Imperial Stouts: A Justification of Cost?

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

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  1. TomClem

    TomClem Initiate (8) Mar 7, 2012 Nebraska
    Beer Trader

    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. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California


    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. Tashbrew

    Tashbrew Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2007 California

    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 Initiate (0) Jul 25, 2008 Portugal

    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. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (579) Nov 6, 2007 California

    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. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

  7. fujindemon74

    fujindemon74 Initiate (0) Nov 7, 2012 Pennsylvania

    Agreed on BCS.
    Let me add...Thirsty Dog Siberian Night.
    $8/4pk around me.
    Tough to beat.
  8. cbeer88

    cbeer88 Crusader (719) Sep 5, 2007 Massachusetts

    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 Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

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

    Brunite Initiate (0) Sep 21, 2009 Illinois


    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. Thickfreakness

    Thickfreakness Initiate (0) Oct 2, 2010 New York

    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 Initiate (126) Aug 8, 2010 Arizona

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

    MichPaul Zealot (597) Jan 28, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    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 Initiate (0) Dec 16, 2012 Florida

    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 Devotee (458) Oct 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    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. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,316) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Listen to this guy, he knows of what he speaks.

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

    BladeRunner Aspirant (210) Apr 4, 2007 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Raw materials and supply and demand.
  18. DrDemento456

    DrDemento456 Poo-Bah (3,382) May 15, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Damn California's boasting about their cheap local bombers! I can't even find it anymore around here...
  19. tectactoe

    tectactoe Initiate (0) Mar 20, 2012 Michigan

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

    davelag Aspirant (256) May 22, 2010 California

    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. DrDemento456

    DrDemento456 Poo-Bah (3,382) May 15, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Damn do they still got some? I would love a case!
  22. ColinStClaire

    ColinStClaire Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2012 Washington

    I'm bringing that to split with a buddy tomorrow. Excited to try it. And yeah, dirt cheap :slight_smile:
  23. herrburgess

    herrburgess Meyvn (1,035) Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Industry Beer Trader

    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 Poo-Bah (2,242) May 19, 2008 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    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. imperialbeerdude

    imperialbeerdude Initiate (0) Feb 5, 2012 Colorado

    This beer is meh, now Yeti is only 8 bucks but twice as good.
    Hawksfan79 likes this.
  26. Lare453

    Lare453 Meyvn (1,322) Feb 1, 2012 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Old raspy 4 pack for $8
  27. Chickenhawk9932

    Chickenhawk9932 Savant (911) Jul 19, 2010 Pennsylvania

    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. brownswisscow

    brownswisscow Initiate (0) Feb 9, 2012 Vermont

    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. victory4me

    victory4me Zealot (547) Oct 16, 2004 Pennsylvania

    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 Poo-Bah (3,832) Nov 16, 2012 Wisconsin
    Beer Trader

    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 Disciple (369) Aug 13, 2009 Connecticut
    Beer Trader

    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 Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2010 Maryland

    ^ Well said ^
    benjaminahudson likes this.
  33. dennis3951

    dennis3951 Crusader (791) Mar 6, 2008 New Jersey
    Beer Trader

    The justification is that drinkers are more than willing to pay more for them.
  34. nachos

    nachos Initiate (95) Jun 4, 2012 Michigan
    Beer Trader

    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. saxclar123

    saxclar123 Initiate (0) Feb 15, 2012 Pennsylvania

    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. UCLABrewN84

    UCLABrewN84 Poo-Bah (12,229) Mar 18, 2010 California

    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. Levitation

    Levitation Initiate (0) Aug 7, 2009 California

    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 Initiate (0) Jan 3, 2012 New York

    Going from 0 to 100 mph in just 30 minutes............ Justified!
  39. bulletrain76

    bulletrain76 Zealot (579) Nov 6, 2007 California

    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. BigCheese

    BigCheese Defender (689) Jul 4, 2009 Massachusetts

    Buy some ipswich oatmeal stout or old rasputin. good stouts dont need to be expensive. Cheers.
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