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Old 06-16-2010, 02:33 PM   #1
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Default Help me get started

So I have been wanting to start home brewing for awhile now, I purchased and am reading, "How to Brew" and watched some videos on youtube, there is just one thing holding me back, convincing my wife. We are currently saving money for a house so she says we can't afford me starting a new hobby. I know home brewing is not all that expensive but I need some tips on simple or low(er) cost start up equipment and good bargaining reason to present to my beloved. Thanks for the help.

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:17 PM   #2
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It doesn't have to be expensive, but it certainly can be. If you stick with extract brewing or doing all grain via a brew in a bag method the start up costs aren't huge. One of the most significant start up items is the kettle, do you already have a fairly large pot? Stainless steel is generally preferred, mine is aluminum and I'm happy with it, quite a few folks are using the enameled steel pots and those are working out for them. If you have something three gallons or bigger you can get by with extract brewing.

For $60 (plus shipping) you can get this kit from Midwest Supplies that will really be everything to get you going in terms of hardware requirements. There is Austin Homebrew Supply that you might be able to get cheaper shipping from since they're in your home state and I believe I've heard some folks refer to a couple of local homebrew shops in Houston. If you can get your hands on some food grade plastic buckets and pick up some pieces from your LHBS and/or hardware store you can probably get it done cheaper. Folks on the list have referred to bakeries as a good place to get your mitts on some free food grade buckets, make sure you get the lids too.

You'll need ingredients, this is more expensive with extract brewing but it's an easier way to get into the hobby. It also requires less equipment than all grain which is preferable if you're in an apartment. Extract kits at Midwest (I keep referring to them because that's where I shop, no other reason) are generally between $25 and $35 dollars (plus shipping).

As for bargaining, you'll probably need to give something to get something. If you're buying craft beer currently this might save you money, but you're not going to outdo the big commercial breweries cost wise. If you go to the bar you could try and substitute the time and/or money spent there with brewing at home, she'd probably like that. Other than that, I dunno. I just bought SWMBO a new house so she had no choice but to let me start brewing

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Old 06-16-2010, 03:20 PM   #3
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There's a bunch of threads already on here about getting started on the cheap.
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Old 06-16-2010, 04:22 PM   #4
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All that Revvy said. If you can find yourself a fairly decent (read: clean) cooler from someone or Craigslist, you can build a CPVC or braided manifold for cheap and adapt a valve onto it for cheap if you're handy. This way you can do AG batches which are far cheaper, especially if you develop a house brew with a simple grain bill. This way you can buy bulk hops (a pound or two at a time) and reuse your yeast. For about $20 you can get a cheap corn mill and convert that, enabling you to get your grain in bulk for less than $1/lb. Together, all these things will have you brewing 5 gallon batches for about $10-$15.
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Old 06-16-2010, 06:22 PM   #5
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You and SWMBO will always be saving for something or another, but that parts already budgeted, right? Take some of your entertainment money for the month and buy an extract kit. Make it a challenge to get it in the bottle as cheaply as possible. It can be done!
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:15 AM   #6
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One thing to consider - if you like good beer, once you get the knack, you will make beer that's better than anything you can buy at any price. It will be cheaper than buying really good beer.
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Old 06-17-2010, 12:47 AM   #7
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Procuring great beer for cheap is what initially attracted me to this hobby. Unfortunately I had to buy a better bottle capper, then I had to buy expensive ingredients for complex recipes, then I had to buy a kegging system.

If you have the self-control to keep it simple you can stay cheap. I have no such control. But so far I've managed to churn out great brew, so SWMBO hasn't complained yet!

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