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endlesssurf

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hey everyone i am short on cash and have a pretty good homebrew setup what would be the cheapest way to brew something... anything... I am wanting to continue my hobby but its hard to find the cash these days.
 

EvilTOJ

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Honestly, the cheapest way to keep brewing cheap (ingredients wise, that is) is to go all grain and buying grain in bulk. That alone cut my brewing costs almost in half. I mean, if you don't include all the equipment upgrades I did along with that :D Barring that, you can also buy hops by the lb which is sometimes cheaper. Reuse your yeast cakes and look up yeast washing. Use dry yeast instead of liquid.
 

hopsoda

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Bopper

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AHS has a Fifty Cent beer series:
Austin Homebrew Supply

Northern Brewer also has a Mild Ale extract kit that's around $20 and it is very good. In fact, I have it on tap right now!
 

The Pol

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You can brew many light lawnmower ales and blondes for under $20 per batch, if it is AG. +1 on bulk buying, but if money is tight you may not have the captital to get that infusion of ingredients. When and if you do, it is a good idea. I reduced my costs by about 40% overall. My average cost per brew, across all styles, is about $25. My blondes and haus ale are close to $15.
 

Cpt_Kirks

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Because propane to boil with costs so damn much, I am doing a lot of "mostly grain" batches. Target is using the maximum amount of grain that the resulting wort will boil down to the batch size in the optimal 60 minute bittering boil time, which seems to be about 9 or 10 lbs of grain.

That comes out a little light in the SG (I like my beer to be in the 5.5%+ ABV range), so a pound or so of corn sugar bumps up the gravity without much (or any) effect on the quality.

Once I get my keggle converted to electric boiling, I will cut down or phase out the corn sugar, but for now, it is a VERY cheap way to cut down on propane use.

If you have the time and space, growing hops, buying hops in bulk, saving yeast and buying yeast in bulk all are money saving options, too.
 

thrawn86

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check out his blog link, guys. college student! he may not have the capital to start straight out with a 7.5gal kettle, mashtun, propane, wort chillers, and most importantly a place to safely use propane. (propane costs money too...thats another 50$ for a tank that will last half a dozen batches, max)

in a dorm or apartment your stove usually sucks pretty bad, so you're limited to using heatsticks (and you'd need two separate circuits, or 240v) or doing partial boils.

theres nothing wrong with extract brewing, I'm an apartment dweller with a puny stove myself. partial mashing or small-batch biab are a possibility, maybe next year...

nothing against AG guys, it just doesn't seem like a full blown AG setup and bulk pallets of grain are a good fit for someone who is saying "i'm short on cash, help me brew on the cheap".
 

svudah

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I used to do two gallon all-grain batches with a big coffee urn I found at Goodwill for 4 dollars as a self-heating mashtun and empty carlo rossi one gallon glass jugs as carboys.

Cheap brewing can be done.
 

Cpt_Kirks

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Anybody have the link to Death Brewer's stove-top all grain thread handy?

You don't have to have a garage full of gear to do all grain.

;)
 

BaldAssCat

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Doesn’t have to be beer either. Dandelion wine, ciders from concentrate, berry wine from what grows outside your house are all very cheap and done in small batches on the stove.
 

wilserbrewer

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I'm working on a recipe for what I call spaghetti wheat beer, an american wit of sorts. Basicly you mash 6 lbs 2 row w/ 3 lbs of thin (way overcooked, like boil for an hour) spahgetti.

Lightly hopped w/ say an ounce of halertaur for the one hour boil, coriander and 1/2 a large jar of orange marmalade at the end of the boil.

Still honing the recipe but believe it or not it is pretty tasty. Pasta was on sale when I was at the grocery yesterday for $.75 a 1 lb box so I stocked up for a batch.

OK you can stop laughing now...there is a link within the thread I posted where a guy placed third in a competion w/ a pasta adjunct beer.


https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/anybody-ever-used-pasta-adjunct-96661/

6 lbs 2 row.... ..... $5
3 lbs spaghetti.....2.25
oz hops...............1.00 I bought in bulk
marmalaide...........1.00
coriander..............2.00
yeast.................recycled

total..............11.25 / 5 gallons or 28 cents a pint
 

vespa2t

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I used to do two gallon all-grain batches with a big coffee urn I found at Goodwill for 4 dollars as a self-heating mashtun and empty carlo rossi one gallon glass jugs as carboys.

Cheap brewing can be done.
Awesome. I love re-use of stuff in my brewing. I have cider jugs for small batch secondaries, a modified camp stove (well actually the guts from two camp stoves) as my burner, garage sale stock pot, etc....I dont do it just to be cheap, I do it because I like reusing crap and fabricating stuff.

Resourcefulness is what our forefathers used in their brewing...
 

Brewer_Steve

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what would be the cheapest way to brew something... anything... I am wanting to continue my hobby but its hard to find the cash these days.
What do you have?
If you have a fermentor, a pot, and some bottles, you have the absolute minimum to create beer. Your process won't be as good as someone who is better equipped, and you might have to brew smaller batches, but you'll still be brewing.

Sometimes it's fun to be resourceful and make due with the kit you have. When you have more cash, you can upgrade and acquire stuff at your own pace.
 

kharmajavah

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nothing against AG guys, it just doesn't seem like a full blown AG setup and bulk pallets of grain are a good fit for someone who is saying "i'm short on cash, help me brew on the cheap".
I'm with you here. All grain is definitely cheaper - ONCE you have the required equipment to do it. Otherwise, that's a lot of stuff to buy before you get to make cheap(er) beer.

My suggestion would be light American style ales using liquid malt extract and dry yeast - not a whole lot of hops to spend money on. You could even do some small hefes with some light or wheat extract (maybe 7-8 pounds), go light on the adjuncts (or use none eat all), use a dry yeast, and you're right at or below the $30 mark, probably buying online. It might not win you any awards, but it'll be perfectly respectable beer.

Really, hops and liquid yeast are often what push my brews past the "cheap" mark and into the "medium expense" zone (most of mine are between 30 and 40, though I could cut that down a lot if I harvested yeast, etc. I'm just kind of lazy, and worried about sanitation). For PM or extract brewing, DME can push push the price up like crazy.

This way, you can do a very small boil on a small/cruddy stove, cool it down, top off, pitch, and you're good to go.
 

kharmajavah

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Anybody have the link to Death Brewer's stove-top all grain thread handy?

You don't have to have a garage full of gear to do all grain.

;)
HA! I should have thought of that link...I think it's a sticky in the PM/All Grain section. Maybe?

Very true...if you're resourceful and careful you can do an all grain without much in the way of kit.
 

ruffdeezy

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Cooper's kits are $13.49 where I got them, although I quickly moved on from them but it doesn't get much cheaper than that and if you only have the basic equipment.
 
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endlesssurf

endlesssurf

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yea i don't like doing the coopers kits. and i also am trying to grow some of my own hopps on my balcony... well see how that works. also i was wondering how hard it is to procure yeast... and if its worth it.
 
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endlesssurf

endlesssurf

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I'm working on a recipe for what I call spaghetti wheat beer, an american wit of sorts. Basicly you mash 6 lbs 2 row w/ 3 lbs of thin (way overcooked, like boil for an hour) spahgetti.

Lightly hopped w/ say an ounce of halertaur for the one hour boil, coriander and 1/2 a large jar of orange marmalade at the end of the boil.

Still honing the recipe but believe it or not it is pretty tasty. Pasta was on sale when I was at the grocery yesterday for $.75 a 1 lb box so I stocked up for a batch.

OK you can stop laughing now...there is a link within the thread I posted where a guy placed third in a competion w/ a pasta adjunct beer.


https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f12/anybody-ever-used-pasta-adjunct-96661/

6 lbs 2 row.... ..... $5
3 lbs spaghetti.....2.25
oz hops...............1.00 I bought in bulk
marmalaide...........1.00
coriander..............2.00
yeast.................recycled

total..............11.25 / 5 gallons or 28 cents a pint
that sounds pretty far out. i like the uniqueness of it though.
 

Figbash

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Grow your own hops and culture your own yeast.

Those are the two most costly components of beer. I'm on my third year of growing my own hops and I just made up a bunch of slants to culture my own yeast. When I make the switch to AG this summer, I'll be able to brew for less than $5 a case.

Tom
 

Homercidal

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Good luck on the hops! They require some serious room to grow 15 ft +).

I'd recommend buying bulk if you are an extract brewer. Or go AG and buy bulk. YOU dont' have to spend a ton to do AG. You may need to do smaller batches (nothing wrong with that, more brewing required) and either have the LHBS crush your grains or buy a cheap mill off ebay if buying bulk.

You can harvest yeast from store bought bottles and build up starters, or make recipes that dry yeast will work good for. It's more work, but you can save that way.

Figure out how much you can save by buying extract in bulk, vs kits from the store.
Figure how much you can save by going to AG
Figure the cost of buying a cooler for MLT, crusher, etc. (Stuff can be used look for yard sales, Craigslist, etc)

You can get very cheap brewing, but it might take $100 to get going on AG if you do some stuff yourself and get used/cheap equipment. There are other threads with frugal brewing techniques listed.
 
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