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Jasonmcca

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Hey guys I'm glad to have found this place. Im wanting to start brewing and Im very ignorant on the subject. Im a very avid drinker and I wanted to start brewing not only as a hobby but to reduce the cost of my intake. I've delved into allot of information to get started. I know it's pricey to get into but there's allot of conflicting ideas about the best (and economical) way to go about it. Im wanting to start big because you know buy once cry once. So I was thinking about starting with a 1bbl set up. As I said I know very little on the subject I know I need to start with a brew kettle I've seen the process but my friend just uses his stove and i think 3 gallon carboys and a bucket that's it. I was thinking about a 55 gallon brew pot maybe like this. Blichmann BoilerMaker G2 Brew Kettle - 55 gal. | MoreBeer. But is it worth it to spring the extra 600 bucks for the electric heated one by the same company? And after that where do I start? I know I need a fermenter and a chiller but that's about the span of my knowledge. I was thinking about fermenting in these because they seem really budget friendly but bad idea? Speidel Plastic Fermenter - 120L / 31.7 gal.. Of course pretty much everything it recommends with it. Thanks allot if you read this and I would really appreciate the input and suggestions you may have.
 

Norlz

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Welcome to HBT,

Even if I agree with your idea of "Buy one cry once" I would definitively starts with a 5 gallons system to get the basics. If you buy multiple fermeter/kegs, nothing will refrain you from doing multiple batches. In addition to being able to taste different style, your beer will be fresher.

I personnally started all grain with a 120v 35l brewzilla and I don't regret. Some will say that it is longer to heat the wort but that is not much an issue to my opinion.

Keep it mind that you must keep your equipment sparking clean so bigger equipment sometime means more cleaning.

A final tough, if a 5 gallons batch isn't to your taste, you will definitively cry less than if it was a 40 gallons batch

Cheers!
 

grbr

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Beginner home brewer here, so do not take my advices for granted.

Reducing costs, I doubt short term you'll get a cheeper beer compared to the commercial ones. Aim for quality.

And my advice is: don't buy any equipment. Buy a book about making beer and spend at least a month reading it. Only then decide what you need equipment wise.

BTW, I think chiller is not something a beginner brewer needs. I just left my two batches chill overnight. It is summer here right now. Maybe more experienced brewers have other reasons, but from my limited experience, not a necessity.

Good luck!
 

Maxkling

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Imagine all the terrible batches and mistakes you will make in the beginning, having to dump 1BBL would be a sad sad day.

If your intake habit requires a 1BBL brew house then, yeesh good luck.

These single vessel systems are what I would recommend to new brewers. Plus they are so easy and simple to use you’ll make great beer right out the gate and can brew a lot more often as your needs arise.

Don’t forget to price a kegging setup.
 
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Jasonmcca

Jasonmcca

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Welcome to HBT,

Even if I agree with your idea of "Buy one cry once" I would definitively starts with a 5 gallons system to get the basics. If you buy multiple fermeter/kegs, nothing will refrain you from doing multiple batches. In addition to being able to taste different style, your beer will be fresher.

I personnally started all grain with a 120v 35l brewzilla and I don't regret. Some will say that it is longer to heat the wort but that is not much an issue to my opinion.

Keep it mind that you must keep your equipment sparking clean so bigger equipment sometime means more cleaning.

A final tough, if a 5 gallons batch isn't to your taste, you will definitively cry less than if it was a 40 gallons batch

Cheers!
Thank you so much I really appreciate it! I actually just kept looking up equipment. This lead me to the easy all in one kits with the heating element built in. I actually looked at the brewzilla in 9.25 gallon capacity like this. BrewZilla All Grain Brewing System With Pump - 35L/9.25G (110V) | MoreBeer. I figure it may leave around 5 gallons to put in the fermenter so if I bought two units I could simultaneously brew two at a time and maybe do three batches each. So if I used those 37.5 gallon fermenters it would start with 7.5 gallons of head space. Or do you think time wise that's unrealistic to do three batches in a day? And I was wondering if the brewzilla had a false bottom or a mash basket?
 

Dinadan

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I have never used any equipment as big as what you are talking about. Honestly, that seems like a crazy way to start. Norlz has a point that if you start with huge batches, any brews that you mess up will take a lot more drinking to get rid of.

The equipment for five gallon batches is not very expensive at all. There are going to be stumbles and failures along the way to becoming an expert brewer, and you will cry a bit less over five gallons than over thirty. And even after you master brewing bigger batches, a five gallon setup will give you the ability to experiment with things you are not sure you want to brew on a massive scale.

Just my thoughts: I am not an expert!
 

camonick

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If your intake habit requires a 1BBL brew house then, yeesh good luck.
I was thinking the same thing. I personally like some variety and don't know if I'd want to drink 31 gallons of the same beer all the time... especially as a beginning brewer who may not make the best tasting beer the first few times. I'm not a narc., but technically, you're only allowed to brew 100 gallons per year if you are a single person household. Do what you need to do though.
 
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Jasonmcca

Jasonmcca

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Beginner home brewer here, so do not take my advices for granted.

Reducing costs, I doubt short term you'll get a cheeper beer compared to the commercial ones. Aim for quality.

And my advice is: don't buy any equipment. Buy a book about making beer and spend at least a month reading it. Only then decide what you need equipment wise.

BTW, I think chiller is not something a beginner brewer needs. I just left my two batches chill overnight. It is summer here right now. Maybe more experienced brewers have other reasons, but from my limited experience, not a necessity.

Good luck!
Thanks allot im actually gaining allot of knowledge from this forum already and turned to an all in one most likely. I do really think I may get some kind of chilling system however. The thought of leaving it without finishing the batch to ferment would bother me I believe.
 
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Jasonmcca

Jasonmcca

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Imagine all the terrible batches and mistakes you will make in the beginning, having to dump 1BBL would be a sad sad day.

If your intake habit requires a 1BBL brew house then, yeesh good luck.

These single vessel systems are what I would recommend to new brewers. Plus they are so easy and simple to use you’ll make great beer right out the gate and can brew a lot more often as your needs arise.

Don’t forget to price a kegging setup.
I think im leaning more towards a single vessel or maybe two. I actually think I maybe start just one but say the 9.25 brewzilla due to the fact I don't have access to a 220v atm. Im also taking your advice and probably splitting it into several smaller batches in case. I was trying to find maybe like a stackable fermenter. Space not really being a super big issue however I hate wasting space or clutter. Home depo sells 6 gallon buckets which aren't technically classified as food grade but I've seen them used due to the fact they are gasketed buckets. I was thinking maybe trying that and drilling in the side above the line. Then threading a pipe threw and running a 90 degree for the bubbler. So that I may stack them on one another. A kegging system would be awesome!!I wouldn't really know where to begin on that allot of the reasons I joined this forum and app. My first day and you guys have already set me on a better path!! Yeah I drink a bit excessively. Ky drinkers are a different breed I'm actually gaining more beer rep to stay away from the bourbon. I drink maybe 18 to 24 a day atm but that was going from nearly a half gallon of beam a night for years. If you have any starter kegging ideas or kit recommendations I'm all ears and once again tons of appreciation for all your advice.
 

Maxkling

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What kind of beer do you like?

18-24 IPA or high gravity beers would be death. I’m guessing light lagers? If your a BMC drinker looking to clone an American light lager, funny enough, it will be very difficult. You process and control will have to be very high level, such light beers let off flavors shine through. Plus you will need to gear up toward lager brewing, cooler fermentation, maybe even pressurized fermentation for ester suppression and quick turn around. It will change your equipment profile depending on what your goal is.
 

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An all-in-one is a good idea to start with, if you really need more it'll be an easy thing to sell. Get one intended for 5 gallon batches and just make a lot of them if needed. This was mentioned and is a good idea.

Do however be sure to have a 240V outlet handy, or the ability / funds to get one. It's not critical but will make the experience much more enjoyable.

Homebrewing, generally speaking, is fun. If you're doing it to save money or have a larger beer supply, you may not want to get into it.
 
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Jasonmcca

Jasonmcca

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Oh no Im not the biggest fan of lagers at all that's just what's least expensive and available atm. I mostly drink coors not lite though only banquet. I feel like it's the least hoppy or neutral of American lagers. And those ipas can go on lol they aren't my cup at all. I like rich and full body I'm thinking maybe try porters. There's a local place that does a choc one and a vanilla porter. Love those rich flavors with the toasted malts and almost caramel undertones. I may even try a darker stout eventually. Imagine a car bomb with your own twist on a stout!!! Now that's amazing I would love that! I am Irish so it would still be true to its Irish spirit.
 
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Jasonmcca

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An all-in-one is a good idea to start with, if you really need more it'll be an easy thing to sell. Get one intended for 5 gallon batches and just make a lot of them if needed. This was mentioned and is a good idea.

Do however be sure to have a 240V outlet handy, or the ability / funds to get one. It's not critical but will make the experience much more enjoyable.

Homebrewing, generally speaking, is fun. If you're doing it to save money or have a larger beer supply, you may not want to get into it.
Im thinking more long term saving money but I would say that's only about 5% of it I've actually done some mead and melomel and really enjoyed it. I would really like to craft something of my own or suiting. I don't really wanna go 220 atm because I don't know if I'm gonna stay where I'm at and would have to install allot here. Im thinking of the brewzilla 9.25 atm it's still 110 and I figure it may finish off around 5 gallon which is almost perfect for a 6 gallon fermenter which is actually about 6.25 gallons. I think in comes with a mash basket instead of a false bottom which would make cleaning allot easier. But im deciding on the all in one to start away least until I start (if I'm able to lol) develop palatable batches I've decided on that and am now looking into chilling. I've seen the ones you just hook up to the faucet and really wouldn't like to just dispense of the water the way I saw it done. So my next thing is to maybe research pumps for recirculating maybe find a small kit that has a temp setting. That may take away a little of the possibility of operator error or negligence.
 

Sammy86

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Im thinking more long term saving money but I would say that's only about 5% of it I've actually done some mead and melomel and really enjoyed it. I would really like to craft something of my own or suiting. I don't really wanna go 220 atm because I don't know if I'm gonna stay where I'm at and would have to install allot here. Im thinking of the brewzilla 9.25 atm it's still 110 and I figure it may finish off around 5 gallon which is almost perfect for a 6 gallon fermenter which is actually about 6.25 gallons. I think in comes with a mash basket instead of a false bottom which would make cleaning allot easier. But im deciding on the all in one to start away least until I start (if I'm able to lol) develop palatable batches I've decided on that and am now looking into chilling. I've seen the ones you just hook up to the faucet and really wouldn't like to just dispense of the water the way I saw it done. So my next thing is to maybe research pumps for recirculating maybe find a small kit that has a temp setting. That may take away a little of the possibility of operator error or negligence.
Brewzilla comes with a malt pipe not basket...it has a two false bottoms...one to cover to heating elements which are covered like a coffee urn and the other for the grist.

It's a great system to start all grain brewing but like others have said above you have to do your research...and it's going to take time and practice making beer to make it good.

My advice, spend the money on temp control...get yourself a mini fridge or chest freezer off craigslist and a temp controller. If you can't control temps during fermentation your beer will have off flavors and all the money spent on equipment to get brewing will be for nothing.

Good luck!
 
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Jasonmcca

Jasonmcca

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Brewzilla comes with a malt pipe not basket...it has a two false bottoms...one to cover to heating elements which are covered like a coffee urn and the other for the grist.

It's a great system to start all grain brewing but like others have said above you have to do your research...and it's going to take time and practice making beer to make it good.

My advice, spend the money on temp control...get yourself a mini fridge or chest freezer off craigslist and a temp controller. If you can't control temps during fermentation your beer will have off flavors and all the money spent on equipment to get brewing will be for nothing.

Good luck!
What kind of temp controlling would you reckon? I can pick up small fridges all day. My ex owns an appliance store so that wouldn't be a problem
 

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I couldn't agree more with @Sammy86 on temp control overall. I have the anvil foundry 10.5g version. It works well in that it produces the wort I want (which all the others do as well) :) It also has the option for 120V or 240V, so if you think you'll start at 120 but want to switch later, you can still use the same kettle. On the fermentation side of things, I posted my setup for fermentation that really isn't that expensive overall and would be cheaper if you got the mini-fridges off of craigslist. Dual Fermentation Systems Build is the name of the thread I posted. I included a parts list as well. Dual Fermentation Systems Build
 
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Jasonmcca

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Okay thank you buddy I'll look it up now appreciate the help! I could probably grey the fridge off her for free from last year's stock with a manufacturer warranty.
 
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Jasonmcca

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I couldn't agree more with @Sammy86 on temp control overall. I have the anvil foundry 10.5g version. It works well in that it produces the wort I want (which all the others do as well) :) It also has the option for 120V or 240V, so if you think you'll start at 120 but want to switch later, you can still use the same kettle. On the fermentation side of things, I posted my setup for fermentation that really isn't that expensive overall and would be cheaper if you got the mini-fridges off of craigslist. Dual Fermentation Systems Build is the name of the thread I posted. I included a parts list as well. Dual Fermentation Systems Build
I looked at it and it was pretty well thought out from what I saw. I don't know about needing two different temps though as im pretty much focused on porters at the time. Laugers seem like too much work for a beer I only tolerate not truly enjoy. And I've never cared for ipa at all so I really don't need to dry hop I've not seen really looked at a porter recipe that required it. Im gonna be using my man cave to brew in my apt so the temp usually stays at 72 degrees F all the time which is optimal for most yeast I've seen with porters and stouts. I've seen that wyeast 1968 is common for porters and yeast is active best between 70 and 74 so that really doesn't require chilling seeing how it's never below 69 or above 75 so I may just have lucked out that's my favourite beer. I am however very interested in your co2 set up and kegging process. That would be idea for me but as I said im new to this and completely ignorant on the subject. I say that my weakest points are def the kegging process. I've just found many different directions or equipment people go with. I know about three bottling with priming sugar but I need to research kegging so much. It's just new and I don't know that equipment or language yet lol. Mead is so much easier to make and seems to require so much less! BUT I really wanna get into beer. I dabble in distilling a bit with a 2.5 gallon still I got and understand that allot better because instead of trying to maintain and preserve those flavors you condense most of them. I actually thought beer couldn't be much more difficult. And maybe it's just there's allot more options.
 

NGD

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LOL, I have to admire your tenacity. That takes some stones to even think about dropping that kind of cash on a 55gal setup right out of the gate.

I've only been brewing since 2017 so take what I say with a grain of salt. I'm not trying to dissuade you but before you even bother dropping any money on equipment go buy either one of these.
John Palmers "How to Brew" 4ed (originaly online for free here
Charlie Papazans "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing".
Either one of those books will take your understanding from baby steps up to pretty damn knowledgeable. Making beer is easy. Making good beer is f*&kin difficult. Just remember that if you make a shitty batch, your drinking that butt water for however many gallons you decided to make. Not to mention the cost of ingredients aren't exactly cheap nor the 5-6 hours it takes to make the beer.

Here is what I would suggest from what I've seen you write so far.
  • One of the all in one kits. They are flexible and compact. the Brewzilla your looking at is good, but I personally would go for the Anvil Foundry 10.5gal system. It's switchable between 120v and 220v, which means when you get access to 220 you'll have faster boil times.
  • Get a cooler. You don't NEED a cooler, but achieving a cold break is desired. A simple immersion chiller works well, or you can go all out with a counterflow or plate chiller. The counterflow and plate chillers work better, but are also more time consuming to clean.
  • Fermentation vessel: Buckets, Speidels (its what I use as well as buckets) and Fermzillas are great. Only downside is none of them are stackable. It's one of the reasons why most people do something like a keezer (converted chest freezer) to ferment multiple batches at once as long as the yeast are all in the same range. I think what your really looking for are the SS Brewtech stackable stainless brewbuckets. Link
  • Temp control: Single best upgrade anyone could make to their brewing system. Temp control = better beer. It can be as simple as a mini fridge, fridge or chest freezer with an inkbird temp controller or a full on glycol cooling system.
  • Packaging: Bottling is a good place to start, but kegs offer more flexability with carb levels and less mess (IMO). I do both and each has it's pros and cons.
Hope that helps out. Good luck with whatever you decide to go with and keep us posted
 
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Jasonmcca

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That was a huge help!! That system as it stands is excellent looking. I looked at them but allot of people recommended the brewzilla. However that does look more complete. And it led me to another slightly less user friendly kit however that seems promising. It's not programmable it's burner using but it's a 7 gallon kettle to produce about 5 gallons. It uses a burner kettle though which is okay but I'll have to monitor it a little closer. And may actually produce quicker due to the fact my stove top is gas. I already have bluetooth thermometers for cooking that read very well that I use for cooking they alert my phone at temp. So that won't be that huge of a deal. But it seems to be very complete! Including 5 gallon keg and Co2 kit chiller fermenter brew bag and all accessories for 475. I think I may try that a bit at first then upgrade to an all in one kit. The reason being that it came with the keg chiller and kegging kit that I could use on the all in one. Thank you so much That lead me to a very good start to my first batch!! I'm definitely gonna look at those fermenters and that temp controller right now! I've read into allot of this it's just putting allot of what's there and what's written together. I actually already have a brew kettle for a stove top with thermometer and a false bottom with spicket that I use for my mash when I distill. It's 10 gallons but will actually hold 11 i guess they made a little extra for the boil. So that's a plus side as well because im familiar with it already. Plus I could nearly double that batch by using it and the one in the kit we'll actually little more than double. I really appreciate your help.
 

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So, you’ve got a 10-11 gallon brew kettle already? And a heating element that can boil it? Dude. Get a biab bag! 10g pot won’t be able to do more than a single batch at a time, but practice making beer with what you have then upgrade to bigger when you get better.

I use a 20 gallon pot with biab. I can do single and double batches with all the boil water in mash; and triple batch if I do partial mash and top up water after grain is pulled out. Can even use dme to boost the abv without the grain space, or top up fermentors with water if I want that route.

I figure it’s the same effort to make a 5g batch as a 13g so I have fermonsters with blow off tubes and usually do double batches. Often add different yeast to each fermentor.

If you’ve got the moola now, get the temp control, 22c/ 71f is too hot, that’s saison and Kveik yeast times. Almost all yeast prefer to work at the lower side of their temp spectrums and you’ll want to play with yeasts. If your room is 22c then the juice is fermenting 6-10 degrees hotter than that..

Plan space to upgrade the amount of fermentors in your cooler, though you don’t have to finish the ferment in the cooler either, they’re less fussy after a few days and kinda want the temp to rise a bit.
Plan for more than one cooler! Cold crashing, lagering, and keg storage all take space.
Go kegs. I do 5g corny, it’s less time and effort than cleaning and carbing all the bottles. They can hang around in kegs for ages. Fill the keg first, then fill the rest of the fermenter into bottles, they’ll get more sediment toward the last bottle.

Read how to brew! And good luck man!
 
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Jasonmcca

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Yeah I already got a set up for corn whiskey so I have the pot already. I've used my gas stove top seems to work fine for that. A keg system would be awesome why I looked at that one kit it had the keg pot chiller ect.
 

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Not to get personal, but what part of the country do you live in? Local weather can play a role. Here in MN while it's often nice we can hit over 100 in the summer (Texas air blows up) or -20 in the winter (Canadian air). Indoor options are pretty nice. On the other hand, if you were in say San Diego, then - electric is nice, but propane or natural gas are kind of OK year round. It might factor into a recommendation.

You also mentioned something about moving. If you are in an apartment or house, or headed to either, then space constraints are maybe a factor as well. A house with a barn sized garage is one thing, a studio apartment another.
 
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Jasonmcca

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Yeah it's a 3 br apartment but it's just me and her so we're not strapped for space. I live in ky the winter's here get cold other than that it's pretty uniform. It's always 70 to 73 in the apt. Unless the power goes out then I suppose. That's not really happened in the three years.
 

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You mentioned something a few posts back about temperature being in the 70s in your brew space. I cant see where it was ever explained about fermentation temps. When beer is fermenting, it produces it's own heat. Meaning itll get hotter than you want in a 70 degree environment. Itll get into the high 70s or even low 80s possibly.

You will either need fermentation temp control or use a specific yeast to handle high temps. Kviek yeast does that. Theres a ton of info being thrown out and I question if it's like learning by fire hose.

I too originally thought I could brew beer cheaper than I could buy it. Looking back "oh how cute ... you actually think you're saving money". I'm referring to myself there. But that finger works for everyone out there who claims to be saving money. Sure, the math works. The ingredients are cheaper. But running down the list of every piece of gear you'll buy, you ain't gonna save a dime. I was joking with my wife on an estimate of money spent in total on brewing beer in the last 5 years. It's scary.
 

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I don't think you're gonna save much brewing your own to supply a demand of a 1/2 bbl keg a week. Figuring it's going to take 2 to 3 weeks (ales) from brew to keg pouring, you're always going to have a fermenter full (2 or 3 fermenters in circulation at least). When you get into temperature controlling/monitoring/sampling/testing, that turns into a good amount of time over the coarse of batch. As others have mentioned, books like How to Brew are a great insight to the beer making process. If you're really considering jumping head first into the hobby, start there.

Maybe start with a kegerator first get an account with a local brewery. Cleaning beer lines in a kegerator and pouring fresh beer is a whole lot easier then everything involved with homebrewing.
 

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If your top priority is volume and cheaper... I suggest building a kegerator/keezer and sourcing kegs from a distributor or brewery (if laws allow). This will give you big volumes and cut your cost without all the hassle of a 8 hour brew day + waiting weeks for the beer to be ready.
 
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Jasonmcca

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It's not really to save money I just think that would be an outcome. Not the only one I really want to create my own beers. It would at very least fun. If just getting a cheap drunk I would just make more volume of shine. It's very inexpensive i just really want the experience.
 
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