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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > New to brewing...Whats the cheapest way to make a 5 gallon batch of quality brew?
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:41 PM   #1
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Default New to brewing...Whats the cheapest way to make a 5 gallon batch of quality brew?

Hi everyone. I am very new to brewing. Going to pick up my equipment tonight. First of all, the reason I am getting into brewing is purely monetary at the moment. Im sure the hobby will grow on me, and I will eventually brew for the sake of brewing itself, but now its just to save money. With that in mind, what is the best way to minimized costs per 5 gallon batch? It looks like most of the "kits" are about 30$/5 gallon batch. Does it get any cheaper if I dont buy kits and buy the ingredients in bulk seperately? Whats the cheapest way to make a 5 gallon batch of quality brew?

Thanks in advance and I apologize if there are already 10,000,000 threads on this topic. I did a search and didnt come up with anything.

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Old 12-12-2007, 07:42 PM   #2
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Not 10,000,000 threads, just one. heh heh heh

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Old 12-12-2007, 07:46 PM   #3
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Well, my experience has been that you don't really save money by brewing your own. I mean, you can buy a 30 pack of Busch for $10 or so. But, if you want good quality beer at a decent price, that is doable. I think that buying in bulk is significantly cheaper, if you have a way to store the ingredients. All-grain is also cheaper than extract, but requires more equipment. A typical extract kit is usually around $27-$30, I believe, and that should make around 50 bottles of beer.

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Old 12-12-2007, 07:49 PM   #4
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Moving to all grain is apparently the cheapest and best thing you can possibly do. Since you are new to brewing, I wouldn't recomend jumping in at that stage. Styles can have some effect on cost. A light American Ale can be made for cheaper than a IIPA. Look into austinhomebrew.com. They have some very reasonably priced kits. Also, with a little research, you can build your own kit from recipies. The cheapest recipe I have made was BierMunchers Session Haus Ale. $40 for 10 gallons = $10/case. It's crash cooling now, so I can't tell you personally how it is but it seems to be a solid recipe. Hope that helps.
-Drew

Edit: AHB does flat rate shipping so +1 on the Yooper bulk tip.

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Old 12-12-2007, 07:52 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Yooper Brewmistress
Well, my experience has been that you don't really save money by brewing your own. I mean, you can buy a 30 pack of Busch for $10 or so. But, if you want good quality beer at a decent price, that is doable. I think that buying in bulk is significantly cheaper, if you have a way to store the ingredients. All-grain is also cheaper than extract, but requires more equipment. A typical extract kit is usually around $27-$30, I believe, and that should make around 50 bottles of beer.
Right. I pay about 14$ for a 12 pack of quality microbrewed pale ale right now. If I can brew my own PA at 30$/50 bottles, then Im paying $7.20 per 12 pack...a 50% savings. So youre saying thats about the best I can do if I dont germinate my own barely? Thats still worth it I guess.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:55 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by LostDakota
Edit: AHB does flat rate shipping so +1 on the Yooper bulk tip.
Thanks for the info. Regarding buying in bulk, what is the shelf life of the extract and other ingredients? Some of the stuff I looked at said, "should be used fairly quickly".
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:58 PM   #7
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You dont need to germinate anything. You can buy grains all crushed and ready to go when you get to that point.

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Old 12-12-2007, 08:00 PM   #8
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I wouldn't say all grain is too difficult to start with. You just need to do a lot of reading. I started AG and strongly recommend others start that way too, provided you do your homework.

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Old 12-12-2007, 08:00 PM   #9
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Hello and welcome to the forums. I don't really think you will be saving a lot of money brewing your own beer unless you buy bulk ingredients, either extract of all grain. You might save some money on a batch but then what is your time worth? The magic is that you can brew a vast variety of beer styles that you created yourself and are extremely proud of.

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Old 12-12-2007, 08:06 PM   #10
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No, you don't need to germinate or malt your own barley, just "mash" it. There's a difference. You buy malted barley and crush it using a grain mill, then steep it in hot (149-155f) water for an hour. This converts the starches to fermentable sugars.

The malt extract that you've been using already went through this process, which is why it costs so much. But going all-grain is an investment that you're probably not prepared to make right now.

So I'll say this: if you live east of the Mississippi, listermann.com will ship orders over $35 for free. They have cheap LME---$2.15/lb. I prefer DME, but the price on the LME is too good...

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