Author Topic: Buying in bulk  (Read 1809 times)

Offline Andy Farke

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Buying in bulk
« on: May 16, 2017, 02:26:21 AM »
I just did a quick post for my blog (https://andybrews.com/2017/05/14/homebrew-savings-in-bulk/) on a topic I've been ruminating on for awhile...is it worth it to buy grains, hops, etc., in bulk? Would love to hear people's thoughts!

Given my rate of brewing, I usually have three kinds of base malt on hand (right now, a 2-row, Vienna, and pilsner), a few kinds of hops (I'm a sucker for the 1 lb. bags of pellet hops), and PBW (50 pound bucket). Given my storage practices and space availability, this works pretty well.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2017, 02:31:06 AM »
My problem is over buying hops. They do need to be thrown out eventually. A freezer full is a sign of over buying, at the rate I'm brewing, and the type of beers I have been brewing.

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Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2017, 02:36:56 AM »
My problem is over buying hops. They do need to be thrown out eventually. A freezer full is a sign of over buying, at the rate I'm brewing, and the type of beers I have been brewing.

Yeah, I've gotten a lot better on pacing myself on bulk hop purchases. I went a little overboard initially, but have now figured out 2 or 3 that are worth buying as 1 lb. packages in the scheme of my overall habits.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2017, 10:47:10 AM »
My problem is over buying hops. They do need to be thrown out eventually. A freezer full is a sign of over buying, at the rate I'm brewing, and the type of beers I have been brewing.





I resemble this, unfortunately.
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Offline dls5492

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2017, 11:45:51 AM »
I like buying my base malt in bulk. In the fall, I buy a 55# bag of Pilsner malt. last month, I bought a 55# bag of Maris Otter.
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Offline ethinson

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2017, 12:01:50 PM »
I typically don't buy my hops until the day before brew day (which has bitten me a couple times when I craft a recipe around a specific hop and then suddenly day of they don't have it).  I also don't have a lot of storage space.  I do extract brewing so it's always funny at the competition raffles, the one thing I *don't* want is the 50lb bag of grain.  I don't have anywhere to keep it, and I'd never use it.

F.H. Stienbarts here in Portland (and I would be shocked if other stores don't do this too) allow you to buy a bag of grain at the whole bag price, but then they just keep a ledger of how much you use.  So you pay in advance for 55lbs and then each time you come in and get like 10lb they mark it off, so that way you get the benefit of buying in bulk but the grain is always fresh.  If you're doing large batchs (10 gallon+) and using 20lb of grain at a time, you'll blow through a bag, but if you're only using 5lb at a time it may take a while.
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Offline jimmykx250

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2017, 01:38:35 PM »
OI buy hops in 1LB bags for the cost. I vac seal them and keep them in the freezer. And to be honest I have hops that are over a year old and still smell good. Grain I buy 2 row in full bags and everything else in 5 LB or less bags- unmilled! If you dont have a vac sealer then bulk hops is not the way to go.
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Offline braufessor

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2017, 01:52:15 PM »
I buy a lot of hops as well..... to be honest, probably more than I need.  I am not worried too much about the sealed nitrogen flushed bags in my freezer.  But, once those pound bags are open, and if you are not using them up fairly quick, the quality can deteriorate no matter how careful you are.  No big deal for hops like Citra that I am burning through 5-6 ounces at a time in a single beer.  However, a hop like hallertau or saaz that is used in low quantities in lagers......those hops can linger for months or even a year - and I have even ended up throwing away portions of a pound bag that had sat for long periods of time. 

That said - it is still REALLY hard to justify NOT buying hops by the pound.  In most cases, you can buy a pound of hops, use 10-12 ounces, throw the rest in the garbage and still come out money ahead.  (Not advocating wasting hops..... but, the pound price is so much cheaper than the ounce price that it makes almost no financial sense to buy hops by the ounce.)

Base grains are a necessity to buy in bulk if you have the space.  Specialty... have to buy that by the pound or 5-10lb quantities if you can find specials (plus no shipping or flat rate shipping at a lot of places).  The other big money saver is reusing yeast.  Pitching 1-2 new packs into every beer is a huge expense.  I almost never use a yeast for one beer.  Generally get at least 5-6 beers out of a pack, and if it is more of a "house yeast/house beer".... I can get 10-15 batches at least. 

All said and done, $15-$25 per batch is really not very hard to attain in regard to ingredients.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2017, 03:03:13 PM by braufessor »

Offline Andy Farke

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2017, 01:58:50 PM »
OI buy hops in 1LB bags for the cost. I vac seal them and keep them in the freezer. And to be honest I have hops that are over a year old and still smell good. Grain I buy 2 row in full bags and everything else in 5 LB or less bags- unmilled! If you dont have a vac sealer then bulk hops is not the way to go.

Yeah, I've had really good luck with vacuum-sealing hops and tossing them in the deep freeze. I recently did a pale ale where I chanced dry-hopping with hops pushing two years old, and was quite pleasantly surprised with how well they held up.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2017, 02:03:26 PM »
OI buy hops in 1LB bags for the cost. I vac seal them and keep them in the freezer. And to be honest I have hops that are over a year old and still smell good. Grain I buy 2 row in full bags and everything else in 5 LB or less bags- unmilled! If you dont have a vac sealer then bulk hops is not the way to go.

Yeah, I've had really good luck with vacuum-sealing hops and tossing them in the deep freeze. I recently did a pale ale where I chanced dry-hopping with hops pushing two years old, and was quite pleasantly surprised with how well they held up.


I vacuum seal and freeze, and mine are generally in good shape @ 2 years in terms of late hop character. I don't keep hops past 2 years as a rule, though I've read plenty of accounts of them being good longer.
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Offline Bob357

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2017, 02:25:33 PM »
2-row by the bag and hops by the pound. I can't turn down a good deal on hops, especially varieties I haven't tried before. My wife allotted me just a small bin in the freezer, so I'm better now.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2017, 02:26:01 PM »
OI buy hops in 1LB bags for the cost. I vac seal them and keep them in the freezer. And to be honest I have hops that are over a year old and still smell good. Grain I buy 2 row in full bags and everything else in 5 LB or less bags- unmilled! If you dont have a vac sealer then bulk hops is not the way to go.

Yeah, I've had really good luck with vacuum-sealing hops and tossing them in the deep freeze. I recently did a pale ale where I chanced dry-hopping with hops pushing two years old, and was quite pleasantly surprised with how well they held up.


I vacuum seal and freeze, and mine are generally in good shape @ 2 years in terms of late hop character. I don't keep hops past 2 years as a rule, though I've read plenty of accounts of them being good longer.
I have gone up to three. Over that it is open the bag and inspect the hops, sometimes good, sometimes not.
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2017, 02:38:46 PM »
I've got the opposite problem from most. Lower alpha hops fly out of my freezer. EKG, Saaz, Fuggles, Willamette, seems I'm always forgetting to order more.

American IPA hops? I've got Simcoe, Amarillo, and others that are getting close to the 3 year mark. Should probably just pitch them and buy more.

I typically brew European styles, and often historical recipes. This means I'm typically bittering with large amount of low alpha hops, which will explain my abnormal usage levels.

I once used an entire pound of Saaz in a 10 gallon batch of Czech pils. Worth it.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

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Offline zwiller

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2017, 02:40:48 PM »
+1 on the hops lasting...  I don't even vac seal but just fold the bag over and tape shut and the hops hold up just fine a few years.  I'd say nitro sealed hops last probably 5 years plus.  Anyone wanting to dispose of old hops please PM me for my address ;D  (I am looking at you Phil!) hahaha
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Offline Phil_M

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Re: Buying in bulk
« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2017, 02:45:01 PM »
+1 on the hops lasting...  I don't even vac seal but just fold the bag over and tape shut and the hops hold up just fine a few years.  I'd say nitro sealed hops last probably 5 years plus.  Anyone wanting to dispose of old hops please PM me for my address ;D  (I am looking at you Phil!) hahaha

I said should, not will lol!  ;)

The last time I used them they were still fine, it's more that at this point I won't be upset if I find out they're past their prime.
Corn is a fine adjunct in beer.

And don't buy stale beer.