My brother bought me a Brew in a Bag (BIAB) grains IPA kit for Christmas, and I had a lot of fun making and fermenting the beer, which I tweaked a little with a fresh mint twist. We have yet to see how well it comes out, as it’s currently sitting on its yeast for at least the rest of the week, then priming sugar + bottling, a couple weeks of rest, and finally it will be drinkable. It’s a little one-gallon kit, and my yield is probably hurt by my small stovetop pot. I might only get 10 bottles out of it.
Extracting sugars, the hops, and the final fermenting setup
I’m wondering now–how much would it cost to buy basic equipment to make a 5-gallon batch? Here’s what you need:
- 7 gallon Brewing pot
- Muslin bag
- 6.5 Gallon Carboy w/Airlock
- Bottle Capper
I can buy everything except the brewing pot for $90 at our local store, the pot runs $80 but it’s a nice 7.5 gallon size. So far, just investing in basic equipment, we are at $170 in startup costs.
Then for a recipe and point of comparison, we’ll look at a Nugget Nectar clone, pricing it retail at $13/6-pack (this is NYC sadly):
- 6.5 lbs Continental Pils Malt: $18
- 7.0 lbs Munich Malt: $16
- 5.0 oz Crystal 120L: $2
- 1.00 oz 13%aa Nugget 60′: $2
- 0.50 oz 13%aa Simcoe 30′: $2.5
- 1.00 oz 16%aa Warrior 20′ $2.5
- 1.25 oz 16%aa Tomahawk 0′ or hopback: $2.25
- 1.00 oz 8%aa Palisade 0′ or hopback: $2
- 1.00 oz 13%aa Simcoe DH: $2.5
- 1.00 oz 8%aa Palisade DH: $2
- Cal-Ale Yeast: $7
The total cost of this recipe is $58.75 or about $60, for 54 bottles of beer. So, about $1.10 per bottle. Whereas, buying 54 bottles in store in NYC costs about $117, or $2.1 a bottle. By making your own beer, you can save a dollar a bottle, and enjoy the process!
I’m actually a bit surprised that that malt is that expensive, perhaps there’s a better source?
To make back your startup costs of $170 you’ll need to brew at least 2 full five-gallon batches. After that, you’re in profitable territory! And some of the items, such as yeast, or large bulk orders of hops, can be used for multiple sessions, further driving down costs. I wouldn’t be surprised to see under a dollar a bottle if you bought in bulk.
Update: I should multiple pricing on the DME by .75 to get the equivalent grains ratio, which would give me $8.5 off the batch, for $50 even or $.93 a bottle, for a savings of $67. If I did all-grains, the price would be another 20% lower.
In this post, I’ll be reviewing a brand new Synology DiskStation DS1511+ NAS equipped with five Hitachi Deskstar 2TB 5K3000 drives configured in RAID5. For comparison, I’ve also written about the Gen 1 Drobo’s performance as a NAS before (it tops out around 20MB/s), and own two of them at home. While the Drobos allow you to build mix-and-match RAID arrays, they are slow, take forever to rebuild, noisy, and hot. I am hoping the DS1511+ will remedy all of these issues.
Read more about the DS1511+ specs here
Network Base Configuration
The Synology NAS is using default MTU of 1500, connected to a Gigabit Ethernet Switch on LAN2. Testing with iperf shows a good gigabit connection between my PC and the NAS of around 885Mb/s:
Big_Bug> iperf -s
Server listening on TCP port 5001
TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default)
[ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
[ 7] 0.0-20.0 sec 2.05 GBytes 882 Mbits/sec
[ 6] 0.0-30.0 sec 3.09 GBytes 885 Mbits/sec
In megabytes per second, we can transfer 110.625 MB/s. As you will see, this is actually slightly lower than the performance of the RAID array.
The Hard Drives
How fast are the triple-platter 2TB deskstar 5K3000s in RAID5? It can do a very reasonable 125 MB/s in unbuffered pure-disk performance:
Big_Bug> hdparm -t /dev/sda
Timing buffered disk reads: 374 MB in 3.01 seconds = 124.22 MB/sec
Benchmarking File Copy from Windows
To test how fast I can transfer from my PC to the NAS, I’ve created a 4GB binary file:
C:\Users\Elliott Bäck\Desktop>ls -l test.file
-rw-rw-rw- 1 Elliott Bäck 0 4693544330 2011-04-19 20:00 test.file
Copying this file in Windows 7’s explorer took just 50.5 seconds. Doing the math, this gives us an average write rate of 88.63 MB/s. How fast can we copy it back? It took 71.6 seconds, for an average read rate of 62.51 MB/s. Both of these number are going to be constrained by how fast my desktop PC’s Intel SSD can read/write. I also tested using Java and writing a RandomAccessFile with a ByteBuffer, which achieved 95MB/s write and 97MB/s read on a 1GB file.
Reliability & Temperature
You just need to open up the storage manager on the Synology DS1511+ NAS to see what a beauty it is, giving you a full SMART status readout on all your physical drives, as well as their temperatures. Even after running through my benchmarking, the drives were only 34° C warm:
At nearly $900 for the NAS itself without drives, it’s pricey. But plugged into a Gigabit ethernet, the DS1511+ from Synology is also fast, cool, and quiet; the three things you want most from a NAS. Featurewise, it has a glorious UI, media servers built in (which I don’t use) and expandibility from 5 to a maximum of 15 drives. I anticipate phasing out my Drobos, with their proprietary technology, for the Synology NAS, which runs on open-source plain-vanilla linux.
All in all, the new iPod nano’s great. A perfect replacement for the old shuffle. Approximately the same size, but with multitouch, FM radio, big flash capacity. What’s not to like?