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Cost of our Passion

Oginme

Grandmaster Brewer
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dtapke said:
I do know it'll pay for itself in time, and it is a hobby, so whats it matter? it makes me happy.

I also grow hydroponic lettuces and herbs, i can assure you thats an even bigger waste of money.

This is the key part of my brewing as well.  I do it because (a) I enjoy the process, (b) I enjoy the product of the process, and (c) it tickles a lot of my science buttons allowing me to engage in avenues of scientific development (yeast culturing, cell counts, brewing chemistry) which my real work would not allow me to pursue. 

My other 'hobby' is raising dairy goats.  Again, I love the animals (well, most of them), love the products (milk, yogurt and cheese the wife makes, and meat), and it again takes me to areas of scientific endeavors (genetics, veterinary medicine, animal nutrition, anatomy and physiology) which my 'normal' job does not cover. 

Yes, my beer costs less than buying it outright at this point but I would be drinking a lot less also. 
 

Ck27

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Beery said:
I am not brewing beer because I cannot afford to buy it, but nevertheless I always figured the ingredients for a 5 gallon batch should cost considerably less than buying the equivalent amount of beer at the grocery store. I recently switched from extract to all grain which really is an ingredients savings, but still, at my local home brew store hops are 2.50 - 3.50 and ounce, so a big IPA hops bill could easily be 25 - 30 bucks alone. Yeast is 7.75 or so a pack, and they stock almost no dry yeast which I actually prefer. Base malt at 1.60.... is this what you all are used to paying? What do you do to save a few bucks on ingredients?  Online I see hops by the pound at a considerable savings. Does it store well?

Thoughts about ingredient costs and ways to save?

One of the beers I'm sending to the NHC this year has a $50.00 hop bill. Yeah I know it's insane but it's between $3 and $6 per 2 ounce pack at my shop depending on rarity of the hops. Galaxy is quite expensive.
 

dtapke

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Ck27 said:
One of the beers I'm sending to the NHC this year has a $50.00 hop bill. Yeah I know it's insane but it's between $3 and $6 per 2 ounce pack at my shop depending on rarity of the hops. Galaxy is quite expensive.

Buy it by the pound, store in deep freeze. HSI doesn't really factor much if you keep in a deep freeze and vacuum pack. I even N2 flush and vacuum pack into deep freeze.
 

Ck27

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dtapke said:
Ck27 said:
One of the beers I'm sending to the NHC this year has a $50.00 hop bill. Yeah I know it's insane but it's between $3 and $6 per 2 ounce pack at my shop depending on rarity of the hops. Galaxy is quite expensive.

Buy it by the pound, store in deep freeze. HSI doesn't really factor much if you keep in a deep freeze and vacuum pack. I even N2 flush and vacuum pack into deep freeze.

I have had a pack of sealed unopened cascade 1 pound in my freezer, normal fridge freezer for a year they should still be good. Pellet form by the way, ive also bought and regularly use whole cone hops
 

dtapke

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Ck27 said:
I have had a pack of sealed unopened cascade 1 pound in my freezer, normal fridge freezer for a year they should still be good. Pellet form by the way, ive also bought and regularly use whole cone hops


I bought a deep freezer last time my local hardware store had one on sale, i've got around 50lbs of hops in there now :) If i need an ounce, i buy a pound. if i need a few ounces, i buy a few pounds! I figure I'll use them eventually!
 

makemorebeer

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I feel like doing the math against a mainstream beer like miller or bud, you'd save money buying the commercial beers, but compare that to 48 bottles of craft beer and you're winning every time.  That said i brew because I enjoy the process, not just the product. 

As much as I'd love to buy local, i echo what others have said about local home brew shops vs. places like northern brewer.  I could not afford to brew half as often if i paid local prices.
 

seymasur

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The people running most homebrew shops do it for passion more than money. Try to buy what you can from them. However, they're still business people.
 

verysingh45

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I buy hops by the pound and usually pay between $10 and $18 per lb. Yakima Valley Hops offers USPS flat rate shipping for up to 4 lbs. of pellets for $7. There are suppliers with lower prices, but with their shipping rates they are often more costly.
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Misterjohar

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if you want to know how to brew beer, but don't know where to start then you came to the right place. It's fermentation Friday and today we are going over the long-awaited beginner beer recipe for the season that I've been brewing over the last few months. I wouldn't say it's the easiest thing in the world but it's also not that hard once you actually do it and see for yourself.

https://oke.io/YLJB6g
 
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BrewCat

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I see this is an older topic started before the pandemic. My two local suppliers went out so I'm buying online now the biggest issue is bulk grain delivery is expensive I've been buying grains in 10lb increments. Usually wait for site wide sales and order enough to get free shipping. Also a CO2 shortage has made gas very expensive. Ill brew under pressure and use the gas blowoff to carbonate and purge kegs and bottles. Also the beer is carbonated when its done fermenting. Every little bit helps
 

Brew Bama

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Just to tag on to an old topic: I attempted to add up all my equipment expenses for my brewery and divided it by my batch count. A sort of amortization exercise. Admittedly, I probably forgot an item or three but all-in-all I believe I am sitting at ~ $13 per batch in equipment cost. Of course, the more I brew the cost per batch will reduce if I don’t buy anymore equipment. I figure that’s not too bad for a hobby. I paid north of $10k for my tractor to play with on my land. Tending the land and brewing beer are my two hobbies. They keep me close to the house and give me self satisfaction and great pleasure. Two intangibles that are probably more important than a renewable resource (money).

…but this conversation is about ingredient cost. I don’t have a LHBS. …but if I did, loyalty and ‘buy local’ can only go so far if the prices are too out of line. It’s not like there are a lot of hop yards and barley fields in AL so the ‘buy local’ kinda falls apart pretty quick anyway. I normally buy three batches worth of ingredients online which routinely gets me into free shipping territory. I try to buy hops from YCH or Yakima Valley for current year harvest freshness but most everything else is from online retailers. I don’t bulk buy because I don’t want to store large qty of grain and the hops would quickly be out of current season before I could use them. I did buy a brick of Bry-97 at the beginning of the pandemic which has turned out to be very convenient.

I was at a brew house yesterday and paid $6 for a pint of very good Schwarzbier. I can brew the same beer at home for ~$1 for the same pint. I didn’t mind paying the brew house, it was in a great environment with family and friends …but the satisfaction of being able to create it from raw material for a fraction of the cost is what it’s all about for me.

I pay north of $60 online for a 50# bag of organic fertilizer that they don’t sell locally x 8 bags per growing season. Add in insecticide, herbicide, fungicide, lime and water for a total of ~$1k annually gives some perspective. …my 1.5 acres appearance makes me happy and keeps me busy.
 
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casamittal30

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Thank you both, your suggestions are very helpful. I have had some folks "guilt" me for not shopping my local store but the last time I went in the sticker shock for ingredients and gear was too high.
 

casamittal30

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I feel like doing the math against a mainstream beer like miller or bud, you'd save money buying the commercial beers, but compare that to 48 bottles of craft beer and you're winning every time. That said i brew because I enjoy the process, not just the product.
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MaxStout

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I feel like doing the math against a mainstream beer like miller or bud, you'd save money buying the commercial beers, but compare that to 48 bottles of craft beer and you're winning every time. That said i brew because I enjoy the process, not just the product.
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This.

I realize there are those who brew to save $$, and that's well and good. There's a guy on another forum who buys raw grain from the farm store and does home malting. I think he makes base malt for well under a buck a pound.

I brew because I enjoy the process, recipe planning, the gadgets and technology, and of course, the final product. I don't think about whether my beer is cheaper per bottle than what I could buy in the store. I have so much money sunk into brewing gear I'd never break even if I were to view this hobby purely on an economic basis. Don't care. I love this pastime. People who love to fish and own rods & reels, tackle, boats, trailers, etc., would never compare what they do to just buying seafood in the store.

That said, nothing wrong with minimizing costs of supplies. Buy grain by the sack, split with a buddy if you don't need that much at a time. Buy hops by the pound, use what you need today and vac-seal the rest for next brew. Re-use yeast. Much as I'd like to support my LHBS (if I had one, it closed 3 years ago), sometimes I have to just go with the best price online. Go to several online brew supply sites, open a browser tab for each. Populate each with the ingredients you need, add the shipping. See which one is lowest.
 
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