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Well-Known Member
Jun 15, 2022
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South San Francisco CA
Thinking out loud on this one. I use Morebeer for all my ordering for my beer recipes and was just sitting here thinking. I see a lot of folks use Yakima Valley and other hop distributors and I am wondering the reasoning behind it. What makes you all pick the suppliers you pick for the grain, hops and even the yeast and other stuff you use for beer making? This is not intended to be anything but curiosity on my part so please don't take it as I am calling out anybody or trying to get into a flame war about certain places. My question, simply put, why do you buy from who you buy from?

Let's see what you all say.
Not in the U.S., so I don't use neither of those. But 99% of everything I buy is from my LHBS. On a few occasions, for example if I want to order a pump or a chiller they don't have, I order it online and top up the order with any hops or yeast I need. When I order online I just pick the cheapest. They normally have the same delivery times anyway.
For me, I buy my hops from Yakima Valley in bulk because it is cheaper in the long run. I know I am going to be using Saaz and German Noble hops a lot as I make a lot of lagers. I have freezer space so I can store them in vac sealed mylar bags to keep them fresh. Or if I need something I don't use a lot, like Cascade, if I am brewing something and need 5 ounces of it, I know I can get three 2 ounce packs from Yakima that are fresh and usually current year crop. Buying from LHBS or say More Beer, lots of times the hops don't have the year on the package unless the hops came directly from a hop provider, so you don't know if you are buying fresh or old hops. My LHBS, before they closed, used to get hops in bulk, then break them down into one ounce packs, in plastic bags. That's not a good method for freshness.

Don't get me wrong though, I will still buy hops from a shop when needed...for example brewing an American Lager with El Dorado this coming weekend, need less than one ounce. So I just bought an ounce from an online shop when getting the grain.
I get the older hops from HopsDirect because I'm simple and cheap. A yearly purchase of 6-8lbs of hops at $0.35-0.50/oz shipped usually does me nicely.

Of course I finally had to breakdown to buy my first packs of Citra and Mosaic from YVH for a NEIPA this spring.

Otherwise grains and yeast come from Ritebrew because they are cheap, and coincidently now my LHBS as well.
I always buy hops in pounds and look for availability with competitive prices. My go-to is YVH but I've used Yakima Chief, Hops Direct, LabelPeelers, and others - and even Amazon on rare occasions (twice). The only two remaining LHBS in the region don't carry enough pounds to ensure I can pick up what I want when I want it...

My question, simply put, why do you buy from who you buy from?
Availability and price of ingredients combined with a desire to shop locally, then from regional online stores, then from online stores along the west coast.

I can get almost all ingredients that I use from from a couple of regional online stores.

Some of the west coast online stores have a deeper selection of dry yeast and hops.

eta: with regard to hops, the regional store(s) have been stocking Yakima Chief - and those hops have been working well for me.
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I order everything from either MoreBeer or Northern Brewer, as they often have specials on kits I like and I don't brew enough anymore to justify getting pounds of this and big bags of that.
YVH are great! I love buying in bulk, but it also makes me buy way more than I need to get the most out of shipping costs. I had to brew a few "purge" beers this past year to use up my inventory.

As for grain and yeast, I order by brand from wherever I can get it from the cheapest. I harvest yeast from smack packs and keep a bank of my favorites in my fridge for future starters.
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I try to buy most at the LHBS, I can spare the few percentage points of cost and usually after delivery the prices aren’t that far off. Anything he doesn’t stock that I need is then generally based on delivered cost and minimized separate orders…if I can buy most of my specialty ingredients from a single place I try that.

I do want to get to buying more in bulk to minimize long term cost but at the moment I focus on upfront cost because I am splitting my finite budget between supplies and equipment. Because I’m relatively new to the hobby I have bought a lot of new equipment in the last year (also going through LHBS where it still makes sense), so I dont tend to have much extra available to order more supplies than I need for the next recipe.
YVH for me too. They ship to Alaska and charge actual shipping. Almost everyone else charges huge markups. Recently ordered from Morebeer and they were also reasonable with shipping.
I buy grain and yeast from my LHBS. Most of my equipment is through Amazon for shipping purposes.
I've bought from several suppliers. I feel that if the hops are in a vacuum sealed or inert gas purged foil bags, they're good for a long time (if kept in the freezer). I stopped buying hops from Williams Brewing because they weren't purged or vacuum sealed.
In general, you should strive to buy from vendors that don't repackage hops in house unless they use mylar bags and at least claim to nitrogen flush. Next, try to use vendors that have crop year transparency. If not on the website, at least on the packaging. Nitrogen flushed, mylar packaged hops can last a few years in the freezer but you have to know when that year started to do anything about it. Long story short, I stopped selling BSG packaged hops for this reason. They were unable to even tell me, the vendor, what the crop year was. When exactly should I stop selling those?

As both a vendor and a homebrewer, I prefer YCH packaged hops because they feature lot numbers that translate to both crop year AND a full oils analysis.
Is HopsDirect any good? Are their older packages of pellet hops packaged well? Honestly those prices are killer. I found some hops I buy regularly for $0.25/oz that I pay $1.49-$2/oz at my LHBS. I would be able to get some recipes under $14 with those prices.
Is HopsDirect any good? Are their older packages of pellet hops packaged well?
They're excellent!
I have ordered from them many times in the past, including older stock (1-2 years old hops), and had no issues.

They are domestic hop growers, and also buy bulk import. When I ordered from them I found a 4 pound order minimum the most economical once you include shipping.

They always used thick, (silver colored) multilayer mylar bags, which are nitrogen flushed upon sealing.
Things may have changed, it's been awhile.