Today I started off the new year with a few things that, over the long haul. will make my homebrewing more cost-effective and more flexible. I bought some items in bulk.
Buying in bulk will save money and also provide me with the chance to brew when I want to, since I’ll have a number of ingredients on hand.
Bulk Grain Purchase
This past Christmas my wife was awesome enough to get me a grain mill. “Whats a grain mill?” you ask? When you all grain brew you take crushed malt and put it with some water to make what called wort (young beer). Once the malt gets crushed you have a week or two to brew, otherwise the grain gets stale.
When you use a grain mill at home, you can crush that grain the day you brew. What’s more; you can also store uncrushed (or unmilled grain) for over a year. For a homebrewer that means one can store a 50lb bag for a long time. By buying a 50lb bag you can most certainly save money per pound. At my local homebrew store I can pick up a 50lb bag of pale malt for $50 (no tax). That same grain same store can cost me $1.50 a pound. By the time I am done with that 50lb bag I will have saved $25, not too bad.
Real quick, pale malt can also be called ‘base malt’. A base malt is usually the grain that gets used most in a recipe. Some recipes call for 6lbs of base malt, others upwards of 25lbs in a 5 gallon batch. So within a few brews I expect to be done with this bag. My first batch will use 19lbs (a barleywine).
Bulk Hops Purchase
A few weeks ago I hooked up with someone online (it’s not what you think) and we decided to spilt up a bulk purchase of hops. Hops are one of the things that give beer it’s bitterness & aroma. There are a number of types of hops and what you can do with them.
I found someone on ebay that sells hops by the pound. A pound of hops is a lot of hops. In my biggest & bitter imperial IPA to date (Raw Dawg IIPA) I used 7.5 ounces of hops. Granted it was a few different kinds of hops. We decided to do a bulk buy of a pound each of three different hops. With shipping that came out to be $49. On average, that breaks down to be about $1 an ounce. At a homebrew store you’re luck to get $1.75 for hops. That’s about $18 in savings…again not too bad.
I had the items shipped to my house, split the bags in half, met up somewhere and made the hand off from the back of my trunk. If that doesn’t sound like a ‘deal’ I don’t know what does.