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Old 02-14-2008, 04:28 AM   #31
Feb 2007
Posts: 326
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I can think of so many ways to look at the economics of homebrewing, and some ways it seems like a bargain and some it seems like a ripoff. If you consider your time into the cost the price of your homebrew would be ridiculous. Think about it, you have the brew day, racking to secondary, bottling. I consider this an enjoyable hobby, other than bottling and even that isn't too bad so time is no consideration for me.

If you consider what you spend on equiptment, plus ingredients as compared to what you would spend on a comparable beer, it won't take you too long to be ahead of the game as long as your setup isn't too fancy. My problem looking at things this way is I give away so much beer because friends are interested in trying my beer. So I have to basically say I'm producing about 75% of what I really produce to account for the cost of what I give away.

The best way to look at it is as a hobby. This makes it dirt cheap. Think about it, you would spend so much more playing a round of golf and have nothing to show for it at the end of the day. Brewing an AG batch is a full day worth of entertainment, and eventually you get some great beer to drink. I don't think it gets much better than that.

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Old 02-14-2008, 05:19 AM   #32
Nov 2006
Fresno, CA
Posts: 123
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I got into homebrewing in college - I couldn't stomach cheap macro frat swill, but couldn't afford too much premium beer. I didn't skimp on ingredients, but brewed to my taste and was able to have more beer for the $. Now, having gone all grain with minimal equip, I still brew for quality, but cash is still very tight.

One way to (slightly) reduce costs is to brew with sugar. I can get palm sugar and unrefined Mexican sugar locally for cheap. Cost per point of gravity is about 1/2 of grain, and significantly less than LME or DME. Using 10-20% adds some complexity (if the sugar has flavor, not white table sugar), and keeps the body a little lighter. I only use it for beers >1.050, as then you still have a good malt body.

You can also brew session beers. I just got my order from B3 for ingredients to make mild / ordinary bitter / southern English brown, etc. I am planning on doing 2-3 low gravity beers with one tube of liquid British yeast then a good IPA. Hard to beat a good flavorful beer using 6-8 lbs of grain and 3/4 oz of hops. I figure my cost per batch will be $12-15 total. I can't wait til I can afford a mill and buy grains in bulk. That would drop the cost to under $10/batch.

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Old 02-14-2008, 05:47 PM   #33
Jan 2008
Posts: 22

A case of decent beer in Canada = $45.00

One 5 gallon batch = 2.5 cases = $112.50

One 5 gallon batch uses:
7.5# Malt extract = $20.00
1.5# Specialty Grains = $3.00
4oz Hops = $8.00
Yeast is free if you wash it.

For a total of $31.00 plus water and propane.

So I would say it's definitely cheaper up here in Canada.

As a matter of fact, being on welfare is what got me started into home-brewing.


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Old 02-15-2008, 07:47 AM   #34
Jul 2007
Albany, Oregon
Posts: 202

Hoots mon, cheap is easy. A basic beer kit-in-a-can costs $25 and contains 3.3 pounds of bittered-up LME to which you're supposed to add what, 3 pounds of sugar? Well, that's $8 worth of extract. Four bucks for two ounces of high-IBU hops, a buck for dry yeast, $1.50 for three pounds of Pure Cane Sugar and brother, you are on your way.
Planning: Wilhoit Springs Bitter; apple-plum hard cider
Brewing: Nuttin'!
In glass:Wilhoit Springs IPA(dunkles); Grain alcohol & Rainwater beer; Obfuscatator Doppelbock; Jamil's Ordinary Bitter; Dun Ringill Scottish 80/-; Bohumbug Pilsner; several strong ciders
On tap:Wilhoit Springs Bitter; Mac Cumhaill Breis Tiubh Stout; cider; soda water

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Old 12-07-2008, 04:22 PM   #35
Dec 2008
Posts: 4

Originally Posted by |-|edghog View Post
As a matter of fact, being on welfare is what got me started into home-brewing.

I'm going to pretend you didn't say that...

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Old 12-08-2008, 12:50 AM   #36
The Pol
Feb 2007
Posts: 11,454
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I cant buy the beer that I like at the store, so there are no economics involved it... I just cant BUY beer that I LIKE. I HAVE to make it... $$$ was never the issue.

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Old 12-08-2008, 01:09 AM   #37
Dec 2007
London, Ontario
Posts: 19

Somebody has already said it: buy in bulk! I am fortunate enough to live close to Gilbertson and Page - a malt distribution company. I dropped by last week and purchased two 25kg (55#) bags of Canadian 2-Row. Each bag cost me just $30 Canadian (about $24 USD). That's 0.54 cents a pound or $1.20 a kilo!

The two bags will last me into the spring. Then it'll be time to drive over to Fergus again!

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Old 12-08-2008, 02:08 AM   #38
Oct 2008
Columbus Ohio
Posts: 352
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Try Deathbrewers AG on a stove top. No fancy equipment at all. That seems to save me a little money.
Creag `An Tuirc
A Highlander likes two things naked. The other's Scotch.
- Howard

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Old 12-08-2008, 02:33 AM   #39
Nov 2008
Posts: 625
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I got to say this... home brewin is already cheeper ten buying beer already... but its not as satisfying nor as purely a way to pas the time for ones self... I spent 50 dallors on one batch of hard cider.... i am trying to perfect a way to brew high ABV.... it has cost me over 200 dalors so far... i got into distilling for awhile and it cost me well over 500 dallors, and i didnt even get a finnished prouct before i dismanteled my still and turned it into a water heater for my parents hot tub and gaveup completely... its not rotting your brain like reeality TV, or making you want to jump offa bridge like TV drama thse days... its good clean home brewin where you live an learn what it might be like to providefor yourself what you would only other wise have to get from others.... its a great feeling to know that if the world changed someday and you had to survive on skills you had that you could cound among anything else you could do that you could change simple ingredants into a wonderdful relaxing bevrage... its empowering, its taking a part of your life into your own hands.... but if your really serious about saving money because the ecomy is down the drain and maybe your poket bok is feling that strain more then usal... then shop around for your ingredants, look online, look atyour local walmart or organic health food store (saw a 3 pound bottle of barley malt at my local for about 7 bucks i am looking to see if thats a bargin)... go farmer direct. Brew with honey instead of sugar and get that honey from your local bee keeper.... my folks are getting a couple bee hives and i plan to on useing the honey to cut back on the sugar i buy... make bigger baches they last longer so you dont brew as much... brew shop prices tend to be much much higher then nessacry... i live a few towns away from Bells micro brewery( the jewl and only living pride of my home state)... they have brew shop and a vey positive aditude toward the homebrewer and thus very very reasonable prices... find your closest micro brewery and see if they have the same policy... thats all i can advise, other then that you will just hve to come to terms with brewin for between 3-7 dallors a sixer... if your paying more then 60 bucks for a batch of ingreedants and bottles etc then you defiantly need to shop around

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Old 12-08-2008, 03:45 PM   #40
Nov 2008
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Posts: 744
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If cost is all that is important, you can brew beer very, very cheaply. I just kegged a 5 gallon batch of beer that cost me $5.50!!! It was done as an experiment that I replicate every 4 or 5 years -- brew a light American style lager made all grain that tastes far better than mass produced beers. It also is my test of the "cleanness" of my brewing. If there's any funk going on, I'll be able to taste it in this beer.

The recipe was simple -- 5 lbs American 2 row ($4.25 from MidWest Supplies -- 1/2 of a 10lb bag) and 3/4 oz Cascade boil and 1/4 oz Cascade (finish) ($1.25 -- 1/8th of a $10 8oz purchase made on eBay). Yeast was harvested so it was basically free. Now, there was some shipping on the grain, so if I add $2 (just a guess for this portion of a larger order) it might be a $7.50 batch of highly drinkable beer.

1.032 OG, 1.006 F.G for 3.5% ABV (remarkable good 87% efficiency). It's light and crisp and tasty for a light lager -- which of course isn't my favorite style beer, but has turned out great!

If I really wanted to make a great session beer, I could do it with 7.5lbs grain ($6.50) and an extra oz of Columbus hops (also purchased on eBay, same price -- use Cascade for finishing & dry hopping) ($2.50). Again, harvest yeast, and I've got a beer that's sitting around 1.040 for $9. Add shipping on the grain and it's probably $12.

Mostly I don't do this, though. I brew for fun, enjoyment & challenge and don't worry about the cost a ton. But if you want to go cheap, it is very easy to do.

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