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Old 03-25-2011, 05:00 AM   #11
findlaym
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yeah man, try a couple of extract batches. All grain is actually not that much cheaper when you start factoring in all the equipment required. you can do $25 5G batches in pails. I'm in school too and it saves a lot of money but not if you try going super complex. keep it simple and get the skills down.

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Old 03-25-2011, 08:33 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by rexbanner View Post
My stupid parents don't drink. It really annoys me, my dad refuses to even taste my beer.
Hey, show some respect for your parents.

Not everyone drinks or has to drink.
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Old 03-25-2011, 12:10 PM   #13
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Hey guys..I've been lurking this forum for the last couple weeks. I read some of the Mr Beer thread..but the vastness of it makes it difficult to get specific information even with the links. I'm in college...on a real budget but want to get started brewing. Luckily, I got a Mr Beer kid for approx 20$..so this will have to do for now.

Main thing is..I'm not that interested in extract brewing, it sort of seems like the easy bake version of brewing to me. I'm interested in all-grain but the large majority of recipes are written for 5 gallon batches. Of course, the Mr Beer is limited to 2 gallon batches. I may use the extract that comes with the kit for a first brew just to do it before I can get the ingredients for an all grain brew.

This is what I have to work with:
Mr Beer kit, various large pots, time and motivation.

This is what I really could use:
A good cheap thermometer, a good cheap hydrometer, and a thermostat for my garage fridge for fermentation (Because my parents keep the AC on at like 76-77).

I'm looking for anyone who uses the mr beer kit for all grain brews or has ever used the mr beer kit for all grain brews...or anyone who can offer any advice whatsoever to that absolute bear minimum budget brewer who is still looking to make good, unique beer.
Wigglez since you live in Palm Beach remember Harbor Freight is your friend. I just picked up a nice digital thermometer for $5. Bx Beer Depot right down the street from Harbor Freight has Hydrometers for $12.
I also live in Palm Beach so I understand. www.bxbeerdepot.com these guys are good people and have a lot of knowledge. I started with Mr.Beer and that lasted 1 batch I now use it for experimental batchs.
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Old 03-25-2011, 03:08 PM   #14
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There is nothing wrong with extract brewing and I certainly would NOT call it Easy Bake brewing. If you know what you are doing you can make very fine beer using fresh ingredients.

But, Brew in a Bag is a VERY GOOD way to brew in an apartment, or if you just want to save money on all of the AG equipment. I brewed a nice batch of starter wort on the stove using BIAB even though I have all of the AG stuff. It was just easier than busting out all that stuff.

AG BIAB is NOT hard either. I think it really lends itself to small batches or for people who don't want to mess with or buy the usual equipment.

Either way will be fine. Smaller batches will make cooling the wort much easier.

Extract will be more expensive than AG as far as ingredients. Maybe try it out and then see if buying bulk will make sense. Bulk AG is the cheapest though.

And don't be afraid of using dry yeast if it fits your beer style. It's very easy to use and cheaper than liquid, and just as good for most basic styles.

Maybe look for a homebrew club in the area? You might be able to piggy back on a bulk order, or just sample others' homebrew and get some good advice. Or maybe someone will let you brew a large batch on their equipment. It's all good and a lot of fun to boot.

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Old 03-25-2011, 03:16 PM   #15
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I think BIAB is definitely the cheaper option, especially if you are limited to two gallon recipes. Dry yeast would be good if you intend to brew using different types of yeast and/or you do not have the fridge space to keep mason jars of yeast refrigerated. Plus with dry yeast there's no need to have extra DME around for starters (although you can freeze some excess wort from your mashes for starters, but if freezer space is an issue then that is moot).

One thing that will help you out a lot with costs is to find one or two varieties of hops you can interchange in many recipes you would want to brew (say a bittering and an aroma hop, or just a general flavor/aroma hop you can use for everything) and buy in bulk. A pound, with shipping, of hops will run around $20-25 but you can keep it in the freezer so it will last. If you get one variety, unless you are making a lot of hoppy beers, you could easily stretch out your pound of hops across many, many batches. If you are making a lot of pale ales, IPAs and American-style beers it may not make sense to have all of your beers be very hop forward with the same hop flavor as you will get tired of the same flavor in each beer.

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Old 03-25-2011, 03:56 PM   #16
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If you don't have all the equipment yet (carboy/ fermenter, capper, etc.), do you have a friend or roommate? My friend and I could only afford to brew if we combined our funds. Worked well- 5 gal. batches= a case of beer apiece. We only extracted, and got our bottles by the case from the beer distributor. Pre-emptied and not clean were I think a dollar a case.

If you're set on eventually AG, I agree on the BIAB. Works well without having to buy a bunch of equipment. Have fun, and get brewin! Kyle

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Old 03-25-2011, 04:07 PM   #17
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I had a lot of interest in brewing to start with, then my son bought me a Mr. Beer for xmas a while back. I started thinking you are paying someone to "make" your beer with Mr. Beer - you basically adding your water to extract some factory made for you. I wanted to make mine.
Then, I added up the cost of making the premium recipes under Mr. Beer = combining multiple cans of stuff and quickly saw it was bout the most expensive way to do it. In terms of cost, there is Mr Beer premium recipes, MrBeer kits, extract brewing, all-grain brewing, then all-grain with bulk purchases, your own mill... - you can get as nuts as you want with it.
You shouldn't really look at it just on cost alone though - you need your free time to make sure you are passing class as top priority - so your TIME is valuable.
I did one batch of Mr. Beer, then went allgrain BIAB - you can BIAB across 2-3 pots if you want to do the math of all the proportions. Next I built my mash tun (a 5gal converted cooler on sale for $15, and about 25$ of hardware) and have been all-grain ever since batch #2.
You might want to consider going in with 2-3 other guys and doing it that way - split the costs - and the TIME - everyone chip in for the actual work.
then you get some time back, share in the rewards.

Try BIAB using 1/2 (of a 5 gal) recipes using the MR. Beer fermenter for a few batches, and learn how to make consistent/repeatable beer that you LIKE, and go for it.

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Old 03-25-2011, 05:01 PM   #18
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I agree with the BIAB. I am typically a 5 gal. extract brewer, but use my Mr. Beer for 2.5 gal BIAB experiments.
In fact I just did a 2.5 gal Oktoberfest-ish beer that is fermenting right now.

BIAB has to be the cheapest way to brew. Especially if you wash/reuse yeast and buy hops in bulk and use the 5 gal paint bag from Home Depot.

Instead of washing my yeast, lately I have been making big starters (on my homemade stirplate), pitching about 3/4 of it and saving the other 1/4 to use to make a big starter for the next batch (again pitching about 3/4 and saving 1/4) and on and on. It seems easier to me than washing since I like hoppy beers and usually end up with a lot of hops/trub to wash out.

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Old 03-25-2011, 11:25 PM   #19
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i have done one batch of extract (partial grain) Irish Stout. i already have the bug to go all grain. i had an old 12 gallon igloo cube cooler in the garage, i bought the parts to convert it to a mash tun, right at $21. you could probably shave 5 more dollars or so off depending on your valve and what you use for the inside. i used 1/2" pvc inside to a brass hose barb, with a brass gate valve outside. gonna work great.

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Old 03-26-2011, 01:43 AM   #20
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Hey guys...my first batch is just going to be with the mr beer and the west coast pale ale extract kit that comes with it. However, I'm going to go to a local store to buy some hops in order to make the beer taste more like an IPA. Do you guys have any recommendation for how many ounces of hops I would need? Should I just add them after the extract is mixed in? I'm guessing that I need a strainer type bag to put the hops in so that I can just pull them out after.

The only other question I really have is do I actually need to use the starter that comes with the kit? If I don't use the starter..should I use DME, and how much of it? Thanks a lot in advance.

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