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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Extract Kit or Buy Individual Ingredients
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Old 01-28-2013, 08:46 PM   #1
bolus14
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Default Extract Kit or Buy Individual Ingredients

Just wondering what most on here do, do you buy kits or do you buy your extracts, grains, hops, yeast separately? Do you buy online or from LHBS?

I'm asking from both a cost perspective and availability perspective. Do you find it easier/better to buy everything separately or just get kits, especially if you only brew once a month or so. I've just gotten into brewing, only have one brew under my belt and that has went well, just having trouble making the time for it.

I have the White House Ale kit and am hoping to brew that this Saturday. After that I would like to do a Saison, possibly a Sarachi Ace Saison. I've only found one kit online at that's $37.99 without yeast. I'm thinking I can get everything cheaper especially since that kit is for a clone, which I'm sure they have to pay something back to Brooklyn for use of their name, etc.

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Old 01-28-2013, 08:51 PM   #2
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I brew kits, mainly from Midwest and Northern Brewer, but also a few from Ritebrew and some from my local shop Brewers Best kits. Most of them, not including shipping, are right around $30 for your "average" beer. Tried pricing out individual ingredients vs kits and kits seemed cheaper and easier and I've been happy with almost all of them. Real savings are in all grain brewing, recipes or kits, I think, due to lack if extract prices.

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:12 PM   #3
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I've found significant savings by buying both hops and DME in bulk on the web.

On sale, I can get a 50-lb bag of DME (enough for 6-8 batches) delivered for about $130, or $2.60 a pound - LHBS sells it for $5 to $5.50 a pound. I can also get 1 lb. bags of hop pellets for around $16, so $1 an ounce... versus $3 an ounce at LHBS.

Put those together, set up your brewing schedule so you can re-use yeast once or twice, and 5 gallons of a decently high-gravity brew can be yours for $25-$30.

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Old 01-28-2013, 10:17 PM   #4
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If you can find the exact recipe you are looking for Brewmasterswarehouse.com has a great recipe builder. I used it for my last batch.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:25 AM   #5
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Thanks. It's not really the money savings that I'm was looking for, although the more I save the better

It's more about the convenience of I can order a kit online and the only thing I question is the yeast, do I order more, different type than what the kit offers, etc. The downside to this is I don't feel as though I'm learning as much about the process and what's really going on. Therefore limiting my ability to create my own recipes or modify others to my liking. This is the main reason I wanted to get into home brewing, to be able to brew the type of beer I want when I want it and make it less hoppy, more hoppy, sweeter, drier, etc. I also love strong dark belgians and the cost for these where I live is high, so if I could make something even close to what's available that would be my money saver.

I have two LHBS close by, one is about 5 miles away the other around 10. One is a regional shop so some of their prices are great compared to online + shipping, others you can tell there padding a little bit to make a better profit. The other shop is basically a store out of a guys garage, although he gets great reviews by everyone I talk to, one of the owners of a local brewery actually recommended this guy over the other shop.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:34 AM   #6
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Freshness is my biggest concern. I normally use northern brewer cause all the ingredients are always very fresh from them. If you can find a lhbs that turns their inventory regularly, that is best case scenario.

Using kits for a while will help you learn the basics and you can start tweaking from there.

Invest in a 2L yeast starter kit for making those big belgians and focus your learning in the yeast starter area.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:34 AM   #7
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I've had good luck with kits, and they have most styles available. Yeast has never been a problem, always matched to style, especially the liquid option. You can tweak the kits to taste as well, that's what I do.

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Old 01-29-2013, 02:59 AM   #8
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I'm at 25 or so batches right now. It's been a fun ride for sure! All have been extract all have been kits. I've used every major online dealer out there. I will say there is a difference in quality between them.

I find that my time is valuable. I love brewing. I brew twice a month. I have a duel tap kegorator. I love comming home after a long day and pulling a nice pint. It's ok to experiment but I would hold off until a few more brews under your belt. Refine your equipment and fermentation with a couple of good solid standard beers. Then take it where you want to.

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Old 01-30-2013, 04:39 PM   #9
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I have used kits from a LHBS and online sources. I like the kits because they usually get me in the ball park for the style of beer I want to brew. After I decide on a kit I sometimes add or change ingredients to get what I am experimenting with for that style; if I change anything at all.

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Old 01-30-2013, 05:23 PM   #10
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For me it depends on the style. Kits are usually fine but since they tend to sit on shelves (sometimes for quite a while) they always come with dry yeast so I wouldn't use a kit for a style that has strong yeast characteristics (abbey style Belgians, wheat beers, etc). Or else I'd buy some liquid yeast to go along with the kit.

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