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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Cost to brew?
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Old 06-19-2008, 07:58 PM   #1
Peregris
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Default Cost to brew?

I am currently enjoying my first batch of homebrew - it turned out pretty good considering it was just the kit that came with the setup. I am working out some recipes of my own that I want to try for the next batch, which brought me to this question -

One of the reasons I wanted to start homebrewing was the fact I could get much better beer for much lower prices. In most places I read that I could spend $25 or $30 on ingredients and get two cases. Now that I'm working out some recipes, I price the ingredients online and at my LHBS and the total comes to around $50. Now, I know that there is a hop shortage, and I hear that malt and yeast prices have gone up sharply recently, but it seems like a big difference. I'd like to hear from some of you about what your average cost-per-batch is.

Thanks for the input.

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #2
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$50 isn't an unreasonable cost for an extract batch.

Things that make it cheaper:

  • Washing and Re-using yeast (or using dry yeast)
  • Using all grains instead of extract
  • Efficient hop useage
You can easily get your cost per batch closer to $25-30 by doing these things.

Brewing is a hobby, though, if your motivation is just to get cheaper beer, you're probably better off just drinking PBR. You can get high quality beer cheaper through homebrew than through buying it, but if you don't care about that then it is what it is.
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Old 06-19-2008, 08:10 PM   #3
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You start "saving" money per batch when you buy ingredients in bulk. Also, harvesting and reusing yeast will save a few bucks per batch. When you buy pre-made kits from the HBS you are also paying a premium for them assembling the kit for you.

My cost per 5 gallons is roughly $15-20 depending on the recipe. That figure, however, does not take into account the amount of money that I have spent on all my brewing gear, which I don't really even want to think about...

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:11 PM   #4
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When you factor in the cost of equpiment and the time it takes to brew, commercial will be cheaper by far. That being said, I can brew a batch for around $20-25 now, that's about $0.50/bottle, but that's also after hundreds of dollars worth of equipment.
This isn't to save money, it's to enjoy yourself.

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:22 PM   #5
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Equipment costs +$3,000, at least I stopped buying new stuf...

Ingredient costs, I do 10 gallon batches and recently did a cheap 10 gallons for about $35. (All grain)

My time though 8 hours of making beer and bottling kegging cleaning etc. Far more valuable than you can imagine. At work, I charge my clients $250 - $300 an hour.

There are other built in costs that don't go into the ingredient equation. I need to fill 2 propane tanks every 3 or 4 batches - $30. I have an O2 system that needs a new tank every 10 or so batches - $7. Water for the beer and running the wort chiller (paid to the city) + Electricity for my lagering fridge, probably about $200 a year for both.

All in all I am probably loosing money, but, what can you do.

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:31 PM   #6
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That's why this hobby is bordering on obsession for most of us.

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:49 PM   #7
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What I should have said was something to the effect of "an added benefit..."

By far the reason I wanted to start homebrewing was for the fun of developing an original recipe, making it, enjoying it, and then saying "Holy Cow - look what I made!"

I just thought that I may have been doing something wrong when putting together a recipe or maybe looking at overpriced webmerchants.

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Old 06-19-2008, 08:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peregris View Post
I just thought that I may have been doing something wrong when putting together a recipe or maybe looking at overpriced webmerchants.
Maybe, but if you're doing it online you have the freedom to shop around a lot. I try to buy at my LHBS because I like to support the local economy... I pay more for my ingredients, but I'm okay with that because it satisfies my conscience

I tend to find my average extract batch price hangs around $40, but can go higher depending on what I'm doing with it - adding fruit to a beer significantly increases the costs because of the fruit you have to buy. Higher gravity brews will always be more expensive than their counterparts just by virtue of needing more ingredients.

What did you brew for $50? Was it a kit?
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Old 06-19-2008, 09:04 PM   #9
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To me $50 sounds a little high for a standard extract recipe. Yes prices have gone up, but $30 to $35 should still be fairly doable. Now if you have a super hoppy beer, or a super high grav beer obviously it will cost more, but most of my batches come in around $25 to $30.

Here's an example of what I might pay for a "basic" recipe:

6 lbs LME: $18
1 to 1.5 lbs steeping grains: $3
2 oz hops: $5
Dry yeast: $2
priming sugar: $1
Sanitizing solution: $.50/batch (probably less, but it's just a general estimate)
caps for bottles: $1.75

Total cost: $30.25
If you buy liquid yeast obviously the price goes up, but then you can harvest that yeast, and use it many times over which actually drops the price. If brewing a beer that requires only bittering hops (a stout for example) then you could easily get away with only an oz of regular AA hops, or even a half oz of high AA hops.

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Old 06-19-2008, 09:18 PM   #10
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One of the cheaper beers I make is 6.5lbs 2-row at $0.72/lb, 3lbs of specialty grain at $1.65/lb and 2oz of hops at $3.50/oz and us-05 yeast at $2 a pack. All together that comes to $18.63 for 5 gallons of a nice ~5% Pale ale or ~.46 a pint.

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