Not sure if I should start brewing again or not

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Texastrooper

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I did all grain brewing in 5 and 10 gallon batches until about 6 or 7 years ago. I then stopped brewing for various reasons. But mainly because of time, and because I have become more a cider and win drinker and since I shifted to other hobbies such as cycling. I know these are just excuses... lol
However I never sold any of my gear and could start again. I am actually using some of my gear to make cider. But I no longer have a large keezer either. My 6 tab keezer died and converted a much smaller freezer I had sitting around to a 4 keg keezer. 1 tap with sparkling water and 1 or 2 for cider only leaves me with one tap for beer.
And on top I had to learn that my local homebrew store closed several months ago after being in business for 50 years. The next one is about a 120 miles round trip which is is about $25 to $30 in gas for my old SUV plus tolls. On top of that prices for propane have gone up as well.
I know worldwide grain prices have gone up too with the war in Ukraine but I don't know how much that has already affected the homebrew supply chain yet.
How much does it approx cost nowadays to brew a 5 gallon batch of IPA if you factor everything in such shipping and energy? When I still brewed I think I calculated about $40 to $50 per 5 gallon. But I assume it has become a lot more expensive since then.
So long story short I wonder if it makes sense to get back into brewing with no store close by since I have to get everything shipped. And no I don't have space to store multiple 55 lb bags bulk buy. Or would a change to extract brewing make more sense? I would assume extract brewing has cheaper shipping cost, less energy cost since you almost save the mashing process and it takes a lot less time. I won't need to spend a whole day anymore but could be done within a few hours.
Sorry for the rant. Thanks
 

Transamguy77

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I would keep an eye out at Northern Brewer for sales, they regularly have extras kits on sale. Or if your driving to a store make that trip count and make as big a purchase you can get to make that trip worth it.
 

magno

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Short answer... yes, you should.

I can't speak first hand to shipping cost, but I'd bet that you can brew a decent batch of IPA for $50 or less. Since you have your old equipment, and you feel the itch, I'd say brew a batch and let the bug take you. There may be some wisdom in wading in with an extract batch, but I think I'd jump right in to all grain.

Its a bummer that Homebrew HQ closed down! I hadn't heard that until now. That was my first LHBS... Kelly was super helpful as I was getting started, and I'd still try to swing by on the rare occasion that I get up there - it may even have been Kelly that turned me on the HBT. That makes all three of the large locals here in TX (Homebrew HQ in Dallas, DeFalco's in Houston and Austin Homebrew Supply) that were operating when I started and are no longer in business.
 

Mr. Vern

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Not going to find many "no" votes around here :)

+1 for homebrew

For $50 shipped you can get 10# of grain, 2 Oz of hops and a pack of liquid yeast from texas brewing. With some give-and-take you can get yourself a nice 5G brew for less than $60 I would guess. (Their kits are not on website right now, you have to call to get pricing for that)

I don't estimate my time/cost factor for homebrewing. Ill spend that time doing something I like regardless.
 

renstyle

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A quick peruse of the AG kits at Northern Brewer (as an example) has ranges from $23 to $84, with most of the IPA kits in the $42-$52 range.

I would say the $50 price point per 5-gal batch is fairly reasonable. You should go for it! ;)

Since you once had a 6-tap keezer, I will assume you likely had a mill, that would make un-milled grain an option for you.

As much as I try to avoid it and lean on my LHBS, the ability to get 10-15lb of grain shipped with free shipping from some online vendors does take a bit of the pain out of grain purchases if you plan it well. Hops and dry yeast go right along with that.
 

AkTom

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Having just moved to west Texas… there are no local home brew stores. It Dallas or or Austin. Maybe. I pick up supplies when I visit my son in Kansas City. It’s fun and you know it! Jump back in.
Cheers
 

Mark3885

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Many home brew supply stores that offer free shipping after you buy over a certain dollar amount. My local home brew store is an hr away , I stop when I’m in town but usually I buy online . I can brew a 5 gal amber , red ale or blonde for about $25.
 

Mark3885

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Ak Tom , quite a change in weather from Soldotna to west Texas , where about in west Texas? I get out that way in October November December around Sanderson Marathon, Alpine , Fort Davis , beautiful country, fantastic hunting.
 

bwible

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I put all the ingredients for a 5 gallon batch of APA into one of the large web retailers and it came up about $41. That was including 10lb of base malt, (2) 1 lb bags of specialty grains, I chose munich and crystal 60, 6 oz of hops (2 each Chinook, Centennial and Cascade) and a 1056 liquid yeast.

I think they do free shipping on orders over $50. And you can reduce cost a little further by re-using yeast. The second batch cuts the yeast cost in half, etc.

I was surprised because I mostly brew 3 gallon batches so a batch is smaller for me. I stopped brewing 5 gallons because I’m the only one who drinks the beer and as somebody asked once “When was the last time you went to the beer distributor and bought 2 cases of the same beer?”

I buy the majority of my stuff mail order. My nearest well stocked shop is almost a 2 hr drive. I make the trip once or twice a year to buy sacks and stuff that doesn’t easily ship.
 

hotbeer

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Since it's a hobby and I enjoy it I don't really compare dollars spent to any beer I could buy way cheaper locally.

It's still way way cheaper than green fees and a set of decent golf clubs.

You might consider brewing 2 to 3 gallons at a time of all grain. Then you'd probably need to run 2 or more fermenters and brew more often. But that will let you not have to order and store large quantities of malts and other stuff.
 

CascadesBrewer

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I am not sure what equipment you have, but I will throw out smaller batch stove top BIAB brewing as an option. I tend to brew a lot of 2.5 gallon batches these days. Smaller batches are 85% of the time and effort for only 50% of the beer, but I find that it is a lot easier to fit in a stovetop batch on any free weekday evening. I don't have to block out a 5 hour block on a weekend or work around the weather outside. If you are not drinking a lot of beer, an occasional small batch might fit your needs.

But I would say to start brewing if you find homebrewing to be an enjoyable hobby. I find that if I have too many hobbies going at the same time, I start getting too stressed and over worked.
 

Dancy

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Though a lot of LBHS have closed, online ordering makes the hobby doable and yes, prices are up but that’s true for many hobbies. There are a lot of ways to make beer process-wise — some are more work and/or cost more but the point is you have options. When I read your initial post, I thought it seems you’re finding reasons not to come back to it. I’d say if you’re truly excited about making beer, you’ll find a way that works for you but it may be somewhat different than 6 or 7 years ago. FWIW, I brew AG 5G batches in a small kitchen in a 3rd floor codominium.
 
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lumpher

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Keep your eyes on Austin Homebrew, Northern Brewer, and Morebeer. They usually have free shipping over a certain amount (yesterday it was for over $59), and they're having specials regularly. A Bell's 2-Hearted IPA clone for $22, for example...
 

Joe P

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I travel near or far to find different brews. Beer tasting has become an off shoot hobbie. However, making my own is still the best (most times) anyway. I had the same dilemma you're now facing. 30 + years away from brewing and I just started back up 2 years ago. The hardest part was stopping once I restarted. Like 12 cases of different styles in year one. Now in year two I've slowed to just making a few Porters, Ales whatever I need then walk away. NO more going to a brew supply store like its Xmas morning & Santa wants 5 different beers. I guess just ease into the hobby and see if the fun is still there. If not, If, its up to you.
 

tld6008

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Having just moved to west Texas… there are no local home brew stores. It Dallas or or Austin. Maybe. I pick up supplies when I visit my son in Kansas City. It’s fun and you know it! Jump back in.
Cheers
Austin Home Brew doesn't have a store front?
 
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Kettle to Keg just opened in Sherman, TX. I have not been there yet, but it might be an easier drive.

I am still fine tuning an IPA recipe cost is in the $30-$40 range. I buy grains and hops in bulk, and use dry yeast. If you like brewing IPA's I highly recommend ordering hops from Yakima Valley Hops.

I couldn't tell you how much energy cost would be (I brew electric), but you could save by doing shorter boils.

In conclusion yes brew beer and patronize LHBS, so they stay in business for my brewing needs.
 

bracconiere

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i'd say something about 'peace of mind', but you say you've got what i assume homemade cider on tap...


i'd just say cider is good for thiamin, and beer is good for folate and niacin? just gotta work either or into a complete meal plan!
 

brewcat

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Have prices gone up that much? I just brewed a batch today after a couple year hiatus... Of course I get bulk grain from the local brewery. Grow yeast for many batches. Bulk hops. I also get up early so I don't use the whole day brewing. Start at 6 a.m. and I'm mostly done by noon. Can make lunch while cleaning up. It cost me under $30 today even using today's prices (includes propane and water)...

I only need a small closest to store bags of grain... Vittle Vaults work. The closet could easily store both clothes and grain...

I don't know... Give it a go.
 

Brewdog80

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10 to 15 pounds of grain, $20 to $35 depending on type and total mass. $12 for yeast (liquid) or $6 for dry. $3 to $5 on hops.
So roughly $30 at bear minimum, to right at $60 for a heavy with good liquid yeast. Plus propane, which I always needed at least a third of a 20 pounder, which right now would be $7 to 8. I moved to electric last year, faster, can be somewhat indoors, and I don't have to worry about running out of gas.
Yes, go brew.
 

McMullan

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Cycling? I had a pushbike once, years ago. I'd like to get back into it, one day. I probably won't. Home brewing in lycra 🤔 Yeah, I think I'll just stick with the home brewing, to be honest.
 

cajunrph

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I came back after a 5 year divorce induced break. Started off with 2.5-3 gallon all grain batches. I wanted something I could brew in the kitchen. Well I tend to brew high ABV beers and even with the smaller volume, my stove had a hard time getting a good boil. I ended up outside, which isn't fun in this Texas heat. I'm going to try a extract partial mash with a partial boil. It should speed up brew day. OP is ahead of me with the kegerator. I still have to bottle, but a keezer is on my radar. Sounds like OP isn't looking for too much hassle. Extract partial mash/seeping grains might itch your itch.
 

madscientist451

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I had to learn that my local homebrew store closed several months ago after being in business for 50 years. The next one is about a 120 miles round trip which is is about $25 to $30 in gas for my old SUV plus tolls. On top of that prices for propane have gone up as well.
All the homebrew stores near me have closed, so all my grain and hops comes on the UPS truck. Also, I have enough money so that I can buy whatever beer I want, but I still homebrew because I like the creativity and the feeling that brewing my own beer is an independent thing that doesn't require me to buy beer from big business and pay ridiculous taxes. I also make plenty of cider, wine and mead. Everyone has their own reasons why they brew beer or don't, you don't need to justify your reasons to anyone.
 

Lefou

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Ak Tom , quite a change in weather from Soldotna to west Texas , where about in west Texas? I get out that way in October November December around Sanderson Marathon, Alpine , Fort Davis , beautiful country, fantastic hunting.

..and you don't have to worry as much about the bears, but then again, step lively and watch out fer them sneks.
 
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