Author Topic: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?  (Read 36964 times)

DK

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #100 on: June 27, 2015, 08:13:05 AM »
For the DIY'r, you can make a wort chiller and mash/lauter tun pretty cheap compared to what you can buy'm for.
Really? When I priced out a wort chiller it looked like it would be like $50 of pipe and to get it premade was $60.

I suppose you could use something other than copper.

Additionally, you can make an MLT for under 30 bucks. The Coleman 48 qt is $15 on sale now, get some voile and cut it up as needed. You're done, you can use the built in drain with that voile lining the cooler.

menards has a 5g one for $10 after mail-in rebate. What finally pushed me to make my own.

justnick

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #101 on: June 27, 2015, 08:23:19 AM »
Those are not mistachian purchases - for $1500, you're getting $200-$250 worth of homebrew equipment and slightly less thinking and effort. Cool idea, but between the crazy price and the way they destroy the do-it-yourself aspect of brewing I'm steering clear.
I've always been horrified by the idea of this thing. Friends have shared links on Facebook with me, always enthusing "dude, you'd love this!" But no, my brewing is very deliberately an antidote to my generally-staring-at-a-screen day job. It is my time to be a mad scientist and play with fire and boiling water and challenge myself ("How close to my mash target temperature can I get?"). Brewing-via-touch-screen sounds horrible .

Actually I love homebrewing and love that it is becoming more mainstream and I drool over some of the beautiful stainless steel gear you can get now but I'm a little worried that it is going the way of "pay to play" as it does so instead of remaining a bastion of DIY.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #102 on: June 27, 2015, 08:50:25 AM »
Additionally, you can make an MLT for under 30 bucks. The Coleman 48 qt is $15 on sale now, get some voile and cut it up as needed. You're done, you can use the built in drain with that voile lining the cooler.
menards has a 5g one for $10 after mail-in rebate. What finally pushed me to make my own.
I do brew-in-a-bag all-grain so no cooler needed!

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #103 on: June 27, 2015, 08:51:24 AM »
For the DIY'r, you can make a wort chiller and mash/lauter tun pretty cheap compared to what you can buy'm for.
Really? When I priced out a wort chiller it looked like it would be like $50 of pipe and to get it premade was $60.

Wow. I think I just put mine together for about $25 or so. I bought an adapter so I could use my sink instead of outdoor faucet, so maybe add a few more bucks on top of that.
What did you make it out of?

justnick

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #104 on: June 27, 2015, 09:57:04 PM »
I do brew-in-a-bag all-grain so no cooler needed!
DEFINITELY the budget way to brew all grain. Probably the most cost-effective way to brew in general...given the cost of extract. That's how I did it for years.

DK

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #105 on: June 28, 2015, 06:57:00 PM »
For the DIY'r, you can make a wort chiller and mash/lauter tun pretty cheap compared to what you can buy'm for.
Really? When I priced out a wort chiller it looked like it would be like $50 of pipe and to get it premade was $60.

Wow. I think I just put mine together for about $25 or so. I bought an adapter so I could use my sink instead of outdoor faucet, so maybe add a few more bucks on top of that.
What did you make it out of?

3/8 copper tubing, vinyl tubing, hose clamps, faucet adapter, sink adapter.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #106 on: June 28, 2015, 08:44:03 PM »
Those are not mistachian purchases - for $1500, you're getting $200-$250 worth of homebrew equipment and slightly less thinking and effort. Cool idea, but between the crazy price and the way they destroy the do-it-yourself aspect of brewing I'm steering clear.

This is true, this is true. I've watched the development of this product for several years now. I'm surprised it's made it down to $1500 each...when I started watching, it was several thousand dollars more expensive than that.

While I'd never buy one of these for myself, I think I have to applaud the fact that it gets precision-created craft brew into the hands of a lot of people with low hassle (A 4 hour brew day? I can't imagine that, at least not yet. But I've never tried to optimize for time.) While my frugal side abhors it, my inner "Craft Beer Evangelist" is pleased....

I'm slightly jealous of the creators and their company - I've always wanted to loft a company with a killer Arduino-based product. These guys sure made it happen. Being able to have my own company that does a cool product is one of the things I want to do when I FIRE.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #107 on: June 29, 2015, 01:27:45 PM »
Additionally, you can make an MLT for under 30 bucks. The Coleman 48 qt is $15 on sale now, get some voile and cut it up as needed. You're done, you can use the built in drain with that voile lining the cooler.
menards has a 5g one for $10 after mail-in rebate. What finally pushed me to make my own.
I do brew-in-a-bag all-grain so no cooler needed!

I do that too, when I'm making a 3 gallon batch. Making 10+ gallons, though, that bag is damned heavy. I like having the cooler on the ground so I can get the grain out without having to haul it out of an elevated, hot keggle.

Yeah yeah, get some pulleys. I do it outside in open air, don't feel like hauling an a-frame out there either.

A 4 hour brew day? I can't imagine that

How long are your brew days? 4-5 hours seems pretty standard. Can go lower than that if you're willing to do a half hour mash and half hour boil.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2015, 01:30:14 PM by skunkfunk »

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #108 on: June 30, 2015, 10:10:17 AM »

I do that too, when I'm making a 3 gallon batch. Making 10+ gallons, though, that bag is damned heavy. I like having the cooler on the ground so I can get the grain out without having to haul it out of an elevated, hot keggle.

Yeah yeah, get some pulleys. I do it outside in open air, don't feel like hauling an a-frame out there either.

A 4 hour brew day? I can't imagine that

How long are your brew days? 4-5 hours seems pretty standard. Can go lower than that if you're willing to do a half hour mash and half hour boil.

I'm lucky to get done in 6 hours. That time is from the point I review the recipe and start measuring out the grains, to washing and cleaning the last utensil.  There's sparge water heatup, sparging, boil and cool-down, with most of the cleaning happening during cool-down.

Cool-down was the suckiest part of the whole brew day for us. Ice bath was how we started. That took us 2-4 hours and we did almost 20 batches that way. Then we made an immersion chiller and that worked better for the next five or six batches. (Son uses the immersion chiller on all the batches he's made at his home.) The immersion chiller shortened the cool-down time to about an hour, but we wanted the process to go faster.

Now: I've got this bitchin' cool (ha) counterflow wort chiller I made some time ago. I used it before it was completely done (not in an enclosure) to cool a batch of ale my older son made and it worked insanely well compared to ice bath chilling and immersion chilling. It took us a good 15 minutes to get the line primed so the hot wort would siphon through the inner coil, but after we got things rolling, it only took about 12 minutes to cool the entire 5 gallons down to 72F.

Since then, I've added a pump, fittings and an enclosure. So it should be much easier to hook up and I should be able to catch the warm output water from the chiller and use it for cleaning.


skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #109 on: June 30, 2015, 10:13:54 AM »

I do that too, when I'm making a 3 gallon batch. Making 10+ gallons, though, that bag is damned heavy. I like having the cooler on the ground so I can get the grain out without having to haul it out of an elevated, hot keggle.

Yeah yeah, get some pulleys. I do it outside in open air, don't feel like hauling an a-frame out there either.

A 4 hour brew day? I can't imagine that

How long are your brew days? 4-5 hours seems pretty standard. Can go lower than that if you're willing to do a half hour mash and half hour boil.

I'm lucky to get done in 6 hours. That time is from the point I review the recipe and start measuring out the grains, to washing and cleaning the last utensil.  There's sparge water heatup, sparging, boil and cool-down, with most of the cleaning happening during cool-down.

Cool-down was the suckiest part of the whole brew day for us. Ice bath was how we started. That took us 2-4 hours and we did almost 20 batches that way. Then we made an immersion chiller and that worked better for the next five or six batches. (Son uses the immersion chiller on all the batches he's made at his home.) The immersion chiller shortened the cool-down time to about an hour, but we wanted the process to go faster.

Now: I've got this bitchin' cool (ha) counterflow wort chiller I made some time ago. I used it before it was completely done (not in an enclosure) to cool a batch of ale my older son made and it worked insanely well compared to ice bath chilling and immersion chilling. It took us a good 15 minutes to get the line primed so the hot wort would siphon through the inner coil, but after we got things rolling, it only took about 12 minutes to cool the entire 5 gallons down to 72F.

Since then, I've added a pump, fittings and an enclosure. So it should be much easier to hook up and I should be able to catch the warm output water from the chiller and use it for cleaning.

Ah, sounds like you weren't lazy enough. I generally chill it to ~110-130F, which is low enough that the hops quit bittering and then just let it sit until it hits ferm temps. Takes 10-15 minutes of stirring for 5 gallons. That said, it would be awesome to get it down to 72F in 12 minutes. I doubt I have enough water flow for that setup, though.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #110 on: June 30, 2015, 11:01:29 AM »
Ah, sounds like you weren't lazy enough. I generally chill it to ~110-130F, which is low enough that the hops quit bittering and then just let it sit until it hits ferm temps. Takes 10-15 minutes of stirring for 5 gallons. That said, it would be awesome to get it down to 72F in 12 minutes. I doubt I have enough water flow for that setup, though.

What we figured out is that if you have valves on both the coolant input and the wort input, you can slow down or speed up either one to reach a kind of optimal flow rate for the cooled output wort. For the test, I had to adjust the "hose bib" on the wall at the other end of the hose and we signaled to each other when the temperature of the siphoning wort was low enough. So I put a valve at the coolant-in port on the chiller and now I can just watch the thermometer on the output and adjust to keep from wasting coolant water.


kiwidollabill

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #111 on: July 02, 2015, 09:12:13 PM »
Some great banter on this thread.

I've been homebrewing for 2years, and for a minor craft beer fiend in NZ it is absolutely cheaper to DIY.  I can make good quality 'craft' beer for 1/2 the cost of bland offerings at the supermarket.  We've got a fairly high alcohol tax rate and retail beer is essentially controlled by a duopoly, coupled with one of the perfect global climates for brewing (hops are excellent and barley crop yields are the highest in the world) its a no brainer over here.... 

https://gardenofedenbrewing.wordpress.com/

DK

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #112 on: July 28, 2015, 11:48:58 AM »
Finally got around to using my homemade MLT this past weekend. Worked pretty good. This allgrain stuff is pretty neat. Have an imperial stout fermenting right now!

FarmerPete

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #113 on: July 28, 2015, 01:14:18 PM »
No.  When I did the math, it was about a break even if you are comparing 12 packs of micro-brew (~1 bottle) to brewing.  Numbers change in your favor if you grow your own hops or can source stuff in bulk/group buys.  However, the cheapest way to buy beer is not in 12 packs.  There are several spots around here that will fill up a corney (5 gallon) keg for $35 with microbrew goodness.  A corney comes out to ~55 beers I think.  That drops the price per beer way down.  You do have to pay for CO2 and perhaps a bit more for electricity, but then boiling beer takes a lot of fuel too, so perhaps it's a wash.  Any old fridge or freezer can be converted into a kegerator.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #114 on: July 28, 2015, 07:08:59 PM »
No.  When I did the math, it was about a break even if you are comparing 12 packs of micro-brew (~1 bottle) to brewing.  Numbers change in your favor if you grow your own hops or can source stuff in bulk/group buys.  However, the cheapest way to buy beer is not in 12 packs.  There are several spots around here that will fill up a corney (5 gallon) keg for $35 with microbrew goodness.  A corney comes out to ~55 beers I think.  That drops the price per beer way down.  You do have to pay for CO2 and perhaps a bit more for electricity, but then boiling beer takes a lot of fuel too, so perhaps it's a wash.  Any old fridge or freezer can be converted into a kegerator.

"Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?..."
(See 3:45 into the following:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g )


Arktinkerer

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #115 on: July 28, 2015, 08:10:38 PM »
You specifically asked about beer, but consider hard ciders.  Apple juice and yeast are pretty dang cheap compared to bottled hard cider.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #116 on: July 29, 2015, 11:41:14 AM »
No.  When I did the math, it was about a break even if you are comparing 12 packs of micro-brew (~1 bottle) to brewing.  Numbers change in your favor if you grow your own hops or can source stuff in bulk/group buys.  However, the cheapest way to buy beer is not in 12 packs.  There are several spots around here that will fill up a corney (5 gallon) keg for $35 with microbrew goodness.  A corney comes out to ~55 beers I think.  That drops the price per beer way down.  You do have to pay for CO2 and perhaps a bit more for electricity, but then boiling beer takes a lot of fuel too, so perhaps it's a wash.  Any old fridge or freezer can be converted into a kegerator.

"Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?..."
(See 3:45 into the following:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g )

I was being sarcastic, particularly using the idiotic scene from Monty Python. What I really need to see here is "the math".  I read this and figured there's been no homebrewing done.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #117 on: July 29, 2015, 12:26:02 PM »
No.  When I did the math, it was about a break even if you are comparing 12 packs of micro-brew (~1 bottle) to brewing.  Numbers change in your favor if you grow your own hops or can source stuff in bulk/group buys.  However, the cheapest way to buy beer is not in 12 packs.  There are several spots around here that will fill up a corney (5 gallon) keg for $35 with microbrew goodness.  A corney comes out to ~55 beers I think.  That drops the price per beer way down.  You do have to pay for CO2 and perhaps a bit more for electricity, but then boiling beer takes a lot of fuel too, so perhaps it's a wash.  Any old fridge or freezer can be converted into a kegerator.

"Who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?..."
(See 3:45 into the following:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrzMhU_4m-g )

I was being sarcastic, particularly using the idiotic scene from Monty Python. What I really need to see here is "the math".  I read this and figured there's been no homebrewing done.

http://www.supercenternation.com/beercalc/

According to this I broke even after about 2 years.

The amount of time before I paid back my equipment was about 140 gallons. As I initially started with 5 gallon batches, it was around a hundred hours of labor before I broke even on my equipment.

Additionally, not every batch turns out great. My latest stout I had no less than 3 people tell me it was the best stout they'd ever had. The oktoberfest, well, not so much. A batch could land anywhere in between, as well.

Bottom line, if you won't enjoy it, don't bother. If you will, it's a nice hobby and you may eventually save money if you stick with it, assuming you avoid the upgrade bug. I find myself lusting after a kegerator at the moment.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #118 on: July 29, 2015, 04:01:20 PM »
...
Bottom line, if you won't enjoy it, don't bother. If you will, it's a nice hobby and you may eventually save money if you stick with it, assuming you avoid the upgrade bug. I find myself lusting after a kegerator at the moment.

+1 skfk, +1.

I'm building on a freezer kegerator. Found the little 7 cu ft. GE freezer used, $90. Controller, $25. I'm cutting the parts for the wooden collar now. When I start buying the hardware is when I expect it's gonna hurt, badly.

Payback...oh lordy, does something like that even happen on a kegerator when you can bottle using recycled beer bottles "for free"? (ok, you have to pay for caps and there's time invested that you save when kegging, but I figure those costs into the end result and it's still only a few pennies, MAYBE a nickel?)

One thing I was thinking, that I might dispense decaf diet cola with one tap. DW loves that stuff and it's the one (extremely) non-mustachian thing in the house. Have you, or anyone else reading this thread, ever dispensed cola/soft drinks from a kegerator?
« Last Edit: July 29, 2015, 04:03:41 PM by mefla »

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #119 on: July 29, 2015, 04:12:08 PM »
We dispensed sparkling water from it. I'm sure cola wouldn't be much different. Sanitize the keg, fill with water and the right amount of your syrup of choice, force-carbonate from the CO2 tank, and serve.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #120 on: July 29, 2015, 04:25:04 PM »
We dispensed sparkling water from it. I'm sure cola wouldn't be much different. Sanitize the keg, fill with water and the right amount of your syrup of choice, force-carbonate from the CO2 tank, and serve.

I'm seeing "boxed" syrup these days available at Sam's Club. But I have no clue if that's even possible to use with a kegerator. Anyone care to comment?

libertarian4321

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #121 on: July 29, 2015, 04:40:44 PM »
Not a money saver. If you drink Trappist ales and limited edition craft bombers exclusively, you can eventually make it cheaper than you can buy it. But only after you've amortized the cost of the equipment over several batches and improved your quality control to the point where your beer is consistently excellent. Even then, much depends on how you use water for chilling, rinsing bottles and/or kegs for re-use, cleaning and rinsing mash tuns, fermenters, etc., and whether or not you spend money on electricity to control  fermentation temperatures, lager your Oktoberfests and Pilsners, etc.

A decade ago when I started brewing, I couldn't find altbiers, saisons, or witbiers with any regularity, so I justified it on those grounds. But now, even the most obscure styles and historical oddities are available from excellent craft brewers.

I love beer brewing, and I am generally of the opinion that learning skills is a good thing, but if you're looking into it to save money, your better off finding savings elsewhere.

It depends how crazy you want to get. 

If you are looking to just make cheap, decent beer for a cheap buzz, you can use a "Mr. Beer" (or similar), cheap malt extract, and sugar (or fruit) to make a very cheap brew- far cheaper than the $7/six pack routinely charged for the swill (Bud, etc) you find in stores.

But if you go nuts, buying top of the line equipment, high end hops, bottling equipment/kegs, etc, you can get to the point where it would take years to make up your fixed costs.


grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #122 on: July 29, 2015, 04:45:53 PM »
We dispensed sparkling water from it. I'm sure cola wouldn't be much different. Sanitize the keg, fill with water and the right amount of your syrup of choice, force-carbonate from the CO2 tank, and serve.
I'm seeing "boxed" syrup these days available at Sam's Club. But I have no clue if that's even possible to use with a kegerator. Anyone care to comment?
I don't see why not, as long as things are good and sanitary and you don't have to worry about stuff growing in it - which isn't as much of a concern with diet anyway. Or you could do the sodastream approach - carbonate water, then add syrup to it one serving at a time as you serve it. That allows you to switch between flavors or use sparkling water for cocktails if you wish, too.

regulator

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #123 on: July 30, 2015, 09:00:35 PM »
We dispensed sparkling water from it. I'm sure cola wouldn't be much different. Sanitize the keg, fill with water and the right amount of your syrup of choice, force-carbonate from the CO2 tank, and serve.

I'm seeing "boxed" syrup these days available at Sam's Club. But I have no clue if that's even possible to use with a kegerator. Anyone care to comment?

Hahahaha!  Corny kegs were originally designed to squirt out soda syrup.  Yes, easy-peasy.  Sanitize the keg, add filtered water and syrup to the right ratio, seal it, force carbonate and serve.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #124 on: July 31, 2015, 04:42:53 AM »
I think I knew that once...

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #125 on: July 31, 2015, 07:13:06 AM »
We dispensed sparkling water from it. I'm sure cola wouldn't be much different. Sanitize the keg, fill with water and the right amount of your syrup of choice, force-carbonate from the CO2 tank, and serve.

I'm seeing "boxed" syrup these days available at Sam's Club. But I have no clue if that's even possible to use with a kegerator. Anyone care to comment?

Hahahaha!  Corny kegs were originally designed to squirt out soda syrup.  Yes, easy-peasy.  Sanitize the keg, add filtered water and syrup to the right ratio, seal it, force carbonate and serve.

I knew about the "syrup thing" as the original purpose for (what you call) corny kegs. That's why I've always called mine "Pepsi Kegs". Some of them still have the pepsi stickers on 'em.

But what I don't know is what the "magic ratio" is. Back in the day, the pepsi kegs only contained syrup and in the machine, water was added in-line. That's also how the boxed syrup gets used.

what I don't know is the magic ratio, and if the leftover syrup can be stored in the box long-term, nor not.

The boxes kinda look like 5 gallons (I didn't carefully check that). It would be neat if I could do it the way the coke machines do, by adding water in the right ratio. But if I need to do the pre-mixing in the keg, I can do that too. I figure one should use distilled water for that to make sure you don't introduce any bugs into the mix, right?

One other thing that occurred to me: I wonder if one could maybe add bourbon to the keg in the right ratio so you've got a nice burbon-and-coke always perfectly mixed? Yay!

FarmerPete

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #126 on: July 31, 2015, 10:44:57 AM »
The ratio depends.  Here is one that is 5:1.  So 1 gallon of syrup with 5 gallons water = 6 gallons of soda.

http://www.samsclub.com/sams/dr-pepper-syrup-concentrate-1-gal/185502.ip?navAction=push

$22 for 6 gallons.  6 gallons equals 22 liters and change.  That means 12 2-liters.  Around here, 2-liters sell for $1 on sale regularly.  So you get $12 of soda for $22 plus the cost of CO2.  Not a good plan.

If you want to do something smaller scale, you can leverage your CO2/Kegerator with a 2 Liter.  This is a great way to get the sparkling water you want.  You could even use the sodastream syrup without paying through the nose for CO2. 

http://www.beveragefactory.com/draftbeer/home_brew/kegs/lbc0100_carbonater.html

regulator

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #127 on: August 03, 2015, 06:00:05 PM »
We dispensed sparkling water from it. I'm sure cola wouldn't be much different. Sanitize the keg, fill with water and the right amount of your syrup of choice, force-carbonate from the CO2 tank, and serve.

I'm seeing "boxed" syrup these days available at Sam's Club. But I have no clue if that's even possible to use with a kegerator. Anyone care to comment?

Hahahaha!  Corny kegs were originally designed to squirt out soda syrup.  Yes, easy-peasy.  Sanitize the keg, add filtered water and syrup to the right ratio, seal it, force carbonate and serve.

I knew about the "syrup thing" as the original purpose for (what you call) corny kegs. That's why I've always called mine "Pepsi Kegs". Some of them still have the pepsi stickers on 'em.

But what I don't know is what the "magic ratio" is. Back in the day, the pepsi kegs only contained syrup and in the machine, water was added in-line. That's also how the boxed syrup gets used.

what I don't know is the magic ratio, and if the leftover syrup can be stored in the box long-term, nor not.

The boxes kinda look like 5 gallons (I didn't carefully check that). It would be neat if I could do it the way the coke machines do, by adding water in the right ratio. But if I need to do the pre-mixing in the keg, I can do that too. I figure one should use distilled water for that to make sure you don't introduce any bugs into the mix, right?

One other thing that occurred to me: I wonder if one could maybe add bourbon to the keg in the right ratio so you've got a nice burbon-and-coke always perfectly mixed? Yay!

Corny keg is from a primary manufacturer, Cornelius.

These things are almost indestructible (I did manage to kill one), so experiment to your heart's content.  Mix up 5 gallons of Jack and coke if you like.  Make carbonated milk.  And so forth. I used to hit a tequila bar for obscure mezcals and excellent Mexican bar food, but the house margaritas came out of  one of the beer taps and they had mixed it up in a keg.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #128 on: August 05, 2015, 01:27:14 PM »
Prepare to have your minds blown by the ART of the SMSH!

My son is brewing as I write this and he's doing all-grain batches right now for less than 30 bucks a batch:
$1/lb for 12 lbs grain
$6 for hops
$3 for yeast
$0.25 for sanitizer
$0.50 for propane
$2 for bottle caps
About $24/5 gallon batch. Everything bought in bulk. These are SMSHs: Single Malt Single Hop brews.  Grain bill for everything is 2-Row Pale. Works a champ for IPAs or pales.

We could even beat this cost if we re-used the yeast, dialed back the hops and kegged it.

No fancy equipment here: turkey fryer kit, igloo cooler mash tun, homebuilt immersion wort chiller, plastic fermenters.

EDIT: final cost coming in at about $26.50/batch. $13.35/case of 24.  About 55 cents/bottle including caps. The Moteuka hops smell awesome.
« Last Edit: August 05, 2015, 08:04:16 PM by mefla »

DK

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #129 on: August 06, 2015, 06:05:21 AM »
Neat. Although if I was doing SMaSH not sure I would use 2row for the grain. And 25 gallons of beer? Holy cow that would be enough for a year I'd bet for me...

Those just standard fermentation buckets? I've been thinking of getting one or two more but looking for a way to do it on the cheap.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #130 on: August 06, 2015, 07:17:39 AM »
I'm with you - 2-row doesn't bring much flavor IMO. Nothing wrong with using it for 80% of your grain bill though.

regulator

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #131 on: August 06, 2015, 09:31:49 AM »
If you made me use a single malt I would probably end up with Vienna or light Munich.

These days I do not go in for complicated grain bills, but most brews end up with an adjunct of some kind: honey blonde, rye IPA, cream ale (corn), oatmeal stout, etc.  The adjuncts mostly come from the buckets of bulk grains I buy as part of baking/food supplies and the next batch of honey beer will be made from harvest of one of my hives.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #132 on: August 06, 2015, 01:02:47 PM »
Neat. Although if I was doing SMaSH not sure I would use 2row for the grain. And 25 gallons of beer? Holy cow that would be enough for a year I'd bet for me...

Those just standard fermentation buckets? I've been thinking of getting one or two more but looking for a way to do it on the cheap.

Well, yeah. 25 gallons is quite a bit much. If the batches are good, we plan to give away a lot of it to friends, so they, too, can participate in the "Educational Hop Experiment".

Yes, they are plain 7.5 gallon fermenting buckets bought at the local homebrew store. Cheap and they work great.

I've had buddies who go even cheaper, fermenting in 1 gallon glass jugs, 1 gallon milk jugs, 1-3 gallon pickle jugs and those big 3-5 gallon plastic water jugs you see used in office water fountains.

All these items are more challenging to clean than a nice food grade bucket, however. We've done enough batches of beer, between the two of us, that these are all easily paid for by now.

If all our brews end up being good, then compared to your average $1.50 bottled craft beer, we'll make about $240 in avoided cost. If you compare to the average $4-$5 taproom pour, we'll earn about $1080 in avoided cost.

We aren't kegging these, but it occurs to me, that's another good reason to keg: You recreate the taproom experience at roughly 1/10th the cost.

sol

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #133 on: August 15, 2015, 03:55:17 PM »
And 25 gallons of beer?

How many of you homebrewers still fit into the clothes you wore in high school?  I'm pretty sure that I would quickly turn 25 gallons of delicious homebrew into eight extra inches of waistband.

regulator

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #134 on: August 15, 2015, 11:29:54 PM »
Neat. Although if I was doing SMaSH not sure I would use 2row for the grain. And 25 gallons of beer? Holy cow that would be enough for a year I'd bet for me...

Those just standard fermentation buckets? I've been thinking of getting one or two more but looking for a way to do it on the cheap.

Well, yeah. 25 gallons is quite a bit much. If the batches are good, we plan to give away a lot of it to friends, so they, too, can participate in the "Educational Hop Experiment".

Yes, they are plain 7.5 gallon fermenting buckets bought at the local homebrew store. Cheap and they work great.

I've had buddies who go even cheaper, fermenting in 1 gallon glass jugs, 1 gallon milk jugs, 1-3 gallon pickle jugs and those big 3-5 gallon plastic water jugs you see used in office water fountains.

All these items are more challenging to clean than a nice food grade bucket, however. We've done enough batches of beer, between the two of us, that these are all easily paid for by now.

If all our brews end up being good, then compared to your average $1.50 bottled craft beer, we'll make about $240 in avoided cost. If you compare to the average $4-$5 taproom pour, we'll earn about $1080 in avoided cost.

We aren't kegging these, but it occurs to me, that's another good reason to keg: You recreate the taproom experience at roughly 1/10th the cost.

I happily buy bucket fermenters at the local supply shop.  When they are ugly or scratched enough that I am uncomfortable fermenting in them, I clean them out really well, buy a gamma lid, and they are used to store bulk beans, grains, etc.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #135 on: August 17, 2015, 03:09:22 PM »
And 25 gallons of beer?

How many of you homebrewers still fit into the clothes you wore in high school?  I'm pretty sure that I would quickly turn 25 gallons of delicious homebrew into eight extra inches of waistband.

Sol, you have an excellent point and that's a good reason I'm fairly careful about what I drink. Most people would call me a "beer snob", as if there's some moral superiority to drinking crappy empty calories. Being picky about what I drink only makes sense - I like telling people "After you swallow, it's all downhill from there...."

I'm a good mustachian and I bike whenever possible. I'm into size 38 jeans now, I think I wore 36's in high school.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #136 on: August 28, 2015, 02:03:58 PM »
Just bought 4 kegs and ingredients for 12 gallons of beer. $288. Spent $25 on a mini fridge.  $54 regulator. Still need hoses and disconnected, co2, o rings, and to construct an insulated box for chilling. This is not cost effective.

Anybody know a good way to clean these or do I need that $30 drill attachment?



skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #137 on: August 28, 2015, 02:05:51 PM »
There are several spots around here that will fill up a corney (5 gallon) keg for $35 with microbrew goodness. 

Where can I find these places? Just email a brewery?

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #138 on: August 29, 2015, 12:20:34 AM »
My homebrew store would fill corny kegs.

fishnfool

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #139 on: August 29, 2015, 02:31:01 PM »
Just bought 4 kegs and ingredients for 12 gallons of beer. $288. Spent $25 on a mini fridge.  $54 regulator. Still need hoses and disconnected, co2, o rings, and to construct an insulated box for chilling. This is not cost effective.

Anybody know a good way to clean these or do I need that $30 drill attachment?
I invested in a lot of the supplies for kegging my home brew when I used to do it about 15 years ago. I still have most of my equipment, some 5gl soda kegs, Co2 bottle with valves hoses connectors etc. .....but I never set up a chiller system.

 Once you have it all it does save time carbonating your beer but more stuff to clean.

 I think most of the stuff you can buy online if your local brew supplier doesn't have what you need.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #140 on: August 30, 2015, 06:55:14 PM »
Just bought 4 kegs and ingredients for 12 gallons of beer. $288. Spent $25 on a mini fridge.  $54 regulator. Still need hoses and disconnected, co2, o rings, and to construct an insulated box for chilling. This is not cost effective.

Anybody know a good way to clean these or do I need that $30 drill attachment?

Hey skunkster - we here only use sanitizer (starsan or whatever) and slosh it around inside the keg. We remove the valves and disassemble them and soak them in a bowl of sanitizer too. We don't use anything mechanical to clean the keg - are yours so nasty they need some kind of physical cleaning effort?

(added this link after I saw your post:)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewQNkjA3sEM
« Last Edit: August 30, 2015, 07:20:29 PM by mefla »

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #141 on: August 30, 2015, 07:01:16 PM »
Just bought 4 kegs and ingredients for 12 gallons of beer. $288. Spent $25 on a mini fridge.  $54 regulator. Still need hoses and disconnected, co2, o rings, and to construct an insulated box for chilling. This is not cost effective.

Anybody know a good way to clean these or do I need that $30 drill attachment?

Hey skunkster - we here only use sanitizer (starsan or whatever) and slosh it around inside the keg. We remove the valves and disassemble them and soak them in a bowl of sanitizer too. We don't use anything mechanical to clean the keg - are yours so nasty they need some kind of physical cleaning effort?

I think they were last used for soda. I haven't looked inside yet.

conpewter

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #142 on: August 30, 2015, 07:50:47 PM »
I think it can be cost effective after a while.  Really depends on how you get your equipment though.  Mine is all craigslist or made myself.

Now if you really like the tinkering side of things you can actually make money by a sub-hobby of this hobby, brewing equipment.  I've made a few brewing kettles and I'm looking at starting to build electric breweries as a bit of a side gig, or at least to sell my current rig and upgrade ;)

I also did my whole kegging setup and made money on it, buying 50 cornie kegs and reconditioning each one and selling for a profit.  Kept 10 kegs essentially for free (actually paid for with the sweat of my brow though...)