Cost of Home Brew


Can anybody tell me how much money they have into a 12 oz bottle of home brewed beer. Not that price is all that important for good beer, I just can't see doing a lot of work when so many good beers are available at the local store. And then there's the worry that I might ruin the batch and have gallons of nasty beer sitting around.
Reply to
Pfeister

After the initial purchase of all your equipment, it would cost you between fifty and seventy-five cents per bottle for ingredients, depending on what you're brewing.
Phil ====== visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:
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Reply to
Phil

I suspect that if you factor in both the cost of materials, cost of equipment, cost of your time(a big component) and cost of experimental(ruined) batches that the cost per bottle is pretty high. But the financial perspective completely misses the hobby aspect...it's fun to create something on your own and come up with a beer you get to label as your product.
Reply to
John S.

Ignoring overhead (time, equipment, gas/electric/propane), anywhere from 12 cents (US) on up. It varies a lot by ingredient type, quantity, etc. Obviously, a low gravity mild beer made with deomstic ingredients will be cheaper than a strong, flavorful beer made with imported ingredients.
Then brewing is not for you. It's a hobby, and you really have to enjoy the process in order to justify the time and effort spent. IMO as a homebrewer for ~20 years.
--
Joel Plutchak    "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...]    sometimes I think we're not.  In either case the idea
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Reply to
Joel

I know NYC is expensive, but that's ridiculous. Five gallons of an average-strength basic ale can be made with 8-9 pounds of domestic grain, a couple ounces of domestic hops, and a packet of yeast. I pay about US$4 for malt, US$1.40 for hops, and US$1.25 for yeast. For 50 12-ounce bottles, that comes to under 14 cents per. (Minimal yeast reuse gets it closer to 10 cents.)
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Joel Plutchak    "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...]    sometimes I think we're not.  In either case the idea
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Reply to
Joel

I thinking along the lines of an extract brewer, here. The last extract batch I made required eight pounds of extract, which comes out to about twenty-five dollars in itself. Two ounces of hops costs me $3.50. A fresh smack pack is $5.00. This comes out to about seventy cents a bottle.
I know all grain is cheaper. I buy bags of grain straight from a brewery which greatly cuts down on the price.
Actually, I started making my batch of super beer. A five gallon batch used over 19 pounds of extract, nearly five ounces of hops and will use two activator packs of yeast. If this works, we're talking nearly $2.00 a bottle.
Starting gravity: 1.164, and I still may bump it up a little more.
Phil ====== visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:
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Reply to
Phil

Only if you value your time at zero. If you "pay" yourself even minimum wage, the cost goes up considerably. I realize it's a hobby, but if one's really looking at homebrewing from a cost basis, then that should probably be added into the mix.
-Steve
Reply to
Steve Jackson

When it comes to a hobby, you shouldn't worry about the value of your time because, supposedly, you're taking pleasure in what you do.
Phil ====== visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:
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Reply to
Phil

That would be fine for most people, but as homebrewers as a rule are cheap, fat, lazy slobs who sit around all day in their mother's basement, drinking cheap beer and eating cheesy poofs, the time investment is a wash.
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Joel Plutchak    "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...]    sometimes I think we're not.  In either case the idea
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Reply to
Joel

You are either having some fun with home brewers or know spit about brewing. For good beer, the time investment is great. A five gallon batch of all grain takes about 6 hrs of almost full time attention. Starters must be started, ingredients weighed, additions prepared, wort cooled and areated and everything constantly cleaned and sanitized. Their ain't no lazy slobs brewing their own beer! They're all watching tv while the ball n' chain are at the mini-mart picking up a 12 pack of mega-swill.
nb
Reply to
notbob

Since Joel's been contributing to this newsgroup long before Al Gore invented the internet, I'm going to guess that he's having some fun.
Phil ====== visit the New York City Homebrewers Guild website:
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Reply to
Phil

D'ya think?
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Joel Plutchak    "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...]    sometimes I think we're not.  In either case the idea
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Reply to
Joel

And eating cheesy poofs at the same time!
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Joel Plutchak    "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...]    sometimes I think we're not.  In either case the idea
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Reply to
Joel

Totally agree. But, as I said, if the OP's really evaluating homebrewing based on cost compared to commercial beers, than I'm guessing that pleasure isn't really entering into the equation. And thus cost of time factors in.
Even for stuff that I enjoy greatly, cost of my time (not literally cost, but allocating the finite number of hours I have available for such pursuits) does matter.
-Steve
Reply to
Steve Jackson

Joel's been brewing for years. He was being totally sarcastic.
I'm impressed if you got it down to six hours. When I brewed, I figure at least one hour for starter nurturing, 8 hours on brew day (granted, I had a slow stove, but that does count all the sanitation crap that was necessary but I so hated), an hour or so of fermentation maintenance (racking, etc. - again, there's sanitation), and anywhere from 1-2 hours for packaging. I'm up to 11-12 hours there.
It's primarily the post-brewing stuff that caused me to stop doing it. As much as I enjoyed the brew itself, I found sanitation and bottling to be mind-numbingly dull. That, and I rarely have time to set aside 6-8 hours for a brew - not to mention that several steps, you can't just do whenever you get around to it. Beer's a needy little bastard.
-Steve
Reply to
Steve Jackson

I will not dispute you, Steve. I was just talking about the actual brew session. Really *good* beer, which is certainly within reach of the dedicated home brewer, requires a near obsessive commitment ...as you already know. ;)
nb
Reply to
notbob

I admit to cheating (measuring grain and water, milling, etc., the night before brewing), but my latest brew day lasted 5 hours from mash in to pitching the yeast. All but the boil kettle was clean by that time, too.
I actually find brewing relaxing. Most of it is waiting around, and very few of the steps have to be done on any certain schedule-- a few extra minutes in the mash tun or boil kettle never hurt a beer, etc. I'm with you on the cleaning, but never really minded bottling. I hate cleaning/sanitizing kegs, though.
But if the OP is still around and interested, the rec.crafts.brewing newsgroup is a more appropriate place to find out about brewing. I've taken the liberty of crossposting to and redirecting followups there.
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Joel Plutchak    "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...]    sometimes I think we're not.  In either case the idea
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Reply to
Joel

Yes, the OP is still here. Thanks to all who have contributed. I guess that what I was thinking was: Some of the more costly beers I like, Chimay being one, I just don't think are worth the price that they charge for a case. I thought if I could reproduce a beer like that say for less than a dollar a bottle, it might be worth a try. For those who want to figure the time it takes as an expense, I really wouldn't consider that as part of the cost. Not money wise. I used to load 5,000 shot gun shells a year for shooting trap and I never figured the time into the cost. I stopped reloading when I found that I could go to Wal-Mart and buy 12 gauge shells for $14 to $15 per hundred. About the same as what it cost me to load them myself, so I figure it's not worth it to reload shotgun shells. So, the reloader has been idle for years, but if I thought I could reload them for half of what the mass produced one went for, then the reloader would be cranking out shells once again. So that's kinda how I look at the idea of home brewing. If I thought that I could make a really good beer for less than what I could buy it for, then maybe it would be worth the effort.
Reply to
Pfeister

I know what you mean. But, look at it not as a trap shooter but as a bench rest shooter. You can't buy BR loads from anyone, no matter the price. You have to tailor them to yourself and your gun. Likewise, what are your beer tastes? You surely won't be able to brew Chimay. Only Chimay can. But, it's entirely possible for you to brew something you may like better. Is that worth the effort? Only you can answer that. Case in point. I recently visited a local microbrewer to buy a corny keg of beer. Guess what. They work up new recipes on the same 5 gal brewing system any home brewer can purchase from a well known home brewing supply. Just like hand loading.
nb
Reply to
notbob

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