Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Brewing Budget

So I'm putting myself on a brewing budget. I spend a lot of money on this hobby and that should change a little. The budget is going to be fairly large, about $200/month but it will be for ingredients, equipment and craft beer purchases. I will allow carry over from one month to the next but no robbing peter to pay paul. In other words I can't borrow from a future month to buy that Tower of Power. I have to be conservative until I have all the money. Tougher than it sounds considering I buy pils and munich in bulk bags, that's about $120 in one shot and lasts about 2 months.

I plan to stretch the budget by being better at harvesting yeast for the future. I'm going to pick 5 strains that I'll attempt to keep in a healthy state. That also seems like a lot but I want to brew US, British and Belgian ales plus lagers and sours. I'd say 5 strains is a minimum. The 5th will be a mixed culture and I'll pull dregs from bottles for that.

Yeast is about 10-25% of the cost of a homebrew if you purchase a new pitch so this could take me a long way. I haven't proven to be very good about using the yeast I've harvested because I'm always brewing a different style of beer but I plan to pull wort from each beer I make and rotate the yeast in starters just to keep them healthy. Then if I don't use them for a while I know they aren't a bunch of dead cells. I won't be streaking because I don't have the equipment and that would be a pretty large initial investment, especially for the microscope.

My other thought is to plan my next 6 brews ahead of time. Then I know what ingredients and equipment I'll need and can find the best deal. For example I sometimes buy my ingredients on morebeer.com and make sure to spend enough to get free shipping. I often find myself forgetting one ingredient then having to run the LHBS where I inevitably spend even more money. This will also allow me to plan for bottle purchases for beers like Barleywine, RIS and Old Ales. Not much point of having these beers hold up a keg for months on end. I usually buy my bottles with craft beer already in them so they may be costly :).

Next 6 Homebrews

- British Barleywine (An effort to utilize that WLP002 yeast cake from the brown ale and porter)
- Winter Warmer (Smutty Nose Style - no spices)
- American Pale Ale (Supercharger Clone) - Will need to buy RO water
- Kettle Sour w/Brett
- XMAS Amber Lager (I have an amber lager all grain kit that was cheap I want to use up) May need to buy spices
- Dunkelbock

Bonus: Porter - rebrew the porter I just made.

Not too many sessionable beers in there, it's looking like I'll be ready for a cold winter.