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Old 01-31-2012, 03:15 PM   #1
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Default Ingredient instead of kits

Hey guys,

I'm wondering if there is any difference in price buying ingredients a la carte rather than the ingredient kits? What exactly do I need to buy if I'm doing it that way?

Thanks for any help!

Ducas

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:31 PM   #2
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In the case of AHS, you'll get a nice recipe/instruction sheet with a kit, but not if you buy the ingredients on their own. No idea if the pricing changes, but convenience is worth quite a bit to many.

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:40 PM   #3
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Usually its about $5/kit cheaper on average if you buy the extract and most used hops in bulk. If you plan on replacing kits with "homemade kits" based from recipes I highly recommend using brewmasters warehouse brewbuilder. If you take the extra couple minutes to add it to the database all your ingredients will be measured, sealed, and labeled by the recipe. And I've done the comparison, prices are slightly cheaper there because they do not have a minimum amount for crushed grain. If you only need 1oz they only charge you for an ounce. The higher IBU/gravity recipe you choose, generally the more you can save.

Three years in and I'm still brewing extract.

Only thing I overlooked when I switched is GRAIN BAGS. AHS always came nicely with those ready to go. If you make your own I'd buy a few paint strainer bags from HD to use for grain bags. They're even better because they are reusable.

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:48 PM   #4
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I've only bought 1 kit since starting. It was roughly $35 dollars. Since then, I haven't done 1 kit. I find a good recipe on here or online and buy the ingredients. It runs me roughly $20-$30. That includes hops, specialty grains, etc. So, I have gone that route with my LHBS. It works for me.

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:48 PM   #5
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So are the muslin ones. Either way you have to clean them.
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Old 01-31-2012, 03:50 PM   #6
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kits are usually more expensive than buying the ingredients separately. especially if you start buying your ingredients in bulk. my 5 gal PM batches cost under $20 in most cases, and under $15 if i'm reusing yeast. my AG batches are even cheaper. if you're brewing extract, the difference may only be a few dollars because of the cost of extracts.

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:56 PM   #7
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There really isn't much savings in kit versus ingredients. I've done one AHS kit, and one recipe from ingredients. That being said, I like being involved in the process as much as possible, so I don't know how many more kits I'll be doing.

Disclaimer: I'm planning to try a partial mash for my next brew, so my level of ambition may not match your own.

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Old 01-31-2012, 03:58 PM   #8
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I have found that buying ingredients sometimes costs less and sometimes more. That is, if you are getting the exact amounts.

If you shop around and buy in bulk for discounted rates you should almost always be able to beat a kit price.

I like being able to do a brew on the spur of the moment rather than ordering and waiting for ingredients/kits to arrive. (I cannot always get to my LHBS when they are open. They are about an hour drive away and only open late afternoon/evening W,TH,F and Sat and a few hours on Sunday.)

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Old 01-31-2012, 04:09 PM   #9
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Same here,+/- a few dollars depending on the length of a beers' ingredients list. But at least I'm using what I want in it.
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Old 01-31-2012, 04:56 PM   #10
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These are just some quick examples I worked up now. The majority might cringe if you see some of my more complicated examples in excel.

Case #1: 5% ABV amber ale
30.60 - Well known online retailer complete kit
25.98 - Exact same recipe buying ingredients separately (w/ bulk hops only at $1/oz):
21.79 - hops and dry extract in bulk, all other ingredients bought separately on regular site

Generally the higher IBU and ABV the more money you can save separately buying the ingredients. Another case to consider is the clone recipes. The cost of the kit on these is inflated due to all the work done on the store's part to create the recipe.

Case #2: Winter beer, higher ABV and IBU
39.60 - Online kit
33.37 - only hops in bulk, rest ordered separately
27.99 - hops and malt extract in bulk

Mainly you just have to decide which way fits how you brew. Personally, I have no interest in creating or editing recipes at this time. Also, (when I'm not slacking) I will brew about 15-20 gal/month. Cost is also a very important factor. So for me taking the time to input recipes from homebrewtalk and carefully consider my bulk purchases is worth the $5-$10 savings per recipe.

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