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Old 12-19-2012, 12:57 AM   #1
MidniteFlyer
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Default Laid Off Beer Advice

Need some advice....
I'm a newbie, and I've only been brewing for a few months now. I currently have 2 brews under my belt (an extract stout and an extract amber).
But unfortunately, I was suddenly laid off from my job. Even though I've only used the extract kits, I can't afford to spend alot of money on buying new kits.
Also, I have all my supplies (a glass carboy, large boil pot, 2 buckets, propane burner, siphon tube, etc...)
What are some good suggestions for brewing good beer, but on a budget.

Thx!!
MF

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Old 12-19-2012, 01:09 AM   #2
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Move to smaller ag batches...should have all the equipment and would allow you to brew a variety on a budget...and harvest yeast!

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Old 12-19-2012, 01:13 AM   #3
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Stretching your yeast out will save a ton of money. And you could brew AG via BIAB cheaper than you could with extract kits.

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Old 12-19-2012, 01:34 AM   #4
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When it happened to me, I completely stopped all hobbies until I got a job. I hope you find one soon. It took me a long time.

If you must do it, I agree with swackattack - smaller AG batches, even 1 gallon. All the entertainment and minimal cost.

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Old 12-19-2012, 01:42 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BBL_Brewer View Post
Stretching your yeast out will save a ton of money. And you could brew AG via BIAB cheaper than you could with extract kits.
+1. I do the mash with a bag AG method and it works great for mid-gravity beers. For higher gravity brews you will need to (maybe) reduce your batch size a bit. You can reuse yeast through a few generations (and have so much you need to toss it) just with a small investment in mason jars (see the washing method for technique).

Also try to get involved with a grain group buy. Even if you do this just for the 2-row, you can save serious $.

Buy "commodity" hops that you use a lot (Cascade, Columbus, EKG, some others in my case ) in 1 pound bags (online, on sale), much cheaper than buying by the ounce.

When possible, heat your strike water on the stove. While you can't do a full boil there (at least I can't for a 5 gallon batch), you can heat your strike water and batch sparge water (or go no-sparge). This is considerably cheaper than using propane. Save the propane for the boil.

Between the above, my 5 gallon per batch cost is normally less than $15...
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Old 12-19-2012, 03:56 AM   #6
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If you have a little money to 'invest' in beer, you could buy extract in bulk. I buy 33 lbs LME for $60, You can get 50 lbs DME for about $250 delivered. It is a big investment, but will last a long time. Way cheaper than buying small amounts or kits.

Hops: Maybe buy a few lbs that you like and will use (especially if you like hoppy American ales). Might cost $60 for 3 lbs with shipping (about $1.20 an ounce).

Reuse yeast. Use about a quarter of the cake from one batch to start the next. Can be saved if you have a suitable container, so the cake from 1 beer acn be used on several. You can, but I would not recommend keeping longer than a month (must be kept in fridge).

Grains: If you get them at the right place, this is the cheapest option. Buy base grains in bulk if you can. Just 10 lbs can offer some savings in some places.

Grains/hops/yeast - what more is there?

I think you will quickly find your beers are half the price they were when you bought kits.

Best of luck finding a new job.

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Old 12-19-2012, 03:59 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MidniteFlyer View Post
Need some advice....
I'm a newbie, and I've only been brewing for a few months now. I currently have 2 brews under my belt (an extract stout and an extract amber).
But unfortunately, I was suddenly laid off from my job. Even though I've only used the extract kits, I can't afford to spend alot of money on buying new kits.
Also, I have all my supplies (a glass carboy, large boil pot, 2 buckets, propane burner, siphon tube, etc...)
What are some good suggestions for brewing good beer, but on a budget.

Thx!!
MF
For me (in addition to BIAB and bulk grain) the real savings is bulk hops. $12 a pound compared to $2.50-$3 an ounce at the homebrew store is a no brainer. Not to mention hopsdirect.com is promoting their in house hop, "Belma" at $6 a pound. You can store them in the freezer and spread it out until you find a new job, which by the way good luck. I hope you find something real soon. It would have been nice if they would at least let you get through the holidays.
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Old 12-19-2012, 04:29 AM   #8
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Just re-read the original post "What are some good suggestions for brewing good beer, but on a budget."

Lots of good ideas have been posted. What do you like to brew. I think everyone's initial thoughts are to the basic American Pale Ale, and how best to reduce the cost of that.

Another option:

Try your hand at some Belgians or Saisons.

- You will need to buy a liquid yeast to start with. That's the main drawback, but you can re-use it. You 'should' use a starter for the first pitch, but don't have to for subsequent pitches. Dry will just not work.
- Read up on yeasts, but I would recommend Wyeast 3711 to a beginner. Some rave about it. It is not my preferred, but works fine at room temperature and chomps through anything.
- about 20% of the sugars can (and should) come from simple table sugar.
- You will use about 1.5 ozs of hops per batch, versus 5 or 6 for a Pale Ale (lots of savings).
- Specialty malts are kept at a minimum for this type of beer. Mostly Pilsner Malt (or Pale Malt) + sugar.

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Old 12-19-2012, 11:08 PM   #9
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Thank you all for your advice. I'll definitely try an all grain brew next time.
Regarding my job, I'll probably be recalled to my company within 6 months hopefully. Although I am looking, you have to leave time for hobbies on the side to keep yourself sane LOL

thanks again

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Old 12-19-2012, 11:29 PM   #10
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My 1 gallon batches run fairly cheap. Once u buy the ingredients, you can stretch them out. If u make the same style u can make your bittering and flavoring hops last for 4-5 batches. Make a starter for the yeast and you can split it up and make numerous batches. Than the only cost is grain. Each of my batches uses about 2 1/2-3 lbs of grain. At $1.85 lb it's pretty cheap. With all your other equipment you should have enough to get going. For my fermenters, I went around to the local party stores and had them ask their customers that buy the big bottles of Carlo Rossi wine, to save them for me. Plus one gallon batches don't take up much space! Only problem is u only get about 8 bottles of each beer

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