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Old 10-25-2009, 11:18 AM   #1
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Default How much does it cost to make homebrew?

I was thinking of putting a thread in the FAQs or a sticky.

It comes up time and time again.

Here's a good starting point. http://www.brewersfriend.com/2008/06/07/break-even-cost-of-home-brewing/

any other links to add to above?

1. Have you worked out your cost per batch if so what is it (Average or Range)?
2. How accurate is it? (Does it take into account extras/sundries like fuel, water, sanitisers etc.)
3. Are you Extract and Steep / Partial Mash/ All Grain
4. What if ever will be your break even point?
5. How much do you have invested in equipment?
6. Have you got a formula or spread sheet to work it out?
7. Do expect or care about a cost return/savings?

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Old 10-25-2009, 11:32 AM   #2
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I pay approximately $100 per 5 gallon batch, I will post details later. I am an exception to this thread and I possibly be the highest cost brewer on here regardless of style. I am an extract brewer, but for the styles I brew, it is still cheaper than buying in the stores.

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Old 10-25-2009, 11:35 AM   #3
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Sounds a lot.
I'll also post details when I have more time.

When there's enough content I'll clean up the tread and put a link in the FAQ so it'd be good if brewers can post some good info.

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Old 10-25-2009, 12:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesterday View Post
I pay approximately $100 per 5 gallon batch, I will post details later. I am an exception to this thread and I possibly be the highest cost brewer on here regardless of style. I am an extract brewer, but for the styles I brew, it is still cheaper than buying in the stores.
Wow!

I think my most expensive batch may have been $60.
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Old 10-25-2009, 12:17 PM   #5
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yeah, shipping here is expensive, I am looking into ways to get my costs down. I have found a canadian supplier to order from, I will place my first order from there next month. that should lower my cost significantly.

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Old 10-25-2009, 01:09 PM   #6
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Thanks, Orfy, for this idea - I agree, it comes up all the time and is often misunderstood. Your questions are also very helpful!

My ingredients' cost per 5 gallon batch has now stabilized and most recently has run from $19.49 for a Belgian witbier to $21.14 for a Cream Stout to $23.25 for a hoppy wheat pale ale. I've tracked these costs through Beersmith (if you accurately enter the costs in Beersmith's inventory function, then each recipe you enter will total the costs of ingredients for that batch).

From Jesterday's post, we know that context matters when discussing the cost of homebrewing. Jesterday's cost per batch is extraordinary because he lives with wolves in the Arctic Circle - or at least in a very remote area where he pays exorbitantly for shipping.

Here's what contributes to my costs:

  • I brew all grain, so my cost per batch is going to be lower now than when I first started brewing with extract and steeping grains. Almost all beginners most of whom will start with extract, will find that their cost per batch is significantly more than my current costs. This is important for beginners to know - your cost per batch will likely be more than many of the more experienced brewers here because extract brewing costs more than all grain brewing.
  • Because I live in the southern portion of Chicago, I am able to significantly lower my cost per batch by buying grain in bulk from Mid Country Malt and picking it up myself. I can buy a 55# bag, I don't have to arrange a group buy, or order a full pallet load, or pay any shipping. I am truly fortunate.
  • One item that raises my cost per batch is that I specialize in brewing organically. This means that I pay between 84 and 97 cents per pound of organic grain at Mid Country. For hops, I pay between $2.07 to $2.95 per ounce. These costs could be reduced significantly if I did not buy organic ingredients, but for me, I've decided to pay a little more per batch to be able to brew organic beer. But I am always exploring ways to do so and keep my costs in line. Other people make other choices which impact their cost per batch. For example, there are brewers who mainly brew big, high abv beers. Or brewers who brew hoppy beers, routinely using 4 or more ounces of hops per batch. We all make brewing and style choices that impact our cost per batch.
  • A remaining area for me to reduce costs would be in yeast. Currently, I just buy the yeast (at my lbhs) and use it. Others here have taught me through their example of how to harvest, wash and store yeast, so that it can be reused. I would like to try this and if I did, my cost per batch would begin to inch downwards towards $15. But here's the thing - I make my brewing choices in light of the rest of my life. In my case, for example, I have two teenage boys, a stressful job (in this economy, seven other families depend upon me for their monthly income) and a spouse who I adore and support. So, at this point, I'm not managing my yeast and reusing it, because I've made the choice that while it would be cost efficient, I can't justify the time right now. But I am really looking forward to getting into that part of brewing at some point.

All of the above have referred to the costs of ingredients per batch, ignoring the other costs that Orfy mentioned in the OP. I've never tracked my propane usage, so I can't say. My equipment is, I think kind of middle of the road - pretty much the standard, baseline equipment for brewing all-grain. It includes: grain mill and bucket, beverage cooler mashtun, propane stove, 12 gallon brew kettle, immersion chiller, three carboys (6, 5 and 3 gallons), vinator, bottle tree and bottling bucket. Roughly, this equipment cost me $500.

In summary, I don't brew because its cheaper than buying commercial craft beers - but I do take steps to lower my costs as much as is reasonable, given choices that I make. For me, its about balance and enjoying the hobby at a reasonable cost.
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Old 10-25-2009, 01:09 PM   #7
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10 gallons All Grain Bitter 4.6 ABV At regular LHBS prices (Shipping not included):-

15# Maris Otter at $65 per bag ($48 when bought in bulk) = $18
Speciality grains home rosted thus already included.

5 oz hops at $2.50 per oz = $12.50

Demerara sugar = $1.25

adjuncts: Whirlfloc, gypsum, etc quick guesstimate = $1

Propane = $5

yeast (dry) = $3

Water from tap negligable


TOTAL = $40.75 or $4.07 per gallon


My costs at present using bulk bought grain and hops for the same brew:

Bulk grain = $13
Present price on bulk hops $5

TOTAL = $28.25 or $2.82 per gallon



My basic AG set up cost probably in the region of $300 I regard this cost as an "entrance fee" to my hobby and just never think about it in relation to the cost per brew.I do not brew to save money, but I do. Saving money is not the reason I brew, but i do regard cost saving excercises as an important fun part of the hobby.



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Old 10-25-2009, 01:16 PM   #8
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Wow. That link is being pretty optimistic I think on how much it costs to buy beer at the store. $50 a case? I don't even know what you could buy that is that expensive! So in my opinion a very unreasonable base point.

I am an extract brewer. For the first 30 brews or so I added all my costs and tracked my yield (down to the exact # of bottles each batch). My break even point, including sanitizers, wort chiller, extra fermenters, shipping (everything!) was at 22 batches. A batch or two was undrinkable, or just not very good and I dumped it then I subtracted that number out of the yield. I calculated the yield based on what I would have bought otherwise. Heineken at 12.99 a 12-pack.

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Old 10-25-2009, 01:16 PM   #9
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I've never considered the cost, it's a hobby. At the last HoV meeting, one guy said the three salmon he caught the previous weekend cost him about $170 each.

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Old 10-25-2009, 01:35 PM   #10
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It is a hobby, but it eats up m y "allowance" money from the household budget, and I like numbers, so I keep track.

1. Have you worked out your cost per batch if so what is it (Average or Range)? The average is from $10 - $15 per 5 gallons.

2. How accurate is it? (Does it take into account extras/sundries like fuel, water, sanitisers etc.) I have been on the same 32oz bottle of StarSan for 3 years, that is minimal, electical costs are about $1.20 per session.

3. Are you Extract and Steep / Partial Mash/ All Grain ALL Grain

4. What if ever will be your break even point? Dont know, the brew rig is over $2k now

5. How much do you have invested in equipment? About $2,500

6. Have you got a formula or spread sheet to work it out? Yes and No.. for ingredients I have a spreadsheet to track my bulk orders and cost per pounds of ounce.

7. Do expect or care about a cost return/savings? No, ha ha, no

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