Author Topic: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?  (Read 36959 times)

Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #50 on: May 06, 2015, 09:05:25 AM »
I would even go as far as saying that, once a keg is fully refrigerated, it actually acts as mass/volume that will keep your fridge cool even if you open the door. Thus saving energy that would have been used to refrigerate hot air that snuck into the fridge.
I do drink most of my beer at cellar temperature, because it's not piss and doesn't need to be cold to be enjoyed. But even if I were to chill each bottle before I drank it, that would be like an hour per bottle rather than an entire month. It takes energy to keep things cold, so keeping a batch cold for a month has to take more energy than keeping that batch cold for an hour.

So just keg it and drink it at cellar temperature then? Win-win and save the 70 cents of the bottle caps?

You are missing something with your last sentence. Yes, it takes energy to keep things cold, but that also includes AIR which is what your empty frige is filled with. Air is actually the worst thing that you can fill your frige with because it escapes when you open the door and you have to refrigerate a new batch of air.

To summarize: If you have room in the fridge that you are already using adding a keg full of beer will cost you an insignificant amount of money to refrigerate.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #51 on: May 08, 2015, 08:44:49 AM »
My husband and I drink a fair amount of good beer. We probably go through 1-2 six-packs a week (less right now because I'm pregnant and not drinking at all). We've toyed for a while with the thought of brewing our own but I don't know if we'd enjoy it enough for it to be worth the time unless it also saved us money. Any home-brewers here? We were given some of the equipment from a friend but not all of it, so there would be a start-up cost, of course.

Homebrewing is a consummate mustachian pursuit. I and my son compete against each other to make world-class beer for the lowest possible cost. Both of us can make killer brew for about 35 cents/bottle using all-grain. We can make extract brews for about 45 cents/bottle. We re-use beer bottles (I have a garage full..more than I'll ever use.) and we hand-cap them. Some people hate bottling but it's a fun thing to do with someone you like. After you've done it a few times, you get pretty fast. My son and I can bottle 5 gallon batch of about 48 bottles in about 1.5 hours after the bottles come out of the dishwasher.

I prefer to make my own beer WAY more than going to a brewery or a bar and fighting the crowds. If you have a little one on the way, homebrewing will let you and your husband have quality beer and enjoy it in safety and security of your own home while you are with your little one.  What most people forget is, if both of you go out for a beer, you gotta add in the cost of a good babysitter, if you can find one at all.

I make beer with a turkey fryer kit (pot and burner) and a 7 gallon plastic bucket. I hand-bottle my beer with a little red cap crimper and beer bottles given to me by friends.

It's possible to make beer so good, that so perfectly suits your own tastes, that you will prefer making your own to buying anything. I like all types, but my faves are stouts and porters, which disappear during the summer months. I HATE the idea of "seasonal stout".

I conjured up a "Simcoe Extract" and "Simcoe All-grain" beer a few years ago that my sons STILL say is the best beer they've ever had.  Imagine a crisp, pale wheat ale that's about 1/2 as hoppy as an IPA with about 4.5% ABV. It was a session ale before session ales became all the rage.

I made both batches the same day and was able to split my grain and hops across both batches.  I re-used yeast from the last batch. Total cost was about 42 cents/bottle.

Find someone local who is an accomplished homebrewer and get their guidance. See if you can find homebrewers who already have their systems and processes perfected who will work with you to brew styles you like. This will help you figure out what you are trying to do, without spending money on equipment.

It's best if you can find someone who isn't obsessed with spending money on the gear, but is obsessed with making the best possible beer at lowest cost. But if you end up working with someone who has some awesome thousands-of-dollars system, that's OK too. Just don't let yourself get obsessed.

Here's the minimum equipment you need to make beer:

1) A pot. My favorite is a 5 gallon Tramontina I bought on sale at Wal-Mart for $16. It has a small dent in it that's nothing.
2) A 6.5 or 7 gallon food-grade plastic bucket with a tight-sealing top and an airlock. About $15.
3) A bottling bucket. About $15.
4) A bottle cap crimper, recycled beer bottles (crimp type, NOT twist-offs!) and a new bottle cap for each bottle. About $12
5) A siphoning device, some clear plastic hose and a filling wand. $10-$20.
6) Powdered sanitizer, about $2-3.

Total around $80 if you have nothing, less if you already have some items. You only buy these things once. The sanitizer will last several batches. You make it up by the gallon and spray it in the bucket and in your hoses and filling wand before you bottle. There are kits of these parts (no boil pot) available from "Midwest Supply" for $65-$80. That's how I started.

If you have a gas stove, you can make 5 gallons in your kitchen. If you have an electric stove, go with 3 gallons.
If you already have a turkey fryer kit, that's good. You can make 5 gallon batches that way.

Cooling the beer after the boil, so you can put it in the plastic bucket with the yeast, it challenging. We used to buy 3-5 gallons of distilled water and put it in the fridge the day before.  Adding the cool water to the batch will get you there, you just have to make sure it's very clean water - you don't want to add bacteria accidentally. (we used to buy bagged ice and had that problem)

After awhile, I made "counterflow chillers" for both me and my son to use. They work very well. You can either buy, or make one for about $75. 3/8" copper tubing is so expensive, it can be cost-effective to just buy one from someone who makes 'em and gets the copper tubing cheaper in bulk.

Please - let us know what you end up doing and how it goes. There are plenty of us out here who homebrew and keep it mustachian and don't go crazy over stainless steel systems.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 09:03:34 AM by mefla »

Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #52 on: May 08, 2015, 10:49:28 AM »

If you have a gas stove, you can make 5 gallons in your kitchen. If you have an electric stove, go with 3 gallons.

Previous poster is spot on except for a few tidbits.

I make 5 gallons on my electric stove without a problem.

Highly recommend a benchtop capper versus a handcapper. The benchtop is maybe 10-15$ more expensive but it is much much easier to use.

Finally, I dunck my 5 gallon batch in my laundry tub filled with cold tap water. I replace the water once or twice and, within a couple hours, I get to pitching temperature. I am working on a plate chiller that I am cannibalizing from a tankless water heater.

 

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #53 on: May 08, 2015, 08:47:27 PM »

If you have a gas stove, you can make 5 gallons in your kitchen. If you have an electric stove, go with 3 gallons.

Previous poster is spot on except for a few tidbits.

I make 5 gallons on my electric stove without a problem.

Highly recommend a benchtop capper versus a handcapper. The benchtop is maybe 10-15$ more expensive but it is much much easier to use.

Finally, I dunck my 5 gallon batch in my laundry tub filled with cold tap water. I replace the water once or twice and, within a couple hours, I get to pitching temperature. I am working on a plate chiller that I am cannibalizing from a tankless water heater.

I'm glad to admit wrongness on the electric stove comment, I have never used my electric stove, I was repeating comments from friends who do it that way. If you are doing 5 gallons on an electric stove, then that's even more mustachian and more awesome!

You've got me interested in trying a benchtop capper, especially if you think it's faster. (but we're pretty fast with the hand crimp capper!)

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to find Local Homebrewing Yodas. They will help you avoid expensive mistakes and you'll get invaluable knowledge. Imagine: 5 gallons/48 bottles (two 24 pack cases) of something you LIKE and WANT to drink, for about 50 cents each.  It's a lot of work and takes a long time (I think the fastest fermenting brew I've ever made needed 3 weeks in the bottle before it was ready) but it's rewarding as all-get-out.

I normally make beers from well-proven recipes or my own recipes. My next mission is to replicate the insanely expensive products that sell out before I can get some: Founder's or Stone or Foothills Brewing's "Sexual Chocolate". These products sell for insanely high prices - like $10.99 for a four pack - that I am loathe to pay, even if you can find the stuff in stock anywhere.

Even my revered Two Hearted IPA has gotten expensive - I see it now for mostly $10.99 for a six pack. It's easy to replicate and turn that into a $3 six pack!
« Last Edit: May 08, 2015, 08:59:57 PM by mefla »

Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #54 on: May 09, 2015, 04:57:42 AM »

I'm glad to admit wrongness on the electric stove comment, I have never used my electric stove, I was repeating comments from friends who do it that way. If you are doing 5 gallons on an electric stove, then that's even more mustachian and more awesome!

You've got me interested in trying a benchtop capper, especially if you think it's faster. (but we're pretty fast with the hand crimp capper!)

I can't emphasize enough how important it is to find Local Homebrewing Yodas. They will help you avoid expensive mistakes and you'll get invaluable knowledge. Imagine: 5 gallons/48 bottles (two 24 pack cases) of something you LIKE and WANT to drink, for about 50 cents each.  It's a lot of work and takes a long time (I think the fastest fermenting brew I've ever made needed 3 weeks in the bottle before it was ready) but it's rewarding as all-get-out.

I normally make beers from well-proven recipes or my own recipes. My next mission is to replicate the insanely expensive products that sell out before I can get some: Founder's or Stone or Foothills Brewing's "Sexual Chocolate". These products sell for insanely high prices - like $10.99 for a four pack - that I am loathe to pay, even if you can find the stuff in stock anywhere.

Even my revered Two Hearted IPA has gotten expensive - I see it now for mostly $10.99 for a six pack. It's easy to replicate and turn that into a $3 six pack!

Again, very good advice!

I don't think its been mentioned but, if you go all grain, you will need to mill your grain or have the store milled for you.

I have a corona mill (50$ maybe) that I modified to use with my power drill. I can SPEED mill about 10# (enough for one recipe) in 5 minutes flat. It is awesome!

I also modified the hopper with an empty plastic protein shake container and duck tape so that it holds 10-12# of grain.

If you are starting out, have the store mill it for you first so that you can try if you like to do all grain vs extract. It's a bit more work but you get complete artistic control of the end product. Also it's cheaper.

Mefla - I made a chocolate stout (with real chocolate) thinking my wife would like it (she likes chocolate). Turns out she is not a fan of stouts.... It tasted pretty funky right after bottling, but after 6 months in the bottle, it was great! Something you would pay 3-4$ a bottle at the store.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #55 on: May 09, 2015, 08:42:59 AM »
....mefla stuffs here...

I don't think its been mentioned but, if you go all grain, you will need to mill your grain or have the store milled for you.

I have a corona mill (50$ maybe) that I modified to use with my power drill. I can SPEED mill about 10# (enough for one recipe) in 5 minutes flat. It is awesome! I also modified the hopper with an empty plastic protein shake container and duck tape so that it holds 10-12# of grain.

If you are starting out, have the store mill it for you first so that you can try if you like to do all grain vs extract. It's a bit more work but you get complete artistic control of the end product. Also it's cheaper.

Guses, also good call.  I've brewed over two dozen times in the last 8 years but I always have the brew store mill my grain for me. When my son buys his grain in bulk, he gets it pre-milled and sealed in the 50lb bag.

One other thing we forgot to mention: you can buy your "base malt" in bulk, like in a 50lb bag, then change the style of beer you brew by adding other grains.

I shop for grain mills but they are so expensive I haven't bought one - I'll have to check out how you put your mill together so frugally.

Quote
Mefla - I made a chocolate stout (with real chocolate) thinking my wife would like it (she likes chocolate). Turns out she is not a fan of stouts.... It tasted pretty funky right after bottling, but after 6 months in the bottle, it was great! Something you would pay 3-4$ a bottle at the store.

That's the HUGE advantage of bottling over kegging: If you end up brewing something that just needs more time, you can simply let the bottle sit and if it's not an IPA, it can improve with time. If it's a stout or a porter, it can get absolutely awesome with time. You can turn a screwed-up batch into an amazing brew just by leaving it in the bottle.

I did a Honey Porter extract kit a couple years ago, where the instructions had you boiling the honey. I disagreed, but followed them to the letter. Turns out I was right - you want to do honey at the very END of the boil, not the beginning. After six weeks bottle conditioning, it was awful. I left it alone and after a year, it was way better. After a year and a half, remarkable. I have two bottles left at the two year mark that I'll crack open next time brew son comes home.

I've had friends who've brewed, tried their product after three weeks, then poured it out saying it was terrible. But time in the bottle will cure a lot of beer mistakes. If you get no fermentation, you can even whip up a formula of sugar water and yeast, put a couple drops in and re-cap it. Give it a couple weeks and voila: carbonation. There's a LOT of stuff you can do to prevent the loss of a batch of beer...that's where the true Beer Yoda comes in!

Guses, I wish you and I could brew sometime. I have brew buddies I brew with sometimes and the knowledge exchange is incredible and very rewarding.

tfordon

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #56 on: May 09, 2015, 10:49:17 AM »
That's the HUGE advantage of bottling over kegging: If you end up brewing something that just needs more time, you can simply let the bottle sit and if it's not an IPA, it can improve with time. If it's a stout or a porter, it can get absolutely awesome with time. You can turn a screwed-up batch into an amazing brew just by leaving it in the bottle.

You can condition in the keg too, but then one of your kegs is tied up for months/years.  You might even get less of an effect from yeast autolysis if you condition in a keg.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #57 on: May 10, 2015, 07:51:02 PM »
.... If you end up brewing something that just needs more time, you can simply let the bottle sit and if it's not an IPA, it can improve with time. If it's a stout or a porter, it can get absolutely awesome with time. You can turn a screwed-up batch into an amazing brew just by leaving it in the bottle.

You can condition in the keg too, but then one of your kegs is tied up for months/years.  You might even get less of an effect from yeast autolysis if you condition in a keg.

+1 agreed. I built a SPUNDING VALVE just to try some in-the-keg conditioning. I fear yeast buildup but I'm told you don't have much trouble with that if you secondary in keg rather than primary?

tjthebest

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #58 on: May 12, 2015, 02:27:12 PM »
My husband and I drink a fair amount of good beer. We probably go through 1-2 six-packs a week (less right now because I'm pregnant and not drinking at all). We've toyed for a while with the thought of brewing our own but I don't know if we'd enjoy it enough for it to be worth the time unless it also saved us money. Any home-brewers here? We were given some of the equipment from a friend but not all of it, so there would be a start-up cost, of course.

Homebrewing is a consummate mustachian pursuit. I and my son compete against each other to make world-class beer for the lowest possible cost. Both of us can make killer brew for about 35 cents/bottle using all-grain. We can make extract brews for about 45 cents/bottle. We re-use beer bottles (I have a garage full..more than I'll ever use.) and we hand-cap them. Some people hate bottling but it's a fun thing to do with someone you like. After you've done it a few times, you get pretty fast. My son and I can bottle 5 gallon batch of about 48 bottles in about 1.5 hours after the bottles come out of the dishwasher.

I prefer to make my own beer WAY more than going to a brewery or a bar and fighting the crowds. If you have a little one on the way, homebrewing will let you and your husband have quality beer and enjoy it in safety and security of your own home while you are with your little one.  What most people forget is, if both of you go out for a beer, you gotta add in the cost of a good babysitter, if you can find one at all.

I make beer with a turkey fryer kit (pot and burner) and a 7 gallon plastic bucket. I hand-bottle my beer with a little red cap crimper and beer bottles given to me by friends.

It's possible to make beer so good, that so perfectly suits your own tastes, that you will prefer making your own to buying anything. I like all types, but my faves are stouts and porters, which disappear during the summer months. I HATE the idea of "seasonal stout".

I conjured up a "Simcoe Extract" and "Simcoe All-grain" beer a few years ago that my sons STILL say is the best beer they've ever had.  Imagine a crisp, pale wheat ale that's about 1/2 as hoppy as an IPA with about 4.5% ABV. It was a session ale before session ales became all the rage.

I made both batches the same day and was able to split my grain and hops across both batches.  I re-used yeast from the last batch. Total cost was about 42 cents/bottle.

Find someone local who is an accomplished homebrewer and get their guidance. See if you can find homebrewers who already have their systems and processes perfected who will work with you to brew styles you like. This will help you figure out what you are trying to do, without spending money on equipment.

It's best if you can find someone who isn't obsessed with spending money on the gear, but is obsessed with making the best possible beer at lowest cost. But if you end up working with someone who has some awesome thousands-of-dollars system, that's OK too. Just don't let yourself get obsessed.

Here's the minimum equipment you need to make beer:

1) A pot. My favorite is a 5 gallon Tramontina I bought on sale at Wal-Mart for $16. It has a small dent in it that's nothing.
2) A 6.5 or 7 gallon food-grade plastic bucket with a tight-sealing top and an airlock. About $15.
3) A bottling bucket. About $15.
4) A bottle cap crimper, recycled beer bottles (crimp type, NOT twist-offs!) and a new bottle cap for each bottle. About $12
5) A siphoning device, some clear plastic hose and a filling wand. $10-$20.
6) Powdered sanitizer, about $2-3.

Total around $80 if you have nothing, less if you already have some items. You only buy these things once. The sanitizer will last several batches. You make it up by the gallon and spray it in the bucket and in your hoses and filling wand before you bottle. There are kits of these parts (no boil pot) available from "Midwest Supply" for $65-$80. That's how I started.

If you have a gas stove, you can make 5 gallons in your kitchen. If you have an electric stove, go with 3 gallons.
If you already have a turkey fryer kit, that's good. You can make 5 gallon batches that way.

Cooling the beer after the boil, so you can put it in the plastic bucket with the yeast, it challenging. We used to buy 3-5 gallons of distilled water and put it in the fridge the day before.  Adding the cool water to the batch will get you there, you just have to make sure it's very clean water - you don't want to add bacteria accidentally. (we used to buy bagged ice and had that problem)

After awhile, I made "counterflow chillers" for both me and my son to use. They work very well. You can either buy, or make one for about $75. 3/8" copper tubing is so expensive, it can be cost-effective to just buy one from someone who makes 'em and gets the copper tubing cheaper in bulk.

Please - let us know what you end up doing and how it goes. There are plenty of us out here who homebrew and keep it mustachian and don't go crazy over stainless steel systems.

Please share your Simcoe recipe.

thanks,

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #59 on: May 12, 2015, 08:04:17 PM »
Please share your Simcoe recipe.
thanks,

Oh lordy you got me on the spot. :-) Here's the extract version. It's an XPS doc, Win7 has the viewer built-in, you should be able to just click on it to see it...

Some Notes:

The version I've uploaded is the basic recipe. To get the variant that's more like a pale ale, cut the hops down to 1 oz each, 2 oz total. Add them at the same times in the boil. Then do 1 oz dry-hopped in the fermenter. I think that's my personal favorite.

The prices are off-the-shelf from my local brewing supply store for the specific quantities and are worst-case prices  (At about 70 cents a bottle). If you want the Double IPA, follow the recipe. 

The instructions say bottle condition for 30 days. That's good advice, but 20 days will work too. I think my sons and I had the stuff half-gone in 30 days.
« Last Edit: May 12, 2015, 08:17:28 PM by mefla »

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #60 on: May 13, 2015, 08:19:29 AM »
The instructions say bottle condition for 30 days. That's good advice, but 20 days will work too. I think my sons and I had the stuff half-gone in 30 days.

For best IPA results, bottle condition only until it is carbonated. Sometimes that is as short as 6 days, sometimes as long as 20. It'll really pop for the first month or so in the bottle so get after it ASAP!


Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #61 on: May 13, 2015, 10:48:36 AM »
The instructions say bottle condition for 30 days. That's good advice, but 20 days will work too. I think my sons and I had the stuff half-gone in 30 days.

For best IPA results, bottle condition only until it is carbonated. Sometimes that is as short as 6 days, sometimes as long as 20. It'll really pop for the first month or so in the bottle so get after it ASAP!

I hear that refrigeration is a boon for IPAs. That is, they stay fresher much longer if they are refrigerated.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #62 on: May 13, 2015, 03:40:51 PM »
The instructions say bottle condition for 30 days. That's good advice, but 20 days will work too. I think my sons and I had the stuff half-gone in 30 days.

For best IPA results, bottle condition only until it is carbonated. Sometimes that is as short as 6 days, sometimes as long as 20. It'll really pop for the first month or so in the bottle so get after it ASAP!

I hear that refrigeration is a boon for IPAs. That is, they stay fresher much longer if they are refrigerated.

Skunkfunk, (what a name... :-) ) I have to tell you I've never bottle-conditioned anything for less than 3 weeks, even a pale or a hefe. I think the shortest I've ever done is two weeks waiting in the bottle. However, tell me what you've been able to bottle condition for that short a time - you have me interested in trying it myself.

Guses - +1 on refrigeration after the conditioning phase! I've kept Foothills Cottonwood Frostbite (a delicious black IPA) in the fridge for 3 months and it still be pretty good. After 3, it's still nice, but the character changes enough that no, I wouldn't buy it if it were over 3 months old....

I'll put this question to you guys: either of you drink an IPA over 3 months old? I have, and while it was "drinkable", I would say that the aroma hops really die out and the bittering hop loses some tastes too.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #63 on: May 14, 2015, 08:40:00 AM »
Skunkfunk, (what a name... :-) ) I have to tell you I've never bottle-conditioned anything for less than 3 weeks, even a pale or a hefe. I think the shortest I've ever done is two weeks waiting in the bottle. However, tell me what you've been able to bottle condition for that short a time - you have me interested in trying it myself.

I have done this with several styles. Most recently I had an IPA ready in 6 days and a pilsner ready in 1 week. My marzen that was bottled the same day took a bit longer. Hefeweizen unfortunately took 20 days. It's a bit of a crap shoot. I haven't figured out how to know how fast it will be so I just crack one after 6 days and depending on if it's ready or how flat it is decide how many more days to wait for the next bottle. I have even had beers as high as 10% ABV (though I rarely brew big beers) ready in a week, so it seems somewhat random. Clarity doesn't seem to be a factor either.

I'll put this question to you guys: either of you drink an IPA over 3 months old? I have, and while it was "drinkable", I would say that the aroma hops really die out and the bittering hop loses some tastes too.

I don't refrigerate entire batches but I try and drink any IPA as fast as possible. After a month at room temp it has lost its luster.

lithy

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #64 on: May 14, 2015, 09:50:55 AM »
Please share your Simcoe recipe.
thanks,

Oh lordy you got me on the spot. :-) Here's the extract version. It's an XPS doc, Win7 has the viewer built-in, you should be able to just click on it to see it...

Some Notes:

The version I've uploaded is the basic recipe. To get the variant that's more like a pale ale, cut the hops down to 1 oz each, 2 oz total. Add them at the same times in the boil. Then do 1 oz dry-hopped in the fermenter. I think that's my personal favorite.

The prices are off-the-shelf from my local brewing supply store for the specific quantities and are worst-case prices  (At about 70 cents a bottle). If you want the Double IPA, follow the recipe. 

The instructions say bottle condition for 30 days. That's good advice, but 20 days will work too. I think my sons and I had the stuff half-gone in 30 days.

Just as a note since I see this often with Beersmith and homebrew calculators in general.  Whirlpool additions can add ~15% utilization (Full 90 minute boil is about 35%, but utilization goes down with higher gravity and higher hop load and smaller boil volumes).  I know all of the convetional homebrewing information out there says that whirlpool hops add no bitterness, but they do.  Both in the form of IBUs as well as 'perceived bitterness' because of the hop flavor of a Pale/IPA/Double IPA. 

Your hop additions look bittering heavy to me and you could probably move at least 2oz from the beginning of boil to the end.  Obviously if you like the beer as is, that's great, but it could either let you get even more aroma/flavor from your hops without adding more hops (and therefore more $) or you could drop some of the bittering hops out and not add them in later, again saving some money.

As a reference, we use 2 pounds of 15%AA hops for bittering in 500 gallons of our IPA.  We use 4 pounds of 15%AA in our Double IPA, but it starts at 17 degrees Plato (1.068 SG).  Our Pale Ale is more in line with your starting gravity of 1.047.  We use just 1 pound in that.

Hope this helps, cheers.


skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #65 on: May 14, 2015, 09:56:07 AM »

Just as a note since I see this often with Beersmith and homebrew calculators in general.  Whirlpool additions can add ~15% utilization (Full 90 minute boil is about 35%, but utilization goes down with higher gravity and higher hop load and smaller boil volumes).  I know all of the convetional homebrewing information out there says that whirlpool hops add no bitterness, but they do.  Both in the form of IBUs as well as 'perceived bitterness' because of the hop flavor of a Pale/IPA/Double IPA. 

Definitely varies from person to person how much utilization you get from whirlpool hops. In a small batch you can chill it down to 180 quickly, throw the hops in, and your hopstand will not approach anywhere near 10%.

I've always seen 10% as the rule of thumb starting point.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #66 on: May 14, 2015, 12:05:41 PM »
Please share your Simcoe recipe.
thanks,

Oh lordy you got me on the spot. :-) Here's the extract version. It's an XPS doc, Win7 has the viewer built-in, you should be able to just click on it to see it...

Some Notes:

The version I've uploaded is the basic recipe. To get the variant that's more like a pale ale, cut the hops down to 1 oz each, 2 oz total. Add them at the same times in the boil. Then do 1 oz dry-hopped in the fermenter. I think that's my personal favorite.

The prices are off-the-shelf from my local brewing supply store for the specific quantities and are worst-case prices  (At about 70 cents a bottle). If you want the Double IPA, follow the recipe. 

The instructions say bottle condition for 30 days. That's good advice, but 20 days will work too. I think my sons and I had the stuff half-gone in 30 days.

Just as a note since I see this often with Beersmith and homebrew calculators in general.  Whirlpool additions can add ~15% utilization (Full 90 minute boil is about 35%, but utilization goes down with higher gravity and higher hop load and smaller boil volumes).  I know all of the convetional homebrewing information out there says that whirlpool hops add no bitterness, but they do.  Both in the form of IBUs as well as 'perceived bitterness' because of the hop flavor of a Pale/IPA/Double IPA. 

Your hop additions look bittering heavy to me and you could probably move at least 2oz from the beginning of boil to the end.  Obviously if you like the beer as is, that's great, but it could either let you get even more aroma/flavor from your hops without adding more hops (and therefore more $) or you could drop some of the bittering hops out and not add them in later, again saving some money.

As a reference, we use 2 pounds of 15%AA hops for bittering in 500 gallons of our IPA.  We use 4 pounds of 15%AA in our Double IPA, but it starts at 17 degrees Plato (1.068 SG).  Our Pale Ale is more in line with your starting gravity of 1.047.  We use just 1 pound in that.

Hope this helps, cheers.

lithy - totally agreed with you comments. I struggled with whether or not to send that recipe as-is, but I was afraid if I spent time manually modifying it, I wouldn't get it posted.

When I do my "pale ale" variant, I cut the hops to 1 oz boil, 1 oz aroma, 1 oz dry hopped, total. That's less than half what is specified in the original recipe.

I came up with that recipe because when I and my son "discovered" Simcoe hops, he wanted to do a "blow the top of your head off imperial "quad-like" IPA". So we cooked up that recipe. It was awesome, but not something I wanted to have as a lawnmower session beer. So I simply cut the hops to 25% and dry-hopped in fermenter. And, you are exactly correct, the flavor and hoppiness was PLENTY for me, at a huge cost savings. (Simcoe hops being fairly expensive...)

alsoknownasDean

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #67 on: May 30, 2015, 01:08:40 AM »
Is it cost effective for me? Well, a six pack of commercial beer usually costs in the $15-20AUD range (even the cheap lager's not much below $15), and a slab (24 bottles) of half-decent ale (Coopers or James Squire) is about $40-50AUD, so spending $40AUD or thereabouts on ingredients for an extract brew (or ~$15-20AUD for generic kit and kilo) for 50-55 330-375mL bottles is cheaper overall.

However, I don't do it much anymore. Used to do it fairly regularly at my parents' place, but after I moved out I didn't have space to make beer. I also don't drink as much anymore.

That reminds me that I've got a bottle of ginger beer in the fridge that I made in 2008. It should still taste OK, right?

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #68 on: May 30, 2015, 09:17:11 AM »
...(good stuff here)...

However, I don't do it much anymore. Used to do it fairly regularly at my parents' place, but after I moved out I didn't have space to make beer. I also don't drink as much anymore.

That reminds me that I've got a bottle of ginger beer in the fridge that I made in 2008. It should still taste OK, right?

Well, you are in the same boat I'm in. I've dramatically cut back my beer intake as I've gone on a low-carb lifestyle. It happens - especially for free craft ale - but it's about a pint every other week right now, maybe less sometimes.  At that rate, 48 bottles would last me about two years. A stout or porter and that would be great. IPA or pale, not so much!

And sad to confess, same here about not brewing recently either. Work, badassity, resurrecting a broken car and the journey to FIRE, have been all-consuming. That may not be an optimal mix.... hmmm....

Pull out that bottle of ginger beer and give it a whirl. It won't taste the same but I'm certain it won't be bad or spoiled.  And if you do, please let us know what you think of it!

I have two bottles of two year old Honey Porter that have gotten excellent. I might open those and post how they are....

Heckler

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #69 on: May 30, 2015, 10:01:04 AM »
As a Canadian who used to buy $100 of craft beer bottles on a long weekend, yes, absolutely is it cost effective!


I estimate around a buck a bottle that would cost me $6.95 in a cold beer and wine store here.  My few hundred dollars in equipment has long been amortized over the 1200 litres I've brewed in the last three years.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #70 on: May 30, 2015, 10:51:31 AM »
Wow, I thought I brewed a lot! I estimate I've made 150 gallons since I started, a little under 600L.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #71 on: May 30, 2015, 02:57:39 PM »
Wow, I thought I brewed a lot! I estimate I've made 150 gallons since I started, a little under 600L.

I'm probably pretty close in on that: 5 gallons per brew day, about 26 events so far, 130 gallons. There have been about 5 more events where we brewed 10 gallons, so another 50 gallons. 180 gallons, about 680 liters.

I wish I had recorded the cost, but I didn't go that direction with my recordkeeping. If you allow me a (very) conservative estimate of 45 cents/bottle, I made 1920 12 oz bottles. That's $864 for 1,920 bottles of beer over about an 8 year time span.

I shudder to think what I may have spent on commercially-produced craft brew before I became frugal. Once, to get a growler of something very important to me, I spent $30. I have bought about a dozen growlers and refilled them at least once each, and those growlers are never less than about $12 these days. If you equate that to 12 oz bottles, that's about $2.25/bottle.

Yeah, I'm shuddering on that one. :-(

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #72 on: May 30, 2015, 03:20:36 PM »
I wish I'd kept records of the cost of all the one-time item purchases I made for equipment so that I could assign them to all my batches. I'm moving transcontinentally in two months so I'll have to keep tabs on all of that and see whether Heckler's conjecture is right.

Heckler

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #73 on: May 30, 2015, 05:38:56 PM »
yes, it is cost effective, although not as cost effective as reducing consumption.  (yeah, we might drink too much beer)

« Last Edit: May 30, 2015, 05:44:23 PM by Heckler »

Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #74 on: May 30, 2015, 07:02:44 PM »
yes, it is cost effective, although not as cost effective as reducing consumption.  (yeah, we might drink too much beer)

Dude, don't pay 50$ for carboys!!!! I get them at 5$ or 10$ max each (used).

Even if I were brewing double imperial india pale ales, my cost per batch would be lower than 45$ per. You may want to shop around for your ingredients or buy in bulks. At 20 brew days per year, I am sure you will use them all before they go bad.

Heckler

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #75 on: May 31, 2015, 08:25:08 AM »

Dude, don't pay 50$ for carboys!!!! I get them at 5$ or 10$ max each (used).

Even if I were brewing double imperial india pale ales, my cost per batch would be lower than 45$ per. You may want to shop around for your ingredients or buy in bulks. At 20 brew days per year, I am sure you will use them all before they go bad.

The $45 is a high average per batch, I know, but just a ballpark for this quick cost analysis.   Usually I pay $30, but I do like the hop bombs.

Generally I reuse yeast, so -$10 per batch for that, but I haven't bought bulk because I like each batch to be different. 

Granted, I could buy my base malt bulk.  Last year, I had a line on free base malt that was coming as a sample from a grain silo! 

All my bottles (about 200 of them), came from the $0.10 deposit, or from our favourite sushi restaurant, or or free from friends.   Half of my equipment (bucket, carboy, capper) I bought in 1996 when I brewed from a can for a year before giving up due to the crap quality. 

I've also got 5 hops plants in the ground now, one of them on it's second year, so I should be getting some good Centennial in the fall!  Next year, Cascade, Centennial, Chinook, Fuggles and Golding, all free!  I paid for only one of the rhysomes.

Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #76 on: May 31, 2015, 10:27:15 AM »
I find that beer brewing makes me a bit more snobbish and less likely to like "mainstream craft beers".

I was at a restaurant while on a business trip and took a local IPA at the suggestion of the waitress (which she warned me was "very hoppy"). I was pretty disappointed. It tasted more like an APA than an IPA and the hoppiness was pretty mild. My most recent IPA was way better than this. At 7.75$ for a pint + gratuity, I was expecting better.

Makes me want to skip having a craft beer when I go out...

Syonyk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #77 on: May 31, 2015, 12:14:30 PM »
It depends on what you're used to, and it's like hot peppers/hot sauces.  One person's mild is another person's "fire coming out the ears."

I've munched on raw hops before, and I think they taste great, please just ferment them and call it good. :)  Most people think I'm a little bit bonkers when it comes to my IPAs, but I generally find anything with a punny name (Tricerihops, hoptimum, etc) is going to be good.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #78 on: June 04, 2015, 01:18:18 PM »
I find that beer brewing makes me a bit more snobbish and less likely to like "mainstream craft beers".

I was at a restaurant while on a business trip and took a local IPA at the suggestion of the waitress (which she warned me was "very hoppy"). I was pretty disappointed. It tasted more like an APA than an IPA and the hoppiness was pretty mild. My most recent IPA was way better than this. At 7.75$ for a pint + gratuity, I was expecting better.

Makes me want to skip having a craft beer when I go out...

+1 to these comments. I accept being called a snob, but it's really more of the mmm frugalistic thinking rather than being picky about beer and ale.

The moment you swallow, it's all downhill from there. When your liver starts to process the alcohols and glutens, you are then having to pay for what you have done.  In my case, that "payment" also means I've got a >50% chance of getting sick at my stomach over what I'm drinking. It happens when I drink commercial stuff and almost never (possibly once or twice in the years I've been homebrewing) with homebrew.

Plus, I've discovered that when I drink, if I don't have a plan to burn the glutens, it disproportionately turns into belly fat. This effect is MORE pronounced as I continue to lose weight!

Because of this, I'm beginning to be unwilling to pay for commercially-produced ales and beers and more motivated to brew my own. So while money is a big part of it, the fact is I just don't want to get sick or have a big fat belly. That, to me, is pure mustachian badassity, (make for myself what optimizes my own happieness) and has nothing at all to do with being a snob.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #79 on: June 04, 2015, 01:24:20 PM »
Mefla, do you use clarity ferm or some such to reduce gluten content in your own beers?

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #80 on: June 04, 2015, 02:04:34 PM »
Mefla, do you use clarity ferm or some such to reduce gluten content in your own beers?

I used to use irish moss, but quit doing that, it didn't seem to make much difference.  Now for clarity, I just do a secondary ferment. I'm not sure if that changes the gluten content or not.

For some reason the gluten doesn't bother me at all in my homebrews - that's why I don't think it's gluten intolerance that's making me sick.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #81 on: June 04, 2015, 02:07:44 PM »
Mefla, do you use clarity ferm or some such to reduce gluten content in your own beers?

I used to use irish moss, but quit doing that, it didn't seem to make much difference.  Now for clarity, I just do a secondary ferment. I'm not sure if that changes the gluten content or not.

For some reason the gluten doesn't bother me at all in my homebrews - that's why I don't think it's gluten intolerance that's making me sick.

That's pretty strange. A secondary ferment will drop out some proteins and such, particularly if you cold crash or fine it with gelatin or something, but not to the extent that commercial breweries filter it.

Certainly peculiar. Any other trigger foods aside from commercial beer?

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #82 on: June 04, 2015, 09:47:13 PM »
Mefla, do you use clarity ferm or some such to reduce gluten content in your own beers?

I used to use irish moss, but quit doing that, it didn't seem to make much difference.  Now for clarity, I just do a secondary ferment. I'm not sure if that changes the gluten content or not.

For some reason the gluten doesn't bother me at all in my homebrews - that's why I don't think it's gluten intolerance that's making me sick.

That's pretty strange. A secondary ferment will drop out some proteins and such, particularly if you cold crash or fine it with gelatin or something, but not to the extent that commercial breweries filter it.

Certainly peculiar. Any other trigger foods aside from commercial beer?

skunkfunk - thanks for asking, but let me preface my comments to you that I really haven't figured this crap out yet. I've been living the keto lifestyle for about a year and a half now (huge improvement in health and insulin resistance) but I'm still figuring out a lot of stuff....

First, it's not universally all commercially-produced brews. It's definitely just "some", and does not seem to be related to beer style (IPA's, hefe's, pales, browns, porters, stouts).

I can have any homebrew, Guinness Stout or *ANY* product from Highland Brewing and I'm A-OK. All I know about that is Guinness is pasteurized and I grew up not far from Highland in Asheville, NC (so the water they use is very familiar to me, and I  know they do not add any adjuncts to the water).

On the other hand, I got pretty sick from Mastiff Oatmeal Stout about 2 months ago. (I LOVE Mastiff....I was more upset than I was sick, when I got sick on it.)

So I can't tell you that I really know much about what's going on with this. It's inconsistent enough that I haven't been able to put my finger on it.

I'll tell you one thing, however. It's starting to close in on me to the point that if I want any brew, I'm going to have to make it myself. That doesn't bother me, since these days I'm tightly controlling what I drink anyway....to limit carb intake.

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #83 on: June 05, 2015, 09:08:08 AM »
these days I'm tightly controlling what I drink anyway....to limit carb intake.

Have you made any saisons or beer with brett? Saison yeasts and brett have a tendency to eat up most of the sugar, even the longer chain stuff. For instance, my 1.050 OG saison that finished at 0.996 has an estimated 4.6 carbs, whereas my 1.050 OG APA finishing at 1.012 has an estimated 16.7 carbs.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #84 on: June 05, 2015, 11:28:26 AM »
these days I'm tightly controlling what I drink anyway....to limit carb intake.

Have you made any saisons or beer with brett? Saison yeasts and brett have a tendency to eat up most of the sugar, even the longer chain stuff. For instance, my 1.050 OG saison that finished at 0.996 has an estimated 4.6 carbs, whereas my 1.050 OG APA finishing at 1.012 has an estimated 16.7 carbs.

I haven't, but that's an EXCELLENT suggestion, especially since I love a good Saison.  Plus a Saison might be the only ale I could get the wife to try, if the carbs are really that low.  How do you estimate the carb content of homebrew? Is there a way to do with with a Brix?

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #85 on: June 05, 2015, 12:05:46 PM »
these days I'm tightly controlling what I drink anyway....to limit carb intake.

Have you made any saisons or beer with brett? Saison yeasts and brett have a tendency to eat up most of the sugar, even the longer chain stuff. For instance, my 1.050 OG saison that finished at 0.996 has an estimated 4.6 carbs, whereas my 1.050 OG APA finishing at 1.012 has an estimated 16.7 carbs.

I haven't, but that's an EXCELLENT suggestion, especially since I love a good Saison.  Plus a Saison might be the only ale I could get the wife to try, if the carbs are really that low.  How do you estimate the carb content of homebrew? Is there a way to do with with a Brix?

Yeah, it's just an estimate based on the gravity, so brix is fine. You can either convert it or you could adjust the constants below to use brix. If you're using a refractometer make sure to convert the FG accurately as there is a calculation involved to correct for the alcohol content, and it's huge.

From beersmith:

    Calorie_from_alcohol = 1881.22 * FG * (OG-FG)/(1.775-OG)
    Calories_from_carbs = 3550.0 * FG * ((0.1808 * OG) + (0.8192 * FG) 1.0004)

Once you know calories from carbs you can just divide it by 4 to get grams of carbs. In the example above I get from 1.050 OG and .996 FG 19 calories from carbs, meaning I have 4.75 grams.

FWIW I've used WLP566 and Danstar Belle Saison with great results. Belle saison is a beast and will chew through anything at any temperature. It leaves quite a bit more mouthfeel than you'd expect for the FG, though. WLP566 is, I believe, more similar to DuPont and had much more flavor than beer fermented with Belle. Belle works beautifully with a hoppy saison, though, in my experience.

gardeningandgreen

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #86 on: June 18, 2015, 11:11:19 AM »
The SO and I brew a lot of beer. Most of the beer we drink. For christmas we decided to do all grain which has cut down the costs. By far the most cost effective way to do this is the brew in bag method. Our set up is the largest electric turkey frier I could find and a mesh bag. We do the mash boil everything in this pot and then chill it down wth 50 feet of stainless steel tubing. The water that runs through the tube is used for our sanitizing water for everything else so we waste very little water. Sometimes the first water off the chiller I use to make tea because its is damn near boiling at that point.

We also bottle at this point but will probably switch to kegging this winter. Almost all of the bottles we have have been saved by us or family and friends and get used many times. I think we may have spent $20 on bottles for our 20 batches of beer. Nearly any pry off bottles can be reused. I say nearly because the clear bottles are generally not a good idea as well as some bottles have a weird neck that make it difficult to get a decent seal.

All in all we have more fun brewing than it costs us. So its a cost effective hobby in that you get a usable product from your fun. It isnt much cheaper in the long run than buying craft beers but we have made many friends from going to our local homebrew club. So in the end it is awesome!

patrat

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #87 on: June 20, 2015, 09:35:27 AM »
Not if you would be working instead. If you acid
Avoid gear acquisition syndrome, it can be cheaper than a weekly trip to the theater, or however you'd like to rationalize it.

It takes 50-200 to get started with basic but good equipment.
All grain is cheaper in consumables per batch. BIAB technique with a bayou classic 13 gallon boil pot will cost you about 100 beyond extract brewing, and saves big on all grain equipment.

Not cost effective.overall, but its fun and easy to rationalize, and makes you popular.

Guses

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #88 on: June 21, 2015, 05:44:55 AM »
Not if you would be working instead. If you acid
Avoid gear acquisition syndrome, it can be cheaper than a weekly trip to the theater, or however you'd like to rationalize it.

It takes 50-200 to get started with basic but good equipment.
All grain is cheaper in consumables per batch. BIAB technique with a bayou classic 13 gallon boil pot will cost you about 100 beyond extract brewing, and saves big on all grain equipment.

Not cost effective.overall, but its fun and easy to rationalize, and makes you popular.

I feel like you are trying to tell us something... :P

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #89 on: June 21, 2015, 12:39:22 PM »
Not if you would be working instead. If you acid
Avoid gear acquisition syndrome, it can be cheaper than a weekly trip to the theater, or however you'd like to rationalize it.

....

I feel like you are trying to tell us something... :P

OMG I about fell out of my chair. Guses/patrat you both are hilarious.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2015, 11:23:08 AM by mefla »

patrat

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #90 on: June 24, 2015, 09:02:30 AM »
I guess that's what I get for replying with the swype keyboard on an android phone, you get some interesting output if it goes unedited.

DK

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #91 on: June 26, 2015, 10:09:43 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.

grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #92 on: June 26, 2015, 10:39:36 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.

Faraday

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #93 on: June 26, 2015, 10:45:11 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 hate to admit, but when I made my counterflow wort chiller, I spent more for the parts than it would have cost to buy an immersion chiller. I made an immersion chiller out of copper pipe for my son and it came in about 10 bucks cheaper than some of the very low-cost online resources for the same item.

That said: I made a counterflow "pipe inside garden hose" wort chiller significantly cheaper than they cost if you buy one pre-made. However, not that much cheaper than a low-cost plate chiller. However, I don't want a plate chiller - they are difficult to clean and the counterflow wort chiller is a snap to clean. (and you don't really have to clean an immersion chiller as long as you rinse it off nicely before you put it away...)

skunkfunk

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #94 on: June 26, 2015, 10:50:31 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.

justnick

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #95 on: June 26, 2015, 01:17:37 PM »
Ok, this topic has finally done it...my wife's been an active Mustacian for some time but now I've one and joined. Here's my few cents on the topic:

Like any "is making your own XX cost effective" it comes down to what you compare yourself to. I think my beer is pretty god damn awesome. So when I compare it to a pint at the local brewery downtown or a bomber from the yuppie hippie market up the street, hell yeah. It is worth it.

To be fair, I consider my equipment a sunk cost, since I've had it all for ten years and have received almost all of it as gifts ("Another corney keg! Honey, you shouldn't have!"). We also re-use the brewing stuff a lot. It may be anathema to some, but we've boiled chicken carcasses in my mash tun, used my boil kettle for water bath canning, etc. Just have plenty of PBW on hand...

I buy in bulk, from freshhops.com down in Oregon and my local homebrew shop sells grain at-cost if you get a prepaid grain card. So I get 40lbs or so at a time and keep it in six gallon buckets with screw top lids. I tried growing my own hops but that was a disaster and we pulled them out and have something more productive in that space.

But I'd never suggest that someone get into homebrewing as  a way to save money. I do it because I LOVE it. I love playing mad scientist, feeling the pride of sharing a good batch, knowing that I'm helping with our kinda' DIY lifestyle. The fact that I come out ahead on money is a nice benefit (as compared to, say, golf) but the time and effort that goes into it is enough that money, alone, I don't think is enough of a motivation.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2015, 01:27:16 PM by justnick »

Erica/NWEdible

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #96 on: June 26, 2015, 01:19:49 PM »
Ok, this topic has finally done it...my wife's been an active Mustacian for some time but now I've one and joined. Here's my few cents on the topic:

Like any "is making your own XX cost effective" it comes down to what you compare yourself to. I think my beer is pretty god damn awesome. So when I compare it to a pint at the local brewery downtown or a bomber from the yuppie hippie market up the street, hell yeah. It is worth it.

To be fair, I consider my equipment a sunk cost, since I've had it all for ten years and have received almost all of it as gifts ("Another corney key! Honey, you shouldn't have!"). We also re-use the brewing stuff a lot. It may be anathema to some, but we've boiled chicken carcasses in my mash tun, used my boil kettle for water bath canning, etc. Just have plenty of PBW on hand...

I buy in bulk, from freshhops.com down in Oregon and my local homebrew shop sells grain at-cost if you get a prepaid grain card. So I get 40lbs or so at a time and keep it in six gallon buckets with screw top lids. I tried growing my own hops but that was a disaster and we pulled them out and have something more productive in that space.

But I'd never suggest that someone get into homebrewing as  a way to save money. I do it because I LOVE it. I love playing mad scientist, feeling the pride of sharing a good batch, knowing that I'm helping with our kinda' DIY lifestyle. The fact that I come out ahead on money is a nice benefit (as compared to, say, golf) but the time and effort that goes into it is enough that money, alone, I don't think is enough of a motivation.

Hi honey. <3

Jeremy

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #97 on: June 27, 2015, 07:52:50 AM »
This goes in the opposite direction of DIY, but a friend of mine is the CTO at a Seattle startup called http://picobrew.com

They sell a home appliance that makes perfect craft brew at home every time.  I'm not sure the price, I think a bit steep at $1500 or so?  All of the recipes are open source, so people geek out on tuning recipes and sharing them.  Want a little more hops?  No problem
Plus their chief Beerologist has created some pretty stellar recipes, they've won several competitions

I know I'm pretty happy when I visit and can just drink whatever is on tap




grantmeaname

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #98 on: June 27, 2015, 07:56:37 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.

DK

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Re: Is beer-brewing cost-effective?
« Reply #99 on: June 27, 2015, 08:10:43 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.