What are your tips for keeping costs down

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Broken Crow

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would that filter be after the fruit-press?
Extracting hipster IPA from wort-moistened hops:
full_TWTT-Apple-Press-12-Litre-2.jpg
 

Joggin

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If there's something you can tie it to, sure. But none of my lids come standard with a hook, or anything protruding, to tie a string to.

I did buy 5 kegs from a brewery, they had welded a tab or nut onto the bottom of their lids. So those kegs/lids are being used when I know I'm going to be dry hopping in the keg. ;)

I use a piece of very thin (picture hanging) stainless wire to keep the bag suspended. The wire is easier and faster to attach to that tab than fumbling with dental floss. Or I prepare the bag hanging from a spare lid that has a tab, and switch them out even faster while streaming CO2 into the headspace through the gas post at a decent rate.

BTW, I use a small handful of glass marbles, I doubt a single one has enough weight to prevent it from floating.
I'm thinking maybe putting on a tight O ring around the bottom of the lids release valve and tie the floss to it.
Or a hose clamp maybe?
Things go in 3's they say.
First, leak in keg.
Yesterday found a damn mouse ate about a pound of base malt from a sack. Put out traps and got the fat bastid this morning.
Brewing today couple batches of ale to try using up my yard hops in freezer from last year. Hopefully no problem.
Number 3 may be finding out if I have to report for jury duty later today.
 

IslandLizard

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After a few hours I checked again and a leak appeared at the string coming out of the corney keg thru the gasket.
That surprises me. Many have been successful over the years using floss like that to suspend dry hop bags. Are you using keg lube on the o-ring? Is it a silicone o-ring perhaps?
I'm thinking maybe putting on a tight O ring around the bottom of the lids release valve and tie the floss to it.
I seriously doubt that o-ring would stay put. It's a damp, slick environment up there.
Weighing the tank regularly or better, perpetually, is the best way to keep track of CO2 usage and warn for possible leaks.
Things go in 3's they say.
Too true too often. At least you got 2 down. ;)
Hope for you that jury duty <ugh> blows over.
 

Joggin

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That surprises me. Many have been successful over the years using floss like that to suspend dry hop bags. Are you using keg lube on the o-ring? Is it a silicone o-ring perhaps?

I seriously doubt that o-ring would stay put. It's a damp, slick environment up there.
Weighing the tank regularly or better, perpetually, is the best way to keep track of CO2 usage and warn for possible leaks.

Too true too often. At least you got 2 down. ;)
Hope for you that jury duty <ugh> blows over.
I think you're right. I've done the floss in the past with decent results. I haven't lubed the lid 0 ring in a while. Probably the cause.
Hopefully no.3 isn't the white flecks I see floating on top of my Juice yeast I harvested in bucket. I've used it a number of times and it smells ok and tastes ok.
Don't need an infection.
 

Broken Crow

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I think you're right. I've done the floss in the past with decent results. I haven't lubed the lid 0 ring in a while. Probably the cause.
Hopefully no.3 isn't the white flecks I see floating on top of my Juice yeast I harvested in bucket. I've used it a number of times and it smells ok and tastes ok.
Don't need an infection.
How about a hose-clamp on the inner neck of the PRV?
 
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Been thinking a lot about water, since using distilled was such a high cost my last brew, and I had two possibly crazy thoughts. I have an old (2-3 years) Zerowater water filter system that I bought and didn't really use. It came with a large countertop system and 3-4 filters. I think it was a Costco deal. It works just fine. As advertised, it brings the total dissolved solids in water down to zero, or close to it. But the water tastes terrible for the same reason distilled water tastes terrible after all the minerals have been stripped from it. So you see where I'm going with this, has anyone tried to use a Zerowater filter as a source for brew water?

It's also attractive because if I switch to RO water, I've read that it's not great for the environment and I live in an area severely affected by drought. So it's top of mind for me.

The other crazy thought is I started thinking about distilled water and wondering, how do they make distilled water. Is it literally just re-condensed boiled water? Can you just make your own?
 

Broken Crow

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The other crazy thought is I started thinking about distilled water and wondering, how do they make distilled water. Is it literally just re-condensed boiled water? Can you just make your own?
You can... I did it when I was a kid, BUT: The energy cost is massively higher than just buying premium branded bottle water.
 

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Been thinking a lot about water, since using distilled was such a high cost my last brew, and I had two possibly crazy thoughts. I have an old (2-3 years) Zerowater water filter system that I bought and didn't really use. It came with a large countertop system and 3-4 filters. I think it was a Costco deal. It works just fine. As advertised, it brings the total dissolved solids in water down to zero, or close to it. But the water tastes terrible for the same reason distilled water tastes terrible after all the minerals have been stripped from it. So you see where I'm going with this, has anyone tried to use a Zerowater filter as a source for brew water?

It's also attractive because if I switch to RO water, I've read that it's not great for the environment and I live in an area severely affected by drought. So it's top of mind for me.

The other crazy thought is I started thinking about distilled water and wondering, how do they make distilled water. Is it literally just re-condensed boiled water? Can you just make your own?

If it brings TDS close to 0, then it would be great for creating blank slate brewing water to build up to what you want, very similar to RO or distilled.
 
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Been thinking a lot about water, since using distilled was such a high cost my last brew, and I had two possibly crazy thoughts. I have an old (2-3 years) Zerowater water filter system that I bought and didn't really use. It came with a large countertop system and 3-4 filters. I think it was a Costco deal. It works just fine. As advertised, it brings the total dissolved solids in water down to zero, or close to it. But the water tastes terrible for the same reason distilled water tastes terrible after all the minerals have been stripped from it. So you see where I'm going with this, has anyone tried to use a Zerowater filter as a source for brew water?

It's also attractive because if I switch to RO water, I've read that it's not great for the environment and I live in an area severely affected by drought. So it's top of mind for me.

The other crazy thought is I started thinking about distilled water and wondering, how do they make distilled water. Is it literally just re-condensed boiled water? Can you just make your own?
I just finished setting up my RO system from @Buckeye_Hydro, and it's amazing. I live just north of you, so very drought-conscious as well. I run all of my beer-cooling water and any waste from the RO system into my rain barrels in the backyard; then I water the yard with it.
 

beren

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You can... I did it when I was a kid, BUT: The energy cost is massively higher than just buying premium branded bottle water.
Not around here. It costs about $0.30-0.33/gal to make distilled water with my brother's water distiller, it's about $1/gal for any type of bottled water.

Look around for a used stainless distiller if you can, I'm using one by H2O systems but it's rebranded by a number of companies. 5.5 or so hours to distill 1 gal, i think 700w. It's good for CPAP users too :) Check Craigslist, eBay, etc. The more you spend, the longer it takes to break even.
 
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Broken Crow

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Not around here. It costs about $0.30-0.33/gal to make distilled water with my brother's water distiller, it's about $1/gal for any type of bottled water.

Look around for a used stainless distiller if you can, I'm using one by H2O systems but it's rebranded by a number of companies. 5.5 or so hours to distill 1 gal, i think 700w. It's good for CPAP users too :) Check Craigslist, eBay, etc. The more you spend, the longer it takes to break even.
Thanks! And sorry for posting without thinking.🙄 ..when I was a kid I made my own still...not very safe or efficient! Those modern water distillers weren't even on my radar, but now you've got me thinking I should look into it.
 

HM-2

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Be selective about what you homebrew to keep costs down. Brewing a 4-5% English style pale ale or bitter, or a German altbier, which can be done with a simple malt bill using a tiny bit of 1-2 crystal malts in addition to a base, an ounce of hops and readily available dried yeast is going to be a lot cheaper than an all-singing IPA with an lb of hops in it or a 12% Imperial stout.

I've never bothered with RO or distilled water, though I'm going to get an RO setup eventually. I usually just use tap water treated with metabisulfate, the difference with using bottled mineral water is nil to my plebian mouth when properly treated. Unless you live somewhere where tap water is basically non-potable, spending money on distilled water and precise salt dosing is just tinkering round the edges- it might make the difference between a great beer and an exceptional or "perfect" (for your tastes) one but probably no more.

You probably don't need ice to chill your wort if you're using either a counterflow or immersion. And even if you did, buying it isn't very cost effective.
 
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I am going to toss in my .02 and keep it SIMPLE. OK NOT SIMPLE.... There are LOADS of ways to "CUT COSTS" in this hobby. Really depends on your idea of cost cutting. Me I am a "It's a hobby" kind of guys and say.... What am I getting for my hard earned and very well spent dollar. Time? YUP! loads of personal reflection time. Expressing my personal creativity. YUP! quality product that I get to share and enrich other peoples lives. Really nothing better than tossing someone a cold one and saying "with confidence" This beer is going to change your life.... WELL that might be a stretch BUT it sounds good! There is so much more but you get the gist.

Cost cutting has to be calculated in an OVER TIME idea. IF you plan on doing this for any length of time your initial investment of $150 or so wont come back to you any REAL time soon. IMHO. because there is ALWAYS that 1 more thing you cant live without or that 1 more thing that will make brew day THAT much easier ETC... Will it come back? Ahhhh maybe not. If your anything like me you will spend the next 24 years of your life trying to brew YOUR perfect pint and spending $$ on gear to reach that unreachable goal LOL Its only another $25 ha ha ha...

Welcome to the obsession! The journey has just begun but I will tell you this. The places your beer will take you and the people you will get to meet along the way.... That will change your life!

I need to give you at least 1 good cost cutter advise. Reuse your yeast. just a couple times is all. Use star san for cleaning and only make enough for a spray bottle, once you are creating recipes, buy your hops in 1 pound packs.

LOVE THIS STUFF!

Cheers
Jay
 

Dland

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So I'm curious what do you do to keep costs down?

Cobbed together a three vessel rig made with old sanke 15 gal 1/2 kegs. Later converted electric, partly from what I learned on this site.

Bought my conicals off ebay, one NOS discontinued, one used, older gen, but decent quality, that was a luck out I guess,

Have some very old cornys from when the coke(coca cola that is) dealer left. DYI most stuff, but use quality parts (this is key, BTW).

Run fermetor "cone to cone", long runs W/O having to re pitch or sanitize fermentor.

Purge kegs with fermentation gas, carbonate by spunding. CO2 usage way down.

Never buy store bought beer anymore.

That is the biggest saver, 'cause when I do have to buy store bought, it ain't the cheapest swill. Been a couple years now,,since I had to buy that is, ,and trying to find fresh brew in what I like to drink locally, it is just is not there.
 

corkybstewart

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I get my malt at a brewery in the city where I used to live, buy hops in bulk, reuse yeast.
I'll pick it up on a day that I have to drive into work for meetings, as I am able to telework most days.
The malt is usually about 75-85 cents a pound, however, I bought three sacks of Franco-Belages malt so it's about $1 a pound.
Where I used to live there was a tiny brewpub, I made friends with the brewer and he sold me malt at his cost plus 10% to keep the owner happy. I was getting malt for $22 per sack. I was able to do that with 3 brewers, but the 4th considered it a hassle and refused to sell to me.
 

corkybstewart

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A friend gave me his original immersion chiller when he upgraded. I cleaned it on the inside with a strong vinegar bath and a few gallons of Starsan solution. I now use it by circulating my wort through it while it sits in an old ice chest full of ice water. I use yogurt and sour cream tubs to make big ice cubes so I don't have to buy ice
My immersion chiller sucks. It will drop the temperature below 100 pretty quickly but stalls around 90 even if the water running thru it is in the low 60's. If I'm pitching kveik yeast, that's fine. :D For everything else, I have 1 liter pop bottles of ice in the freezer. I sanitize one or two with Starsan and add them directly to the fermentation bucket.

I may try doing a lager in the summer by just swapping out ice bottles as they thaw. Or not; I tend to brew with the seasons rather than fighting them. But it could be done ;)
r
 

corkybstewart

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Well since this has happened to me once too many times, I am done with it.
When dryhopping in a corney, I put one small marble in the bag with hops. I use thin dental floss to tie it and have the floss come thru the corney opening. Normally after pressurizing, there is no leak. I give ample sting length so when the keg goes down you can get more chance of a leak with the weight of bag if strings hanging. But what happened is I ran out of CO2 which was at the end of use and went out and got a refill. Hooked it up, checked everywhere for leaks, and no problem showed. After a few hours I checked again and a leak appeared at the string coming out of the corney keg thru the gasket. This keg was still pretty full so I was really surprised. So no more of that in future. I opened the lid and just dropped the bag in. Hopefully I don't have a problem dispensing. Next time maybe tie it to the release valve under lid? Anyone else dealt with this? Really pissed me off at losing some CO2 money down the drain. Or maybe just nix the marble?
I tried the dental floss trick and had the same results. I just toss the hops bag in now. I've never had any issues with dispensing.
 

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For instance, Mosaic from 2021, $12/pound:

 

z-bob

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Cheapest good beer ever:

40% Pilsener malt, 60% wheat flour. 45 minute mash, 65c.

Og 1.04 - 1.042

Generic hops, bittering only, 25 ibus.

Saison yeast of your choice (I love Imperial yeast rustic for this).

Only caveat, you have to biab because sparging would be a problem with that much wheat flour.

I brewed a little stronger version of this today (OG 1.053, 32 IBU). I went 50/50 with the malt and wheat flour because my malt is a couple of years old. It converted just fine; in fact I think conversion was done in 10 minutes or less. Draining the BIAB bag was a pain but it drained eventually without a lot of squeezing. I also added a half ounce of German aroma hops. I just pitched the yeast about a half hour ago. The wort is amazingly pale; about like dishwater.

It wasn't all that cheap to brew because I bought an expensive packet of yeast for it, but it's a yeast I've been wanting to try (OYL-033), and it will be really cheap to re-brew if it turns out good.
 

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My chiller sucks too.

I should have clarified that what I use the ice for is to pump through my immersion chiller. I keep the ice in an ice chest and then use a pond pump to pump the ice water through the chiller. It will crash a boiling kettle from 200F+ to 110F in about 15 min or less. But then to get from 110 to 70 takes about another hour, even though there's still plenty of ice in the water.

What I do is run normal tap water through the chiller as fast as it can go and once the wort temp is down below 130 or so switch over to running the ice water through.
 
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Quite possibly, and I've thought about doing that. I live in a severe drought area so I'm trying to be conscientious about my water usage and I know I can try to reclaim that water to use for watering plants, etc. but it's kind of a pain with my setup to do that. So I've kept it a closed system with a set amount of water that I just chill. I upgraded my chiller recently to a bigger one with more surface area (and I've switched to making my own ice instead of buying it) and so far it's been better results.
 

renstyle

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A friend gave me his original immersion chiller when he upgraded. I cleaned it on the inside with a strong vinegar bath and a few gallons of Starsan solution. I now use it by circulating my wort through it while it sits in an old ice chest full of ice water. I use yogurt and sour cream tubs to make big ice cubes so I don't have to buy ice
I have 2 IC’s, the SS coil from my foundry and a copper coil.

The copper goes in the kettle.

I use a 5 gal igloo cooler for MAIB, no false bottom, basically just swap the stock spigot for a SS ball lock.

Drop the SS into the cooler with large homemade ice cubes similar to yours and water.

Feed the output of this to the copper IC in the kettle.

Sounds complicated but not too bad. I can drop to pitch temp (20C/68F) in about 15 mins consistently, which makes the extra effort worthwhile.
 

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Ok I read somewhere that in the UK that some brewers would brew another beer with the spent grain, so I tried it. After mashing for an ipa, I took the mash pipe out and put the spent grains in a kettle on the stove with a bag, BIAB.Now I’m brewing 5 electric and 5 Biab, I also added 1 lb grains and 1 lb of DME, some hops then some saved yeast, Now you’re not going to win any competition with it but it’s pretty good.Actually I paid for beer at some breweries that wasn’t as good.
 

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Ok I read somewhere that in the UK that some brewers would brew another beer with the spent grain, so I tried it. After mashing for an ipa, I took the mash pipe out and put the spent grains in a kettle on the stove with a bag, BIAB.Now I’m brewing 5 electric and 5 Biab, I also added 1 lb grains and 1 lb of DME, some hops then some saved yeast, Now you’re not going to win any competition with it but it’s pretty good.Actually I paid for beer at some breweries that wasn’t as good.
I'm looking to do this with a Double IPA and then "re-mash" for a low ABV pale. Can you provide some details? How much grain did you use, what was your OG of your main batch, and what was the OG of the second batch?
 

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I'm looking to do this with a Double IPA and then "re-mash" for a low ABV pale. Can you provide some details? How much grain did you use, what was your OG of your main batch, and what was the OG of the second batch?
 
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I'm looking to do this with a Double IPA and then "re-mash" for a low ABV pale. Can you provide some details? How much grain did you use, what was your OG of your main batch, and what was the OG of the second batch?

Party-gyle used to be pretty popular. Plan for the second beer to be half the volume of the first beer, and the OG will be half also. I kinda figured this out while doing it a long time ago - was pretty accurate with my system.

So, for example, if you make 10g of a 9% IPA, you can make 5g of a 4.5% beer with the spent grains.
 
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In the winter when the pool water is 45 degrees, we simply use that for cooling. It gets pumped through the immersion chiller (Hydra) and goes right back into the pool.
Ayup. Been doing this since the beginning. However, I also use the pool water for cooling in the summer. Sure, it only gets down to 90F, but then I just put the fermentors into the fermentation fridge and they get the rest of the way down in a few hours. Then I pitch the yeast (often I just pitch the yeast the next morning).
 
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