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Old 11-16-2012, 03:48 PM   #1
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Default The Cost of Brewing Suggestions to Save $

So obviously we all like to make the best beer possible for the least amount of money. I was wondering what suggestions people have that allow people to brew great beer in a cost effective manner. For example I just started to keep my own yeast library and am now washing yeast. I also started an inventory in beersmith so that I only order what I truly need without any extras.

What are some things that you folks do?

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:53 PM   #2
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I have a wife that keeps my costs in check.....

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Old 11-16-2012, 03:57 PM   #3
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Go all grain, and get in on group grain buys. Cost per pound gets really low when you do that. I'm just talking ingredients here, not hardware.

I've washed yeast in the past, and am getting ready to try freezing some for long term storage. It's a private collection strain from Wyeast that won't be offered at least through the end of the year. I have some I reserved from the last starter I made, made another starter with the reserved bit, that should be good for freezing (once I mix up the glycerine solution) as well as reserving in the fridge.

Buy hops when on sale, or in bulk too. Price for a full pound bag (online) is typically a lot better than getting the one ounce bag at the LHBS. There are some HBS' that offer 4oz and 1 pound bags too (Farmhouse for one).

Personally, I've been much happier since getting in on bulk grain buys, buying hops either on sale (as much as possible) or in bulk, and having a grain mill/crusher at home. I simply crush the grain on brew day, not even an hour before I'm mashing (also means I'm not tied to a LHBS/HBS for getting good crush, or having what I want to use). It doesn't take much effort to properly store the grain either. You can leave the sacks as they are, when not opened, and go with 5 gallon buckets to store it. Or you can get sealing barrels (make sure you can lift it when full of grain), vittle vaults, or get gamma lids for your buckets. I'm using all of those. I've added gamma lids to my 5 gallon buckets, have two vittle vaults, and four 14 gallon plastic (HDPE) barrels for grain storage. It's important to keep critters/bugs out of the grain, as well as moisture. With that taken care of, you should run out of grain long before it goes south.

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Old 11-16-2012, 04:19 PM   #4
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Buy base malt by the sack, hops by the pound, and wash or farm yeast.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:12 PM   #5
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Buy bulk if you can. Helps to find a few people to help pay for a sack if you dont brew often enough. I repackage bulk DME into 1 gallon ziplock bags, just like the LHBS, and sell at cost. This helps keep stock fresh also.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:26 PM   #6
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Bulk Bulk Bulk!

I get 50 lb bags of grain from a local brewery for $35. All my hops come from hops direct at ~$10 a pound. I get all of my water from a local spring. Take all of this into consideration and 10 gallons of beer (ingredients only) can be as cheap as $30.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
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i have a wife that keeps my costs in check.....
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:32 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhhicks View Post
I have a wife that keeps my costs in check.....
Still single, so it's all on me... Buying in bulk, one or two times a year, gives large cost savings. You just need the space to store what you get until you go through it. I have a freezer [almost] full of hops (the one above my kegs). I have enough grain on hand to brew several more batches. I should be getting low right around the time of the next group grain purchase.
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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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Fermenting
K1:
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Old 11-16-2012, 05:41 PM   #9
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I'm sure there are people out there who really save money buying in bulk, but I don't think I've met them. Everyone I know ends up brewing extra "leftover" beers a couple times per year just to clear out inventory. While their "per beer" price goes down, they end up brewing extra random beers they wouldn't have otherwise. That isn't a bad thing, but it is kinda like your wife going shopping and "saving" money buying a bunch of stuff on sale.

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Old 11-16-2012, 05:57 PM   #10
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Quote:
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I'm sure there are people out there who really save money buying in bulk, but I don't think I've met them. Everyone I know ends up brewing extra "leftover" beers a couple times per year just to clear out inventory. While their "per beer" price goes down, they end up brewing extra random beers they wouldn't have otherwise. That isn't a bad thing, but it is kinda like your wife going shopping and "saving" money buying a bunch of stuff on sale.
But if they are going to drink all the beer it just offsets batches they would have made off the next bulk purchase or beer they would have bought from the store.
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