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Old 11-06-2006, 11:15 AM   #1
britishbloke
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Default Any cheaper alternatives to brewing?

Bought a kit from my local Wine and Hop shop.

The kit is a Dunkleweiss beer and had alot of malt and some dry malt extract along with some grain to steep in cold water. The instructions never mentioned when to add the dry malt so I hope adding it in with the regular malt was a good idea, anyways..

Im wondering why it costs so much for the kit: 40 dollars for everything, plus energy making it, etc.

Looking at the ingredients it should only cost about 15 bucks to get. Anyone else buy these kits? Or is it just a gimmick for them to make a quick buck?

Anquiring minds would like to know.

-Tom

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Old 11-06-2006, 11:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by britishbloke
Bought a kit from my local Wine and Hop shop.

The kit is a Dunkleweiss beer and had alot of malt and some dry malt extract along with some grain to steep in cold water. The instructions never mentioned when to add the dry malt so I hope adding it in with the regular malt was a good idea, anyways..

Im wondering why it costs so much for the kit: 40 dollars for everything, plus energy making it, etc.

Looking at the ingredients it should only cost about 15 bucks to get. Anyone else buy these kits? Or is it just a gimmick for them to make a quick buck?

Anquiring minds would like to know.

-Tom
When you acquire the space, experience, and willingness to put in the time, go all-grain. You'll save a lot of money, apparently. Malt extracts can be pricey, but buying the grain in large enough quantities is very cost-effective.

Also, the energy required to make it is (to me) one of the parts that makes the hobby so satisfying.

Consider what you'd spend on two cases of good beer. If it's more than $40, then you're saving money anyway.
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Old 11-06-2006, 12:06 PM   #3
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Yeah it seems that the malt is the pricey part.

Hmmmmm I am looking into and trying to understand the whole mash tun deal.
Thats what makes the barley into malt from what I understand.

Im making a cheap version of Cider which only costed around 30 bucks.

Im in college so its a little harder for me to be able to spend money on buying kits.

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Old 11-06-2006, 12:36 PM   #4
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Some ways to reduce costs:

Use dry yeast and/or harvest and reuse yeast. (Dry yeast is cheap, so not much sense in bothering to harvest and save it).

Buy malt extract in bulk from a high-volume dealer like Northern Brewer, Morebeer.com, or Austin Homebrew Supply, instead of kits or LME in a can. DME has several advantages, but costs a bit more. Fresh LME can make very good beer though--the freshness makes a big difference.

Don't buy kits: you'll save a few bucks just by putting the ingredients together yourself.

If you have some freezer space, you can buy hops in larger quantities and save quite a bit of the prices HBSs charge.

And finally, the way to save the most on the ingredients for brewing is to go all-grain. BUt this does require an initial investmment in equipment, it means a lot more gear to store, and a brew session will take roughly 3 or 4 times longer than for extract.

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Old 11-06-2006, 01:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by britishbloke
Yeah it seems that the malt is the pricey part.

Hmmmmm I am looking into and trying to understand the whole mash tun deal.
Thats what makes the barley into malt from what I understand.

Im making a cheap version of Cider which only costed around 30 bucks.

Im in college so its a little harder for me to be able to spend money on buying kits.
Plain ol' barley is converted to malted barley by the process of malting, which is done before you even buy the grain. Basically, the grain is germinated to a point and then dried. What you see in the homebrew shop is malted barley.

A mash tun is a vessel used during brewing to "rinse" the sugars out of the malted barley.
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Old 11-06-2006, 01:54 PM   #6
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$40 for a kit seems a bit expensive to me. Perhaps you should shop around a bit more.

I'm also a bit confused by the grains to be steeped in cold water?? They specifically told you cold water? It should be more like 150-160F water, correct?

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Old 11-06-2006, 02:01 PM   #7
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Since malt is the biggest part of the cost, the higher the gravity, the higher the cost. If $40 + some energy gives you 40 pints, that's much better than anything except BMC (or whatever the yellow fizz is called in the UK).

If you're just looking for maximum alcohol for the money, you can add a lot of table sugar to cider (2 kg per 19 liters) and almost double the ABV. Ferment it at the cool end of the temperature range & it won't be too harsh.

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Old 11-06-2006, 03:36 PM   #8
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Walker, care to start this up again?

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Old 11-06-2006, 04:04 PM   #9
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All grain ingredients are cheaper, but you have to be careful calling all grain brewing cheaper altogether. If you find some rock bottom deals on equipment, you can save a ton of money doing AG brews. However, it's gonna take me a year or more before I make up the cost of equipment overhead by brewing AG. That said, I find it much more enjoyable than extract brewing, so it was worth the initial investment.

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Old 11-06-2006, 04:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cweston
Don't buy kits: you'll save a few bucks just by putting the ingredients together yourself.
I know this is conventional wisdom, but it seems like I always end up spending 10 dollars more when I make my own recipe rather than using a kit. it's because I hop it up, or make a bigger beer, but the end result is that I spend more.

$40 is pretty high for a kit, though.
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