Cheap but flavorful

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by TastyAdventure, Jul 23, 2014.

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  1. TastyAdventure

    TastyAdventure Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2012 Kentucky

    I want to brew a large batch for as cheap as possible, but still want to achieve some good, decent sized flavors.

    My mash tun can handle 24 lbs at 1.25qt/lb. I don't see the point of brewing anything less than 5% ABV, so here's what I'm planning:

    10.5 gallons
    64% efficiency = 1.052 OG
    79% attn = 1.011 FG
    5.2% ABV
    ( I will probably overshoot the OG, in which case I will be very happy)

    20 lbs American 2 row ($1.25/lb) 89%
    1.5 lb Caramunich ($1.70/lb) 7%
    1 lb special roast ($1.70/lb) 4%

    Mash at 157 for body.
    I'm using Caramunich and special roast bc I think they will work together to add two different aspects to the beer.

    .85 oz Warrior at 60 min
    1 oz Saaz flameout
    1 oz Admiral, Pacific Gem, OR Nelson (whatever my LHBS has) flameout

    Other than bittering hops, I'm only adding flameout hops bc I think this is where I will get most bang for my buck as far as aroma and taste go. Is that correct?
    Also, think Saaz and a NZ hop will work well together?

    1 of the 5 gal fermentors will get S-04
    1 will get some other dry and cheap yeast, Nottingham? I would like Danstar Windsor but I've never seen it at my LHBS.
    Any suggestions for a cheap (dry) yeast that puts off a lot of good flavor?

    Including propane, my math says I'll be brewing 100 beers for $49.50...

    Any ideas for getting the best bang for your buck welcome...
  2. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,248) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    I'm thinking at 10 gallons with that low of a hopping and those yeasts you aren't going to get tons of flavor. If you want super cheap and flavorful, best bang for your buck I have ever seen is a Saison.

    75% Pils
    25% Wheat

    Bitter with warrior
    2oz 20 US Saaz or Styrian Bobek (our LHBS sells pellets for $1/oz)
    3oz FO US Saaz of Styrian Bobek

    Pitch 5 gals with WY3724 or maybe T58 (I've never used it), then add Orval dregs at bottling.


    (Pitch the rest with the S04, might be good, I dunno).
    #2 jbakajust1, Jul 23, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2014
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  3. ricchezza

    ricchezza Initiate (0) Nov 2, 2005 Massachusetts

    I'll second the saison. It's really the yeast that makes it. I have one on tap that is just 2-row with willamette and perle (1oz. ea. for 60 min. to reach target ibu). Basically any simple recipe with some Belgian yeast ought to do the trick, if you're into that.
    jbakajust1 likes this.
  4. OddNotion

    OddNotion Initiate (0) Nov 1, 2009 New Jersey

    Saison is a good suggestion, something malty can work too. Something like:
    80% Maris Otter
    10% British Light Crystal
    10% British Dark Crystal
    OG: 1.055
    FG: 1.015
    I like to use something like WLP004 on this, but any lower attenuating British strain will do.
    Hopped to about 25ibus early on

    I normally keep this type of beer with even a lower OG but you wanted about 5% so this should get you there.
  5. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,248) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Keep in mind that with a Saison you can save money on grain and still hit that 5%+ mark for ABV because the FG will be lower so your OG can be lower as well. Money saved here can be used to purchase the yeast and a bottle of Orval.
  6. carteravebrew

    carteravebrew Devotee (471) Jan 21, 2010 Colorado

    If you're pinching pennies, maybe substitute some of the base malt with stuff from around the house. Do you have a pound of table sugar? Or a pound of instant oats? Or honey?

    Subbing a pound of base malt with any one would have little effect on flavor/body, I would imagine (some will probably disagree). Maybe try ising baker's yeast for your other carboy? I dunno, haha, just-spitballing. That might not be very good.

    Maybe skip the specialty malts and just use 2-row and try roasting/toasting some yourself.

    Do you have DME on hand that you could use to make a starter (or, again, sub some of that base malt with)? If so, ask your LHBS if they have any old yeast they want to get rid of. Mine gave me two vials of lager yeast (don't remember what strain exactly) for free because it was expired. Just built it up in a starter, and it worked fine.
    SFACRKnight and jbakajust1 like this.
  7. TastyAdventure

    TastyAdventure Initiate (0) Nov 13, 2012 Kentucky

    Thanks for the input so far. I like Saisons but didn't want to go in that direction for this one.
    And any base malt other than American 2 row will add a considerable amount to my costs.
    I guess my real questions I need answered are:
    1. What 2 specialty grains should I use?
    2. What kind of hops? Is 2 oz at flameout enough for 10 gal?
    3. Is flameout the best time for best value?

    I will probably use harvested Belgian for the other 5 gal...
  8. jbakajust1

    jbakajust1 Moderator (1,248) Aug 25, 2009 Oregon

    Here is another option for you, Summer Bitter and Belgian Table.

    American 2 row
    >10% Cara 40 or Aromatic

    Bitter with Warrior
    3oz of EKG @ FO

    1 with English Yeast
    1 with Belgian

    If you want higher impact on flavor you are going to have to put some money on either hops, malt, sugar, or yeast, so decide where you want it. Low hops, Am 2 Row, and an un-characterful yeast aren't going to give you a lot of flavor, especially if you want to keep the specialty malts at lower percentages to save $$$. Try using sugar to boost flavor and keep costs down. Go to a local Asian Market and buy Palm Sugar for like $2/# and swap 2# for 3# of base malt. Or make your own Candi sugar.
  9. FATC1TY

    FATC1TY Champion (863) Feb 12, 2012 Georgia

    Just go all the rage and brew a session something.

    I'd be down for a pale like beer, won't need to load up on hops because of the lack of body you'll encounter. Mash higher, and let it ride.

    Would the hell wouldn't want a 4% session pale with some tasty noble and maybe some wild type of hop in there.

    Shit, I'm craving a simple watery ass dry pale all with Cascade and Chinook myself!
    jbakajust1 likes this.
  10. inchrisin

    inchrisin Initiate (0) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    You're screwing yourself over if you have to take this outside of a session ABV. You can make some great English ales very cheap. Goodbye Berliner Weisse.
    sjverla and jbakajust1 like this.
  11. satxbrew

    satxbrew Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2011 Texas

    Dry Stout is a pretty cheap option. I make mine at 1.045 so I can drink a lot of it, but it has great flavor and tastes more like a 5% beer. It is a bit more cost in roast and flaked barley, but you save money on the flavor/aroma hops, and you can use dry English yeast.

    Your posted recipe looks ok, but I would sub cascade or some other big aromatic hops for the Saaz if you are looking for a lot of character. Skip the sugar if you are looking for big flavors, but add it if you are looking for big alcohol. Personally, I prefer flavorful beers over alcoholic beers, but you and your friends may enjoy the boozy ones.
    inchrisin likes this.
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