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Hops and grains?

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Geneticjim

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Where do you get your hops and grains? I'm almost ready to do my first brew... I have a LHBS
 

55x11

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Where do you get your hops and grains? I'm almost ready to do my first brew... I have a LHBS
I would advise start with LHBS.

I always use LHBS for grain. For hops, it's combination of LHBS and bulk orders from yakima valley, more beer, Farmhouse Brewing Supply.

My LHBS has very good prices on grain - much cheaper than any pre-packaged kits, by a factor of 2 or so. And I can mill the grains at LHBS, increase/decrease the base malt, tweak contributions, etc.

Hops are more expensive at LHBS than by bulk online - by buying in bulk I can save considerably (probably a factor of 2 or so), but it also requires brewing regularly (otherwise most hops don't get used), assembling a wide variety and using hops in fairly large volumes to pay off. You may also need storage (freezer, vacuum sealer).

For your first 5-6 brews, before you get some idea of your process, I would advise going to LHBS. They can help you with grain, hops, yeast etc. and you will get a better feel for the process than getting a random kit with instructions in the mail. I bet you the LHBS is cheaper too (and you are supporting local business), but I see how getting a kit in the mail is more convenient.

I am generally against mail-order kits because they stifle creativity in recipe design. I like going to LHBS and deciding - what would happen if I pitch this yeast instead? Or increase this malt and decrease this one? Or use different hop variety? Maybe you shouldn't do this on your first few brews, but LHBS purchases are always very flexible, and you are learning along the way - while the kits teach you to follow instructions but you never stop to think why you are doing what you are doing.
 

GHBWNY

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I would advise start with LHBS.

I always use LHBS for grain. For hops, it's combination of LHBS and bulk orders from yakima valley, more beer, Farmhouse Brewing Supply.

My LHBS has very good prices on grain - much cheaper than any pre-packaged kits, by a factor of 2 or so. And I can mill the grains at LHBS, increase/decrease the base malt, tweak contributions, etc.

Hops are more expensive at LHBS than by bulk online - by buying in bulk I can save considerably (probably a factor of 2 or so), but it also requires brewing regularly (otherwise most hops don't get used), assembling a wide variety and using hops in fairly large volumes to pay off. You may also need storage (freezer, vacuum sealer).

For your first 5-6 brews, before you get some idea of your process, I would advise going to LHBS. They can help you with grain, hops, yeast etc. and you will get a better feel for the process than getting a random kit with instructions in the mail. I bet you the LHBS is cheaper too (and you are supporting local business), but I see how getting a kit in the mail is more convenient.

I am generally against mail-order kits because they stifle creativity in recipe design. I like going to LHBS and deciding - what would happen if I pitch this yeast instead? Or increase this malt and decrease this one? Or use different hop variety? Maybe you shouldn't do this on your first few brews, but LHBS purchases are always very flexible, and you are learning along the way - while the kits teach you to follow instructions but you never stop to think why you are doing what you are doing.
This ^^^
 
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Geneticjim

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Wow, thanks for the suggestions! Very well thought out! Thanks!
 

GPP33

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Support your LHBS when ever you can. Mine is about dollar for dollar on base grains and yeast. Even having done 100 gallons this year I still don't use enough specialty to justify the savings of buying them on line. Most accessories are pretty close in price, I don't mind giving him a few more $$$. Hops I could potentially save some money but to make it significant I'd have to brew a lot of one beer and I tend to do lots of variety. Doing smaller purchases of hops online I stand to save a few bucks per brew, not worth it for me.

You'll appreciate that he's there when you break your hydrometer and need a replacement the same day or when you realize you need more tube to transfer your beer, or decide on Friday evening that you want to brew that weekend. Or when you just need some guidance or someone to taste your brew to help steer you towards a better product.
 

prrriiide

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This is what a LHBS will do for you:

A couple of weeks ago, I went to brew a new Dark Mild recipe.When I went to mill my Golden Promise, I discovered weevils in it (I bulk order though my local HBC, and this grain was a year or so old). I have a good relationship with my LHBS (Ferment Station in Knoxville, GREAT people), so I called them and told them my situation. Mind you, I had strike water heating when I discovered the little interlopers. TL;DR...they ground a new batch of Golden Promise for me and had it waiting for my brew partner to pick up. He was able to get the grains and get back by the time my strike water hit temp. No time lost, just a few dollars down.

Hops, yeah, we order online; you're crazy not to at the prices you get from YVH, Niko, LP, etc. But for specialty grains, yeast, and equipment, I'll always support my LHBS.

And kegs...ESPECIALLY kegs...I only buy from my LHBS. I had an experience a few years ago where I ordered 3 pin-locks online, and 2 didn't hold pressure. The return policy was a real PITA. So now I have a stainless steel container for Star-San and one for PBW. I use the third one (that sometimes holds pressure) for "cask" aging or long-term aging (like a RIS or sour). I have had problems with kegs purchased from my LHBS, and in every instance, they have either fixed or replaced, no questions asked.

So yeah, unless you can save a PILE online, use your LHBS. That is a relationship you WANT to cultivate, because they will bail your a$$ out on more than one occasion.
 

dmashl

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www.Ritebrew.com is where I get my brewing supplies. out of Little Chute, WI. Very affordable. 2 row for $.76/LB if you buy 10 lbs or more.
 

PADave

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These two places:

www.morebeer.com
www.northernbrewer.com

I find buying online has always gotten me the freshest grain, hops, yeast, and so on.
Same here, partly because I don't have a LHBS. There is one place kinda close that sells some home brewing supplies and I will occasionally pick up some small equipment items there. But some of the ingredients look like they have been sitting on the shelf for years. I can order from the above two sites, have a huge selection, and get my stuff within days.
 

beergolf

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Use your LHBS when you can unless they are way out of whack with their pricing. I had one I used for many years that was very close by. Saved several brew days because I needed something at the last minute. Can't do that mail order. Unfortunatly due to some serious health issues he closed up.

If you are not very close to one then mail order may be your only choice. It requires a lot more planning for sure but very doable. BEcause I know that I brew a lot I have built up a big stock of the grains and hops that I use most often, harvest yeast, so I have yeast available to use. I can pretty much put together a recipe, crush it and brew from what I have around. I do go to another LHBS that is farther away when I need bulk grain or stuff that I do not have in stock.
 

WI_Wino

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+1 for RiteBrew. The "lhbs" in Madison is 40 minutes away and downtown with no parking to speak of. It's a no brainer to order online and have it delivered to my house before I get home from work the next day.
 
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Geneticjim

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I was thinking of buying hops and yeast mail order. Getting the grains at my LHBS since I can mill them for free there. I don't have a mill.
I spent about 50. On the ingredients for a 6 gal batch.
 

JONNYROTTEN

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Grains online sound cheap at first but the shipping is a killer. Buy a 50 pound bag of 2 row,its the most common grain and will surly get used and save you money buying in bulk.Hops buy online by the pound. Maybe start wilh some cascade or your "basic" hops.Plus cascade are real cheap.If your spending $50 on a 6 gallon batch your WAYYY over priced and doing it wrong.I brew 10 gallon batches and Average $50,so half price to what your doing.My beers are 1.060 beers and under
 

PADave

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Grains online sound cheap at first but the shipping is a killer. Buy a 50 pound bag of 2 row,its the most common grain and will surly get used and save you money buying in bulk.Hops buy online by the pound. Maybe start wilh some cascade or your "basic" hops.Plus cascade are real cheap.If your spending $50 on a 6 gallon batch your WAYYY over priced and doing it wrong.I brew 10 gallon batches and Average $50,so half price to what your doing.My beers are 1.060 beers and under
There are ways around the shipping. Buy for your next few brews at the same time. NB has a flat shipping rate, and morebeer has free shipping on orders over $59. Plus if you have patience there are always sales, stock up when they have them. I agree, $50 for a 6 gallon brew is crazy, unless it's some big beer or lots of hops. My last buy from NB was three 5 gallon kits for $60. That was a sale of course, but they have it pretty often.
 

JONNYROTTEN

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There are ways around the shipping. Buy for your next few brews at the same time. NB has a flat shipping rate, and morebeer has free shipping on orders over $59. Plus if you have patience there are always sales, stock up when they have them. I agree, $50 for a 6 gallon brew is crazy, unless it's some big beer or lots of hops. My last buy from NB was three 5 gallon kits for $60. That was a sale of course, but they have it pretty often.
The flat rate shipping doesn't apply to bulk grains.Ive never seen free shipping ANYWHERE for bulk grains.
 

MaryB

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Northern Brewer is my go to for grains. Their prices tend to be the lowest so I can eat the shipping. With a 250 mile round trip the nearest homebrew store shipping is cheaper than my driving and wasting an entire day.
 

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