Post Number: 12
|Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 09:06 pm: ||
I'm brewing another sweet stout, and I'd like to brew it cheaper than last time without sacrificing taste. Here's what I did last time (which was FANTASTIC!)
3 #s Amber DME
3 #s Dark DME
1 # Wheat DME
1 # Crystal 120L
1 # British Chocolate
Roasted Barley (forgot how much)
Carapils (forgot how much)
2 oz Kent Golding
Here's my question: can I substitute light LME for the three "flavors" of DME, and come out with something very close to what I made before? Does most of the flavor come from the specialty grains anyway? I also have the option of using amber and dark LME, which is still cheaper (but not always available at my LHBS). If I can substitue, how many pounds of LME should I use verses DME?
The difference in price for me is $2 per pound for LME vs $3.59 per pound for DME (an 80% increase in price).
Post Number: 3007
|Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 09:18 pm: ||
Forget the LME/DME, if you want to do it on the cheap, cobble together a mash tun and buy a 50 lb. sack of two row.
Post Number: 7
|Posted on Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - 09:31 pm: ||
I like to use any light extract in place of the colored extracts anyway. It gives you more control over color and flavor of the finished product.
As far as substituting the LME for DME, you can, but the LME is less efficient than the DME. At my LHBS, the DME comes in 3lb. bags and the LME comes in 3.5lb. cans. Without doing the conversion, I pretty much (maybe blindly) use the two interchangably. DME is a LOT easier to work with, also.
Post Number: 61
|Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 12:30 am: ||
Your only talking about $5 or $6 difference in cost per five gallons using DME vs. LME. The yield is significantly less per pound using LME because a lot of the weight is water. The difference in yield is about 10 points per pound higher for the DME so you won't use as much to get the same gravity. Bottom line is about a buck a gallon of finished beer. IMHO it isn't worth agonizing over. While Chumley's suggestion to step up to mashing is fine, the apparent savings sort of pale when you factor in your time and additional equipment you may need. While all grain is somewhat cheaper, the real payoff is better beer and more fun. The cost savings seem incidental to me. As usual, YMMV and caveat emptor or whatever.
Post Number: 117
|Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 04:12 am: ||
I cast my vote for going all grain too. Just keep it simple and batch sparge. Even if you have to buy your grains precrushed, you will save money and have more fun.
Post Number: 149
|Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 01:37 pm: ||
FWIW: I switched from extract+specialty grains earlier this year and have found that the cost has reduced from ~24-28$/batch to ~18-22$/batch.
I am batch sparging so it doesn't take as long as a fly sparge but it still adds 90-120 minutes to the brew schedule.
The minimal equipment is pretty cheap - 5 gal bucket. I however, went with an Igloo cooler and rigged a manifold with valving, etc approx 30$. And I also splurged for an HLT turkey fryer for 28$...
I have been having a LOT of fun with the additional control I have over my brew. Being able to make a recipe from scratch, and being able to use any ingredient available is much more fun.
So you'll have to weigh the reasons to go all-grain yourself. Maybe in a year you'll save enough from your ingredients to make up for your equipment investment... and then there's the added time... You really don't want to dread brewing because it takes so long.
Do what you like and enjoy.
Post Number: 88
|Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 09:39 pm: ||
Nathan, if time is of the essence to you then I would stay with Extract brewing and use the freshest extract you can possibly buy, and start to use specialty grains to add your color and other contributed flavors. It seems to me that the brewers who post here who are most concerned about saving say 5 bucks are also the brewers who have the most time to spend on their chosen hobby. So spending an afternoon drilling a thousand holes in a bucket to make a Zap-Pap mash tun is worth it to them rather than spending the 30.00 bucks to go and buy a Zymico mash set up or even doing Denny's simple mash tun modification. I for one simply don't have the time to mess with building equipment that can be constructed much easier by just spending a few bucks.
On the other hand I would support some of the other posters here who suggest moving to all grain. It truly makes a more satisfying product IMO, even if the brew day does take 1-4 hours longer.
Post Number: 148
|Posted on Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 11:33 pm: ||
Move up to all grain. Trick your mind into depreciating the additional cost over, 5 years, or many batches, or many bottles, or many kegs. Whatever justifies the cost.
The cost will be negligable. The grain will now be cheaper than LME or DME. And you may stumble upon a finer recipe than the one you now enjoy.
Love This Hobby!
Post Number: 621
|Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 12:27 am: ||
Brew the best you can and forget about the cost. Hobby, not job.
Post Number: 13
|Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 12:27 am: ||
Wow, you guys are pretty intent on an all grain answer to an extract question. I appreciate the time you took to respond, and the enthusiasm you exude for your own particular methods. I do intend to go all grain sometime, but I'm brewing tomorrow--buying my ingrediants tonight. I don't have time to make the switch tonight.
I suppose I'll just do what I did before. Considering that my stout was the best I've ever had, I'm not really concerned at this point about the improvement all grain will make in taste. I'm a tight ass; I want to see how cheap I can make the best stout I've ever tasted. And saving 4 hours in the process means a lot to me, too. Plus, I don't have a garage in which to brew; I'm still doing it in a relatively small kitchen. But thanks anyway for all the reponses.
Post Number: 629
|Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 01:35 am: ||
What Don said....
If I factor in my time...I ain't saving any money even going all grain. Hobby, otherwise I would just buy it.
Post Number: 129
|Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 06:00 pm: ||
"I suppose I'll just do what I did before. Considering that my stout was the best I've ever had, I'm not really concerned at this point about the improvement all grain will make in taste."
Sounds like a plan.
Post Number: 13
|Posted on Friday, April 15, 2005 - 09:50 pm: ||
Just be sure to compensate for the LME. I thought I read that LME typically has around 80% of the fermentables that DME does. (I could be full of crap too.) So use a bit more LME in your recipie.
I don't pressure any of my brewing friends to get into all-grain... mainly because I'm so new to it. (and I'm the only one doing it, so I feel "special") Extract brewing is so quick and easy in comparison. I do notice a difference in flavor though. The all-grain stuff seems to have more character than my LME batches did.
I do have to say, when I did my first all-grain batch, 6 batches ago, I was uptight and amazed at how long it takes. The last batch I made was relaxing and enjoyable. On a nice sunny weekend afternoon... sipping on a homebrew, watching the wort boil.... ahhhhhh. It sure beats mowing the lawn.
There's plenty of time to make the switch. It took me 5 years. Take your time and enjoy the beer, no matter how you brew it.
(Message edited by andre the giant on April 15, 2005)
Post Number: 706
|Posted on Saturday, April 16, 2005 - 04:10 am: ||
Don't be a wuss! Brew all-grain in the kitchen! Spend time with the family. Watch TV. Drink beer. Control your color, body, final gravity, flavor...It can be done. I did it all winter long.
The cake from the box is good. But Grandma's cake from scratch is much, much better. Remember that.