The Beer Hacker: Brewing on the cheap: Revising estimates

Returning to the series of articles about the economic impact of homebrewing, we re-examine previous cost estimates based on new information.

When I started this series, hops at the local Brew Shop were selling for $5 to $6.50 per two-ounces of whole flowers, and that was what the various estimates were based on. Since then, the price of whole hops has dropped to $3.25 to $3.95 per two-ounce package, so here I present some updated figures.

(Note: the online prices of hops are still averaging around $5-6 per two ounces, so it’s possible that hop prices in your area—if you have a local homebrew shop—are still similarly priced as well. But there is currently a hop surplus (a reaction to the hop shortage several years back), so I would expect to start seeing those prices go down sooner rather than later.)

Without further ado, here’s our updated pricing chart:

Ingredient Price Price (online)
Malt extract syrup – 7 lbs. $18.00 $16.50
Malt extract – dried – 3 lbs. $11.00 $11.25
Malt extract – dried – 1 lb. $4.25 $4.40
Grains – per pound $1.90 $1.45
Specialty grains – per pound $2.25 ~$2.00
Hops (whole leaf) $3.25 – 3.95 $5.50+
Liquid yeast $6.50 $6.00 – 10.00
Yeast – dry $1.25 – 3.95 $1.20 – 4.00
Corn sugar – 1 lb. $1.25 $1.00 – 2.00

And, here’s an updated table of costs by style:

Style Price
American Pale Ale $31.15
English Bitter $34.77
India Pale Ale $43.35
Double/Imperial IPA $54.92
Brown Ale $31.07
Porter $37.09
Stout (basic) $34.40
Imperial Stout $71.17
Hefeweizen (basic) $29.95
Cream Ale $29.15
Belgian Witbier $35.93
Barleywine ~$70

Not a huge difference from the original estimates, but every little bit adds up.


  1. There is only a hop surplus of Super Alphas but Aroma acreage is down because the comodity hop market is based on alphas so microbrewers and homebrewers are still paying higher prices for the hops they like to use .

    Also your pricing seems to based on extract and not all grain which is far cheaper as is buying grain and hops in bulk and not homebrew store sized packages.

  2. Very interesting—something I hadn’t considered but it makes perfect sense. They have to go where the money is, I suppose.

    And yes, these are extract-based prices; I’m actually planning a comparison of the costs of extract to all-grain brewing soon. Hopefully I won’t bungle it up too badly. 🙂

  3. Thanks for the update in pricing… We have been brewing quite a bit more in the first few months of the year so far. It is amazing us how fast the cost of brewing can run up. This will be a useful tool!

  4. There are few pleasures in life to match a nice cold beer on a hot day. The best way to round off a hard day’s work is, in many people’s mind, a trip to their favourite bar to partake of a couple of glasses of their chosen brew. However, prices can be a major sticking point for many, as price increases have taken a night’s drinking to the level where it is now something that has to be balanced against cost. Although there are other reasons to be restrained when it comes to having a few drinks, such as the health benefits of drinking responsibly, many of us have come to the conclusion that there is no reason to pay higher prices when it just doesn’t seem worth it.

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