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Old 12-19-2006, 02:24 AM   #21
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I agree with RichBrewer, if your you are tryhing to "Cost Jusfity" a hobby it probaly isn't a hobby sounds more like a business decision. Another brewer related the bass boat analogy to me when I was thinking about going all grain. When my neighbor has a $15,000 boat in his drive way for his fishing hobby he uses a few times a year it makes $500.00 in all grain equipment pretty cheap.

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Originally Posted by RichBrewer
There are a lot of variables when it comes to the cost of going all grain so it's kind of an individual thing.
I can tell you what I save between grain and malt extract with each batch.
I buy my base malt (American 2 row) in a 55 pound sack. It costs me about 30 dollars or roughly 55 cents per pound. I use about 9 pounds or so in a batch. I don't buy specialty grains in bulk so figure about 2 pounds average at 1.50 per pound.
On grains alone I'm spending about 8 dollars or so. The equivalent in malt extract would be approximately 14 to 18 dollars depending on how much you use and if you use dry verses liquid extract. I'm guessing I'm saving about 6 or 7 dollars per batch.
Folks who brew extract check my numbers. I haven't purchased much extract lately and I could be off.
I honestly don't think I will ever pay off my AG equipment with the savings but brewing cheaper wasn't my primary reason for going AG. I love the hobby and the capability of having more control over my beers was worth the investment.
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Old 12-19-2006, 02:47 AM   #22
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I'm a poor college student so I don't have much money to spend on brewing ingredients or equipment. I use a 5 gal pot for a mash tun and heat it using my stove. I brew small four to eight Liter batches in order to avoid buying any more equipment. I crush grains with a rolling pin (takes time but gets a good crush). I can do step mashes in my 5 gal pot on my stove, I then pour the wort and grains into a makeshift lauter tun that consists of two 3 gal buckets nested inside eachother, one with a spigot, one with holes punched in the bottom for a false bottom. I ferment in two to four 4 Liter glass Carlo Rossi wine jugs that were free (found in recycling). For secondary I rack to more wine jugs. This is the cheapest system I was able to come up with, under 40 dollars for equipment plus the price of grain per batch. Some might say that brewing smaller batches is a handicap, but for the begininning brewer it allows for a brew day every week, which provides valuable experience.

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Old 12-19-2006, 02:58 AM   #23
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These are just some rough numbers, but likely close enough for merit:

Extract by the can (3.3 LME) = $12/can = $4/#
DME by the 3# bag = $10/bag = $3.33/#

Grain by the # = $1.50/#
Grain in bulk = $0.50/#

Hops by the 1oz freezer pack at LHBS = $1.50/oz
Hops by the 1oz from freshops.com = $0.75-0.85/oz

Check out Cheesefood's infamous caramel cream ale:
3# light dme = $10
3# wheat dme = $10
1# crystal 60 = $1.50
2oz hops = $3

Total cost extract version= $24.50

4.5# 2row = $6
3.5# wheat = $5.25
1# crystal = $1.50
2oz hops mail order = $3

Total AG retail cost = $15.75

4.5# 2row = $2.50
3.5# wheat = $2.00
1# crystal = $1.50
2oz hops = $1.60

Total bulk AG cost = $7.60

Now, $10-15/batch may not be a lot if you only brew 5 batches a year, but I brew almost every weekend, sometimes 2 per weekend.

Add a little reuse of yeast, and I'm looking at another $3-5 savings per batch.

My AG equipment cost me $330, but I got a lot more than just AG equipment. My guess is, if you got a pot big enough already to full boil 8 gallons down to a 5 or 5.5 gal batch, all you nead is a mash tun you can build for $30 + cooler. If the mash tun costs you even $100, you only need to brew 10 batches to make up for it. If you brew bigger batches or higher gravity batches, it'll be even less.

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Old 12-19-2006, 03:03 AM   #24
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Go AG and start buying in bulk.As far as equipment goes,for me anyways,the initial outlay for the basic kit(buckets,carboys,bottling stuff) was the biggest expense.The mash tun(cooler w/cork and ss hose sleeve),the kettle(SWMBO's 58qt. ss crab cooker pot),the immersion chiller(coil of copper tubing w/hoseclamps),all of these we had on hand.I did have to buy a mill(cheap porkert)but besides that,all my coin now goes into ingredients.Sure there's a ton of other cool stuff a guy can get but i'm content with my set-up........well,i wouldn't mind more carboys or 10-15 gal primaries.
Barley by the bag,hops by the lb.,dry yeast by the brick......Cheaper!Recipe possibilities,quality time with brew partner(SWMBO),great beer,sense of accomplishment.......Priceless!
Cheers

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Old 12-19-2006, 04:55 AM   #25
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I've probably invested about two hundred bucks in gear to go AG. Would have been more if BostonBrewin' wasn't such a great guy and sent me a keg to convert. But, between the parts to convert that, the mash tun, the burner, deposit on a propane tank, the chiller... yeah, about $200.
I did about the same. I have brewed about 12-14 all grain batches and I figure I am about half way to break even. Others have said that it just keeps going and some would say that I am an exception to that rule. I don't believe it. Personally, I have topped out on my wish list of equipment and goodies some months back. I have not desire for bigger kettles or bigger, better anything. I have no desire, nor room for a brew sculpture, RIMS, HERMS or any other setup.

Don't mistake. I have bought over the time I have been brewing, extract, partial mash and all grain several extras - stir plate, chest freezer and temp controler, built a ice bath chiller and so on. I use them all. (deep South - 100° days and 85° water) I would have bought these extras whether I continued doing only extract or partial mash.

I only bottle and never plan to keg. I like to bottle and I can't imagine wanting a tap in my small townhome. I did purchase a bottle tree, with a squirt sanitizer on top. I have a dedicated bottle washer on my hot water line in my garage with a drain under it.

Yeah, I have my goodies just the way I like it and no more. With what I have I can brew any beer I want and the challenge of the hobby for me is to brew to develop recipes I like, hone my skills to produce better products and develop my routine so that my technical control is as close to perfect as possible.

I know other brewers that have reached the comfort zone in equipment and technique that seldom add to their equipment. I know a couple of partial mash brewers that have been doing that for years and have no desire to go all grain.
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Old 12-19-2006, 05:01 AM   #26
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I'm sure I'll spend another couple hundred bucks in the next year. I imagine by next X-mas, I'll have some kind of kegging setup going. But, no rush other than the fact that bottling is kind of a PITA, and that's something I would consider doing regardless of whether I was extract or AG.

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Old 12-19-2006, 06:22 AM   #27
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My LHBS sells the 3 lb bags of DME for about 14 bucks.

I figure if I harvest the yeast the avg cost of one of my extract with steeped grains batch was 30 to 35 bucks.

With AG i am able to get the bulk 2 and that costs me per batch (lets round up for simplicity) about 8 bucks and with say 3 bucks in specialty grains and 3 more in hops i am up to 14 bucks.

I supppose in a perfect world 5 gallons costs me 15 to 20 bucks a batch.

and as far as cheeses recipe, you forgot to add the 6 bucks an oz of real vanilla extract. his calls for what 4 oz of it! Not a cheap recipe, but, just kegged it a week ago, it is worth it!!!!

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Old 12-19-2006, 01:22 PM   #28
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As for vanilla, I got 2oz for $5. I didn't add it to the recipe because it's the same cost in all 3 versions. Vanilla extract is one thing you DONT need to buy bulk. Also why I didn't include yeast because it's the same cost in all 3 recipes.

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