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Author Topic: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?  (Read 5168 times)

Offline Drewch

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #30 on: March 16, 2022, 07:32:18 pm »
Homebrewing absolutely saves money unless someone is really doing a "cost is NO concern at all" approach, and even then i think they would.

You're right --- homebrewing absolutely does not have to be an expensive hobby. If I'd started out with my current (relatively modest) equipment setup, I'd have (a lot) less sunk cost to amortize per serving.
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Offline BrewBama

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What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #31 on: March 16, 2022, 09:17:03 pm »
I don’t think I actually save money by brewing my own beer at home when equipment, cleaning supplies, energy cost, etc. are accounted for.  As I said above, I do it because I enjoy the act of taking raw materials and transforming them into a finished product.

When I played golf avidly, I did not amortize the cost of clubs, balls, tees, shoes, beer, food, my time, gas to get there, vehicle maintenance cost, etc. into the cost of a round of golf.  I don’t factor those sunk costs into a pint of beer I brew either. For me, the cost of a batch is water, grain, hops, and yeast. Everything else is on hand and paid for.

After all, it’s a hobby. It’s not meant to be cost effective.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2022, 09:24:18 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Village Taphouse

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #32 on: March 16, 2022, 09:52:55 pm »
I like the concept of traveling somewhere and trying a beer that I really like but I can't get at home and so... I try to make it.  It started years ago with Victoria from Mexico which was not available here until 2010.  I happen to like New Glarus Two Women but it's only available in Wisconsin.  I do occasionally bust through the cheddar curtain and buy it but I have created a suitable copy that scratches the itch.  Two of my kids live in Austin (great beer culture there) and I fell in love with Live Oak's Big Bark Amber Lager.  I contacted the brewery and was lucky enough to get the recipe from the brewer so that's another one that I make.  I also cannot get Yuengling (I know there is a love-it-or-hate-it thing with Yuengling) where I live so to be able to make it when I want it is cool.  We have access to such great equipment and so many great ingredients.  That, coupled with all the great information from people on the boards... there's no stopping us!  :D
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Offline HighVoltageMan!

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #33 on: March 17, 2022, 05:38:11 am »
I don’t think I actually save money by brewing my own beer at home when equipment, cleaning supplies, energy cost, etc. are accounted for.  As I said above, I do it because I enjoy the act of taking raw materials and transforming them into a finished product.

When I played golf avidly, I did not amortize the cost of clubs, balls, tees, shoes, beer, food, my time, gas to get there, vehicle maintenance cost, etc. into the cost of a round of golf.  I don’t factor those sunk costs into a pint of beer I brew either. For me, the cost of a batch is water, grain, hops, and yeast. Everything else is on hand and paid for.

After all, it’s a hobby. It’s not meant to be cost effective.

This ^^^^^ I know I don't save money homebrewing and I certainly don't save any time. I brew at home because I enjoy the whole process, except the cleaning of course.

By the time I finally get perfect system setup, I'll have too much money into it to be justified. I know you can do it on the cheap, but I'm always looking to make things easier or better, so I buy this gadget or that thing over there to help my day go along better or make the quality of the beer better.

It's like saying that hunting trip to Montana or that fishing trip to Canada was well worth while because you got a bunch of meat or fish for free. That's a hard sell.

Offline Megary

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #34 on: March 17, 2022, 07:18:18 am »
I don’t think I actually save money by brewing my own beer at home when equipment, cleaning supplies, energy cost, etc. are accounted for.  As I said above, I do it because I enjoy the act of taking raw materials and transforming them into a finished product.

When I played golf avidly, I did not amortize the cost of clubs, balls, tees, shoes, beer, food, my time, gas to get there, vehicle maintenance cost, etc. into the cost of a round of golf.  I don’t factor those sunk costs into a pint of beer I brew either. For me, the cost of a batch is water, grain, hops, and yeast. Everything else is on hand and paid for.

After all, it’s a hobby. It’s not meant to be cost effective.

This ^^^^^ I know I don't save money homebrewing and I certainly don't save any time. I brew at home because I enjoy the whole process, except the cleaning of course.

By the time I finally get perfect system setup, I'll have too much money into it to be justified. I know you can do it on the cheap, but I'm always looking to make things easier or better, so I buy this gadget or that thing over there to help my day go along better or make the quality of the beer better.

It's like saying that hunting trip to Montana or that fishing trip to Canada was well worth while because you got a bunch of meat or fish for free. That's a hard sell.

I'd say yes and no.  If a brewer's goal is to make Miller Lite, then yeah, that brewer is not going to come out in the black.  But with the rising cost of craft beer, my homebrewing (equipment included) has definitely saved me money vis a vis filing my frig with beer that I prefer to drink.  Of course, outside of kegs, I have hardly spent any money on brewing hardware, and never plan to.

Offline fredthecat

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #35 on: March 17, 2022, 09:15:12 am »
i am absolutely not trying to be pedantic on this issue of "it is cheaper to homebrew than buy", but in my geographic case it 100% is, in the case of others i still believe it is.

1. prices where i am are set by the government, and they seem to be attempting to harmonize the price of all "good" beer, whether its european imports and craft. the absolute cheapest beer you can get is natural ice type stuff at 2 dollars per 500ml can. that is a lot more than in the states.

2. yes factoring in equipment costs does change the costs per brew, but in my case it is not drastic (and truth be told, i do think of the actual brewing part as a hobby and skill development, and so do not include some fractionalized "payback" of the equipment costs per brew).
-however, i have a basic setup that has lasted 2.5 years so far and i expect could go for another 2 years before i decide to change it. all my equipment costs were at most 500 dollars. over the 33 brews i've done in that time, this tacks on another 15 dollars per 20 litre brew over these brews and the equipment can be considered paid off now.

-so, adding that 15 dollars on to the costs i use for some beers i've made (am not cherry picking, just choosing a few)
1. recent amber lager 5% - $1.07 per 500ml unit.
2. recent porter 5.2% - $1.44 per 500ml unit
3. vienna lager from last year 5.5% - $1.80 per 500ml (less tight controls back then)
4. dubbel at 7.8% abv - $1.52 per 500ml unit

all of these prices are cheaper than store prices for me. #1 and #3 i prefer the taste of over store equivalents. #2 and #4 are comparable to store equivalents.




the factor that absolutely i won't consider is time because that would probably make it theoretically more expensive than store bought beer, but there are reasons to discount time spent
1. i try to minimize time spent by making DME with partial mash brews about every other brew
2. if we did this we would need to effectively imagine that any time we spend cooking, watching tv, playing games, etc is "money lost" potentially. this would be insane
3. even though you make $40 an hour at a job, you cant just have that as your value per hour.


homebrewing is absolutely cheaper than buying beer at the store in canada. in germany i am certain it would not be, but you'd be stuck buying cheap lager forever. in america it may break even in some cases, but depending on what beers you prefer i believe you'd save money.

Offline denny

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #36 on: March 17, 2022, 10:05:29 am »
It all depends on where you live, what you brew and how you brew it.
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Offline goose

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #37 on: March 17, 2022, 10:47:52 am »
Jumping in a bit late on tis thread as too many things keeping me busy down here in FL.

I mainly brew some IPA's (as my wife loves them), Saison, a Helles, Stouts, Porters, ESB, a Tripel, and a Wee Heavy.  That said, I also am in the process of preparing to experiment with a Berlinerweiss and maybe a few other styles this year.

I brew a lot of the same things most of the time to make sure I can make them consistently and because they are well liked by me and the people that visit to enjoy a beer occasionally.  I enter quite a few competitions to see how the beers stack up with the judges and to get valuable feedback.

That's my story and I am sticking to it.
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Offline Don

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #38 on: March 17, 2022, 02:57:46 pm »
I like to make what the wife and I like to drink. Which is mostly IPA's both juicy and hazy. Although, I have a Wee Heavy and some leftover winter warmer on tap right now. I have a stout and a bourbon vanilla porter in the planning stages currently and have done various other styles. I will sometimes stick closely to BJCP style guidelines if I'm doing a style for the first time or I want to experience the style as it was intended, but i do this for taste... not to win awards. Although I am considering entering local comps.
I haven't seriously tried to clone a beer, although a local brewery left their recipe book wide open during a tour... 8)
I like to change it up to get experience with different ingredients and how they impact flavor. So while I do a lot of new recipes, I will do repeats when we enjoyed a particular beer.
As for saving money, well... my last hobby was a race car so yeah, I'm saving money... lol.

Offline fredthecat

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #39 on: March 17, 2022, 03:57:42 pm »
It all depends on where you live, what you brew and how you brew it.

yes, denny. as i outlined above.

where you live? there are exceptions to this i would say but are few and far between. if a country is fairly poor generally, in my experience bad beer is plentiful at extremely cheap prices, so that is always available, but i dont think there are almost any homebrewers who don't aim to produce "craft" style beer that is made to enjoy consuming. poorer countries with strong international trade (phillipines, vietnam) or a history of brewing beer (poland, baltic states) would likely have malt available for cheaper unit costs than in the west, making even craft beer there very cheap if you were a bit savvy about it. and again, these are obviously outside the scope of almost anyone on this forum.

if you want to product swill to compete with low-price industrial lagers you absolutely could beat them on price. ie. 50% of fermentables 2row, 10% corn, rice (if its cheaper), 40% dextrose or cane sugar. dry yeast packet, 1oz high AA hops. thats about as cheap as it can get and you will end up with beer that will get you drunk.

how you brew it? well yes, but what is the expected working lifespan on a ~$1000 all-in-one setup? should be 5 years at a minimum. $1000 divided by one brew a month over 5 years equals $16.67 extra per brew. my classic mashtun cooler, kettle, carboys, tubing etc setup was at most half that. i expect all of it to last 5 years in total if not longer. (an extra $8.34 per brew over 5 years). it's just not a huge factor, and can eventually be completely dismissed after a payback period.


frankly, i am still waiting to and would love to see people explain how making their own beer is more expensive than buying it from the store. i don't think its possible except in some absurd circumstances.



Offline BrewBama

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What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #40 on: March 17, 2022, 04:48:24 pm »

frankly, i am still waiting to and would love to see people explain how making their own beer is more expensive than buying it from the store. i don't think its possible except in some absurd circumstances.

Just spit balling here (US dollars):

Let’s say a brewer buys a used system from someone here. The last one I saw listed in the classified section is $5,200.

A new Grainfather all-in-one entry level system = $499.

Average the two for an average brewer = $2849.

Generic Pale Ale:
Rahr 2-row 10#   12.99
Vienna 1#                 1.59
C40 10 oz                1.10
hops 4 oz.                6.00
water 8.5 gal         12.50
BRY-97 15 grams  4.75

Total 5 gal batch  $39

Over an arbitrary 5 years at 1 batch a month  (60 batches + equipment) = $5189

60 batches @ 5 gal batch = 300 gal

300 gal = 38400 oz

38400 oz @ $5189 = .14 per oz
12 oz = $1.68 per 12 bottle
6 pack of 12 oz bottles = $10

I can buy a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for less than $10 and I haven’t included a mill, an immersion chiller or ice, a fermenter, kegs or bottles, quick disconnects, faucets, hoses, CO2, or bottling bucket and bottling wand, electric cost to control fermentation temps or power the system. 

I also did not include gas to go get ingredients, my time, rent for the space, cleaning supplies (water, sewer, chemicals), water profile salts, etc, etc.

Naturally, cost decreases with a weaker beer, cheaper system, longer amortization, etc. Again, this was the first system I saw in the classifieds averaged with one of the new Grainfathers over an arbitrary 5 years for a generic APA.

That’s how the cost of homebrewing can be more expensive than buying it. …and why I only include ingredients in the cost of a batch.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 06:34:12 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Megary

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #41 on: March 17, 2022, 05:43:11 pm »

frankly, i am still waiting to and would love to see people explain how making their own beer is more expensive than buying it from the store. i don't think its possible except in some absurd circumstances.

Just spit balling here (US dollars):

Let’s say a brewer buys a used system from someone here. The last one I saw listed in the classified section is $5,200.

A new Grainfather all-in-one entry level system = $499.

Average the two for an average brewer = $2849.

Generic Pale Ale:
Rahr 2-row 10#   12.99
Vienna 1#                 1.59
C40 10 oz                1.10
hops 4 oz.                6.00
water 8.5 gal         12.50
BRY-97 15 grams  4.75

Total 5 gal batch  $39

Over an arbitrary 5 years at 1 batch a month  (60 batches + equipment) = $5189

60 batches @ 5 gal batch = 300 gal

300 gal = 38400 oz

38400 oz @ $5189 = .14 per oz
12 oz = $1.68 per 12 bottle
6 pack of 12 oz bottles = $10

I can buy a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale for less than $10 and I haven’t included an immersion chiller or ice, kegs or bottles, quick disconnects, faucets, hoses, CO2, or bottling bucket and bottling wand, electric cost to control fermentation temps or power the system. 

I also did not include gas to go get ingredients, my time, rent for the space, cleaning supplies (water, sewer, chemicals), water profile salts, etc, etc.

Naturally, cost decreases with a weaker beer, cheaper system, longer amortization, etc. Again, this was the first system I saw in the classifieds averaged with one of the new Grainfathers over an arbitrary 5 years for a generic APA.

That’s how the cost of homebrewing can be more expensive than buying it. …and why I only include ingredients in the cost of a batch.

I’ve got to go tell the wife that I still have another $2K to spend on gadgetry, just to be average!  That can buy a lot of spare picnic taps.   ;D

Geez, do most people honestly throw that bag at equipment?

Offline BrewBama

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What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #42 on: March 17, 2022, 05:49:14 pm »

Geez, do most people honestly throw that bag at equipment?

Average ≠ ‘most’. 1/2 would spend less, 1/2 would spend more. (But that number is arbitrary)
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 05:53:15 pm by BrewBama »

Offline Megary

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Re: What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #43 on: March 17, 2022, 06:20:34 pm »

Geez, do most people honestly throw that bag at equipment?

Average ≠ ‘most’. 1/2 would spend less, 1/2 would spend more. (But that number is arbitrary)

Yep, my bad.  I suppose I meant “a lot” and not “most”.  But arbitrary or not, that’s a nice chunk of change!

Offline BrewBama

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What kind of beer do you make and what is your goal?
« Reply #44 on: March 17, 2022, 06:36:34 pm »

Geez, do most people honestly throw that bag at equipment?

Average ≠ ‘most’. 1/2 would spend less, 1/2 would spend more. (But that number is arbitrary)

Yep, my bad.  I suppose I meant “a lot” and not “most”.  But arbitrary or not, that’s a nice chunk of change!
Don’t forget a grain mill, an immersion chiller, plate chiller, ice, etc, a fermenter, kegs or bottles, quick disconnects, faucets, hoses, CO2 and CO2 bottle, regulator, or bottling bucket and bottling wand, scales, hydrometer, pH meter, …. A lot is optional but it adds up.

Buy a man a beer and he’ll waste half an hour. Teach a man to brew beer and he’ll waste a lifetime. …and a stack of cash.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 07:05:49 pm by BrewBama »