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Old 01-22-2013, 02:36 PM   #1
Nov 2012
Posts: 2,951
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Money's tight and now that I've gotten into all grain... one batch under my belt and besides the stupid idea to try it on the stove top(resulting in fire) before moving production outside to the propane, I'd say I had a great brew day. Took me 7 hours. But, whatever, I can trim that down to 4 hours next time, within the next couple days. Got the supplies already.

So now I want to be able to brew beer for $10.00 or less per 5 or 6 gallon batch. I like simple beers in the relatively low ABV range, under 4%. I like to be able to have a couple and still get my work done.

To accomplish this, I know I will have to start harvesting my own yeast, I am researching this part. I know I will have to start buying grain and hops, etc, in bulk. Or even grow my own and use it for trade with someone that has the facility to malt it(grain). I think I could probably also grow hops and learn how to use the leaves instead of pellet(my tea balls would work).

My favorite style beer(though I never really met a beer I didn't like) is American pale ale or amber ale. Any good tips for me so that by the end of this year I will be brewing 5 gallons batches for under $10.00?

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:43 PM   #2
Beer-lord's Avatar
Jan 2012
Burbs of the Big Easy, La
Posts: 1,504
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You definitely have to harvest yeast to get even close to $10 IMO. Maybe a cream ale. Wouldn't be my kind of beer but if money is the problem, why not wait until you have enough to make 5 gallon of the kind of beer YOU like to drink?
Wherever you go, there you are!

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:49 PM   #3
May 2012
Morgantown, Wv
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Not possible.

Even when doing a bulk grain buy(35ish a sack of 2 row), using minimal hops bought in bulk, minimal specialty grains and adjuncts, and yeast washing, slanting ect....the cost of DME for starters, propane(this is a big one), water(if you dont filter), star san, cleaners, caps, ect will put you over that limit quickly. Thats not even considering amortizing equipment costs.

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:58 PM   #4
Mar 2012
idaho falls, idaho
Posts: 2,102
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Excluding the starsan and such I routinely get under ten bucks

6 pd 2 row
2 pd instant rice
1 pd instant grits
1 ounce bittering hops of your favorite flavor...I like Saaz

Reuse yeast.

Mash 151 and boil 60 min. Ends up right at 10 bucks for 6 gallons for me. But be careful about using the grits because you may want some for breakfast sometime and not have any.....Like this morning

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Old 01-22-2013, 02:58 PM   #5
Aug 2012
minneapolis, minnesota
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It sounds like they are looking at $10 for ingredients and just accepting cost on all the other equipment which I think is a acceptable way to think about it because it is a hobby and any hobby likely has costs associated with it. A big saver would be the yeast which as you know cuts out a ton of cost. Growing hops could also eliminate cost if you have a green thumb and good weather.

I'd say you could get close if you're just factoring in ingredients.
I hate Walder Frey...

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
bkl63's Avatar
Feb 2012
Pennsville, New Jersey
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Outside of propane, this can be possible. I did a simple Kolsch recipe and it was just over 15.00. This included the yeast which I now have in my library. My next batch will be under 10.00. Some simple Pale Ales will be the same as I have them in my inventory. My beers run me under 10.00 to my most expensive being around $30.00/5 gallon (Cherry Wheat and Westy 12 clone).
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:04 PM   #7
wickman6's Avatar
Sep 2011
vernon hills, il
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It can be done, especially if you are keeping the ABV low. It's gonna be a bit of a challenge however. Bulk 2 row cost me around .58/ pound. Specialty grains are about 1.69 for me, but you can search on making your own crystal malts at home from your bulk pale malt. Reusing yeast and bulk hops will save you a lot. My hops are .90/oz average. I bitter with magnum, so I use very little to get my ibu to bitter. Propane cost me $3 for a 60 min boil.

I can make a simple pale ale for about $10. That doesn't include caps or co2, or sanitizer though.
My wife is like a well crafted beer...bitter, yet sweet enough to balance perfectly!

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #8
Dec 2011
Culpeper, VA
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I brew 11 gallon batches of 5% abv for <$20 now so it's definitely doable!

You must get in on group buys on bulk grain. I pay 75 cents a pound for 2-row and Pilsner malts.

Buy your hops in bulk and stick to common domestic hobs (Willamette, Cascade, Columbus, Nugget, etc.) I pay about $8 per lb of pellet hops when they go on sale from the big hop sellers.

Use dry yeast (Nottingham and US-05) and wash it and reuse with a starter for each batch. I use mine 4-5 times before starting with fresh yeast.

For all grain the larger the batch the more efficient the propane use. When I do 10-11 gallon batches I only use about 25% more propane than I do to make a 5.5 gallon batch.
Next up: Amber Ale
Primary 1&2: 90 Min IPA clone
Primary 3&4: Belgian Wit
Keg #1: White Mosaic Pale Ale
Keg #2: Empty
Drinking: Amber Ale, White Mosaic Pale Ale

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #9
Misplaced_Canuck's Avatar
Jan 2011
NE Columbia SC - Formerly, Montreal Canada
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Hops in bulk, base malt in bulk, re-use yeast, use tap water, keep it under 1.050... Increase your sparge time to 60-75 minutes to get above 80% efficiency.

This should easily get you in the $10/5-gal batch range. (excluding propane/equipment).

Originally Posted by Misplaced_Canuck
Carbonic bite? Is that like the bubonic plague?
Originally Posted by ebstauffer
Needless to say after more than a few drams my mental efficiency matched my mashing efficiency.

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Old 01-22-2013, 03:05 PM   #10
Sep 2011
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Posts: 408
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A smash beer with harvested/repitch could get you close. My BM's Centennial Blonde worked out to not much more than that though per gallon. I don't see any problem with a goal of $10/batch per se, but I bet that if your budget was say $15/batch, you could make a much more pleasing beer with top notch ingredients.

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