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Old 05-22-2012, 03:22 AM   #1
May 2012
Plainfield, Indiana
Posts: 24
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Here's an idea that has been floating around in my head for a day or two. Let's say that you were an all grain brewer (such as me) and wanted to create a number of unique brews throughout the year and save a few dollars in the process.

I have noticed that at many LHBS, a bag of 2-row Rahr Malt is discounted 30% when you buy the 50 lb bags. Also, I see some really good deals on hops online, particularly hopsdirect it would appear that if you buy a pound or two you can save 70% or more.

Up until this point I have went in and purchased whatever was on the grain bill, because it's convenient. However I am thinking that a large number of the beers that I like could be made from a somewhat common set of ingredients ("filler" or "Base").

I am thinking a good base would be Rahr 2-row as it seems pretty popular and neutral. Curious if anyone has any preferences here - what would be a good one? I could see needing a grain crusher if I am going to keep a large amount of grain around, and particulary wondering what people use to store large amounts of grain.

Same thing for hops - for bittering, I don't think that imparts as much variety as flavor and finishing. I would want something that could be used in bittering and potentially half for flavoring. Cascade seems to be a popular one. Does anyone have a standard hop that they love to use? Also would it be whole or in pellets? Then adjusting the flavoring and finishing to suit individual recipes.

The final step would be incorporating a good starter yeast into my routine. One that would be a good year round ale yeast but with a profile that wouldn't add a whole lot of variety to the batches. I would then have a starter that I cultured and would be viable to pitch whenever I wanted.

So what are some of the varieties that I could accompilsh with these base hops & grain - whatever they may be - or am I limiting myself too much? I could see going to my LHBS to augment what I have at home and still be able to brew some basic beers if I didn't have the time to go and buy additional adjuncts.

I could see easily producing IPA, IIPA, Stout (chocolate/oatmeal), English Bitter, Traditional Ale, Porter, Barleywine (?), and some 50/50 wheat beers. I would probably spend some time converting recipes to these standards, and accumulate more as I explore.

Does this sound like a pipe dream or what...?



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Old 05-22-2012, 03:28 AM   #2
Ale's What Cures You!
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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Originally Posted by gcastrat View Post
Does this sound like a pipe dream or what...?

That's what I do. Buy base malt by the sack, hops by the pound, and reuse and save yeast.

I have a sack of US two-row (I've used Briess and now have Rahr), a few specialty grains (crystal 20L, 40L, 60L, victory malt) and a bunch of hops I bought on sale by the pound. I have some British base malt (maris otter), some Belgian malt, and I can make just about anything on a whim.

I bought my hops and grains by figuring out what I brew the most and picking out the common ingredients.
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Old 05-22-2012, 03:34 AM   #3

I use Maris otter for my base malt, I always have simcoe, cascade, and chinook, and get a bittering hop (varies) - all in 1 lb portions. My go to crystal is British medium which is somewhere around 65 L - I have about 45 lbs left. I also have about the same amount of light Munich.

Dark malts, light and dark crystal malts, adjuncts and non barley malts i get per recipe or in 10 lb bags if the local store has it. I get MO 2 sacks at a time.

Fwiw & ymmv etc.

Steve da sleeve

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Old 05-22-2012, 03:36 AM   #4
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Jun 2009
Aurora, IL
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This is pretty much what i do. I keep anywhere from 50-150 pounds of 2 row. Over the course of a few years i have noticed that i cant tell a difference between brands. I have used rahr, canada, and others i can't think of off the top of my head.

I buy speciatly grains from wherever is most convenient. Sometimes i will plan out 3-5 recipes and order them from an online vendor. Other times i will just go to lhbs.

There are a variety of options for hops and depending on how much you brew you will have to decide what hop volumes make the most sense.

For example, hops direct sells by the pound, farmhouse sells in four oz packs. Sometimes having a pound makes sense and other times it doesnt. I have some hops from 2009 that i still havent used. Like magnum, i will never need a pound of magnum. Hops are kind of tough to plan..... just depends what you brew.

You can wash yeast to save a few bucks but i quit doing it just bc for 6 or 7 bucks (liquid) or 3-4 bucks (dry) it wasnt worth the extra few steps involved......

Absolutely cant go wrong with bulk 2row though.........
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