cost of All grain vs extract ??

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illnastyimpreza

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In the past I have made a few Extract kits from Coopers. They usually cost me around $17 And either another $2 for corn sugar, or $13 for DME. Add some yeast, and this usually brings my total cost to around $23 to $35 for a 5 gallon batch of beer.

my question is, Why do you guys prefer All grain over extract ? what are the bennefits of making your own wert ? And how much do you usually end up spending ?
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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It is SOOOO much more fun! There is a huge amount of satisfaction when you brew AG. You also have ALOT more control over everything. I spend like $8 or $9 on a batch once. If I actually bother to figure it out its always in the teens.
 

Funkenjaeger

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I haven't priced things out lately since I stocked up on hops before the prices skyrocketed... But in the past it wasn't out of the question to brew a 5 gallon AG batch for $10-15.

But even with the issue of price aside, don't forget about quality. To me, having fun (AG is much more interesting, IMO - more art and science to it) and making the best beer that I can are the most important things, and the fact that AG saves me money is just a nice side benefit. Since I brewed my first AG batch, I haven't touched extract except for yeast starters. The quality of the AG beer was just so much better than even the best extract/partial mash batches I had done in the past. The quality difference would be even more significant when compared to a pre-hopped extract kit like Cooper's.
 
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illnastyimpreza

illnastyimpreza

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reaaaaally? so its cheaper to make my own wert then boil it just as I would with malt extract ?

how long does all the extra "all grain" process usually take ? So you just buy the grain, crush it up, then pour it all through the mash/lautertun ? what volume of beer do you guys usually create ? I would assume more than the standard 5 gallon used in most extract kits...

and you say the quality of the beer is really that much better ???
 

FSR402

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I make 10 gallon batchs and will now start making 20-30 gallon batches. I make the 10's because it only takes an extra hour or so to do the 10 over the 5 so hey, why not right.
For me most of my beers cost me around the $25 - 35 per 10 gallon to make not counting LP gas. So yeah it's cheaper, but my beers are a lot better then when I did ME beers.
 

bsay

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I'm going all-grain to save money. I calculated that I'll only need to brew a few batches to pay for my equipment with the savings! I priced out two different AG brews, One came to $16.25 and the other $19.50. The same brews in extract kits would be about $28.95 and $35.95.

So for my first two brews I'll be saving almost $30.00! (That'll cover my cooler and various parts to convert it to be my MLT.)

Those prices quoted are for 5 gal batches, even though I'll be splitting them in half and brewing 2.5 gal at a time. Those costs aren't even really buying the grains in bulk, just 5 or 10# bags.
 

Bobby_M

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One easy way to look at it is comparing the same recipe kits from a single supplier in both AG and extract versions. Once you figure out the per-batch difference, now consider your initial equipment outlay for at least:

kettle with 3 gallons of capacity OVER your finished batch size.
burner capable of boiling 1.5 gallons over your finished batch size.
wort chiller (no cold/ice topoff tricks here).
DIY mashtun (converted cooler)

Now consider that an all grain batch takes "ABOUT" 2 hours longer than an extract batch. If you enjoy the process (which most do) then you won't mind dedicating the time to it.

I'd say minus the added labor involved, it would take about 10 batches to absorb the upfront equipment costs, then you're on to cost savings. The rub is that you'll never be happy with the equipment you start with (unless you're rare).
 

MikeInCtown

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Look at it this way. If you go to Austin Homebrew Supply and look up their AHS kits, you'll see an option for Extract, Mini Mash, and All Grain. I just ordered three kits and went all grain. Saved $7 each on 2 and IIRC $5 on the third. (pays for the expensive yeast if you don't re-use)

I also noticed that the dried malt extract can leave a certain taste in the beer. Really hard to notice until you not only drink beers made AG, but also taste the unfermented beer that has the DME in it.

if you do more brewing and buy grain in bulk, you'll save a lot more. The hop prices have cramped prices some as a 5 gallon batch sometimes needs 2+ oz and that can add up to like $10 alone from some local places.
 

Orfy

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I started because of cost and because I like to make my own "stuff"
I now make beer as good most beer you can buy in the pub and better than lots of commercial brews.

By orfy
 

TimMcTigue

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First of all, it's "wort", not "wert" or "wart". Hope that opening doesn't sound peevish, it's just that I care so much about my product, I don't want it to sound unnecessarily gross in print. It's a very old word, but not one in common use lately, except among us brewers.

Anyway, on the topic of cost comparisons, you don't really get the FULL benefit of going all-grain unless you're buying your grain in bulk, imho. Buying grain by the batch, as in AG kits, is a relatively expensive way to go. Even though the cost of all ingredients has gone up quite a bit in the past year, I can still buy a 55# bag of Canadian 2-row for $35. Specialty grains are more, for example a 55# bag of Munich is going for $60 here, but I split a bag with a buddy, so I recently bought one 55# bag of 2-row and half a bag of munich, total cost $60. Given that a 5-gal batch will typically (for me) use about 10lbs of base malt, that's about $6.36 per batch for the base malt. The hops for a batch will typically run me around $5, and if I use a specialty malt, I could add another few bucks. So my cost for a 5-gal batch would normally be around $11-15. On a per-bottle basis, that works out to around $0.22 - $0.30. I'd be paying a lot more per batch if I were buying extract, or even buying grain on a per-pound basis...

Tim
 
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illnastyimpreza

illnastyimpreza

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awesome responces thanks guys.

the price difference in bulk definatly seems to be in my favor. BUT you say it takes another TWO HOURS to brew the same 5 gallon batch in AG vs extract ?? My free time these days is rather slim, and I honestly don't think I can afford that much extra time to brew my beer. I will probably stick with extract for a while until I feel I have become much more comfortable with just how certain sugars(brown, corn, dextrose, honey, molasses) effect dryness, and the right types of yeasts to use for different consistensies, as well as learn to how better use hops.

But I definatly see all grain in my future....just not anytime soon :)
 

TimMcTigue

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... BUT you say it takes another TWO HOURS to brew the same 5 gallon batch in AG vs extract ??
I think it very much depends on exactly how you brew - there are lots of variations. For instance, a friend of mine brews using the "fly sparging" method, whereby the sparge is accomplished by continuously draining the mash while adding water in the top at the same rate, until the runoff gets to a certain pH level. Actually, I think he's been doing it so long he doesn't bother testing it, he just goes for a specific volume, and then boils down to his target. At any rate, he spends all day brewing. He says he starts around 8 in the morning to finish by 6pm. OTOH, I find my brew day consumes about 5 hours start to finish (including cleanup). I batch-sparge, so the sparge itself doesn't take a lot of time.

One part of AG brewing DOES take more time than extract: the mash. If you're brewing with extracts, you basically pick up the AG brew day after the mash is drained and sparged (i.e. that's where an AG brewer's extract comes from), so any time prior to the boil would be in addition to the extract-brewing experience. Basically that 2-hour "premium" is the time it takes to heat the strike water, plus the time to mash and sparge (batch sparging, that is). I find it's worth it, since even when I was extract brewing, a brew-day would take up most of the afternoon, by the time I measured everything, got the water heated up, did the boil, etc. Plus, at that time, I was brewing indoors, and the family was complaining about the, um, aroma.

One thing, I'm curious about your comment re: sugars. Do you mean sugar added to the wort, either during or after the boil, or are you referring to priming?

Tim
 

MikeInCtown

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Tim, it really isn't even a 2 hour difference since even the extract kits require some steeping of the grains. My first extract kit required me to heat the water and steep the grains for something like a half hour. When I realized that I was already doing a partial mash I figured I would just save the money and do AG. I think you may save an hour by doing extract, but it all depends on the flame source you are using. Some people can get the water going in 15 minutes but it took me nearly an hour to get to boil on the stove I was using. Add more BTUs and the time drops.
 

Bobby_M

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I think a lot of brewers would see it as at least two hours more and here's why.

You can steep grains for extract on the way up to temp so a 15 minute steep between 150-170 is enough. The partial boil also allows for very quick temp ramp up after that and faster cool downs afterwards by using cold topup water (or ice).

All grain requires a lot more heat time because of the volumes involved. Assuming the same burner:

Ex: heat 2 gallons to 150F 15 mins, steep 20 minutes, heat to boil 15 mins, 60min boil, 10 minute chill with cold top up. Total approx 2 hours plus cleaning of kettle.

AG: heat 3-5 gallons to 175F 30-40mins, mash 60 minutes, sparge minimum 20min (batch sparge), Bring to boil 20 min, 60min boil, 15-30min chill, Total approx 4 hours plus cleanup of kettle and mash tun.

I kinda take my time and enjoy the day so tack on an extra hour or two. Even when I brewed extract, I took my sweet a$$ time too.
 

faber

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Cost of ingredients per batch? About 1/3 less. And that's what I tell the wife.

But I'm always buying/upgrading something. Plus, consumables like LP, Star-San, etc. It probably isn't really much cheaper than syrup beer, but it's better, way better, and more fun.

Going to 10 gal you would probably notice an appreciable savings.
 

Mutilated1

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It is SOOOO much more fun! There is a huge amount of satisfaction when you brew AG..
Yeah basically thats it, its just more fun. Plus you've got a lot more different choices for ingredients to play around with.

As far as saving money, well maybe you will and maybe you won't. The grain will be cheaper than the extract, but then you're going to want to use a liquid yeast sooner or later so whatever you saved in grain you'll be spending on yeast before long. Then of course the propane isn't cheap, and you'll be heating mash water, sparge water, doing a 60-90 minutes boil...

I wouldn't count on saving too much money, which is not to say that you can't save money - but when you do All Grain there is a whole nother world of possibilities to spend money on... chillers, stir-plates, etc...

Bottom line is that its just more entertaining to make beer from All Grain. Usually what I do is make both - what I mean is that if I'm going to make an All Grain beer, then I will also make an extract batch or partial mash beer at the same time since there is a lot of sitting around waiting time where you're not really doing anything but killing time when making All Grain beer. Its always good to have an extra batch anyway - I can drink 20-30 gallons a month pretty easily by myself, and thats way more than I used to drink when I bought beer at the store.
 

Funkenjaeger

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reaaaaally? so its cheaper to make my own wert then boil it just as I would with malt extract ?
In case you didn't know, malt extract is made by making wort using the same mashing process all-grain brewers use (albeit on a bigger, industrial scale) and then evaporating most (LME) or all (DME) of the water from it. Really, you're just paying someone else to do the mash from you, but you don't have any real control over what grains go into it (other than to pick from light, dark, amber, or wheat malt extract) or what kind of mash profile/process is used (for attributes like body, head retention, maltiness, etc).
 

Choguy03

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I can get an AG batch including washing, cleaning and sanitizing all done in 4 hours.
 

z987k

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who cares about the cost, the QUALITY goes up exponentially.
 

mmb

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For me, it's a hands on thing. I get to pick and choose the quality of my ingredients, what exact body I want from the beer by mash temp, and get to have multiple nifty items that I wouldn't need otherwise.

I enjoy the DIY nature of AG brewing as much or more than the consumption part.
 

JungMin

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I'm currently living in S. Korea, the land where the beer sucks and homebrew isn't cheap. It costs me $60 or so to brew a 5gal. batch (partial mash). Definitely not cheap....brings a tear to my eye to read how cheap it is at home!! But its fun and my beer is MUCH better than S. Korean beer, so continue I will!!!
 

celtic_man81

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I've always wanted to switch to AG, but I really don't have the room. A partial mash costs me at least $30 CAD (if I'm lucky) for a 23-30L batch, but it usually costs me about $40 CAD. It's the DME that gets you, They make it cost twice more than grains.
 

Skipstr21

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Besides the product being far superior, it becomes much more of a craft to brew AG. Especially when you design your own recipes. Using brew software such as Beersmith to tweak your recipes saves a lot of time and work. Also, the time it takes to brew a batch gets progressivly shorter the more you do it (to a point) because you get to know your equipment/process. If I prepare the night before, I can start at 7 or 8am on a weekend and be done by lunch time including cleanup. That still leaves almost the whole day for SWMBO and kids.

I just bought a 6-pack of SNPA (it keeps me in perspective) and it was $8.99. Using a local bulk malt supplier, I can brew 5gal of just about anything for $8-$15 (depending on style). But Ya know what? I would still brew if it cost twice that because it's fun and the product is well worth it. I'm gearing up for 10gal batches because my friends/neighbors and I go through 5gals too fast!!
 

LayMeister

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I've always wanted to switch to AG, but I really don't have the room. A partial mash costs me at least $30 CAD (if I'm lucky) for a 23-30L batch, but it usually costs me about $40 CAD. It's the DME that gets you, They make it cost twice more than grains.
You may want to convert to all grain using the Brew in a Bag technique. No additional equipment other than a cake rack (pseudo false bottom for you kettle) and a polyester bag. Very popular in Australia and claim is you can convert to all grain for about 10 bucks.

Paul
 

SixFoFalcon

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I noticed an immediate reduction in ingredient prices when I went to all-grain, and that was even when I purchased some recipe kits that had all the various grains pre-crushed and mixed in a big bag (you pay a bit more for that convenience). Then I went to whole (uncrushed) grains and the price went down even more. Then I said screw the kits, I'm making my own recipes, and the price went down in some cases, and up slightly in others (when I had to buy several small quantities of various grains to make a recipe--the homebrew supply folks buy all their grains in bulk so it's cheaper for them to add a little of this and a little of that.)

Now I'm at the point where I buy 50# sacks of pale 2-row malt, which comes out under $1/lb. It's an extremely versatile malt and it makes up 60-80% of most of my grain bills. Another grain I use a lot of is Crystal/Caramel 40L malt. I'm buying that one in 5# or 10# bags, although I occasionally need something other than 40L for my recipes. I also picked up a 10# of wheat malt since a few of my recipes call for a bit of it to aid head retention.

With all those bulk grain purchases and the cost savings associated with them, I'm usually paying just $10-15 for 90% of my malt needs, and just a few bucks per batch for other specialty malts that round out the recipe. I did an IPA a couple weeks ago, and even with all that grain and all those hops, it was still cheaper than the extract hefeweizen recipe ingredients that my friend picked up for his first batch. Pretty impressive if you ask me!

So if you don't mind expanding your brew equipment considerably (mash/lauter/sparge equipment, grain mill, etc.) and expanding your brew day schedule by a few hours (usually takes me 5-6 hours from start to finished and fully cleaned up) all-grain definitely does save you money over the long-term. But of course when you add up the equipment costs associated with it, it will take many batches to reach the break-even point, so don't expect to have a windfall of cash over the first month or two.

IMO, all things considered, it's totally worth it. :rockin:
 
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illnastyimpreza

illnastyimpreza

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You may want to convert to all grain using the Brew in a Bag technique. No additional equipment other than a cake rack (pseudo false bottom for you kettle) and a polyester bag. Very popular in Australia and claim is you can convert to all grain for about 10 bucks.

Paul
wow that brew in a bag looks awesome ! It defiantly removes MOST of the PITA steps involved with AG...

But it still requires a gigantic boiling pot, and a DECENT size burner to say the least... where do you guys get yours ??
 

issack

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If you are seriously wanting to go AG. Then i would start trying to fit the extra 2 hours it takes to do, in your busy life.
 

MSG_TOOMEY64

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I brew with extract and I buy the bulky 33 pound growler of extract syrup for $70.00. I get five, 5 gallon batches out of it. My grains are bought in 2 -3 pound bags from the local hb store as well as the hops and yeast. I round it off to about $10.50 per case of beer. I never tasted an all grain beer, but my beers are pretty darn good. Especially, my clean out the grains drawer "**** crick ale." Is an all grain that much better tasting?
Thanks,
MSG_TOOMEY64
 

Orfy

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I brew with extract and I buy the bulky 33 pound growler of extract syrup for $70.00. I get five, 5 gallon batches out of it. My grains are bought in 2 -3 pound bags from the local hb store as well as the hops and yeast. I round it off to about $10.50 per case of beer. I never tasted an all grain beer, but my beers are pretty darn good. Especially, my clean out the grains drawer "**** crick ale." Is an all grain that much better tasting?
Thanks,
MSG_TOOMEY64

Welcome to the forum.
 

beerocd

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I sanitize the snot out of the kitchen, to the point where going outdoors is only about an hour longer. The beer does taste better doing AG, and the ingredients are cheaper. I still have LOTS of extract in the basement and I can brew up something decent in a shorter period of time. I brew according to how much time I have available and the weather outside. Tomorrow is an outdoor AG kinda day. There's no reason you have to be exclusively one or the other.

-OCD
 
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