Recently, many have been writing about the cost of homebrew prices. Which got me thinking of how I can reduce my homebrew cost. Sure, some of us already grow your own (hops/malt), purchase in bulk, reuse yeast, make our own homebrew equipment. Is that all we can do?
I think an overlooked aspect to homebrewing (if you can) is to use one of the best resources possible...commercial brewers. Ok, I know some of you already do this, but are you taking full advantage? Did you know that many commercial breweries simply dump thier excess yeast down the drain? Their yeast are very healthy, viable and better than what you would find in a vial/package.
With a friend (he works in a local brewery as a cellarmen), I recently did a small experiment where we used the same wort and 2 different yeast. The result: his healthy commercial yeast (taken straight from a 90-barrel fermentor) attenuated 8 points lower than mine.
Sure the yeast were some differences and slightly different pitching rates, but my point is you can get FREE HEALTHY YEAST! Zilch, Nada, Zero, for FREE $0.99. All you have to do is ask and more times than not they will give you some. It helps if you bring a steril container. This will save you $8. Well, at least in my case.