-60 @ .05 per oz(.77 per lb) = .10
.5oz Nugget Hops @.66 per oz = .33
.5oz Cascade Hops @.66 per oz = .33
Munton and Fison Yeast @.79 = .79
Total cost $7.42

So, 36 pints for $7.42 or >.21 a pint.

Gotta love this hobby!

Cheers all!

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Old 06-23-2012, 07:36 PM   #2
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How about the cost of your bottles, cleaning supplies used,sanitation, electricity, water etc.? Not trying to be a pain, but to truly know the cost per pint, you would need to include your overhead. Regardless, that is amazingly inexpensive per pint!
Cheers, brewing brother!

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Old 06-23-2012, 07:40 PM   #3
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Nobodies hating... That's a totally legitimate question. I think a Mild would be hard to beat with its low alcohol and hops, and rich malty flavor.

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Old 06-23-2012, 07:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmprdood View Post
Before anyone starts hating, today I wanted to see what was the least expensive full batch of brew I could make that was to BJCP style. So, not just cheap - but good beer. What's the point of saving a couple of pennies if you can't drink it and enjoy it.
First off, and not "hating", there are many, many, many great beers that are not to any BJCP styles. Stone Arrogant Bastard for example, is quite popular and doesn't fit a style other than 23. Any and all Black IPAs (or whatever you want to call them) are out of BJCP style, regardless of how great they are, since there isn't a BJCP style as of yet to cover it, again other than 23.

Back to your question, though. You could brew 6 gallons of a good Berliner Weisse for about $5, depending on where you get your grain and how adventurous you are. Since I buy my grain and hops in bulk the prices may be cheaper than what you will find at your LHBS. Nevertheless, here's the break down:

4# Pilsner malt - $2.68
3.5# white wheat malt - $1.86
20g Hersbrucker (4%AA) - ~$0.63
~.5# 2-row (for sour worting) - $0.26

Total cost: $5.43

After souring for 1-2 days at ~100-110F, then boiling for 15 minutes, I covered the BK with cheesecloth and left outside overnight. The wort was then inoculated with wild (and free) yeast. Rack to a carboy in the morning and spontaneously ferment your Berliner Weisse!

Since this recipe was for 6 gallons, your 4.5g could be even cheaper. Good luck!

PS. Most low SG beers will be cheap. Try a Mild, Ordinary Bitter, or 60 Schilling.
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:51 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by barrooze

First off, and not "hating", there are many, many, many great beers that are not to any BJCP styles. Stone Arrogant Bastard for example, is quite popular and doesn't fit a style other than 23. Any and all Black IPAs (or whatever you want to call them) are out of BJCP style, regardless of how great they are, since there isn't a BJCP style as of yet to cover it, again other than 23.

Back to your question, though. You could brew 6 gallons of a good Berliner Weisse for about $5, depending on where you get your grain and how adventurous you are. Since I buy my grain and hops in bulk the prices may be cheaper than what you will find at your LHBS. Nevertheless, here's the break down:

4# Pilsner malt - $2.68
3.5# white wheat malt - $1.86
20g Hersbrucker (4%AA) - ~$0.63
~.5# 2-row (for sour worting) - $0.26

Total cost: $5.43

After souring for 1-2 days at ~100-110F, then boiling for 15 minutes, I covered the BK with cheesecloth and left outside overnight. The wort was then inoculated with wild (and free) yeast. Rack to a carboy in the morning and spontaneously ferment your Berliner Weisse!

Since this recipe was for 6 gallons, your 4.5g could be even cheaper. Good luck!

PS. Most low SG beers will be cheap. Try a Mild, Ordinary Bitter, or 60 Schilling.
How did you culture your wild yeast?
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Old 06-23-2012, 07:55 PM   #6
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Legit questions about energy, water and what not - but all that is included in my rent so I pay it if I brew or not. My fermenter was >$10 and I've used it 20 times. Expendables would add a fraction of a cent per pint as well, bottles and that would do the same.

So with all the variables I only worried about ingredient costs - if most of the guys out there figured in the costs of their brewstands, keezers, kegs, man-caves etc etc....it would be mind boggling what they spend on a pint.

I was just after this point in time for a batch.
Cheers!

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Old 06-23-2012, 07:58 PM   #7
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I'd say the wild yeast thing is a stretch for most...I wanted results that can be consistently duplicated.

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Old 06-23-2012, 08:02 PM   #8
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I would have to say nice job jmprdood! Will share your post with a buddy that sold all of his gear because he moved into a condo in Miami...you will certainly inspire him to kick himself!
Cheers no haters.

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Old 06-23-2012, 08:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmprdood
I'd say the wild yeast thing is a stretch for most...I wanted results that can be consistently duplicated.
From a purely capital view it is cheap, but a Berliner takes many months to be ready to drink.. I don't think that's what was in mind.
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Old 06-23-2012, 08:25 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joety View Post
How did you culture your wild yeast?
After boiling and cooling, I leave my wort in the BK, cover the open top with cheesecloth (others use paint strainer bags), and leave outside overnight. Saccharomyces like tree bark, so if you have a tree you could put it under, that may give you interesting results. I put mine under my rose bushes. Sure, YMMV, but it's still fun and cheap!
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