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Old 04-26-2013, 12:30 PM   #1
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Default saving money with brewing

Ok so i am looking into getting into brewing and was wondering on the savings of making beer vs buying it. I know equipment purchases and upgrades kind of negate any savings you would gain but if equipment was not in the equation how much do you think you save with brewing clone type beers? such as a fat tire clone.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:36 PM   #2
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The best quote I ever read on the topic of brewing to save money went something like this:

"Home brewing to save money on beer is like buying a boat to save money on fish."

If you sole goal is to save money, then you can do it, but you won't have great beer. Just buy canned extract kits on sale, boil it on your stove, and bottle-carb. You'll have dirt-cheap beer with less than $100 investment in equipment.

For a little more investment ($500-ish?) you can move to a BIAB setup and do small-batch brewing or partial-mash full boils.

Or you can spend $2,000 on a complete all-grain setup with kegging. You'll make great beer, but you won't live long enough to recoup what you spent in beer savings (unless you drink a lot more beer). In this case, you'd do it because it's a fun, rewarding hobby, rather than to save money.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:37 PM   #3
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As I once read on this forum (not sure who said it) Buying brewing equipment to save money on beer is like buying a boat to save money on fish. I know that I've personally spent a lot more to make beer, than to just go buy some. It's impossible to take equipment out of the equation. Just do it for the enjoyment.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:40 PM   #4
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^ great minds think alike, and at the same time.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:42 PM   #5
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I'm still extremely small-scale and just started doing AG, but I've got it down to about $1 per pint for my IPAs. That beats store prices and the beer is better, IMHO (can't get Pliny here...). The equipment cost is rather non-negligible, though. I'm already several hundred into it and I haven't even built a kegerator yet. I'm going the cheap route, too - turkey fryer, cooler mashtun conversion, homemade wort chiller, bottling in old Grolsch bottles.

Short answer - do it! Just don't expect to actually "save" money anytime soon.

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:47 PM   #6
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I wouldn't count on saving much money, at least not in the short term. I mean, it's absolutely possible if you keep gear purchases down - but (and I know I'm generalizing here) most people on here will agree that this is easier said than done.

Having said that though, once you get equipment that you're happy with (this happens right? It stops eventually?), ingredients will probably cost you between $20 and $40 per 5 gallons of beer, so there are technically some savings.

Just watch out though - what starts as "2 cases of craft would cost me like $90...I'm saving tons of cash!", usually ends up with the addendum "...but if I bought that <insert beer gadget here> I could make some truly delicious goodness..."

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Old 04-26-2013, 12:59 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dm1217
As I once read on this forum (not sure who said it) Buying brewing equipment to save money on beer is like buying a boat to save money on fish. I know that I've personally spent a lot more to make beer, than to just go buy some. It's impossible to take equipment out of the equation. Just do it for the enjoyment.
This is fair enough analogy but I find I only buy fish about twice a month...
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kombat View Post
If you sole goal is to save money, then you can do it, but you won't have great beer. Just buy canned extract kits on sale, boil it on your stove, and bottle-carb. You'll have dirt-cheap beer with less than $100 investment in equipment..
Yes and there are medal winners at contests who are using canned wort making crap beer, that's why they win medals.

/rant

Ok, I do extract brewing. Well technically extract with steeping grains. I do it on my electric stove and top off etc. If an All Grain (AG) setup is making everything from scratch, I'm basiclaly getting 'boxed meals' and making them at home. And mostly I find it better tasting than store beer, HOWEVER I have different tastebuds then others, so to them it may taste terrible.

With that said, I'm spening no more than about $.75 per bottle ($4/6pack 12oz). So quickly this can save money over buying. I bought a 4 gallon pot for around $20 (also can use it for salt potatoes and other large boils). And then my brewing gear was used and gotten for about 1/2 normal. To start on 5 gallon batches, I probably spent less than 100, and all told I've spent less than $500.

I've seen some All grain people say they've gotten their per bottle (12oz) cost down in the $.30 range (~$2/6pack). This is far less than craft beer. (usualy $10/6?) But ingenerally we are not less than BMC.

This is a hobby, so I could golf and then drink beer at 19th hole. That would cost more. Again, this is only ingredients, not anything like time and fuel let along equipment.
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Old 04-26-2013, 01:01 PM   #9
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You don't need all that brewing bling to make good beer & save money. The only things I buy now are the little bits that make things easier or faster. no fancy kettles with sight glasses guages & all that meth lab looking stuff. *i had to put that in there,Cops got curious with mine once,lolz.* Anywho,I do PB/PM BIAB in the same 5G SS stock pot I've been using since my 2nd brew. Just added a cake cooling rack & a 5G paint strainer bag. I think I might have $600 in the whole shootin match,if that. I can make a 5G partial mash pale ale with local spring water & washed yeast for about $15.50! AG can get even lower if you buy in bulk & all that. But $15-$25 is pretty good to me on average. So you can save money if you don't go stark ravin bersack buyin all the bling in sight. I don't have a particular desire to do so myself. Oh sure,that SS conical with heat & cold digitally controlled blanket would be major T&A,but meh...maybe someday...

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Old 04-26-2013, 01:06 PM   #10
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Here is a link to a Basic Brewing Radio podcast on saving money with home brewing. Some good ideas and interesting perspective. Best idea is to brew more and more often....

http://ec.libsyn.com/p/8/1/1/8113040...5&c_id=1453080

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