Cost Analysis

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annasdadhockey

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SWMBO was curious about how much it costs per 12 oz. bottle to do an all grain brew. I know it's easy to figure out...Total cost divided by # of bottles equals cost per bottle, obviously. My question is, if I get 11 gallons into the fermenters(6.5 gal glass carboys), what is a reasonable yield to be able to get into bottles? This will be my first All grain, Biermuncher's Centennial Blonde. Accounting for cold break and everything else that will settle out in primary, what can I expect? 10 gallons? 10.5 gallons? What have you guys gotten out of it?
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I usually plan for about a quarter gallon loss per primary fermenter. Roll over the blankspace below when your wife is not reading this. So your system should be good for 110 bottles give or take.

You will spend a massive amount on equipment most likely. Never count that in your estimates. It makes the beer seem REALLY expensive.
 

pompeiisneaks

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Yes BUT, eventually you have to realize the massive savings you're getting per bottle. I think on average a 6pack of 12oz around here goes for 7-9 bucks for the more custom beers. My guess would be I get about 5 gallons out of a 6 gallon batch, after transfers etc. (very conservative btw). Then you figure 1 gallon is 128 oz * 5 = 640 oz, divide by 12 = 53 bottles... divide by 6 per pack thats just shy of 9 12 packs... if we go a little less conservative, just enough to fill up that 9th 12 pack, at the cheapest thats 9x7 = 63$. On average most of my AG brews go between 30-35 w/ the expensive hops and liquid yeasts I'm prone to. Thats still almost half the cost.... Yes equipment is expensive, and yes we homebrewers are prone to always wanting more, but eventually it should more than pay off anyway...

That's my idea behind it all anyway...

Edit: You could also always work it like a bank... every batch you brew saves you 30 bucks... and "save" that in a "more gear" pot so you're allowed to buy more gear.... Also that means you have impetus to brew and drink a lot more beer... so you can keep adding to your pot of gold :)
 
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annasdadhockey

annasdadhockey

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she definitely knows its way cheaper, even cheapr than extract, she was just curious. Thanks guys. I'll go with the 110 bottles when I do the math for her. I just got what you meant about the blankspace. I've actually done quite well in the gathering of equipment. Between getting good buys, and selling off some things I don't need anymore(not beer related), I'm actually ahead about $200. The centennial blonde ingredients cost me about $50 and change, including priming sugar, irish moss, etc. divide by even 100 bottles, Its about $.51 a brew. At 110 bottles, we're talking $.42 per. She'll be quite happy with that.
 

steelerguy

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Yes BUT, eventually you have to realize the massive savings you're getting per bottle. I think on average a 6pack of 12oz around here goes for 7-9 bucks for the more custom beers. My guess would be I get about 5 gallons out of a 6 gallon batch, after transfers etc. (very conservative btw). Then you figure 1 gallon is 128 oz * 5 = 640 oz, divide by 12 = 53 bottles... divide by 6 per pack thats just shy of 9 12 packs... if we go a little less conservative, just enough to fill up that 9th 12 pack, at the cheapest thats 9x7 = 63$. On average most of my AG brews go between 30-35 w/ the expensive hops and liquid yeasts I'm prone to. Thats still almost half the cost.... Yes equipment is expensive, and yes we homebrewers are prone to always wanting more, but eventually it should more than pay off anyway...

That's my idea behind it all anyway...

Edit: You could also always work it like a bank... every batch you brew saves you 30 bucks... and "save" that in a "more gear" pot so you're allowed to buy more gear.... Also that means you have impetus to brew and drink a lot more beer... so you can keep adding to your pot of gold :)

Going to the store to buy a 6-pack only takes a few minutes, while making starters, the boils, the mash, the sparging, the transfers, and the bottling can take over 12 hours. Don't get me wrong, I get a kick out of all of this, but like they say...time is money, so if you add that in it isn't really cheaper...unless your time isn't worth much. Still totally worth it!
 
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Going to the store to buy a 6-pack only takes a few minutes, while making starters, the boils, the mash, the sparging, the transfers, and the bottling can take over 12 hours. Don't get me wrong, I get a kick out of all of this, but like they say...time is money, so if you add that in it isn't really cheaper...unless your time isn't worth much. Still totally worth it!

Time doesn't factor into the cost if it is an enjoyable hobby done on hobby time.

I figure my standard batches are 65 cents/bottle, give or take with a "miscellaneous" $2/5gallons thrown in.
 

humann_brewing

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I would also add that it is going to vary a lot from brew to brew or beer to beer and most importantly how you buy your ingredients or grow them even.

I just did my first lager and I think I have $13 into it and resulted in a full 5 Gallon keg and a full 1/2G growler that I will bottle into a Christmas special 5 pack. Anyways I cam to $15 by:

7.75LBs of grain at .65c = 5.08
2oz of hops = $3
liquid yeast = $5
propane $2

I will also re-use the yeast so next batch it will be free :)

This is as simple and as cheep as it will probably get until I can use my own hops :)

On the other hand if you don't buy in bulk and pay more than $/lb for grain and only buy the hops you need for that brew the price could easily double.

Also a more complicated and more ingredient recipe is going to up the price, I think a lot of mine will be in the $20s for 5 gallons but that is also using liquid yeast and washing it for future batches, buying bulk grain and hops.


Now granted this is just what it costs on brew day. This doesn't take into account all the equipment that is purchased before brew day. That is a different story.
 

Mad_Milo

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You will spend a massive amount on equipment most likely. Never count that in your estimates. It makes the beer seem REALLY expensive.
You really don't have to, as I just found out. I've been extract brewing since 2006, and have over time upgraded here and there. Most expensive thing was the brewpot - I do full boil 5 gal batches in the kitchen in a 8 gal pot.

I was reeling from a recent recipe price-out using liquid and dry malt extracts. I then input the recipe in it's original AG form in the software, saw a minimum of 25% savings and started googling. Eventually I found more info about using a cooler with a homemade SS braid and batch sparging.

Poking around the basement, I realized that I had 2 9 gallon rectangular coolers. Did a temp test to see how long it would keep warm water warm, and I was off to the races.

I've done 3 AG batches since the end of February. I've already paid for the parts needed for the DIY braid, ball valve, etc more than 3 times! :rockin:
 

Matt Up North

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Last but not least, figure it as either the most expensive (for the family budgetting money, so you get more...) or least expensive (to SWMBO so she doesn't think it is expensive). I budget every brew, whether or not I get a good deal, based on the full markup price at LHSB. So every batch (5 gal) costs between $20-$50 depending on mild or IIPA. If I get a good deal on a sack of grain, read free, it just means that I get a good deal on a sack of grain.

I just made a 10 gallon batch of stout for $45 and it should last me about a month to a month and a half. At $.56 a pint I feel that is a smoking deal! If I buy bottles (I keg) then I figure that they will last over the course of five brews, so add $.10 and you get around $.75 a bottle. Still less than all of the craft breweries around me. A sixer of Pliny will cost me near $20 or a growler for the same.
 

humann_brewing

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Another point, at least here in Cali, you pay sales tax and CRV on beer from the store. So a smoking deal on a quality six pack is like $5.99 + 8.9% sales (.53c) + CRV (.30c) It pretty much adds a $ to a six pack especially if you get the $8-9 six packs which is a more realistic price these days.

I use to look at craft beers and just go with about $/beer, but now with all the extras and rising costs it is about $1.5/beer.

So, my ingredients aren't taxed even in this state and I don't pay CRV plus I make it for way less, plus I made the beer and that is the cool part.
 

Matt Up North

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Much truths being spoke up there, sales tax just went up 1% so we are now at 9% here in Sonoma County! San Francisco is like 10.75% :eek:
 

beerocd

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Going around the block in a classic car - usually the cost of the gas.
Eating a great steak - usually the cost of the meat
Great bottle of homebrew - ingredients + cost of equipment + water + propane + time, etc...

Why??? (Just saying, other activities usually don't ammortize the cost of equipment per use so why do it with beer? )


-OCD
 
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Frankly, I'm kind of cheap. If I had figured out what I was going to spend on my kegging setup, I never would have done it. Buying a piece at at time snuck up on me. :)

Luckily, I learned my lesson. I ordered my all-grain stuff online after a few kegged homebrews. The credit card whips out much easier with some lubrication. :mug:
 

beerthirty

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Last batch-10G $41.69/110=$.379 per bottle. That is the finished price. I could have gotten more if I was stingy with the racking, but I prefer clear unyeasty beer so 1/2 gallon is always left on the trub. The kegs have paid for themselves many times over in time savings and extra sanitizer. I will never bottle again except with the BMBF for friends to take with.
 

humann_brewing

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I want to shop where you shop
I get 50lb backs of 2-row for $32.25 from morebeer. Also I am washing the yeast so I can easily get 4 brews out of a $6 liquid yeast purchase and hops, well for example I got 1lb of cascade from Midwest for $20 and 1lb of Willamette for $20 also.

If you have the freezer room, buying in bulk is the way to go.
 

flylock_jac

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Not only does the beer cost less per bottle ,but brewing it is a hobby.
In an odd way your saving money twice. For example if you were playing 18 holes of golf and buying a 6er of BMC ,your cost would be much greater.
A day of deep sea fishing and some beer -350.00 plus.
This way your hobby is centered around the home and your making a bunch of beer that will last a reasonable amount of time. :confused:
Fairly cheap entertainment with great benefits.
 

Casey27

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Not only does the beer cost less per bottle ,but brewing it is a hobby.
In an odd way your saving money twice. For example if you were playing 18 holes of golf and buying a 6er of BMC ,your cost would be much greater.
A day of deep sea fishing and some beer -350.00 plus.
This way your hobby is centered around the home and your making a bunch of beer that will last a reasonable amount of time. :confused:
Fairly cheap entertainment with great benefits.
Now that is looking at it the right way! Instead of worrying about the cost-effectiveness of homebrewing vs. buying beer, just look at it as a relatively cheap hobby with a tasty bi-product. When I came to that realization I stopped worrying about the price per bottle.
 
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annasdadhockey

annasdadhockey

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Now that is looking at it the right way! Instead of worrying about the cost-effectiveness of homebrewing vs. buying beer, just look at it as a relatively cheap hobby with a tasty bi-product. When I came to that realization I stopped worrying about the price per bottle.
I actually never said I was worried about cost per bottle, I said SWMBO was curious. Honestly though, she doesn't care that much either.:mug:
 

CidCitrus

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Sorry to bring up an old post but it seems like we're always comparing prices to liquor stores, myself included. We should start looking at it compared to bar prices. Brewing beer is just as much, if not more, fun as a night at the bar, especially if you do it with friends. And in my experience bar prices per beer are always at least half the cost of a sixer of the same beer.
 

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Ok time to let my little inner nerd out. I brew beer because I am fascinated by the whole process. I love to experiment with different yeasts and grains to see what I will end up with and to this day I have not made anything I would not drink.

Another reason why I brew is I do not like the heavy alcohol that you find in most store bought beer. I like to drink not get so drunk I am snot slinging commode hugging drunk. Making my own beer I can keep it around 4%

Heck I can afford to buy beer but I enjoy the smells and the process. And honestly when ever we tap a keg or crack a cold one it is a good feeling to know that I was did everything from grain to glass in the production of the beer

More inner nerd now. I am baking bread and using different malts in the bread.
 

Genjin

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Not only does the beer cost less per bottle ,but brewing it is a hobby.
In an odd way your saving money twice. For example if you were playing 18 holes of golf and buying a 6er of BMC ,your cost would be much greater.
A day of deep sea fishing and some beer -350.00 plus.
This way your hobby is centered around the home and your making a bunch of beer that will last a reasonable amount of time. :confused:
Fairly cheap entertainment with great benefits.
I couldn't agree more. A lot of people who don't brew are very interested in the price per beer and when you are starting out it isn't any cheaper because of the initial investment, but how many hobbies have such a beautiful return on your investment?

I am so much happier when I have a hobby, and brewing is a hobby that can be done all year round. I love to go hiking and camping, but I just recently moved to Colorado from California and haven't quite gotten into this whole "winter" thing. I was miserable until I started brewing in January. The rest of the winter has flown by.
 

Varmintman

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I am so much happier when I have a hobby, and brewing is a hobby that can be done all year round. I love to go hiking and camping, but I just recently moved to Colorado from California and haven't quite gotten into this whole "winter" thing. I was miserable until I started brewing in January. The rest of the winter has flown by.

My friend I do not know where you lived in California or where you moved to in Colorado but let me tell you some of the best times of the year are winter.

I also camp and spend many months out in the woods but honestly when the snow flies so does my blood pressure thinking about all the good things going on in winter
 

lebucheron

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I won't lie, saving money is what turned me on to this hobby in the first place. Justifying the cost of this hobby (as a poor college student) is not hard to do, living in Canada where the cheapest of beers I would drink from the Sask. Liquor store are around $2 each. I am just starting out and using pre-hoped kits from coopers and morgans etc, but my Coopers DIY equipment kit paid for itself after 1 batch. ($120 for kit and everything - made equivalent of about 60 beers, 60x2=120 BAM!) Now I got a bit more equipment and stuff for my next batches but even factoring in the DME and hopps for dry-hopping, carboy etc. I'm still at under 90cents per beer. From then on it should just get cheaper (you know, unless I'm still adding equipment and stuff:) )
 

grathan

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I spent a year home brewing and figure I spent about $9 per bottle so far.
 

ajlee

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grathan said:
I spent a year home brewing and figure I spent about $9 per bottle so far.
You must be factoring your equipment into your per bottle cost. I don't factor reusable things in. Makes more sense to me to calculate savings (ie as compared to buying beer from the store) and figure out at which point I break even on equipment, purchased bottles etc.
 

ajlee

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steelerguy said:
but like they say...time is money, so if you add that in it isn't really cheaper...unless your time isn't worth much. Still totally worth it!
Only if instead of brewing you could be doing something you got paid for... For me if I wasn't brewing on a Saturday morning I'd probably just be sleeping instead. :)
 

grathan

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You must be factoring your equipment into your per bottle cost. I don't factor reusable things in. Makes more sense to me to calculate savings (ie as compared to buying beer from the store) and figure out at which point I break even on equipment, purchased bottles etc.
That's just it. I don't think there will ever be a break even period. Not when you obsess over trying to make store quality beer. Perhaps if I was content with just cream ale with dry yeast in a plastic bucket. But I really like high OG with half a pound of hops type beers.

The used chest freezer I bought already died. The used kegs I bought need expensive replacement parts to seal good. One of my CO2 tanks is already due for hydro testing. PBW costs an arm and leg. My wife left the frozen yeast farm out in the garage for a week to make room for birthday party ice cream (not sure, but it could be a loss). The bunch of hops roots i bought got planted in a bad spot and died( heavy winds also seem to rip the vine in half). Ph probe needs expensive calibration liquids. Have like 5 lbs of hops pellets and 3 sacks of imported grain that are getting too stale to really use up (If the mice and bugs haven't done them in). There are equipment losses like broken $50 carboys, hydrometers, copper wort chiller left to freeze in garage over winter. There are buckets that fall and spill at bottling time, batches that need dumping because of failed yeast, infection, or poor experimenting. Co2/0 tank leaks that aren't detected until the tank is empty. Bottle explosions that take out the whole case. Friends who think you should be able to supply large amounts simply because the beer is homemade. End up buying fancy glassware to enjoy your beer in. Fancy must-have gadgets that you end up never using. Books, software, apps, memberships get bought to further the knowledge because for some reason there is more to brewing a beer than first meets the eye.


While I am sure after the first year things go smoother, there sure seems to be a lot of hidden costs.
 

mjdonnelly68

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I keep a running tally of everything I've spent on home brewing (equipment, tools, ingredients, books etc) and then generate an Average Cost per (12oz) Beer.

After 40 batches, my ACB is $2.05.

A couple of times I've gotten it down to less than $1.50 per beer, but then I go and buy a shiny new piece of equipment and blow my cost all to hell.

Can't imagine how long it will take to brew down the cost of my Brew Magic single tier.
 

Zamial

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Those that brew for the love of brewing will ALWAYS profit. Those that brew for the love of profit seldom will.

This is one of the most flogged horses on this board...
 

BBBF

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My break even point will be when I am too old to brew and sell all my equipment.
 

blacksquid

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I started brewing a few months ago because I was fed up with buying my scotch ale at the liquor store (nationalized...!) for around 2.75$ a 354ml bottle. Figured I'd just make my own to cut costs. While it costs considerably less (around 0.44$CAD per 500ml bottle for a big beer, lot less for a simpler, lighter beer), I had to buy a lot of gear (give or take that I'll have to amortize over at least 4 years if I consider I used to shell out let's say, about 200$ on average in beer a year.

The most expensive hardware was kegs and a grain mill - and I could actually do without the kegs. That said, I'm always looking to get rid of the plastic stuff that 'doesn't last' and thus, increase my costs so I went with kegs to also serve as fermenters. The mill is good so you can buy grain in bulk and cut your costs even more (in my case, by about 40% for 2-row). It's definitely a no-brainer to go AG.

I'm about to do some more in depth analysis for my operations management class, I might find some more ideas to cut costs even more. Next in line will be growing hops I think. But all in all, money-wise, it's probably more economical to just buy at the store or start a commercial brewery.

Also, while I may come off as delving into this hobby as a penny pincher, it's more about my curiosity for beer micro/biology that is expanding every day. I think it's a fantastically deep and varied hobby that I won't quit anytime soon.
 
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That's just it. I don't think there will ever be a break even period. Not when you obsess over trying to make store quality beer. Perhaps if I was content with just cream ale with dry yeast in a plastic bucket. But I really like high OG with half a pound of hops type beers.

The used chest freezer I bought already died. The used kegs I bought need expensive replacement parts to seal good. One of my CO2 tanks is already due for hydro testing. PBW costs an arm and leg. My wife left the frozen yeast farm out in the garage for a week to make room for birthday party ice cream (not sure, but it could be a loss). The bunch of hops roots i bought got planted in a bad spot and died( heavy winds also seem to rip the vine in half). Ph probe needs expensive calibration liquids. Have like 5 lbs of hops pellets and 3 sacks of imported grain that are getting too stale to really use up (If the mice and bugs haven't done them in). There are equipment losses like broken $50 carboys, hydrometers, copper wort chiller left to freeze in garage over winter. There are buckets that fall and spill at bottling time, batches that need dumping because of failed yeast, infection, or poor experimenting. Co2/0 tank leaks that aren't detected until the tank is empty. Bottle explosions that take out the whole case. Friends who think you should be able to supply large amounts simply because the beer is homemade. End up buying fancy glassware to enjoy your beer in. Fancy must-have gadgets that you end up never using. Books, software, apps, memberships get bought to further the knowledge because for some reason there is more to brewing a beer than first meets the eye.


While I am sure after the first year things go smoother, there sure seems to be a lot of hidden costs.
Sounds like you are in over your head for your knowledge and attention to detail. Not trying to hate, just sounds like you are buying things you don't need and trying to do things before you have first educated yourself how to do it. Maybe you should start back over on the cream ale and dry yeast in a bucket and go from there.
 
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