The Cost of Brewing

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Fenix26

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Hello all

I recently just bought my brewmaking kit and am really exciting about brewing my own beer. I'm in college, so one of the main reasons for me to brew my own beer is to save some green and also to make myself specifically the kind of beer that I want.
I went to go by my hops, malts, yeasts, etc. today today and I got some bad news. I was quoted on spending about $45 for all that stuff. I almost pooped myself right then and there.
I suppose it was just my imagination, but I was planning on spending way less than that.
How much does it typically cost everyone to brew a good quality batch of beer (about five gallons)? Is it around the 45 dollar range, or can I get it cheaper?
To be honest, I'd like to pay between 20-30 dollars. Is that possible without brewing a beer like Bud Light?

Thanks,
Nick
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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Welcome to HBT!
WAY cheaper what this an extract or all grain batch? Does the pace you bought it at have a website?
 
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Fenix26

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The beer that I was quoted on spending $45 dollars for was an ale called One Night Stand. It called for about 10 different ingredients in total. I'm not quite sure of the other details for you. I got a bit dizzy there for a bit. ;)

Cheers!

But anyways... If I'm able to spend 20-30 dollars for a batch of beer, I'm game. Like I said, I do not wanna brew a bud light beer. I would much rather brew a quality beer, something even along the lines of Yeungling.
 

BuffaloSabresBrewer

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I just spend around $50 for enough ingredients for two batches. Two wheats so Im not making anything like Bud Light and it cost me around $25 for a batch.
 

solidghost

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if you are just starting, try a beer kit, some brewing sugars (save a little for priming) and get a better yeast. Overall, maybe around 30us?
 

Fingers

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My all grain batches typically cost in the $20 - $30 range. I brew 10 gallon batches so I usually drop about $50 at a time. It all depends on the hops (my LHBS only sells 60 gram packages), the amount and type of grain, and the type of yeast you use. If you use dry yeast, and many do with excellent results, you save quite a bit. I don't think I've ever gone over $30 for five gallons if you subtract the items that aren't directly related to the batch (iodophor, racking cane, etc)
 

maltMonkey

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I would agree with the $20-$30 figure for a sessionable beer. If you reuse your yeast you can save $7 a batch. If you buy in bulk you can save even more.
 

mew

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Well, if you brew a mild:
approximately 6 lbs grain at $1.25/lb
0.5 Oz any bittering hop (EKG is best but they're all gone) $1.00
Safale S-04 yeast: about $2.00

That comes to a total of $10.50
Hop prices vary a lot these days depending on your LHBS
 
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Fenix26

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Thanks guys, that helps a ton.


Good Brewing! ;)
 

Bobby_M

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Now just happens to be an expensive time to get into brewing with the increased hop and grain cost. You won't start making it cheaply until you get into all grain because extracts are so expensive.
 

Revvy

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Even going all extract or extract with special grain with kits in the 20-30 dollar price range you're still making 2 cases of beer (48 bottles).

A lot of the beers I purchase run me in the 9-15 dollar range for a single six pack. Plus deposit.

For example Bell's Amber retails for about 9 bucks/6... So if I were to buy 2 cases of that it would be over $60 bucks if you factor in bottles deposits (10 cents apiece in Michigan).

My last amber ale extract/grains recipe ran me under 30 bucks. If I did it AG (Which I can't do to space/living arraingments) It would run me even less.

And that's at current beer prices...all beers are expected to rise becausue of the hops/malt issues...even pissbiers like bud will slowly creep up.

So you can brew 2 cases of a damn fine beer for about half the price....Plus you have that whole DIY pride thing...

I sat back last night drinking some of my Sweet Stouts, that have finally bottle conditioned and aged into sweet perfection. I kept saying to myself..."Man, I made this!"
 

Bobby_M

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It's pretty close to break even if you're trying to brew a "mid-end" beer like Ying when a case goes for $22. Revvy is right about the pricier craft brews though.
 

Surly

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As you poke around this place you will find many examples of cost saving measures. Buying in bulk, reusing yeast are some examples noted above.

Have you considered finding a brew buddy? Somebody also interested in making beer and willing to split the cost and the product.
 

Revvy

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Gammon N Beer said:
As you poke around this place you will find many examples of cost saving measures. Buying in bulk, reusing yeast are some examples noted above.

Have you considered finding a brew buddy? Somebody also interested in making beer and willing to split the cost and the product.
Or even a club, where you can do split orders of bulk materials.

And like Gammon said...you can buy an 8 dollar tube of a great yeast, and with things like washing, and cloning of that strain, heck even re-pitching 3-4 batches onto the same yeast cake, you're shaving the cost down...

I heard a Basic Brewing podcast with "Poppa Charlie" last week, he's been using one yeast strain that he keeps cloning, for over 20 years...
 

Yooper

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I think that Brewer's Best kits are around $25 or so, and make fine beer. They come with everything you need, besides bottles! Even the caps are included.

I really like the kits at the online stores, like Austinhomebrew.com. They have many kits available, including "clone kits" and if you use dry yeast you can do it fairly inexpensively.

As the others said, malt extract is expensive and right now hops prices have gone through the roof. So, it's not really a cheap hobby at all! I find that brewing all-grain is much cheaper, but I had quite a bit of equipment costs with that to get that far. Still, you can do it by looking for deals, and making different beers. For example, an IPA with 5 ounces of hops will be expensive to make (but I think worth it!) while a stout may be much less expensive.

Shopping around is worth it!
 

GilaMinumBeer

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HomeBrew is not cheap! I t can be less expensive than buying bottled craft but it still isn't cheap. Once you have used the gear enough to balance off that expense it becomes cheaper per batch.

Going all grain also reduce your total expense as a result of buying in bulk. After a year my per bottle cost is down to about .40 to .50 cents each but I have spent hundreds on equipment to get there which is not figured in to that.
 

malkore

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If you thought you could brew beer for less than the cost of two cases of Budweiser, you were mistaken.

If you thought you could brew a clone of, oh, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, or a Blvd. Wheat...for less than the cost of 2 cases at the store...THEN you'd be correct.

Cheap swill like Bud, Miller, and Coors use so many adjuncts, there's more rice and corn in their beer, than barley, which is the bulk grain for most craft brews.

that said, $45 for a 5 gallon batch is steep. You should only be paying a little over $1 per pound of base grain, a couple bucks per pound of any specialty grain, $7 for liquid yeast (or $2 max for dry yeast), and the hop prices are gonna vary widely due to the shortage of hops.
 

bobbydigital

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recipes come to like 60$ its terrible..
i just buy the kits for 20-30$ now.
 

bluedragoon85

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We have promotional kits that sell for $19.99 and $6.99 flat rate shipping.
Nice. I think I will be ordering the Promotional Amber Ale and something else; not sure yet.
 

Hollow4

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I just ordered 2 kits from Austin Home Brew because my local store was over the top expensive.
 

Padstack31

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This is a great hobby and it can be a lot of fun to brew beer, by yourself or with buddies but I would say that brewing you own is not cheaper then buying it in the store. Atleast not in my experience, ingredients alone may be a bit cheaper but once you figure in equipment, you will go over the cost to just purchase.
 

debaniel

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there are cost saving measures that you'll be able to incorporate into your technique - some have already been mentioned...


Washing yeast - you'll get 5 extra batches of yeast for 5 future brews from each batch of beer!

Late-Addition - Boiling your hops first with a minimal amount of extract will increase your hop utilization. You can then use around 1/3 less hops for the same effect.

Put some Star-San into a spray bottle - you'll use far less, making it last longer!

Eventually, All Grain is a much cheaper way to brew.



oh, and if you want to make a batch of something really tasty and very strong alcohol, try EdWort's Apfelweine. Do a search for the recipe. I think I brewed my 5 gallon batch for about 23 bucks.
 
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