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Imperial Stouts: A Justification of Cost?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by infuturity83, Feb 1, 2013.

  1. TomClem

    TomClem Savant (260) Nebraska Mar 7, 2012

    A bottle of Bourbon County is ~$5 and 15% ABV. Many craft beers are $1.66 per bottle ($10/6pk) and ~5% ABV. If you do the math by $/ABV a Bourbon County is equivalent to many other beers. As others have stated there are many reasons that Imperial Stouts can be costly to make, just as Hops add costs to IPAs. I think you have grossly over exaggerated the difference.
  2. Bulleittrain-

    Thanks for that well written answer! I wrote something quite similar but it got a bit of a rant and then went onto to mention economies of scale. ABI runs a brewery in Chicago that has a great BA Imp Stout. The worlds largest brewing concern has enormus cash reserves and the buying power to pretty much demand whatever they want including the price they pay. Smaller Craft brewers run on very tight budgets and tying up a few hundred thousand bucks for a year is a tough pill to swallow...

    Business need to make the margin and show a profit... The brewer is but one part of what a consumer gets charged. The Wholesaler and Retailer take their share.
  3. Actually, GI has been funded by AB for a while and now that they are outright owned by ABI that somehow the cost of producing BCBS is significantly lower than the typical craft brewer. GI may not even have to make a profit on BCBS when backed by the worlds largest brewing concerrn.

    When Macros act like micros it is not a level playing field.
  4. endovelico

    endovelico Savant (320) Portugal Jul 25, 2008

    Brewing ingredients are relatively cheap, so sure the extra 30 or 40 SG points will add up but not enough to explain such exorbitant prices.

    The culprit is time. One 5-7% ABV ale might take at the very most 2 weeks to ferment while a 10% ABV beer might take disproportionately more. The aging process follows the same logic: While an average 5% Ale might take (at the very most for most styles) 2 months to age and IRS might take 1 year.
  5. This is a good point for people to keep in mind. When massive brewers put out comparatively minuscule releases of high-end beer, it's more about the image and respect than making money. Keep the Goose brand in the beer geeks' heads and milk IPA and 312 for every dollar they can...
    herrburgess likes this.
  6. This.
  7. Agreed on BCS.
    Let me add...Thirsty Dog Siberian Night.
    $8/4pk around me.
    Tough to beat.
  8. People buy barrel aged imperial stouts like they're going out of style. Even Eclipse flies at $30/bottle. Clearly these beers are actually underpriced.

    The only reason Bourbon County Stout isn't going to start costing $10/bottle is they plan on making an assload of it.

    Craft beer is a luxury good, especially once you get past the standard sub-$15 12-pack. Breweries are either going to price what people will pay, or go out of business trying.
  9. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Savant (350) California Feb 22, 2011

    Parabola and Abyss would like to have a word with you.
    oregone likes this.
  10. Brunite

    Brunite Savant (420) Illinois Sep 21, 2009

    Exactly.

    For me...BCBS is the exception. It is one of my top 3 beers and is available at a STILL reasonable (to me) cost for the value delivered. I do not do bombers (the the cost/oz thread). Paying high prices just to harpoon wales is not my deal. I don't tick. I find the highest, reasonably priced, quality and then I indulge. When I can get world class, personal best beer, for the same cost as a Miller lite would cost at a bar or ball-game....done.
  11. Tons of fantastic RIS' for a cheap date!
    Stone RIS -$5.99
    Weyerbacher Tiny -$7.99
    Brooklyn BCS -$7.99/4
    NC Old Raspy - $8.99/4
    Hoppin' Frog BORIS/DORIS - $11.99
    Zywiec Porter (Porter my ass) - $2.99
    Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Porter (again... yeah right) - $14.99/6
    ST Choklat/Oat/Creme Brulee/Jah-va/Mokah - $8.99

    Some of my favorites and regs.
    creepinjeeper and szmnnl99 like this.
  12. RandyV

    RandyV Aficionado (220) Arizona Aug 8, 2010

    $7.49 at the Total Wine near me and totally worth every penny!
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  13. MichPaul

    MichPaul Advocate (625) Michigan Jan 28, 2012

    You have picked out some of the most expensive for your example. Not the base price for Stouts at all... OP doesn't work. Founders is one of the best at stouts and I don't know of any that are over priced... FBS? $9.50 a 4pk? Try again bud. You're just hatin because you don't like the style.
  14. Schwantz

    Schwantz Savant (390) Florida Dec 16, 2012

    To the q: plz disregard the style completely moving forward. Do not ponder.The style is apparently defunct. ; I will suffer the wherewithal of all personal research and report back my dismal findings on pontificitations of the demise of "stout." Po' me. ; cheers!
  15. Blanco

    Blanco Savant (490) Pennsylvania Oct 11, 2008

    This seems to be an awful big part of it that is often overlooked. Just comparing prices across states and even just within miles of where I live, I have to say it's the distribution channel (both the distributor and the retailer) that often factors in here. It's true for all beers, but there is a much larger disparity for the high demand beers that people have no problem adding a few dollars here, a few dollars there.
    FeDUBBELFIST, drtth and Tashbrew like this.
  16. Listen to this guy, he knows of what he speaks.

    Edit - Beer in barrels can get contaminated? Who knew! :D
    bostonlogga likes this.
  17. BladeRunner

    BladeRunner Savant (260) Illinois Apr 4, 2007

    Raw materials and supply and demand.
  18. Damn California's boasting about their cheap local bombers! I can't even find it anymore around here...
  19. tectactoe

    tectactoe Advocate (740) Michigan Mar 20, 2012

    That is the SE Michigan price >_>
  20. davelag

    davelag Aficionado (195) California May 22, 2010

    When compared with the best Belgian quads and sours it doesn't add up: some of the American breweries are taking advantage of the barrel aged stout's high demand.
  21. Damn do they still got some? I would love a case!
  22. I'm bringing that to split with a buddy tomorrow. Excited to try it. And yeah, dirt cheap :)
  23. agreed. maybe he can tell us whether the higher prices for barrel aged beer are directly proportional to the capital investment or significantly higher -- to answer the OP's question once and for all. I think I already know the answer...and to be fair, he has hinted at it pretty clearly....
  24. homebrew311

    homebrew311 Advocate (540) Illinois May 19, 2008

    If you want to know why (good) barrel aged beers cost what they do, try Bridgeport's Raven Mad BA imperial porter, which cost me 2.99 a bomber or Milwaukee Brewery Company's baltic porter (also bba) @ 7.99 a 6 pack. When the care isn't put in, the final product suffers. If you are going to do something that requires extra steps, you better make it worthwhile.
  25. This beer is meh, now Yeti is only 8 bucks but twice as good.
    Hawksfan79 likes this.
  26. Lare453

    Lare453 Champion (750) Florida Feb 1, 2012

    Old raspy 4 pack for $8
  27. Saranac Imperial Sout is like $9 a six pack and very good.
    Smuttynose Baltic Porter (one of my top big beers) $5 a bomber.
    I always want to try the unique stuff, but I always come back to these two because they are so reasonable.

    I did, however, recently score a case of Founders Backwoods Bastard for $39.75. At that price I would dig on all the barrel aged beers.
  28. we all know BA beers have margins that are much higher than breweries normal lineups.

    The market will bear the cost so that is what they charge.
  29. Expedition at under $20 a six pack is one of the best deals in the world.

    Same with Brooklyn Black Cbocolate at under $10 a four pack.
  30. Stevedore

    Stevedore Champion (810) Wisconsin Nov 16, 2012

    Lots of reasonably priced RIS's out there. It's the BA ones that get to be a bit pricey. I feel lucky we can get CW BB offerings here in WI!
  31. xanok

    xanok Savant (395) Connecticut Aug 13, 2009

    Founders RIS-$10.99/4
    Clown Shoes Blaecorn Unidragon and Vampire Slayer-$9.99/bomber
    Imperial Stout Trooper-$6.99/500 ml
    Great Divide Oak Aged Yeti-$8/bomber
    Berkshire Brewing RIS-$6.99/bomber
    Green Flash Double Stout-$11.99/4
  32. shahn

    shahn Aficionado (140) Maryland Jan 13, 2010

    ^ Well said ^
    benjaminahudson likes this.
  33. The justification is that drinkers are more than willing to pay more for them.
  34. nachos

    nachos Aficionado (205) Minnesota Jun 4, 2012

    I like that you all spent time trying to change the opinion of someone who is clearly already deeply entrenched in his dislike towards the style and is simply using two of the most extreme prices as examples to further justify his opinion and annoy people.
    Chickenhawk9932 likes this.
  35. I don't think BCBS is that overpriced. For one, the reason above regarding $/ABV, but also tons of very average beers at bars are priced at the very least 5 bucks. Sit at in a crowded noisy bar and sip on a SNPA that you'll end up paying 7 bucks for after tax and tip, or sit at home and enjoy a BCBS.
  36. A brewer will charge whatever they see fit. If you don't like the price, don't buy it. There are other beers to be had for lower prices.
  37. bcbs is a non-profit endeavor now? what was it in 2008 when it was $20 a 4-pack and gi was 100% craft?

    lulz, the excuses you read on ba. let's face it bro, you're pulling the "mom and pop" argument to justify why your beers have gone up $15 a bottle in 3 years while bcbs has gone up $3 a 4-pack in the same time frame. is inbev a cutthroat, bottom-line organization or do they not care what profit gi makes? can't have both.

    barrel costs are a grossly inflated excuse. and i'm surprised you say "brewers dedicate an entire day to prepping and filling barrels" - uh, what would they be doing other than working on beer? :confused:

    the bolded part is the real reason. people will pay it. and it took way too long for this thread to reach that response (writerljberg being the first).
    BdubleEdubleRUN likes this.
  38. diesel59

    diesel59 Savant (400) New York Jan 3, 2012

    Going from 0 to 100 mph in just 30 minutes............ Justified!
  39. My point was that it takes about double the labor costs to make a barrel-aged beer compared to a normal beer. That extra time could be spent making more beer, but is instead tied up for a longer time on a smaller amount of beer. Labor and capital costs are a huge part of the cost of producing a beer, and barrel-aging is far more intensive on both counts. We wouldn't do it if we couldn't sell it for significantly more money.
  40. Buy some ipswich oatmeal stout or old rasputin. good stouts dont need to be expensive. Cheers.

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