Cheap Homebrew?

Alcoholic beverages which are not classified as spirits.

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Cheap Homebrew?

Post by ginzo » Sat Jul 16, 2005 10:49 am

How many of you got into the hobby of making your own homebrew and spirits under the assumption that it is cheaper to make your own - maybe even convinced your spouses of that - and, after buying and making the equiptment - and buying more equiptment have really yet to break even?

Personally, I am not a big drinke/ If i have two beers at a party that is a lot for me. I do it for the joy of doing something not everyone is into - and, it takes up time otherwise spent on the street causing trouble or chasing women.
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Post by Grayson_Stewart » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:14 am

Sometimes I have too much time on my hands. During one of these times I calculated my total cost per gallon for a sugar wash.

Using turbo yeast and reusing the settled yeast a couple of times, tomato paste as nutrient for the reused yeast, sugar, calculating my power usage along with the cost of cooling water from the garden hose and the cost of that water being added to my sewer bill, I came up with a grand total of $3.42 US for a gallon of 80 proof made from sugar. Add an additional $3.50 per gallon for cracked corn and malted barley for a whiskey.

Of course that doesn't count my time and I had free materials and labor for my setup. I believe the only thing I bought was two valves and 20 feet of 1/4" copper tubing. Got the stainless keg, stainless welding, couplings, 2" copper, etc for free.
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Post by Brett » Sat Jul 16, 2005 11:23 am

when the cheapest bottle of rose wine is £3.50 a bottle and the usual price for one that tastes real not like fruit juice is at least £6 then makin it urself is cheaper :) £5 for a bucket with airlock £20 for a kit, 3 bags of sugar at £0.75 each and the result is 5 gallons of an expensive tasting rose.

Mostly i brew for fun tho experimentin with different natural ingredient wines.

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Post by Yttrium » Sat Jul 16, 2005 5:20 pm

I'm with you ginzo, there's no way I would ever drink enough to make this hobby profitable. That being said, I enjoy distilling, so it doesn't matter if its not cost effective to make your own.
The future is not set. There is no fate but what we make for ourselves. --John Conner

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Post by LONEEAGLE155 » Sat Jul 08, 2006 8:19 pm

Between my wife and myself we probably drink $20 bucks a month of good booze so not counting time ought to break even in @ a year

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Post by hillbilly_john » Thu Jul 13, 2006 5:31 am

My last batch of beer cost wayyyyy tooooo much. Stopped at the homebrew shop in the big city. Came out of the shop and my car had been towed (my town has no such thing as tow-away zones). Ticket cost $90us. Crap...what an expensive batch of beer.

I tend to be a "what's my time worth?" kind of guy when it comes to business affairs. I think you have to ignore how much time it takes to make a good beer or hooch. I have a nice kitchen to do it in, with a tv. I tend to do it in the evening, perhaps with a cold beverage or two and chatting with the spousal unit or watching the ballgame.

I did spend a bit on equipment but if I use it over the long run, I think it will be worth it. People spend a lot of money on dumber things the way I see it.

I personally can go thru a lot of beer. The distilling thing was more of a fascination kind of deal. Though I likes me whiskey & vodka so who knows, maybe that will pay off too.


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Post by level Joe » Sun Jul 16, 2006 5:37 pm

People spend a lot of money on dumber things the way I see it.
You aint kidding. Was out this weekend to a town in my state that draws people in with many many craft type shops. The strainge thing is its also where the Harley riders come to show off for each other. A guy can roll thru town with the hottist chick on the back and they are all looking at his bike :roll: . They get all dressed up in black leather ( on a 90+ degree day) to protect themselves in a layover and no helmet? I can understand rolling thru the hills and curves on a loud powerfull bike but to do it thru slow, narrow streets on a hot day? Now thats a greasy, smelly good time :wink: .

Thats a waste of money.
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Post by markx » Mon Aug 28, 2006 3:58 am

Well there's no limit to how much money one can sink into a hobby....but hell, that's what a hobby is for and money is of no importance here :lol: I don't think any serious homedistiller does it to pinch a penny or two on the alcohol bill. Distilling is a form of art. It's the facination of the process, the curiosity and the need to create that drives us distillers. And to be honest, good homemade booze beats the most expensive storebought crap on any given day of the year.
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Post by Enlikil » Mon Aug 28, 2006 7:10 pm

My god.... heheh Let me see if i can tally up my costs. THis is MY version and not my WIFES too heheh so cut me some slack on my record keeping

1 keg (Free)(good friend)
6 feet of 2 inch copper pipe 30 bucks from work... ahh i love workl
1 stainless steel 316 grade 2 inch Union (20 bucks)
1 roll of 6 inch wide copper mesh (10 bucks) hehe loving work
Tig welding of the Stainless steel to Stainless (1 bottle of whiskey)
Pond pump (30 bucks)
misc other crap 100 bucks (don't ask..)
1 burner with a 5 gallon Pot (50 bucks) Then realized it was aluminum pot after kids ruined it. (snaps) Dogs have new bowl.
10 gallons of sugar wash about 30 bucks. (failed)
10 more gallons of sugar wash 30 more bucks (failed again) (i had non alcoholic yeast LOL hehehe
10 gallons of turbo wash... WOOO payday.
50 bucks for a Z-filter.. used it once then bought real carbon
20 bucks for 2 bags of activated stone carbon...
100 bucks in Flavorings and OTher trials of stuff.

OK.... I can't add it up anymore... I'm glad its a hobby and not any thing for profit LOL

I don't drink enough to recoup my value,, I just enjoy it...
Trying to make it better every time.

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Post by Uncle Remus » Mon Aug 28, 2006 9:16 pm

My stills really cost me almost nothing but time to make. Most of the copper I scrounged.

I figure the cheapest thing I can make... a sugar wash cost me about a buck a litre for a jug of 40% vodka. Compared to $20+ in a jar store this is a considerable saving.

Grain/ malt beverages cost a bit more... but it's all relevant. Fruit/ brandies are cheaper yet (as long as you get the fruit for free)

For me this hobby is very economical and fun too :D
Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat all day and drink beer.

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Post by maze48 » Tue Aug 29, 2006 5:30 am

After reading all the ads on the net about cheap hooch, I was lead to beleive it to be true. Then I found and read this forum, and the mother site. That really opened my eyes. I'm not sure how much I've spent so far, but this hobby keeps me happy. :D

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Post by absinthe » Tue Aug 29, 2006 6:14 am

as far asi can work out it will take me about 3 months maybe a bit longer for the still to pay for itself, but i do tend to drink more than i should, but this way its cheaper, nicer, and better in the morning, and the satisfation of drink home made whiskey thats dam good makes me all warm inside (so does the whiskey) lol
Whiskey, the most popular of the cold cures that don't work (Leonard Rossiter)

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Post by Enlikil » Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:47 am

Thats it.. i just gotta drink more.
That will justify my costs eheheh..

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Post by cruzan » Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:40 pm

its a hobby, and a pretty cheap hobby at that. i have a friend that does rally racing for fun. he maybe goes to a race every 2 months. and towing the car there and back, hotel rooms, entrance fee, stage notes, it probally costs him roughly $1000-3000 a race. thats if he doesnt wreck the car.

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Post by hornedrhodent » Fri Sep 01, 2006 11:44 pm

I'm on the Dole so I cant afford to buy grog. I've been homebrewing for years and nowadays dont even like commercial beer. Until I built my still I hadn't drunk spirits for years. My still was cheap - I made it from junk I had lying around. I have the advantage of having oxy acetylene and the skill to use it. The only things I bought were a multimeter (which I needed anyway) with a thermocouple, an oven thermometer and a needle valve.

So for me it's cheap - I couldn't afford to drink without doing it myself.

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Post by KatoFong » Sat Sep 02, 2006 6:19 am

I got into this hobby to make absinthe (and have since gotten on to other drinkables); after herbs, base alcohol, etc., and the man hours to make this, I think it would probably be easier for me to buy a bottle. But it wouldn't be nearly as cool or rewarding.

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Post by absinthe » Sun Sep 03, 2006 6:28 am

i am also gonna make absinthe and is one o the reasons i got into it, but am waiting for my herbs to grow into a usable size lol so I'm making whiskey instead
Whiskey, the most popular of the cold cures that don't work (Leonard Rossiter)

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Post by bronzdragon » Tue Oct 23, 2007 11:14 am

I never really thought that homebrewing (how I started out) was going to be cheaper then going down and buying a case of beer at the store. But, after learning what to do, and when to do it ... you can make a fine drinking beer (or liquor) yourself and have the satisfaction of knowing that you produced it.

I'm a craft-y person. I love all types of crafts. And it's through the process of gaining the knowledge that I think a person improves theirselves. If you learn how to make something, that makes you wiser overall. Even if you don't make it that often.

And there's also something to be said for relaxation. This hobby is relaxing to me. It just so happens that at the end of the day, you'll most likely have something good to drink as a bonus. :)
"If it weren't for the alcohol, beer would be a healthfood."

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Post by Belial » Wed Nov 28, 2007 4:19 am

For me it is economical and fun. Plus i do not have to convince my wife as she drinks as much as me....and helps me brew. More often than not buying what is needed and giving me the hint to get off my arse and start brewing.

I can make 18 litres of fine full grain and malt beer for around $35.00 to $50.00 max in Oz. The cost for beers of this quality in our liquor shops is around $100.00.
I spent around $200.00 on the keg set-up with the tap sticking out the front of my bar fridge and $80.00 per year on beer gas.
Spirits equates to around $7.00 per 700ml compared to $30.00 in the shops.

Our Government is greedy on leisure items and products.

Keep your spirits up!!!!!! As I dare say that you all produce a more wholesome flavour and satisfying drink than you could buy if done right. I know my wife and i do.
When you work hard all day with your head and you know you must work again the next day what else can change your ideas and make them run on a different plane like whisky - Ernest Hemingway.

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by mfdesalas » Sun Apr 20, 2008 5:15 pm

I never got into it to make a cheap product. That's usually a student thing, when you can't afford a beer at the pub. I got into homebrewing because you could make a lot of styles of beer (read any style), whereas commercially in Australia in the early 90s there was only lager, lager and more lager. Almost every brand of Australia beer tasted the same (most still do).
In any case The last 10 years that I've been brewing all-grain and getting my hops for free, I'm only paying the cost of power to heat up mashing and lautering water and keep an even fermentation temperature, gas to boil the wort, and CO2 to carbonate the beer in the Keg.
I bought all my postmix kegs as scrap metal at $5 each. They were all perfect and have not needed to replace a part in 10 years.
The single most expensive piece of equipment I have was a $100, 40L stockpot to boil the wort. It's also been handy for cheesemaking and other uses.


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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by wineo » Mon Apr 21, 2008 3:52 pm

Under $1 a fifth for neutral,and its better than the most expensive bottle of vodka at the liquer store.I never go to the liquer store anymore. :lol:

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by punkin » Tue Apr 22, 2008 12:18 am

I got into homebrewing to save money, no doubt about it.
After over twenty years of brewing kit beers (and drinking some disgusting crap) i now can rely on being able to serve a beer on tap at any time, to any of my mates (or their girlfriends) that would stand up in a pub.
Kit beers at about $12 for 20 litres.
I drink that much every week, and would be spending about $80-$100 (2 and a half cartons) if i didn't make my own, so i dunno if it's really just a student thing to save money. :lol: :lol:

Lets see;
$70 a week in my pocket =
$280 a month in my pocket =
Over $3000 a year in my pocket =


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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by RadicalEd1 » Tue Apr 22, 2008 8:23 am

I'm also guilty of money being a prime motivating factor, but I have yet to break even. When you consider the cost of a boil pot, mash tun, fermenters, kegs, and chest freezer, I easily have $400-500 in equipment. But with most of my equipment already purchased, I should be going into the black sometime this year.

But that wasn't the only reason I decided to brew. You get to learn a lot about beer and the different varieties if you brew, and gain a better appreciation for them. And on my limited budget, I could afford to expose myself to more varieties as well.

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by violentblue » Wed May 28, 2008 2:10 pm

I saw saving a few dollars as being another plus, but I just wanted to try it.
I looked to a local brew shop owner for info when I started out, took me a while to find the correct information here and start again. Now my stuff is drinkable and improving with each run.

if I had the information I now have, I think it would have been a little less expensive than buying, but with the total amount I've produced, and My costs at this point, I'm now drinking the most expensive boose I ever have.

counting from this day forward, I'll produce it for less than half of what the store sells it for, and taste wise It'd be on par.

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by gs_moonshine » Thu May 29, 2008 9:42 am

Brewing beer will save you money over time depending how much you drink. You fiqure 20 to 30 bucks for 2 cases. Depending on what you brand you drink its half as much as store bought. Even if you only drink a case a month in a years time you'll at least break even. As far as distilling I think it depends on what your drinking. Like wino said a buck a bottle is 5 or 6 times cheaper than the cheap stuff for vodka. Some others are more expensive. Besides saving money or not its still a hellva lot more fun this way.

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by eternalfrost » Thu May 29, 2008 3:25 pm

im just starting out so cant say with total confidence but from what ive worked out it would cost me about 6 dollars to make a gallon of UJSM

thats a whole lot cheaper then even the horrible stuff in the store that come in those big plastic jugs :x

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by McGyver » Thu May 29, 2008 3:30 pm

And just remember, if ya got a problem with gout, DO NOT DRINK HOMEBREWED BEER OR MALT PRODUCTS without killin' the yeast first! When I started out brewin' beer, this was the first thing I found out! Drank one 12oz bottle and couldn't walk for 3 days! Live and learn!

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by grizzly1 » Fri May 30, 2008 1:07 am

Wasn't a price matter for me. I got into brewing for the taste. to me all store bought beer taste the same. I'm a flavor man. got into distilling for varitiy of flavor. I couldn't find a Pomagranite and cranberry brandy for the wife. She was the one who put the idea into my head. As for price I wanted to keep it on the low down so my cost is quite high. copper was the big killer.

I've made beer that has cost almost 80 dollars a batch, but you will not see me go down a store ile any more.

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by jeger » Thu Aug 07, 2008 10:05 am

I've been brewing beer for quite a few years, heavily the last 3-4. And it only costs me when everything is added up about 15 dollars to fill a 5 gal keg (4.4 twelve packs), same price to fill them with hard lemonaid. Which saves me about 2.50 a twelve pack over milwaukee's best, and it tastes better.

Since i've gotten into home distilling, the cost of drinking for me has gone down significantly, now i can make 13 1.75 bottles of 40% for the price of a 50lb bag of sugar from costco ($18) and a few dollars worth of wood.

Both take a day devoted to the process, but i'm up for putting some elbow grease on saving money.

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Re: Cheap Homebrew?

Post by Dnderhead » Sat Aug 09, 2008 9:26 pm

I got into distilling back in 40-50s ??????? iv bin ask to make beer but it seem a lot of finicky work? have a neighbor that likes molson
is there a clone for it ? mite try if so. not for me but something different to do

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