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Old 09-28-2010, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default Curious about cost saving and what got you started

So I've been lurking here for a couple months and have read a few recent and archived posts about folks getting into brewing to save money. Now mind you, that wasn't at all my reason. I'm somewhat of science a geek and just thought it would be fun to try to replicate some beer I've had at local breweries.

Anyway, tonight I was at the local liquor store looking at the craft brews. I did a little math for a coffee porter I had at a dinner party this weekend that I'd like to replicate. It costs $4.49/22oz and I realized that maybe you can save some money depending upon what you're trying to brew. For instance, I can buy a kit (extract w/speciality grains) for about $30-40 to make 5gal. The cost to buy the equivalent in that coffee porter is about $130.

128oz/gal x 5gal = 640oz
640oz/22oz = 29.09
29.09 x $4.49 = $130.62

So I'm curious why some folks say they don't save money by brewing at home. Is it because you find that you end up spending more money on equipment. Personally, I've been doing it on the cheap and picking up what little equipment I have from freecycle and craigslist and filling in the gaps (funnel, sanitizer, etc) with my local shop.

Are folks replicating brew that don't cost as much as the stuff I'm trying to make? I've only been drinking beer for maybe 6 months so maybe I just have expensive taste in craft/micro brews? I've literally never even had Bud.

Anyway, just curious what folks' thoughts are and what brought them to the hobby. Not trying to argue against those that say you don't save money.



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Old 09-28-2010, 03:30 AM   #2
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You can definitely save money by making your own. The problem most people have, myself included, is the equipment costs. There is always something I want to buy to assist me in brewing . So far I have purchased: Two pots (5.5 gal and 15 gallon), propane tanks and burner, Grain Mill, Cooler for MLT, copper and fittings for IC, a second fermentor, thermometers (3 now) and tons of various other supplies! Now, I WANT to buy: Pump, fittings/ball valves for pot, another cooler to hold hot liquor, kegs/more bottles, better thermometer etc

I have easily spent $700 on brewing equipment since I started in January... If you have patience and find deals on classifieds then you can keep it cheap, but its my hobby and I want to expand my collection of tools and equipment. Another factor is Time...it is worth different amounts to different people.



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Old 09-28-2010, 03:36 AM   #3
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Three things:

1. Stickin' it to the man - no tax on brewing ingredients in British Columbia. 12% tax on store-bought booze.

2. Making what I want to drink - I'm a session beer drinker. Can't buy 'em here (except for Coors Light), so I make 'em.

3. I love beer, especially beer that has been crafted by someone who understands beer and cares. Sob.

Brewing is cheap, as long as you're time isn't worth money. Brewing equipment is death by a thousand cuts. But, man, it's so worth it.

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:42 AM   #4
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Ah yes. Sticking it to the man. I definitely concur. I love the idea of being self-reliant. It's like "magic", but not rocket science.

I also hear you on the thousand cuts. So far I've resisted the urge to spend, spend, spend. But I have spent way too much time browsing the equipment on the supply sites (and reading what the heck some of it does).

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:50 AM   #5
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I got started to save money. Somehow along the way I learned to enjoy making and drinking beer. I still haven't saved any money, although if I don't buy any more equipment for the next 4 years I just might get ahead. Who knows, but then again, who cares?

Of course if you really want to get ahead, you could try to learn to enjoy water. Then again, what does a bottle of Fiji cost?

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Old 09-28-2010, 03:59 AM   #6
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Yeah, the man is sticking it to the consumer when it comes to bottled water.

I assume you've gone all-grain and/or kegging and that's where you're spending the $? Not sure my wallet or liver is up for that yet...

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:03 AM   #7
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I love doing things myself. Given the choice to pick up a plate of BBQ for $15 or buy a brisket and the equipment to smoke my own for 16 hours I'll do my own for the enjoyment/experience.

I so don't save money on beer though because now I buy a lot more craft brews to try styles I've never had or want to find an example to replicate. Some weeks I stop at BevMo (really the only place for craft brew around here) for a bomber of something every night.

Such a great hobby though. I find the long brew days quite enjoyable.

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:04 AM   #8
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You can save money brewing your own beer. 90% (more or less) of a grain bill is 2 row. Bought in bulk I pay $28.00 for 50 lbs. If you wash your yeast you can get 5 batches (5 gallon size) from a $7.00 liquid yeast. Specialty grains are $2- $3 lb. Bulk hops are $ 1.00 or so an ounce. Water.... it's cheap. So, 10 lbs of 2 row $5.60, 1 lb of special grain $2.50, reused yeast $1.50, 2 oz hops $2.00. So about $12 for a 5 gallon batch.Ignore the cost for equipment, brew kettles, heat source, buckets, bottles (kegs) hydrometers....and the list goes on.... Where it starts to cost money is when you start striving for consistency. A home beer kit is an excellent way to start.... welcome to the madness

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:05 AM   #9
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I usually buy $12 six packs after tax maybe once every other week. My latest brewing bill was about $30 for a batch and you can cut costs more by buying in bulk. But its not about saving money which is nice, its about the process of making it and seeing what you can brew.

I really enjoy ipa's and nothing beats it when its fresh, the huge hop flavor and aroma is amazing. I haven't bought any commercial ipa's in over 6 months.

It's just a lot of fun to brew but bottling blows.

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Old 09-28-2010, 04:05 AM   #10
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@brettwasbtd So you already went to kegging? Did you start bottling and say forget the hassle? $700 sounds like a lot, but I suppose I've spent that on other hobbies. So far (excluding my first ingredients) I'm under $100. But after my first night of brewing the one thing I'm definitely going to invest in for my next batch is a bigger pot to do a full 5 gal boil.



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