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backwards weekend

so, a typical memorial day weekend might be spent drinking beer, then going to work at the end.

when have you known me to be typical? well okay, you got me there. but we spent the weekend, in addition to doing household chores & work, doing work on our kegging setup, and didn’t get it done until late monday night.

the last element missing was faucets & shanks. these are the 2 elements that, together, make the “tap” that you see at your local saloon. we purchased 2 of each from a local homebrew supply store, and i spent all day monday doing all the final hookups and testing the system.

we have the capacity inside the chest freezer to hold 4 kegs, and we’ll probably add on at least one more in the next few weeks. in order to fit that 4th keg, we need to do a bit of finagling with the lines & whatnot inside the fridge.

now, with these expenses, how many batches of beer to we have to brew & serve ourselves, before we realize a monetary savings over purchasing it? i don’t know — ask my accountant. luckily, the accountant happens to be the brewmaster (er, brewmistress – aka, alewife) so the answer has to be “it’s worth it!”

hold on, i studied engineering, i can do math. (plus i have access to google calculator). so let’s think out loud, in bulleted-list format:

  • 5 gallons of homebrew is 40 pints.
  • a pint of microbrew at a restaurant, outside of happy hour, is at least $3.50.
  • to drink 40 pints in a restaurant, would cost $140.
  • the ingredients to brew 5 gallons beer cost around $30, retail.
  • our brewing equipment has already paid for itself several times over in the 22 batches we’ve already brewed.
  • a CO2 cylinder refill is $15 (i think), should be necessary twice a year.
  • our chest freezer was energystar rated at $26/yr to operate — that’s when it was a freezer. we’ve convereted it to a fridge, should use less energy.
  • propane refill is about $30 (i think) should only need this once a year (only use it for brewing).

so, with all that babbling about, let’s say that a batch of homebrew, with diluted energy and supply costs, runs us around $40 (probably a tad high estimate). that means a savings of $100 per 40 pints over purchasing it elsewhere. is that right? i’ll have to call my accountant to check out my numbers.

i know, we could have saved even more money if we continued to bottle. but frankly, we would have paid that price with out sanity. bottling is tedious at best. and since we don’t really take our beer anywhere or share with anyone (the only friends we have don’t drink) then why do it? we’ll still bottle some (for things we want to condition for a long time, or send to contests) but i think we’ll primarily be kegging from now on.

the only additional ongoing task now, is for me to work in biceps, triceps, and deltoids. because lifting a 40lb keg of beer into the chest fridge is no small feat!

i’ll post pictures up after i take some tonight.

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