What are your tips for keeping costs down

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just john

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I figure my beer costs about half of what comparable beer would cost plus I don't have to schlep it home from the store.

And I've been surprised how many times now that I buy beer at the store or even the breweries and I and my friends prefer mine.

Oh, to keep costs down, don't brew NEIPAs. :)
 
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Cellar_Dweller

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And I've been surprised how many times now that I buy beer at the store or even the breweries and I and my friends prefer mine.

Homebrew can be vastly better than store-bought. I went to a homebrew club meeting once where everyone was sharing their current brews and most of them were far and away better than anything I was buying. Best barrel-aged stout I've tasted so far was made by a member of that club...like it's not even close.

We can afford to use the highest quality ingredients and take as much time as we need to finish our product. Not so much with a commercial brewery worrying about profit margins. I personally love when I'm on a brewing tear and go months only drinking and enjoying my own stuff. The beer at the store just elicits a disinterested shrug. Those are good times. 'Course, I have periods where I can't seem to make anything I like, so there's that too...
 
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I also like that inspiration for a new recipe can come from anywhere. I picked up a 4 pack of Revolution's caramel popcorn ale yesterday. It was sweet, syrupy, and flabby and I couldn't find much popcorn flavor. Dissapointing, but I immediately knew I can make a better one myself, and I won't skip the buttery aspect that Revolution missed entirely.
 
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Because of time and work constraints, I haven't brewed since May. That's a story for another time. What I have learned, though, regarding cost-savings, is that:
a. good craft beer is more expensive than I remember, pre-COVID.
b. a lot of my ex-fave local breweries have changed recipes for...reasons, and so I'm not buying at the taproom anymore
c. commercial/big craft breweries use waaaaaayyyyy too much crystal malt in their "clean" PA's and IPA's
d. I'm not going to save any freakin' money until I can make my own $%*@&%^@(( beer again
e. It doesn't matter how much I spend on beer, either making it or buying pre-made; if it doesn't taste like I want it to, it's a f'in' waste of money!
 

OakIslandBrewery

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The best way to keep your costs down is to drink your friends home brew. That seems to work with my friends, they are always drinking mine.

As I have stated earlier, I buy base grains in bulk. Zeroing in on styles you like will also help since you're not buying a bunch of different grains in smaller quantities for each batch. The same goes for hops. I use three different kinds for most of my brews so I buy one pound bags. They keep well in the freezer, just make sure you have a good sealed bag. A vacuum sealer is a good investment for both the kitchen and brewery. I also buy dry yeast in bulk and capture a savings there.

The savings are out there, sometimes you need to be lucky but mostly it's just good planning. And remember, all hobbies cost something to have all that fun.
 

flanmail

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I've asked breweries for a sample of their yeast. They usually give it to me in a souffle cup with lid. I put it on ice in a cup until I get home and either use it or step it up and store it. I collect herbs from our garden and yard that I use in a gruit bag and avoid hops. I also brew BIAB and have used "Tunas" (prickly pear fruit) with the spines removed and peeled in a mash or mini-mash. There are many fermentables, think outside the box; it's cooking and has been done for millenia.

The best advice I could give would be the advice that got me started over 20 years ago, 'find, and join a homebrewers club'.
 

Hoochin'Hank

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Yeast harvesting idea... would this work?

Shortly after active ferment starts (hopefully by day #2), take a small sample (say 2 ounces?) of the wort out of the fermenter, dilute the sample down to 1.040, put sample into jar with loose lid, and put jar in the fridge.
 

Upstate12866

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Yeast harvesting idea... would this work?

Shortly after active ferment starts (hopefully by day #2), take a small sample (say 2 ounces?) of the wort out of the fermenter, dilute the sample down to 1.040, put sample into jar with loose lid, and put jar in the fridge.
That will get you yeast that's viable for later use, but not very much I would guess--you would likely need to create another starter to boost your numbers.

Now, 2 oz of yeast cake after you rack out of primary will have many more cells. Any reason you don't want to take from the bottom of the ferm vessel? A pint of that stuff will get ya quite a few brews.

At some volume of active fermenting beer, you will have enough yeast. If you are certain there aren't other bugs about even small amounts of yeast can eventually do the job. And I'm always impressed with what yeast can do, so I can't say it won't work at all.

I put in about 2 tbsp yeast goo when reusing, maybe more for a lager. I bet I could do just one though. Maybe less if I'm certain my process is fairly clean. B it I find by reusing the truth that I have more yeast than I can use.
 

Hoochin'Hank

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Now, 2 oz of yeast cake after you rack out of primary will have many more cells. Any reason you don't want to take from the bottom of the ferm vessel? A pint of that stuff will get ya quite a few brews.
Mostly just because the yeast-cakes look nasty, especially on the darker beers I've made (note: I'm a complete noob still)!

So far, the only yeast re-use I've attempted, was to pour a new wort on top of the full yeast-cake of an 5.x% abv amber ale that I had just transferred to a bottling bucket -- it worked out great (S-04 yeast)!

I was hoping that, using the "grab a bit of wort just after a bit of krausen had formed" would work, no matter how high the wort's OG or IBUs were, as long as things got diluted soon there-after. I am DEFINITELY scared to re-use the yeast-cake from a chocolate porter I recently made, tho hopeful that if I'd captured some actively fermenting wort from said batch, would be able to re-use yeast that way.
 

Upstate12866

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You can give it a try, it better yet toss it direct into another batch of wort.

The trub is certainly unpleasant but basically "wholesome" and you will find in the amounts used, makes virtually no impact on the flavor or color of the next beer. I've used 04 English ale yeast for porter and then cider (partly to see what would happen) and that extreme example convinced me not to worry. This is mainly because you can use so little of it since it's so concentrated. It settles tight in the jar and you can pour off the liquid, leaving mostly yeast itself. I take a dinner spoon and put two blobs in a typical 3 gallon batch.

Finished beer will also have more yeast than unfinished beer, I would guess... So for density of starting yeast cells and for minimizing the last beer's color and flavor, it seems like the worst choice would be 2oz unfinished beer, then 2 oz finished beer, then 2 tbsp yeast cake (which is just tons more finished beer with the liquid mostly poured off).

Another small bonus: by waiting till transfer from primary, you get more of a chance to see if something got infected and a little less likely to spread an infection, which is one of the major downside risks to reusing yeast. But infections are usually pretty rare anyway.

Give it a try once with a common yeast type (05, or whatever you like) that you can reuse a few times. It's like having a backup storehouse for 3 months instead of just a starter for the next batch--very handy.
 
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Miraculix

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You can give it a try, it better yet toss it direct into another batch of wort.

The trub is certainly unpleasant but basically "wholesome" and you will find in the amounts used, makes virtually no impact on the flavor or color of the next beer. I've used 04 English ale yeast for porter and then cider (partly to see what would happen) and that extreme example convinced me not to worry. This is mainly because you can use so little of it since it's so concentrated. It settles tight in the jar and you can pour off the liquid, leaving mostly yeast itself. I take a dinner spoon and put two blobs in a typical 3 gallon batch.

Finished beer will also have more yeast than unfinished beer, I would guess... So for density of starting yeast cells and for minimizing the last beer's color and flavor, it seems like the worst choice would be 2oz unfinished beer, then 2 oz finished beer, then 2 tbsp yeast cake (which is just tons more finished beer with the liquid mostly poured off).

Another small bonus: by waiting till transfer from primary, you get more of a chance to see if something got infected and a little less likely to spread an infection, which is one of the major downside risks to reusing yeast. But infections are usually pretty rare anyway.

Give it a try once with a common yeast type (05, or whatever you like) that you can reuse a few times. It's like having a backup storehouse for 3 months instead of just a starter for the next batch--very handy.
This is serious underpitching. You were very lucky that it worked for you. I would not recommend this to anybody except he is using kveik.
 

Upstate12866

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This is serious underpitching. You were very lucky that it worked for you. I would not recommend this to anybody except he is using kveik.
It definitely works. Also it looks like about 3 tbsp hits 50 billion cells which is manufacturer recommended cell count for 3 gallons of regular strength brew. The two spoonfuls I toss in my 4-5% ales are probably closer to that, honestly. You can always add more easily since it is likely be free from a big jar. That's all I'm saying, didn't mean to recommend 2tbsp but merely demonstrate that a bit of slurry is more volume efficient than wort.
 

bwible

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You can also skim some of the foam off the top and either dry that out to use later or grow that up in a starter.

The only caveat about collecting yeast from your active fermentation is opening your fermentator and adding the risk of contamination. Everything has to be sanitized well.
 

bwible

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A word about re-pitching directly on top of yeast cake from a previous batch: You don’t necessarily want flavors from the previous batch to come through to the next batch. For example if you just made a chocolate stout then you probably don’t want to decide to brew a blonde ale or a cream ale and put it on that yeast cake. Or if you just brewed a double ipa then you probably don’t want to put an Irish Red or even a stout on top of that.

Re-using yeast requires a little planning. First I look at what yeast I have and what the manufacturers recommended styles are for that yeast. Then I plan to brew beers working light to dark, weaker to stronger - the same way beer judges judge beer.

When I brew big beers I always like to brew a smaller beer first to build up the yeast anyway. If I’m going to brew a barleywine I’ll brew a pale ale or an ipa first. If I’m going to brew Imperial Stout I’ll brew a dry stout first.

I brew smaller batches, usually 3 gallons, so I always try to get a few uses out of my yeast. What with a liquid yeast costing $10 or more now with shipping and a cold pack.
 
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Brushwood Brewing

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My best tip for brewing frugally: contentment.

Don't fall for all of the shiny conical ads when a plastic bucket will do just fine. Don't get envious of all the guys posting photos of their automated recirculating systems when your propane turkey fryer is still making tasty beer.

Yes I need to remind myself of this too.
 

Closet Fermenter

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propane is the most expensive way to boil! i use my NG stove to brew! ;) :mug:

(sure, it's a bit messy, but i'm single!)
Propane is expensive, so I use a wood stove in my brewing area to heat my strike and sparge water. I only turn the propane on for the boil because I need a lot more heat and control.
Also, the wood stove is beside a roll up door, so it’s tolerable in warm weather.
 

Brushwood Brewing

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propane is the most expensive way to boil! i use my NG stove to brew!
Propane is expensive, so I use a wood stove in my brewing area to heat my strike and sparge water.

Natural gas is great if you have the hookup, and wood is even better if you have the stove. I've been toying with the idea of ditching propane and going electric, but I'd be lying to myself if I said it were for cost savings. I'm sure for someone who brews every weekend it would make sense, but at my brewing frequency I don't think the math adds up right now. It doesn't help that my electric rate in NJ is 50% higher than national average. I'm sure I'll make the switch at some point, but hopefully a good quality eBIAB setup will continue to decrease in cost (relative to inflation, of course) into the future as they become more common.

Point being, the most affordable setup is probably the one you already own.

@Closet Fermenter That does give me the idea of pre-heating my strike water with electric though...
 
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OakIslandBrewery

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Natural gas is great if you have the hookup, and wood is even better if you have the stove. I've been toying with the idea of ditching propane and going electric, but I'd be lying to myself if I said it were for cost savings. I'm sure for someone who brews every weekend it would make sense, but at my brewing frequency I don't think the math adds up right now. It doesn't help that my electric rate in NJ is 50% higher than national average. I'm sure I'll make the switch at some point, but hopefully a good quality eBIAB setup will continue to decrease in cost (relative to inflation, of course) into the future as they become more common.

Point being, the most affordable setup is probably the one you already own.

@Closet Fermenter That does give me the idea of pre-heating my strike water with electric though...
Everyone uses what they have - electric, propane, NG, wood, solar or nuclear for their heating needs. What works best is the one to go with. Propane offers portability that electric, or NG might not so there's an advantage there.

With my system I use a twenty gallon electric water heater (HLT) with a temp controller to heat my mash water and all boiling is done with natural gas. I like the electric HLT as I can fill it a day or two ahead of my brew day and it's ready to go. Of course, this might not work for the kitchen or garage brewers. I have a dedicated spot in the basement.

We all try to keep costs down but with every hobby there's some money that needs to be spent. Be creative and you'll find ways to carve away some costs and still enjoy the joys of home brewing!
 

renstyle

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Best tip I can offer is to read. Read forums like this, or the other fine caches of homebrew enthusiasts.
Read magazines, blog posts. Listen to Podcasts or live streams for ideas.

I started out relatively recently (2020) and didn't have a bunch of hardware to steer my path. So I read. Either go the pot/propane burner/stand route, or go electric AIO.

Biting the bullet initially and spending $400 on an Anvil Foundry gave me pause, but I did *ALOT* of reading and days of pondering with items sitting in shopping carts unpurchased, so that helped make jump easier.

Now that I have a system that works well for me, I find myself returning to the forums for ideas on fermentation, different ways to complete a process. It's always a learning experience.
 

z-bob

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Everyone uses what they have - electric, propane, NG, wood, solar or nuclear for their heating needs. What works best is the one to go with. Propane offers portability that electric, or NG might not so there's an advantage there.

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Rocco303

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I jumped into this hobby uncharacteristically with both feet without really thinking about it too thoroughly. I had friends say to me why homebrew, when you can just buy better beer for less money and hassle. I had my second brew day and that was running through my mind as I dropped $30 on ingredients at the homebrew supply shop and $30 on distilled water and ice to recirculate through the wort chiller.

So I'm curious what do you do to keep costs down?
My favorite beer is Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue), which retails for $18 per 750 ml bottle. A 5-gallon brew yields about 25 bottles, which would otherwise cost me $450 (before tax!). I just ordered a Chimay clone recipe kit, and I think total ingredients will be less than $100. Of course there are some fixed equipment costs, but they were not really that much. Of course, as with most hobbies, you can go overboard and spend tons on fancy equipment, but you don't really need that. I have a friend who just spent close to $1,000 for a fly rod/reel. My rod/reel costs less than $200, and we catch the same number of fish.
 

IslandLizard

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My favorite beer is Chimay Grande Reserve (Blue), which retails for $18 per 750 ml bottle. A 5-gallon brew yields about 25 bottles, which would otherwise cost me $450 (before tax!). I just ordered a Chimay clone recipe kit, and I think total ingredients will be less than $100. Of course there are some fixed equipment costs, but they were not really that much.
Just a heads-up. These styles of beer are not easy to brew. There's much process involved that determines the outcome, well beyond just mixing ingredients and following some recipe instructions. That does not mean you won't make beer, it may even taste good, but it won't be comparable to a bottle of the original.

How much brewing experience do you have?
 

Rocco303

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Just a heads-up. These styles of beer are not easy to brew. There's much process involved that determines the outcome, well beyond just mixing ingredients and following some recipe instructions. That does not mean you won't make beer, it may even taste good, but it won't be comparable to a bottle of the original.

How much brewing experience do you have?
I have virtually no brewing experience. I bought the basic equipment a couple months ago to make some hard apple cider, which turned out beautifully, as did the subsequent Apple Jack. As long as I had the fermenting equipment, I figured I would make some beer. To what process are you referring? Do you have any specific recommendations? I have watched countless videos from reputable brewers, and this is clearly not rocket science. There may be some difficulty obtaining the exact same ingredients used by Belgian monks (or any other commercial brew), but I must work with what is readily available. If a reputable homebrew store is advertising a "Chimay Grand Reserve Clone," I can only hope they are providing the nearest match of ingredients they can find. Beyond the ingredients, the brewing process seems pretty simple.
 

OakIslandBrewery

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I have virtually no brewing experience. I bought the basic equipment a couple months ago to make some hard apple cider, which turned out beautifully, as did the subsequent Apple Jack. As long as I had the fermenting equipment, I figured I would make some beer. To what process are you referring? Do you have any specific recommendations? I have watched countless videos from reputable brewers, and this is clearly not rocket science. There may be some difficulty obtaining the exact same ingredients used by Belgian monks (or any other commercial brew), but I must work with what is readily available. If a reputable homebrew store is advertising a "Chimay Grand Reserve Clone," I can only hope they are providing the nearest match of ingredients they can find. Beyond the ingredients, the brewing process seems pretty simple.
Beer kits will get you in the ballpark or they may be really far off. For complex brewing styles like a Chimay, I wouldn't expect a beer kit to be spot on. The kits are put together by someone, hopefully a brewer to make it an easy brew and might not contain all the necessary ingredients to brew an exact clone.

Nothing wrong with brewing from a kit, in fact I'd suggest that to anyone just starting out. Everything is measured out, there's clear instructions (there should be) and you probably can use equipment readily available in the kitchen or for a small outlay of cash.

I brew all grain and there are kits out there for that too. Most kits come with an extract of some sort, dry or liquid that you use with some grains. I'll brew a kit when I'm in a pinch to brew something quick as it's all there.

I'd suggest trying out that Chimay Grand Reserve clone kit and compare it to the real thing. Maybe it'll be an exact match, maybe it'll be better but at lest you tried and learned a lot along the way. Brewing is about learning to brew too and in most cases your brews will be drinkable creations that you did. Happy Brewing!
 

OakIslandBrewery

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A few more things - keep learning, asking questions and keep brewing. I'd venture to guess most everyone here started out like you. Back when I started brewing, around 1983, there were no kits available nor were "brewing" ingredients close by to source. I brewed with a large can of extract and a packet of yeast attached to the top of the can. My equipment was a canning kettle, and a plastic trash can as my fermenter. Very crude when I think about where I am now, but those early days taught me the basics of brewing, proper sanitation/cleaning and a desire to brew better beer styles and to learn as much as I could.
 

Martys1

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Best tip I can offer is to read. Read forums like this, or the other fine caches of homebrew enthusiasts.
Read magazines, blog posts. Listen to Podcasts or live streams for ideas.

I started out relatively recently (2020) and didn't have a bunch of hardware to steer my path. So I read. Either go the pot/propane burner/stand route, or go electric AIO.

Biting the bullet initially and spending $400 on an Anvil Foundry gave me pause, but I did *ALOT* of reading and days of pondering with items sitting in shopping carts unpurchased, so that helped make jump easier.

Now that I have a system that works well for me, I find myself returning to the forums for ideas on fermentation, different ways to complete a process. It's always a learning experience.
I got an Anvil6.5 also,the choice was easy. After reading about all the different systems,one came up for sale. Glad I got the 6.5,I use just under 8 lbs of grains and put between 5-6 gal in the fv .I also have a keggle but haven’t used it yet, it’s heavy and more work. The Anvil works good and a 5-6 hr brew day works for me.Check out Hops andGnarly on you tube season 1&2, he does great stuff with an anvil.
 

Lagerhead1

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Beating the high cost of CO2!
Any car owner probably has these two items somewhere in their possession: a battery charger and a tire air compressor. Make a trip to Home Depot and purchase a hose barb and a short length of vinyl tubing. Assemble the parts and use the air we breathe to pressure your kegs.
I know! I can hear you thru the wires; DO NOT USE TO CARBONATE.
DSC01307.JPG


I use this method to:
  1. Force cleaning solution thru beer lines, filters, herms coil etc.
  2. Seat keg lids under high pressure
  3. Checking keg posts for leaks before racking
  4. Soak kegs under pressure with PBW after forcing solution thru the pickup tube and in/out posts.
  5. Force water then sanitizer thru anything that comes into contact with wort/beer.
Cut my CO2 usage in half!
 

corkybstewart

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Beating the high cost of CO2!
Any car owner probably has these two items somewhere in their possession: a battery charger and a tire air compressor. Make a trip to Home Depot and purchase a hose barb and a short length of vinyl tubing. Assemble the parts and use the air we breathe to pressure your kegs.
I know! I can hear you thru the wires; DO NOT USE TO CARBONATE.
View attachment 807015

I use this method to:
  1. Force cleaning solution thru beer lines, filters, herms coil etc.
  2. Seat keg lids under high pressure
  3. Checking keg posts for leaks before racking
  4. Soak kegs under pressure with PBW after forcing solution thru the pickup tube and in/out posts.
  5. Force water then sanitizer thru anything that comes into contact with wort/beer.
Cut my CO2 usage in half!
How do you filter out the airborne bacteria and beer destroying oxygen? I use my compressor for lots of tasks but never in contact with beer.
 

renstyle

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How do you filter out the airborne bacteria and beer destroying oxygen? I use my compressor for lots of tasks but never in contact with beer.

I took it to mean, for all of those situations where you need pressure to "push" fluid in/out of kegs on non-brew days.

Each point mentioned was cleaning or prep related. I've considered similar with an inexpensive amazon air compressor.

I agree tho, would never use air near wort. Only with a HEPA filter attached to an oxygenation wand prior to yeast pitch. For that I'd opt for a low-pressure aquarium pump.
 

renstyle

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I got an Anvil6.5 also,the choice was easy. After reading about all the different systems,one came up for sale. Glad I got the 6.5,I use just under 8 lbs of grains and put between 5-6 gal in the fv .I also have a keggle but haven’t used it yet, it’s heavy and more work. The Anvil works good and a 5-6 hr brew day works for me.Check out Hops andGnarly on you tube season 1&2, he does great stuff with an anvil.
I went for the 6.5 also. The 120/240 option was the cinch for me, and I've already made an adapter cable for my dryer outlet, so no alteration to the unit.

I also chose to go with MIAB out of the gate with a 5 gallon round cooler and a brew bag.

This way, I can mash in a cheap cooler, while I use my Anvil to heat sparge water. Pull first runnings into a food-safe bucket and drain kettle into cooler for the batch sparge.

While I give the 2nd runnings 20-30 mins to do their thing in the cooler, I start heating up the 1st runnings. I need no 2nd heat source this way, which works well for me.

I "saved money" by choosing the smaller 6.5 anvil and using a cooler for mashing. I can still do 5gal (max) batches, which was my goal.

The batch sparge process as originally described by Denny Conn always seemed like a good idea, and the cooler was the easiest (and least expensive) way to play with this process.
 

NSMikeD

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My best tip for brewing frugally: contentment.

Don't fall for all of the shiny conical ads when a plastic bucket will do just fine. Don't get envious of all the guys posting photos of their automated recirculating systems when your propane turkey fryer is still making tasty beer.

Yes I need to remind myself of this too.
Amen

Reflecting on my first foray into a BIAB. While I have upgraded almost everything since then, when funds would permit, my stove, a pot, a bag, a bucket, and some bottles was all I needed to brew some very good beer.

My 2.5 gal batch ingredients run me about $25- $30 which yields about 20 pints and lasts me a month. Given that a 6-pack of craft beer will sell for $10 - $15 (local prices) , I don't think twice about the cost of ingredients. There is no reason, other than self indulgence, that one should not be able fit one's homebrewing with their commercial beer budget.


PS. Don't be convinced that you just brew 5 gallons. That is a standard, I think, was based on the availability of 5 gallon soda kegs for the homebrew market. Since then equipment is readily available to the home brewer for different batch sizes to accommodate specific needs. For me 2.5 gallons made a lot more sense given I don't drink 6 or 12 packs anymore, I have limited space and I like to brew different styles and mix up recipes so smaller batches fit in better with my lifestyle. In other words, I am not spending money on brewing more beer than I want in any given batch.
 
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corkybstewart

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propane is the most expensive way to boil! i use my NG stove to brew! ;) :mug:

(sure, it's a bit messy, but i'm single!)
I
I took it to mean, for all of those situations where you need pressure to "push" fluid in/out of kegs on non-brew days.

Each point mentioned was cleaning or prep related. I've considered similar with an inexpensive amazon air compressor.

I agree tho, would never use air near wort. Only with a HEPA filter attached to an oxygenation wand prior to yeast pitch. For that I'd opt for a low-pressure aquarium pump.
I see that now. I didn't know people used CO2 for those tasks.
 

NSMikeD

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I got an Anvil6.5 also,the choice was easy. After reading about all the different systems,one came up for sale. Glad I got the 6.5,I use just under 8 lbs of grains and put between 5-6 gal in the fv .I also have a keggle but haven’t used it yet, it’s heavy and more work. The Anvil works good and a 5-6 hr brew day works for me.Check out Hops andGnarly on you tube season 1&2, he does great stuff with an anvil.

I too brew with an Anvil Foundry 6.5. IMO, the Anvil is not something to keep costs down for the home brewer. IMO it's a piece of equipment that makes brew day easier and provides good mash temp control. I love my Anvil, and it's made my brew day exponentially more enjoyable, but it is a $350 expense that replaces a burner and pot.


If one is deciding on purchasing a foundry but isn't ready to spend the $$$ on an electrician to install a 220v outlet, 120v is perfectly fine for small batches (like the 2.5 gal I brew). I have a 220v dryer plug and made the DIY cord but since it's in my basement, I opt to plug into a 110v in the convenience of my kitchen. 110v will produce a vigorous boil and get to mash temp by the time I have finished weighing out and crushing the grain.
 

Ninoid

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I make beer in the apartment, in the bathroom, in the bathtub, electric BIAB in a pot in which I installed the heating element myself. The air conditioner dries the evaporation at the boil. I buy all the ingredients ready for brewing (not bulk) and mostly don't reuse yeast with unfiltered tap water (fortunately, my tap water is good enough for beer). I No Chill, mostly because it's too much dirty work for me for little benefit. Ferment in a cheap plastic bucket without temperature regulation, but use cheaper dry yeasts adapted to a certain time of year (US-05 in winter, Saison and Kveik in summer). The beer is carbonated in the same commercial beer glass bottles that I have been using since first brew.
My beer costs me twice as much as cheap commercial lagers, and at least four times cheaper than better quality beers. In addition, this is a hobby that completely fulfills me and does not take up a lot of time. I always have good and healthy beer (without commercial additives and preservatives) for myself and friends without constant trips to the store for beer (I live on the 4th floor, so I means a lot).
I see absolutely no advantage in buying beer for my house.
 

brewbama

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save on CO2 consumption: purge kegs with fermentation CO2 and naturally carbonate by transferring with 1-2% residual extract and yeast in suspension.

save on yeast purchases: brew batches in runs, harvesting and using the same yeast over the series

save on grain: buy in bulk splitting batches with others to share the savings.

save on heat cost: use electricity vs propane.

save on equipment: BIAB, no sparge, no chill

save on water purchases: cobble together an RO filter system

save on water additions: use only gypsum and CaCl.

save on acid to adjust pH: hold off adding grains that screw with pH. Add them to hot steep for 30 min once main mash is complete.

save on hops: don’t brew NEIPA
 
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