Author Topic: Distilling  (Read 7728 times)

Offline animaldoc

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #135 on: October 23, 2010, 06:22:47 AM »
Setting aside the cost of equipment (a sunk cost at this point) and the cost of my time (what else would I be doing?), I can definitely make 5 gallons of very good Belgian-style ale for MUCH cheaper than it would cost me to purchase 5 gallons of Belgian-style ale.  I brew mostly Belgians these days, but I'm pretty certain this would work out for just about ANY style.

   Aaah, but you cannot "set aside" these factors.  They *are* costs of production of your homebrew ....  you can choose to discount your time ("donate" it to the cause), but as I think was previously mentioned there is an "opportunity cost" -- something else you could be doing, possibly for profit ........ the cost of equipment can be amortized down fairly well but still has been offered up as $1 per 12oz ......

  ..... but these costs are part of what makes up the price of the commercial beer that you buy.  A direct comparison is not possible without factoring in these expenses.  What you are looking at is more the "marginal cost" - how much additional cost am I incurring to manufacture the next unit of product - which is simply the cost of the raw materials used in production if all additional expenses are fixed (ie you don't have to buy more equipment or hire another employee to make the next unit)

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Offline beerocd

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #136 on: October 23, 2010, 07:52:38 AM »
Been a while since one of these discussions came up.

If you analyze everything - it's soon not worth doing anything. The cost of your kitchen, taken as a percentage of your mortgage, and all the equipment in it - then the cost of your time to shop, prep, and cook. You should NEVER eat at home by that line of reasoning.
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Offline denny

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #137 on: October 23, 2010, 08:35:39 AM »
If you analyze everything - it's soon not worth doing anything.

That's only true if you consider cost the only reason to do things.  I fully recognize the cost of homebrewing in terms of equipment, ingredients, and time...but I don't care.
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Offline beerocd

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #138 on: October 23, 2010, 09:02:12 AM »
That's only true if you consider cost the only reason to do things.

Well, that's the direction the conversation was going. Why analyze if you don't care?

If your equipment is 5 years old or more - it's fully depreciated. So we can get back to consumables only comparisons.
Then we can compare where we get grains, utility costs, efficiency, thermal dynamics, blah blah blah.

I boiled my beer in one of these this weekend

10 years old and no diamond plate. It adds no equipment costs to the beer.

If a Doctor makes a beer, and a McDonald's worker both make the same beer - is the Doctors beer "worth" more? So we should agree upon a reasonable cost per hour to pay ourselves for brewing and if we're all getting paid the same, then we can leave it out of the equation.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 09:16:45 AM by beerocd »
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Offline narvin

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #139 on: October 23, 2010, 09:17:40 AM »
I'm salaried, and I don't mow lawns or babysit on the weekend for extra cash. The opportunity cost of brewing, watching tv, or laying in bed all day is the same - $0.  That said, I still wouldn't brew if I didn't like beer and didn't like creating things.  At this point, I could take or leave the process and all the cleaning though.

Plus, if I wasn't spending my hobby money on brewing equipment, I'd probably be doing something else costly would my time like collecting old pinball machines or antique wigs.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2010, 09:28:08 AM by narvin »
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Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #140 on: October 23, 2010, 10:54:26 AM »
I'm just saying, I can spend $50 to buy four bottles of Chimay, or I can spend $50 to brew 5 gallons.

The choice is clear, and I think it's cost effective.  Not that I won't buy Chimay now and then just to have the real deal.
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Offline tumarkin

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #141 on: October 23, 2010, 11:05:03 AM »
and if you're going to distill (should it ever become legal to do at home), you'll have all those equipment costs, opportunity costs, materials costs as well. plus you have to build or buy your still, still more cost (pun intended). and if you want to make whisky, you'll also have the cost of barrels, storage, etc. I'm with Denny, I recognize the costs, but I don't care. This is my hobby, and compared to fishing, golf, flying, etc, it's relatively cheap.

an additional cost with whisky, is the angels share (in addition to the real cost of cooperage & storage space). you lose approx 2% a year in the barrel. I suspect you'd lose more in a small barrel, more surface in contact with the wood relative to total volume. but using the 2% figure, that means you're losing almost 25% of your whisky when aging to a standard 12 years. Totally scary when you contemplate a 21, 25, 30 yr whisky (or older). makes you realize why those whiskies are so expensive.

beer or whisky; you're not going to make a comparable product without significant expense. either it's worth it to you or it's not.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #142 on: October 23, 2010, 12:38:40 PM »
If you look at the home distiller forums you will see that those who are making whiskey in places where home distilling is legal, are making distilled mash beverages that they consider to be equal or better than whiskey that they purchase.  However, they are not constrained by producing whiskey to legal standards, i.e. 3 years aging in oak barrels, maximum proof limit for aging, etc. Certainly there are those who enjoy following the traditional methods, but as with homebrewing, ingenuity makes for some interesting and creative hobbying.

From what I see on those forums, home distillers are pretty much the same as homebrewers when it comes to their equipment; many build their own, and many purchase theirs, legally, from homebrew/home distiller suppliers right here in the US.  One supply store located in the Denver area operates legally and in the open.  Their staff is very knowledgeable and helpful.

The first half of distilling is homebrewing.  When home distilling becomes legal (I think when not if), homebrewers will be leading the way.   The state of craft distilling is very much now like the state of craft brewing 20-30 years ago.

We as homebrewers take pride in being rebels of a sort.  We like to think out of the box and explore our creativity.  It is very surprising to me that many homebrewers have such an unfavorable idea of distilling.  If that attitude had been directed at homebrewing, we would still be brewing in secret with a can of PBR malt extract, 10 lbs of sugar, and bread yeast - fermented in plastic garbage cans.

As far as people giving homebrewing the gimlet-eye, when I encounter that attitude I take it as a challenge and an opportunity to educate the unknowing on what a great, and legal, hobby homebrewing is.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #143 on: October 23, 2010, 01:00:31 PM »
And may I point out that you look a lot like the Tiki on the Hawaii Brady bunch two part episode.

That was my cousin Kimo in O`ahu.
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #144 on: October 23, 2010, 07:05:20 PM »
Setting aside the cost of equipment (a sunk cost at this point) and the cost of my time (what else would I be doing?), I can definitely make 5 gallons of very good Belgian-style ale for MUCH cheaper than it would cost me to purchase 5 gallons of Belgian-style ale.  I brew mostly Belgians these days, but I'm pretty certain this would work out for just about ANY style.

   Aaah, but you cannot "set aside" these factors.  They *are* costs of production of your homebrew ....  you can choose to discount your time ("donate" it to the cause), but as I think was previously mentioned there is an "opportunity cost" -- something else you could be doing, possibly for profit ........ the cost of equipment can be amortized down fairly well but still has been offered up as $1 per 12oz ......

  ..... but these costs are part of what makes up the price of the commercial beer that you buy.  A direct comparison is not possible without factoring in these expenses.  What you are looking at is more the "marginal cost" - how much additional cost am I incurring to manufacture the next unit of product - which is simply the cost of the raw materials used in production if all additional expenses are fixed (ie you don't have to buy more equipment or hire another employee to make the next unit)

-- Scott
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Offline weazletoe

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #145 on: October 23, 2010, 07:10:28 PM »
]

   Aaah, but you cannot "set aside" these factors.  They *are* costs of production of your homebrew ....-- Scott


  It's our hobby! Why would we care about the cost effectiveness of it? With the excption of Major, I don't think anyone here is doing this to try and turn a profit, or have it pay for itself. It's a hobby!!
   My wife makes stained glass artwork. If she wants to decorate with a piece of glass work, it's a whole heck of al ot cheaper for her to buy one at that store, than to make one. And figure her tools and equiptment in, it's MUCH cheaper to buy a premade piece of art. She does not do it to save money on stained glass art, she makes it for the enjoyment. Why are so many here hung on wheather or not it's cheaper to buy or make beer? If you have fun doing it, it does not matter what the cost, you just do it.
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Distilling
« Reply #146 on: November 02, 2010, 08:49:59 AM »
As has been said before, Weizz has a good point and one that think we have all dealt with in terms of our hobby.  I don't brew because it's cheap.  It's the first myth I dispel when speaking with people who are considering getting into brewing.  Every hobby has costs. 

No one has ever been able to cost justify golf to me.  Hundreds of dollars (minimum) in equipment, $50, $75+ every time you play and most golfers leave the course frustrated and/or upset about their game.  If someone can show me how that is economical I'll be impressed.  The difference is, no one who plays golf cares about the cost, they care about the game.

It doesn't matter what your hobby is.  Priced #1 Grade tight grained oak lately?

If distilling is ever legal, I'll be there with my kids giving it a try.  If not, well, the liquor store is just down the street.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?