Discussion:
Cost of Home Brew
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Pfeister
2006-08-26 19:32:30 UTC
Permalink
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.
Phil
2006-08-26 22:45:55 UTC
Permalink
On Sat, 26 Aug 2006 15:32:30 -0400, "Pfeister"
Post by Pfeister
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.
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:
http://www.hbd.org/nychg
Joel
2006-08-28 13:53:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
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.
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.)
--
Joel Plutchak "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...] sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea
is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke
Phil
2006-08-28 23:54:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joel
Post by Phil
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.
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.)
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:
http://www.hbd.org/nychg
Steve Jackson
2006-08-29 03:55:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
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.
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
Phil
2006-08-29 10:42:36 UTC
Permalink
On Tue, 29 Aug 2006 03:55:05 GMT, "Steve Jackson"
Post by Steve Jackson
Post by Phil
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.
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.
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:
http://www.hbd.org/nychg
Steve Jackson
2006-08-31 05:52:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
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.
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
Joel
2006-08-29 13:57:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Jackson
Post by Phil
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.
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.
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.
--
Joel Plutchak "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...] sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea
is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke
notbob
2006-08-29 18:01:51 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joel
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.
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
Phil
2006-08-29 22:40:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by notbob
Post by Joel
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.
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.
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:
http://www.hbd.org/nychg
Joel
2006-08-30 00:20:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by Phil
Post by notbob
Post by Joel
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.
You are either having some fun with home brewers or know spit about
brewing.
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.
And eating cheesy poofs at the same time!
--
Joel Plutchak "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...] sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea
is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke
Joel
2006-08-30 00:19:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joel
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.
You are either having some fun with home brewers...
D'ya think?
--
Joel Plutchak "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...] sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea
is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke
notbob
2006-08-30 00:29:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joel
You are either having some fun with home brewers...
D'ya think?
You rascal, you!

nb
Steve Jackson
2006-08-31 05:56:00 UTC
Permalink
Post by notbob
You are either having some fun with home brewers or know spit about
brewing.
Joel's been brewing for years. He was being totally sarcastic.
Post by notbob
For good beer, the time investment is great. A five gallon batch
of all grain takes about 6 hrs of almost full time attention.
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
notbob
2006-08-31 07:41:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Jackson
I'm impressed if you got it down to six hours. When I brewed, I figure at
mind-numbingly dull. That, and I rarely have time to set aside 6-8 hours for
a brew...
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
Joel
2006-08-31 13:04:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by Steve Jackson
Post by notbob
For good beer, the time investment is great. A five gallon batch
of all grain takes about 6 hrs of almost full time attention.
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.
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.
Post by Steve Jackson
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.
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.
--
Joel Plutchak "Sometimes I think we're alone in the universe, and
plutchak@[...] sometimes I think we're not. In either case the idea
is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke
Pfeister
2006-09-03 01:37:27 UTC
Permalink
Post by Joel
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.
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.
notbob
2006-09-03 04:33:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pfeister
I stopped reloading when I found that I could go to Wal-Mart
and buy 12 gauge shells for $14 to $15 per hundred.....
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

John S.
2006-08-27 16:28:26 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pfeister
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.
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.
Joel
2006-08-28 13:40:04 UTC
Permalink
Post by Pfeister
Can anybody tell me how much money they have into a 12 oz bottle of home
brewed beer.
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.
Post by Pfeister
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.
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
is quite staggering." - Arthur C. Clarke
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