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Old 11-17-2008, 08:50 AM   #1
Nov 2008
Orange County, California
Posts: 187
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Hey guys, my name is Drew and i am a complete beginner when it comes to brewing. I had a few questions with brewing beer, i am looking to start off with something affordable and simple. I know that this is not exactly the most affordable hobby, but i just do not want to be turned away because of the time i make a mistake. I have been looking around for kits, and i see that they cost an average of 25 dollars (grain kits), but is there anything more affordable for simple beer?

Do all types of beer require hops? That is what seems to be making these kits expensive from what i can tell. Maybe wine is the way to go, or even cider. Any insight into the brewing community will be appreciated.

Happy Brewing.

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Old 11-17-2008, 09:16 AM   #2
May 2008
Denver, Colorado
Posts: 512
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If you want to try and go cheap go Cider.
All beer has hops. A grain kit is probably a little much to start on to see if you want to do this as a hobby. Wine will take a long time.
Cider, at its cheapest, is the cost of 1 gallon of juice and some yeast. thats no more than 8 dollars. Get it in a gallon glass jug and you have a fermenter. 10 dollars for a hydrometer, a graduated cylinder, an airlock and a stopper and you are in business.

If you really want beer you can start as cheap as $14.00 for a Mr. Beer Kit.
West Coast Pale Ale w/Booster™
An extremely drinkable beer and a true American microbrewery favorite!

sku# 10023BP
Flavor: Balanced
Alc/Vol: 3.7%, SRM: 3, IBU: 14


Its not great beer but its beer and makes 2 gallons.

One suggestion I will make is you get what you pay for. If you want to get started and get a good chance at a good beer get a good extract kit for your first.

something like
Irish Red Ale - Extract Kit
OG: 1040 / Ready: 6 weeks

Irish ales are malty, smooth, and many, like our kit, are a rich copper-red color. This Irish Red Ale is our attempt to improve upon some domestic versions. Our Irish Red is colored by a blend of specialty malts. Its great taste, drinkability, and low aging requirements make this our best-selling kit.


If you buy a 14.00 beer kit you get average beer and less of it.
Primary: 3 gallon cider S-04
Secondary: Valentine Apfelwein Clone 1 Gal
Bottled: Halloween Apfelwein Clone 1 Gal
On Deck: 90 Shilling Clone

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Old 11-17-2008, 02:57 PM   #3
Be good to your yeast...
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Jun 2008
Pflugerville, Texas
Posts: 5,447
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If you can be happy with one style of beer you can buy your hops by the pound, buy your malt or extract in bulk, and use dry yeast. This will get your per-batch cost way down the same way it's cheaper to shop at Sam's than your grocery store.

All-grain you can get down to around $10 per batch for a simple blonde or cream ale. For extract it's going to be really tough to get below $20 at which point the $25 kits are actually not too bad!
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:02 PM   #4
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Feb 2008
Eastern Colorado
Posts: 5,970
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The only thing I can say is that for your $25 you are going to get roughly 2 cases of premium beer! Beer that costs me $8 - $10 a 6 pack in the store...I make for $4 or less.
The expensive part of this hoby is when you decide to hit the stores for more "Research" beer and end up shelling out $150 on beer one or 2 bottles at a time
Read about that HERE from one of our own Big Dawgs here on HBT!
Seriously. I'm here for BEER
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:41 PM   #5
Ale's What Cures You!
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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I know that several brewers have mentioned the Cooper's can or something like that. It already is prehopped, and you don't boil it- you just mix it with water and some corn sugar. I think they mentioned it was around $15 or so and made 6 gallons. I have never tried this, but it's the cheapest thing I could think of.

While homebrewing is an awesome hobby, very few of us are into it to save money on beer. I can make a better beer than I can buy- that's why I do it. I can make a beer to have as much malt flavor, hop flavor, etc as I want to satisfy my palate. It's definitely not a cheap way to beer!

If you want to make cider, or wine, that might be less expensive. Someone already mentioned cider- but wine can be cheap to make at times. I have a recipe for Welch's grape juice wine, banana wine, apple juice wine, etc. Wine might take 6 months to be good, but you can drink the Welch's wine in 30-60 days. You can also buy wine kits for $60 or so, which makes 30 bottles of decent wine.

There is a cost with buying some equipment, though. At the very least, you would need some airlocks and siphoning tubing and bungs for the jugs. For small batches of cider and wine, I use Carlo Rossi 4L jugs with a bung and an airlock. That's probably the cheapest route to go.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:49 PM   #6
Oct 2008
Tempe, Arizona
Posts: 370
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Originally Posted by BigKahuna View Post
The only thing I can say is that for your $25 you are going to get roughly 2 cases of premium beer! Beer that costs me $8 - $10 a 6 pack in the store...I make for $4 or less.
The expensive part of this hoby is when you decide to hit the stores for more "Research" beer and end up shelling out $150 on beer one or 2 bottles at a time
Read about that HERE from one of our own Big Dawgs here on HBT!
hmmm I thought the expensive part was when you decide you need a kegerator for all this beer you're producing while the 3rd batch was just placed in the fermenter? No?
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Old 11-17-2008, 04:36 PM   #7
Sep 2008
Posts: 455
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I started homebrewing not in order to save money on beer, but being able to make great beer for less than what it would cost at the store was definitely an attraction. Like all hobbies, there are costs and the dangers of becoming obsessed and spending a lot of money. Unlike a lot of other hobbies, this is a craft, not a hobby, which makes it even more enjoyable. If you can spare about $125 for setup, and about $25-$30 per batch, you can make great stuff. Once you get involved, you can start looking around for equipment on Craigslist--I just got 240 bottles and a fermenting bucket for $30, and I may have a line on a free kegerator!

Another route is to go in with a buddy. This is what I did. We split the equipment costs, the ingredients costs, and the final product. After all, who wants to drink alone? Homebrewing is a social activity, another reason I have gone from one bucket to six in four months.

"Mas vale bolo famoso que alcoholico anonimo."

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Old 11-17-2008, 08:37 PM   #8
Nov 2008
Louisville, Kentucky
Posts: 11

A new brewers kit (equipment an all) will run you about $60-$75. This is getting you a plastic fermenter, bottling bucket, siphon, hose, bottling wand, capper and a spoon. You'll need a 3-5 gallon steel pot to boil the wort in and that can be another $25. Bottles and caps will cost you too. A brewers best kit of ingredients (and it includes all you'll need for one batch) is probably $25 or so. A new brewer could expect to spend $125-$150 to get started. Once you have the basic equipment a batch can be pretty cheap.

As far as all beer needing hops. Well, technically no, but would you make pretzels without salt or pizza without cheese?? Hops can be a pretty important ingredient, but it could be worth experimenting. Just a note too, yeast actually has more to do with flavor than hops, so make sure you read up on it.

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Old 11-18-2008, 03:58 AM   #9
Aug 2006
Delmar NY
Posts: 255
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I agree with all the comments about not getting into this hobby to save money. We all end up lusting after some new piece of equipment or wanting to brew some complicated Tripel or imperial style. Having said that, you can make a pretty good quality beer for less than a decent microbrew. If you're worried about getting turned off early by some mistake, go for an easy forgiving style. For my first, I made an Irish stout. Easy recipe, quick finish and hard to screw up. If it isn't completely clear, nobody can tell and it looks like the real thing. What's not to like?

Of course then you're hooked and you go down the path of perdition with the rest of us.
"Better Living Through Chemistry"

Neuron Nanobrewery

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Old 11-18-2008, 04:02 AM   #10
Nov 2008
Orange County, California
Posts: 187
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

Ok guys, i have taken your advise and am looking into cider for the moment. I am sure i will eventually become refascinated with beer, and will end up seeing you all again in the beer section. But for now, i currently placed an order for a few 1 gallon carboy's, stoppers, nutrients, airlocks, and some good old wine yeast (Dry Wine Yeast - Redstar Premier Cuvee).

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