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Showing content with the highest reputation since 11/06/2014 in all areas

  1. 53 points
    In Pirates of the Caribbean, they say that the code is more guidelines than actual rules (if you don't know what that means, you haven't seen Pirates and you should stop reading this post and just give up life...). A lot of you come on this forum and want to know the RIGHT WAY to brew beer. Well, guess what. There is no right way, no absolute way to brew perfect beer. Mr. Beer recommends certain timing for fermenting and bottling. If you review their website, you'll see different timing in the past, which they then extended more recently. Why? Because while they'd like you to be able to ferment in a week and drink a week later, they likely balanced that old recommendation against how the beer tasted and how many new brewers dropped out, i.e. stopped buying refills. Like a shaving blade manufacturer, Mr. Beer makes more money selling refills (blades) then kits (razors). So more recently they extended the amount of recommended time. Prior to this change, members of the forum started recommending longer times than Mr. Beer, which developed into the "3 - 4" recommendation. Why? Because 3 weeks fermenting works for everything, and 4 weeks in bottles works for nearly everything. Most brewers starting out don't buy a hydrometer to read OG (original gravity) and FG (final gravity), and to determine when their beer is done - or if they do buy one they don't buy it initially. Waiting 3 weeks ensures that your beer is almost guaranteed to be done (there are rare, rare exceptions), that's why we recommend 3 weeks. Can it be ready in 20 days? Yes. 18 days? Yes. 15 days? Maybe. Do you want to be safe and be sure it's done? Then wait the full 21 days. Do you want it ready sooner? Then stop being a cheap SOB and buy a hydrometer and tube and test your beer at 2 weeks, then again 48 hours later, and see if the reading is unchanged and at your expected FG. As to the 4 weeks in the bottle, members of the forum experimented. Some tried a bottle at 1 week, then 2 weeks, then 3 weeks, then 4 weeks, then 5 weeks, ... They learned that at 4 weeks most beers were pretty good, but at 2 weeks most beers weren't so hot (they also learned that they were 4 or 5 bottles down, i.e. their "testing" used up most of their beer). Are there exceptions? Yes. Is there an exact, perfect time for all beers to be ready? No. So what should I do? Wait 4 weeks, and keep your bottles at temps of 68 or higher, but not over 80. Then, put 1 bottle in the frig for at least 3 days, and then drink it. If you like it, refrigerate a few more, leaving the ones you won't drink in 3 days to condition even longer. What do I do for 7 weeks? We really don't care . Go buy some craft beer, go bother your spouse, go lose 20 pounds. But posting 7 times a day "hey, I stuck my head inside my LBK, taste my beer with my tongue, and it seems ready" is not going to make your beer ready any sooner. What you should do is READ. Read the stickies on the forum, read the posts on the forum, read the recommended books (some online for free, some at your library for free). Read, read, and read some more. Is there a correct temperature to ferment at? Yeast has a temperature range that it likes best. Notice the term "likes best". So, if Mr. Beer recommends 68 - 76, that's the range they recommend. Will your beer be ruined at 67 degrees or 77 degrees? No, it's just not optimum. Kind of like filling your tires with 27 pounds of air instead of 32 or 35. Note that the temperature recommended is for the wort (beer) inside the keg, NOT for the air outside in the room. So, either buy a temperature strip from Mr. Beer, or pickup one at your local brewing store or aquarium store, or make sure that the air temp allows for a likely 6 degree increase during active fermentation (or 5 or 4, or 7). I brew at 64 degrees. Before I made a temperature controlled fermentation freezer, I fermented in a basement (like many on the forum) that ranged from 64 - 68 most of the year, meaning the wort likely never exceeded 74 degrees (I say likely because unlike some on the forum, I did not awake every hour and go check it). The key to brewing beer is that there is no right answer, people try things and it works for them, and most don't do scientific studies and comparisons. Yes, if you do stupid things (stick your foot in the beer, stir your beer with a spoon that your dog licked, etc.) you will likely ruin your beer. But, for the most part, nearly all of your batches will produce drinkable beer. The guidelines that we give you are to help you have a higher success rate and have higher quality beer. My first batches weren't so good. I fermented too hot. Now the beer I make gets rave reviews, most noticeable by the amount that people consume. I figured out what works for me and that's what I do. But I started with the 3-4 rule, and found the right temperature area of my house, and the rest is history (read the upcoming book "Rickbeer, A Brewing Success Story" available on Amazon for $954.00.). I ferment for 18 days at 64 degrees, except when I ferment for 17 days or 19 days. I bottle for at least 4 weeks, but with my enormous pipeline I usually have no need to try one at 4 weeks. I hope this helps someone, maybe two of you. So brew on, follow our guidelines (or walk the plank), and build your pipeline. Oh, and remember that you can Google most anything (not that, that's really sick) and you'll find lots of answers, some of them right.
  2. 27 points
    During the holidays there is an influx of new Mr. Beer brewers, which is great. In January, many rush to make their first brew, and many follow - or not - Mr. Beer's instructions. Most never find this forum. You did. Fact - the drop out rate, i.e. the number of people that brew a batch and quit, is quite high. Why? Top reasons: 1) Not following directions - Like anything else you do, if you deviate from the instructions you'll get a different result, sometimes a bad tasting result. 2) Going all mad scientist - "What if I add an ear of corn and an allen wrench"? Answer - crappy beer with a corn and metallic taste. Advice - Make the basic recipe before you make it with alterations. When you do alterations, start with simple ones that you can compare, side by side, with the base refill. Like adding malt extract (LME/DME). Or fruit. Or make some of the Mr. Beer recipes listed on their site. 3) Impatience, tasting before it's ready - Mr. beer recommends less time than those of us that have brewed many batches. 3 - 4 is the general rule of thumb for a reason. It works. 3 weeks fermenting and at least 4 weeks in the bottle (at room temp) generally makes much better beer than a week in the fermenter and/or 2 weeks in the bottle. Fact - green beer tastes like crap. As the Rolling Stones sing, "Time is on my side, yes it is". If you want a hobby where everything is perfect quickly, find another one. 4) Unwillingness to learn from others - The forum has thousands of posts, and it can be quite overwhelming. Some don't attempt it. The best advice I can give is spend HOURS reading the forum. Read the stickies at the top, like these two, which answer many of the questions new brewers ask: The best advice? SLOW DOWN. READ. FOLLOW DIRECTIONS. If you do, you'll likely be using this forum in July. If not, you'll leave before April and never return. If the search function doesn't work well for you, then try this (it works on every site in the world): Site:SITE NAME GOES HERE (space) SEARCH TERMS GO HERE Example: site:community.mrbeer.com/community/discussion-forums what temp should I ferment at? This example yields 1,840 results on the Mr. Beer forum. Go ahead, try it. Also, remember that the internet is a vast repository of knowledge. Google your question. Read the possible answers. When 1/2 dozen say the same thing, it's probably right. And, when everyone says that doing something is a bad idea, when you do it don't be surprised. Last piece of advice is regarding use of the forum. If you've never used a forum before, there are some basic guidelines: Read the forum rules and guidelines before posting for the first time.Don't post new problems on someone else's thread and interrupt a topic of discussion. Start your own thread.Search the forum to see if your topic is already covered.Use a meaningful title for your thread.Wait a reasonable time for an answer. We're all customers like you, no one is paid to respond. "Bumping" your thread or posting numerous times all over the forum is not proper forum use.Take the time to use proper spelling and punctuation so you don't have long run on sentences that are hard for people to understand what you are asking and respond to when they read them - like this one...Don't ask your questions in private messages. Forums are for info sharing. Hope this helps someone. All of us were "noobs" once, my first brew was started in July 2012. After brewing 33 LBK-sized batches, I have a tremendous amount to still learn. And, so do you. Enjoy, RDWHAHB.
  3. 25 points
    MRB Josh R

    Steeping/Mashing Grains 101

    Partial Mash Brewing: Are you looking to step up your brewing game with some grains? It's not too difficult and extra grains will add a lot more dimension and complexity to your brews. You will also have more creative control of your recipes which will truly make them your own. Here's a short primer on how grains are used in what's known as "partial mash" brewing. If you're just getting into using grains, this should help you out. If you've been using grains for awhile, perhaps you'll still find some helpful tips here. First, I want to explain the difference between steeping and mashing. From a procedural standpoint, steeping and mashing both involve soaking crushed grains in water. But when mashing, you have a more narrow range of temperatures and grain-to-water ratios to work within. Steeping Grains: You can steep specialty grains at almost any temperature, from the temperature of your water right out of the tap to nearly boiling. To be safe, it’s probably best not to let your steeping temperature climb above 170 F, especially when you’re steeping a small amount of grain in a relatively large volume of water. This may extract excess tannins and give your beer a slight iced-tea-like character. When specialty grains are steeped, the color and flavors from their husks are dissolved into the water. Likewise, any sugars from the interior of the grains are also dissolved. If a grain has a starchy interior, it should be mashed rather than steeped (see list below). Cold Steeping: Another method that is gaining traction for some styles of beer is cold steeping. Roasted grains such as Black Patent or chocolate malt are crushed and then steeped in cold water overnight. This allows the extraction of color and some flavor, but it reduces some of the harsher flavors that may not be appropriate such as tannins, which can create an undesirable astringent or bitter taste in your beer. This method works well with black IPA’s (also known as Cascadian Dark Ales) that want the color, and to a lesser degree the flavor additions, without the burnt acrid flavors that some of the darker roast malts can impart. If the roasted flavor additions are just as important as the color addition, you will need to increase the amount of steeping addition by at least half, if not more. Mashing Grains: Temps and Times: When base grains, or a mixture of base grains and specialty grains, are mashed, the temperature is usually held between 148 F and 165 F. Lower temperatures within this range and longer mash times (60–90 minutes) produce wort with a high degree of fermentability. Higher temperatures within this range and shorter mash times, followed by a mash out, make worts with a lower degree of fermentability. A "mash out" is a step in which the grains are heated, by direct heat or by adding hot water, to 168-170F after the mash. For most mashes with a ratio of 1.5 - 2 quarts of water per pound of grain, the mash out is not needed. (There are more complex mash programs, such as step mashing and decoction, but partial mash recipes rarely call for these. Almost all partial mash recipes call for a single infusion mash.). Grain to Water Ratio: In a mash, the volume of water is limited so that the grains make something similar to a porridge. Generally, the mash thickness varies between 1.0 and 2.5 quarts of water per pound of grain. A mash thickness of 1.25 qts/lb is frequently used in homebrewing as it is fairly thick and therefore you can mash a lot of grains in a relatively small volume. Thinner mashes are often used when the mash needs to be stirred, or for decoction mashing. For most partial mash procedures, anywhere within this range will work. I usually mash at 1.375 qts/lb in a partial mash, because this allows me to stir the grains easily when they are enclosed in a steeping bag. Malts that Should be Mashed (Base Malts): These malts are mostly lightly kilned (with brown malt as an exception), contain starchy interiors and sufficient enzymes to (at a minimum) convert their own starches into sugars. 2-row pale malt - this can come from the US, UK, Scottland, Belgium, Australia or other countries, and may sometimes be labeled with the name of the malting barley variety (Maris Otter, Golden Promise or Optic) 2-row brewers malt 2-row lager malt 6-row pale malt 6-row brewers malt Pilsner malt Vienna malt Munich malt wheat malt rye malt rauchmalz (smoked malt) acidulated malt mild ale malt amber malt brown malt honey malt aromatic/melanoidin biscuit/Victory some dextrin malts Flaked malts such as corn, wheat, rye, barley, rice, rye, etc. must be mashed with an equal amount of 2-row for proper conversion. These grains do not have the enzymes to convert the starches to sugars and will need the 2-row for assistance. Malts That Can be Steeped (Specialty Grains): These malts do not have starchy interiors, either because the starches have been converted to sugars (in the case of stewed malts) or degraded by roasting. These malts can be steeped or mixed with base grains and mashed. Stewed malts - including crystal malts, (most) caramel malts, most Cara [something] malts, including Briess Carapils (but not every dextrin-type malt), Special B malts Roasted malts (and grains) - including black malt, chocolate malt, roasted barley, dark wheat malts, Weyermann Carafa malts peat-smoked malt A more complete listing can be found here: http://beersmith.com/grain-list/ Using Grains With Mr. Beer: You don't need a lot of grain to enhance your Mr. Beer recipes. As little as 2-4 oz can make a huge difference in a 2 gallon batch. Most grains that are considered "base malts", such as 2-row and 6-row aren't really needed in our kits because they won't add much to the beer other than a small amount of ABV. There are some exceptions to this such as wheat malt, which can be used as a base malt and as a specialty malt (adds head retention and body when used as a specialty malt). Some of the other base malts that can be used as specialty malts include honey malt, rye malt, rauschmalz, the toasted malts such as Biscuit and Victory, and kilned malts such as Vienna and Munich. Remember that when using any of these malts, they must be mashed rather than steeped. No more than 8 oz should be used in the Mr. Beer kits. Specialty grains such as the "cara" malts (Carapils, Carafoam, Carastan, etc.), dark malts, and crystal malts will not add ABV, but they will add body, flavor, and/or color. The cara malts will add body and some flavor. They will also help with head retention. Dark malts will add mostly color and roasted/chocolate/coffee flavors. Crystal malts will add some color (they range from Crystal 10 - Crystal 120, or from lightest to darkest respectively), but they will also add flavor and sweetness due to the caramelized, unfermentable sugars in the malt (these are also sometimes known as "caramel malts"). All of these grains can be steeped instead of mashed, or they can be mixed with some base grains for mashing. No more than 4 oz of specialty malts are needed for most recipes. Other non-malt adjuncts that are commonly used in addition to barley and wheat grains are oats, corn, and rice. These should make up no more than 10% of your total recipe. The total amount of malts/adjuncts recommended for use in our 2 gallon batches should be no more than 1lb. NOTE: Any flaked ingredient must be mashed with an equal amount of 2-row for proper starch conversion. While our Brewing Extracts make great beer, additional steeping/mashing grains will make it even better. By adding more depth and complexity to your beer using grains, you more creative control of your recipes, and a lot more room to improve or enhance them to your liking. Step-By-Step Partial Mash Instructions: Extra Equipment needed: Bowl for mixing grains. (Not necessary if working with only 1 grain style.) Thermometer (We sell them on our website here: http://www.mrbeer.com/accessories/brewing-utensils/temperature-control) Colander or strainer 1 Cup of water for rinsing grains Scale (Optional. See #2 below.) Brewing: 1. Bring 4-8 cups water to about 150 F. The amount of water will depend on the amount of grains you have and the size of pot you use. It is recommended that you don't use anything larger than 6 qts when doing PM recipes with our kits. You want the water to just cover the grains. If it doesn't, it won't hurt to add more water. 2. While your water is heating up, weigh and mix all of your grains in a bowl (This isn't necessary if working with only 1 grain type) and add to your muslin sack. Do NOT tie the sack too tightly. Try to leave as much space as possible for the grains to move around. NOTE: If you do not have a scale, simply split the grains the best you can. It doesn't have to be perfect. Most recipes will call for 2-4 oz of each grain. Since the bags come in 4 oz, you would simply have to split it in half visually for any recipe calling for 2 oz. 3. Once your water has reached 150 F, add the grain sack. Keep raising the temp until you reach around 160. Try to stay within 155 - 170 for 30 minutes, stirring the bag of grains around every few minutes. Using a lid might help to keep your temps consistent, especially if using gas burners. Going over 170 for too long can cause the malt to release astringent tannin into your beer. 4. After 30 minutes, remove your thermometer, and with a large spoon, carefully lift the grains into a colander or strainer. 5. With 1 cup of hot water (hot from the tap is fine), slowly rinse the grains. Then let them sit for about a minute to drain. Once drained, discard the grains (Or use them for chicken feed, bread, etc.). 6. At this point, you will bring the water to a boil and brew just like a normal Mr. Beer kit: Bring your water to a boil. Add any hops, if called for. Remove from the heat and add your extract. Mix well, add to your fermenter into the 4 liters of water. Top it off to the #2 mark (or 8.5 Liters if using the old LBKs) and stir well. Pitch yeast and wait! Please keep in mind when purchasing grains separately that they DO NOT include muslin sacks. You can purchase them here: http://www.mrbeer.com/muslin-hop-sack Please feel free to point out any errors or typos I may have made. Cheers!
  4. 21 points
    MRB Josh R

    The Secret is Out!!

    I know many of you have been waiting for the "big secret" ever since I mentioned that we were working on something special for Mr. Beer a couple months ago. And I've been absolutely dying to tell everyone what we've been working on. Well, it's time to let the cat out of the bag. The big secret is: GRAINS!!! That's right, we're going to begin selling grains and partial mash recipes starting within the next week! Our first PM recipe, Sir Kenneth Blonde, will be available starting tomorrow (though emails will go out on Saturday). We already have some new brewing thermometers available on the website (http://www.mrbeer.com/clip-thermometer-large and http://www.mrbeer.com/clip-thermometer-small). With the grain release, there is also be a how-to guide to help people that are new to partial mash brewing (see below). In addition to the Sir Kenneth Blonde, which is also our first collaboration recipe of 2016 (a collaboration with Paladin Brewing Company), we also have 7 new PM recipes and almost 20 different grains (pre-crushed for you) that we will be releasing over the next week so STAY TUNED!!! Cheers!! See our How-to guide here:
  5. 15 points

    Simple Guideline

    Beer, the fermenting frontier. These are the voyages of Mr. Beer Brewers. Its 2 gallon mission: to explore strange new brews, to seek out new flavors and new combinations, to boldly go where many have gone before. Welcome to the BeerBorg Information Center. You will be Assimilated. Resistance is quite Futile: We have Beer. And Now a few words from THE NONG. Some simple guidelines: Sanitize everything you are going to use. The last thing you want is a “goobie” attack on your beer. Prep your work area and preset all items. The last thing you want to happen is to be in the middle of an "operation" and get distracted and forget to add something. As this has been discovered by new groups of "newbz", I decided to add this bit of information. Measure the volume content for your LBK (little brown keg). The markings aren't as accruate as you may think. It's simple to do. Just start adding known quantitys of water, and mark it on the outside with a sharpie. That way, you know how mucy liquid is actually in the Keg. Pre-measure your "goodies" and set them up in order of use. VERIFY your measurements!! and make sure you're using the correct end of this thing... Big Difference between 1 tsp and 1 TBSP If your water doesn’t taste good, get some Spring water from Wally World or somewhere else. It will take longer than 2 weeks to make beer. Cooling down the Wort When you've brewed up your wort (read: emptied the warm cans of HME/UME...or Booster into the hot water)and you are getting ready to add it all to the LBK (Little Brown Keg) you can set the pot the wort is in into a sink with Ice or Cold water. This will cool it down before adding it to the Keg. The normal instructions say that you need to fill the LBK up to the 4 line with water. If you do that, make sure it's cold water. The colder the better. Because if you're going to add "HOT WORT" to the keg, you don't want to warp it out. Then you're to fill to the 8 line to top it off. Again, cold water. If using refrigerated water, you really shouldn't have a problem. If you're using cold tap water, you should cool down that wort. And, unless you really like to tinker, there really isn't a need for a wort chiller for a MB sized wort. But then, it IS a Boy Toy. I've found that when adding the wort to the LBK, I have better control if I pour towards me. That way, I can determine "flow rate" and Target. 14~21 days in the keg at 66*F is good.[ If you get the temperature too low, the yeast will go to sleep. If the temperature is too high, it will die. So it helps to research the temperature range of your yeast.] This will allow the yeast to convert the sugars to Alcohol and the Co2 will protect your beer from oxygen. (note: It is wise to purchase a Hydrometer. They are simple to use. They take 99.9% of the guess work out of "Is it done yet?" In short, as pointed out by one of our BOM Borg members, The Hydrometer is like your gas gauge. It lets you know when it's full (read unfermented sugars) and when it's Empty (The sugars have been converted). Two things here: Buy 2 hydrometers, if kept alone, they tend to commit suicide. AND...if your taking readings, you CAN sanitize the meter and tube, and then return the sample to the keg. Me, I like to drink the sample and see how it is going. But to each, their own. (1) not ALL beers will react the same in the keg (2) not ALL beers will have a lot of Krausen (foam). (3) not All beers will show activity. (4) some beers will blow the lid off your fermenter. a. Some will wait until you think it's safe, then spew. (5) beers are like kids…you can make them with the same ingredients and still wind up with a different personality. If you see a build up of “trub” (gunk) on the bottom of the fermenter, you ARE making beer. This is trub in a bottle. You'll see the same stuff at the bottom of your Keg. If you want to clear the beer up a little before you bottle: cold crash. That would be to place the fermenter into the fridge for a few days. This helps drop yeast and other objects out of suspension , thus clearing up the beer. Remember, bottle while the wort is still cold, do not let it warm up, or you run the risk of everything coming out of suspension again. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO COLD CRASH. Seems I missed a step here: Priming. There are two schools of thought here. One is to bottle prime. That's pouring the sugar directly in the bottle, then adding the finished beer, and cap. Keep in mind when priming the bottles directly, you may need a small funnel as the hole at the top of the bottles are realativly small, and MOST IMPORTANT is use the right end of the measuring device. There is a big difference between 1 tsp and 1 TBS. The other is "Batch" priming. Here, you add the sugar to water, bring to a boil, cool the sweet water, and then add it to the beer in a second container for mixing. We've found a low cost helpful tool at "Wally World" called a slimline. It holds about 2.5 gallons, and works great for a Mixing container. This is stolen directly from a fellow BeerBorg Member's post: I've seen a number of posts recently with folks wanting to try batch priming and having a lot of questions about beer styles, levels of CO2, etc. so I thought I would start a thread here in hopes that: 1) The newer folks wanting to try this by using an online tool get their questions answered, AND 2) The old hands can offer feedback and advice in a (somewhat) singular spot What is batch priming? Simply stated, it's adding priming sugar to the whole batch of beer at one instead of into each individual bottle. To do this this you'll need to have a second MrB keg, a bottling bucket, or something like a slimline container from Walmart or somewhere similar. How do you do it? - Bring about a 1/2 cup of water to a boil - Turn flame off and add priming sugar (whatever you choose to use) - Let cool down to room temp (some like to let it boil for 10 minutes, I don't) - Rack (move/drain) beer into the secondary container using the spigot, racking cane/tube, or tubing taking care to not splash and aerate the beer - Add cooled priming solution and stir GENTLY if you choose to. Some just add the priming solution first or halfway through and let the natural movement of the draining beer mix it. The key is to sanitize everything like always and avoid splashing How do I use a priming calculator? First, choose one like these: Tasty Brew Screwy Brewer Beer Recipricator There are others as well if you want to search around. I'll use the one from Tasty Brew in this example: First: Decide how much carbonation you want in your beer. This is expressed in volumes of CO2 (2.3, 2.7, 3.0, etc.). In this tool, the styles of beer are in the drop down menu along with associated range of CO2 volumes. If you are making an American Amber Ale choose that from the drop down menu and you'll see the CO2 range from 2.26 - 2.78. Second: Decide if the amount in the pre-populated box is what you want. It will set the middle range of that style for you. You can adjust that up or down manually by typing in the box if you like. If you're like me, you won't have any idea what this means initially (What the heck does 2.26 volumes of CO2 feel like anyway???). Until you get a feel, you'll have to test and see what you like but this is where the styles as examples come in handy. You do NOT have to stick to these guides, but they are helpful if you like the level of carb you typically see in a wheat beer for example, or a porter. Third: Enter the amount of beer you are priming. MrB sizes are 2.14 gallons to 2.4 or 2.5 depending on how full you fill your keg. (Standard to instructions is 2.14 gallons) Fourth: Enter the temperature that you fermented at. Why is this important? CO2 is more soluble in colder temps so if you ferment at a colder temp you have more residual (already produced) CO2 in the beer already so you need to take that into account. Fifth: Press CALCULATE and you'll be presented with different weights for three different priming options (corn sugar, table sugar and DME). You'll have to look at the packaging, look at the manufacturer's website or talk to your LHBS about the fermentability of the DME you buy if you go that route. The calculator at Screwy's site allows you to also choose honey as a priming agent and gives you the option to get weights or measurements but you'll have to know the volume of CO2 you want to enter manually. It's really that simple. Don't be intimidated by the tools or the process if you want to try it. there's lots of help here for anybody that wants to try it and has questions. (This post brought to you by an extremely long conference call at work that I have no need to be on....hopefully it's helpful to somebody) ok, that was his imput. I've stolen it. Why? it's informative. Plus, he said I could. There are calculators out there for figuring out how much to add for any given beer, so I am not going to post them all here. As to which is best? Personal preference. They Both get the job done. Once you bottle your beer, allow it to sit in a Dark Spot for at least 4 weeks. (note: it’s better to put the sugar in the bottle first, then the beer. On several occasions when adding the sugar last, the bottles have foamed up. This doesn’t happen when the sugar goes in first)This is what is going on in those 4 weeks: The First 2 weeks at room temp (somewhere around 70*F) allows the yeast to carbonated your beer. Sitting for an additional 2 weeks (at 70*F) allows the yeast to finish up anything it didn’t. This is referred to as “Lagering”. This allows the beer to age a bit and allow the flavors to fight it out and learn to get along. It does not mean it has to be “Cold Lagered”. This is ALE we’re talking here, not Lagers (that uses different yeast, and a different method of brewing). Before you drink your beer, place it in the fridge for a few days. A week would be better. This also helps clear up the beer, and drops more out of suspension . Don’t be in a hurry to “experiment” with your brews. Learn what they taste like first THEN play with them. It’s hard to “find” that taste with modifications if you don’t know what the original tastes like. Some Terms: OG : Original Gravity. This is a reading you take before you add the yest to the wort. This number tells you how much FERMENTABLE sugars are in the beer you are making. You take the reading before you add the yeast so that you're not reading a partially fermented batch. FG : Final Gravity. This number tells you how much has fermented. As a general rule, this number should be about 1/4 of the original gravity. If you are using a wine or champagne yeast, your readings may be lower. LBK: Little Brown Keg. It's the Mr. Beer fermenting container. It's Little, It's Brown, and it looks like a keg. Conditioning: (AKA Lagering) Standard conditioning: MB was famous for telling you to "Lager" your beer. This caused great amounts of confusion. To Lager actually means to "store". Americans tend to thing "COLD STORAGE" when the word lager is used. It doesn't get that warm in Germany. But, as we are making ales and not "lager beer". Ale uses a yeast that really likes temps between 64*F~75*F. So,if you drop your beers in the fridge after first bottling at say the standard 38*F, your yeast will go to sleep and never do a thing to carbinate your beer. So, you wind up with flat beer. When making a ALE BEER, "Lager" it at room temp. Our Room Temp. Not the Artic Room Temp. Lager's... they use a different yeast, they like it cold, read the instructions on the pack. It takes longer to make the "Lager" beers. They yeast normally isn't as active as Ale yeast, and there is more to doing a Lager than a ale. I would get too long winded here to explain it all. I really suggest you ask on the boards. HME: Hopped Malt Extract (this malt has Hops in them already)[Do not boil HME~it will destroy the hop flavor in it.] LME: Liquid Malt Extract [can be used/boiled for hop addition] UME: Unhopped Malt Extract [can be used/boiled for hop addition] DME: Dry Malt Extract [can be used/boiled for hop addition, but must go thrugh a "Hot Break" Boil first]The DME hot break happens at about 211*212*F [at Sea level]. I've taken to holding the temp at 210*F for about 10 min. and allowing it to gently do a hot break. You'll see that during this process, the color goes from a creamy color to the darker clear color. As pointed out by fellow BeerBorg members, people living at higher elevations may only need to bring the temp to 207*f~ so check your location for accurate boiling temps. Dry Hopping: adding hops to the Wort after the boil (adds aroma)a word of caution here:( if you dry hop for more than 5 days, you may develope a "veggie" taste in your beer. so Try to Time your dry hopping. ) Flame OUT: when you turn the heat off after the boil It’s better to chase Flavor than it is to chase alcohol %. If you chase flavor, in most cases the alcohol level will go up. If you just add sugars to increase the alcohol content, you’ll make a nice cider…and will take months to mellow out enough to drink. New brewer just love to go all “Mad Scientist” and toss in every bit of fermentable sugars they can hoping to have a super High alcohol drink. Then they are quite put off when the beer goes all Frankenstein on them. Try to keep it down to a 2:1 malt to sugar ratio. That would be 2 parts malt, and one part “sugary stuff”. Hop boils. (boiling hops in water alone does not allow for the “goodies” to attach to anything. It needs a Malt extract of some kind to stick to. That is where all the Boil times for the hops comes in with the Malt extract.) The time line for boils are similar to a NASA count down. Consider all times as T minus launch. So when it’s written as a 50 min addition (as is the bitterness boil) , you add those hops while you still have 50 min left in the boil. Likewise with the 22 and 7 min boils. Then, you turn the flame off. You have Launch...er, wort. 90% Bitterness is achieved at 50 min. 60 Min will give you 95%. 100% is not achieved until 110 min. It’s your time, you figure out how long you want to boil. 100% Flavor is achieved at 22 min. It’s a steep curve. With 18% at 10 min, and a drop down to 10% at 35 min. Don’t over do a flavor boil. 100% Aroma at 7 ½ min boil. This curve is steeper than the flavor boil. It drops to 10 % at 15 min, and zero at 18 min boil. in the event this chart does not come up, please go to http//www.brewsupplies.com/_borders/hop_utilization.jpg Bottles: There has been questions about bottles. What can be used, what to do with them. Why is there air..no, that's someone else's thing..never mind. Brown Recapable Bottles. Most here at the BeerBorg Information Center have read, studied and generally come to the conclusion that Brown bottles keep out more distructive UV rays than the other bottles. UV light tends to cause the the Hops in beer to get real rowdy and stink up the joint. It seems there is a chemical reaction that happens with the UV and Hops that causes what's known as "Skunking" the beer. Yep, it smells of "Pepe La Pew". So the question is: Can I bottle my beer in a non-brown bottle? The answer: Yes. You sure can. To prevent (or reduce the chances) the beer from getting skunked, it's best to treat these non brown bottles like a Vampire you'd like to keep around for a while. Keep them in the dark. Now don't get all 'noided about it. It's not like if a ray of light hits the bottle it's going to blow up. The longer the beer is exposed to the UV, the more it will skunk out. Other types of Bottles: PLASTIC. PET bottles are fine. Previously used soda bottles are fine. Bottles that had a carbonated content are fine. Just make sure you've cleaned them well. As far as the Root Beer bottles... clean them with COLD WATER. Once you set that flavor in the bottle, it is there for good. In Fact, I suggest you clean all your pet bottles with cold water to prevent the unwanted setting of a flavor. The caps from the soda bottles are good for about 5 re-uses. After that, it's a crap shoot. Be patient Temptation is great to drink your beers early. It’s natural. The only problem is, the beer is NOT ready yet. If you really want to see the progression of beer, you will have to wait a long time. Here is how you can do it. after one week, take a bottle and place it in the fridge. after two weeks, take a bottle and place it in the fridge. after three weeks, take a bottle and place it in the fridge. after four weeks, take a bottle and place it in the fridge. Now, wait 3 days to allow the last addition to chill. Take four small glasses. Fill one from each of the beer bottles. Now taste them in progressive order. You’ll find that the fridge will STOP the yeast from it’s work. Now you have an example of how each beer taste at a particular stage. I bet the last addition taste better. Here is someone's video going through a 31 test period. Worth the watch: So the lesson here is: if you can't wait for it to mature, don't be surprised if the beer only hits a "meh" level. AT that point, remember, We Told You So. All this is lessons learned by many. Take this information for what it is worth. Learn from others, or re-invent the wheel on your own. It’s YOUR Beer. Also, for further reading (it’s also in a updated book form: http://web.archive.org/web/20071205194030/www.howtobrew.com/intro.html For a hop education (profiles really) http://www.roguebrewers.com/Hop_Profiles.html and a heads up for when you want to start harvesting bottles with free beer in them... http://www.homebrewtalk.com/wiki/index.php/Pry_off_bottles For a quick and easy carbination calculator Screwy Brewer has worked hard to set this up for you: http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/p/brewing-tools-formulas.html#bpc Yeast profiles http://www.onebeer.net/yeaststrains_lager.html http://www.onebeer.net/yeaststrains_ale.html another point of contact at a later time: http://www.beerborg.com/index/ we talk beer. We're not always there, but it's possible to leave messages.
  6. 15 points
    Cold crashing is a simple method that accomplishes 2 purposes. First, it allows the trub (layer of dead yeast and byproducts on the bottom of the LBK) to compact. Why is that good? Because more beer comes out of the spigot before the trub SLOWLY makes its way to the spigot. Second, cold crashing allows the beer to clarify, as particles fall out of suspension and settle to the bottom. I personally don't care about clear beer, but I do want to get every drop out of the LBK. If you're making a wheat beer, the second goal probably isn't something you want to have happen. How do you cold crash? Well, it's very difficult so I'll lay out the steps below. Please study them carefully before undertaking this difficult task. 1) When your beer is ready to bottle (determined by waiting 3 weeks and or testing with a hydrometer and getting matching readings 48 hours apart), pick up the LBK. 2) Walk over to your refrigerator. 3) Open the refrigerator door (or have someone else do it so you don't drop the LBK). 4) Put the LBK inside the refrigerator. 5) Close the refrigerator door. 6) Leave it in the refrigerator for 24 - 72 hours (it will thicken in 24 hours, takes 72 to settle the particles). On bottling day, prep everything and remove the LBK only when you're ready to bottle - you don't want to warm it up and undo all the difficult work that you accomplished. Questions: 1) Does cold crashing kill the yeast? - No, it just puts them to sleep. 2) Does cold crashing impact how my beer will carbonate? - No. Yeast wake up and it carbonates fine. Remember to angle your LBK during fermentation, and cold crashing (and bottling) to keep the trub away from the spigot. See this post: http://community.mrbeer.com/topic/32908-propping-up-your-lbk-no-trubal/ First picture below shows the inside of my LBK after bottling my latest brew. I have about an ounce, if that, of liquid left in there with the trub, which you can see in the 2nd picture (a little milky at that point because I sloshed it taking the pic). I had 5 gallons of liquid split between two LBKs, and that gave me 600 ounces of beer or 93.8% of what I started with. The most I've ever gotten is 614 ounces.
  7. 15 points
    This video is very good also. And remember, while you only need one tube, you should buy two hydrometers, because they are known to commit suicide without warning. Also, ABV = OG - FG x 131.25 where OG is your original gravity reading and FG is your final gravity reading.
  8. 14 points


    Why is it that every single new brewer is infatuated with increasing ABV? I remember when I started, I also wanted something with a high ABV, but I jumped into brewing a recipe that accomplished that. It was one of the worst beers that I have brewed, in fact I just drank the last bottle at 1 year in the bottle and it still sucked. I jumped into something that was above my ability too soon and paid for it in the long run. I have since learned to brew with taste in mind and in most cases ABV follows. Most of the beers I brew are in the 4.5% to 5% range with the occasional beer being higher based on the style. The best advice I can give a new brewer is "Chase Flavor and not ABV!!". If you are brewing for flavor the higher ABV will come. READ, READ, READ there are many post that explain how to increase flavor, mouthfeel and head retention all of which actually add some to the final ABV. OK, I am done with my rant.
  9. 13 points
    my daughter bought me an LBK for christmas. came with the classic light. i just wanted to say i followed all the directions and it turned out FANTASTIC. i include a pic of the finished light. since i have done 3 more ale patches in my LBK with products from the local home brew shop. each batch keeps getting better and better. thanks for all the info i have read on here about the processes and ingredients. it has been SO helpful!!!!! i look forward to many more awesome batches and being part of this community. thanks again!!! i am a home brew junkie now!
  10. 13 points

    Black and Tan success

    Having acquired an Irish Stout and a Classic American Light from a Craigslist sale ($10 for those plus an LBK and 10 bottles), I decided to try a black and tan. I sought the advice of JoshR, the King Solomon of brewing information (ok, so he's not King Solomon, just go with it). Josh gave me guidance on brewing the two beers so that the Tan ended up heavier than the Black (higher FG), so it would be on the bottom. I steeped some grains to turn CAL into something I would not gag on (and raise the OG), used different yeast, and added a pound of LME to both. I also bought The Perfect Black and Tan Layering Tool. Today was D-Day, so I opened one of each and proceeded to fill 1/2 of each glass with the Tan, then use the layering tool to pour the black. The result - 90% mixed together... FAILURE. My son and I sat there drinking them and speculating. Maybe the Black should be on the bottom? Maybe we poured too fast through the tool (shouldn't matter, holes are holes). So for the next round, we filled one glass 1/2 way with Tan, and one 1/2 way with Black, and tried again. This time SUCCESS! The secret was pouring the Tan with a head on it to cushion the Black (I've also read that if the Black is warmer it works better too). Thanks to JoshR for his invaluable contribution to this success (stop bowing, it's Friday, and you work in place with free beer. We hate you).
  11. 12 points
    We recieve many calls and emails here at Mr. Beer on how to use a hydrometer. Many of the hydrometer instructions can be confusing to newbies so I thought I would create this primer on the correct way to use a hydrometer and the explanation of specific gravity. Understanding Your Hydrometer: The hydrometer is a simple instrument that measures the weight (or gravity) of a liquid in relation to the weight of water. Because the relation of the gravity to water is specified (1.000), the resulting measure is called a specific gravity. A hydrometer will float higher in a heavy liquid, such as one with a quantity of sugar dissolved in it, and lower in a light liquid, such as water or alcohol. The average homebrewer has a very keen interest in the amount of sugar dissolved in their wort, for yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide and alcohol. By knowing how much sugar one started with and ended with, one can easily calculate the resulting alcohol content. There are many variants of the hydrometer. Some have only one scale, some two and some three. The typical hydrometer measures three things: specific gravity (S.G.), potential alcohol (P.A.), and sugar. How To Use Your Hydrometer: It's really pretty easy to use the hydrometer; just follow these simple steps: 1. Sanitize the hydrometer, test jar, and any tools that may come into contact with your wort/beer. 2. Place test cylinder on flat surface. 3. Draw a sample of "clean" wort/beer (Avoid testing samples that contain solid particles, since this will affect the readings.) 4. Fill the test jar with enough liquid to just float the hydrometer - about 80% full. 5. Gently lower the hydrometer into the test jar; spin the hydrometer as you release it, so no bubbles stick to the bottom of the hydrometer (this can also affect readings). 6. Making sure the hydrometer isn't touching the sides of the test jar and is floating freely, take a reading across the bottom of the meniscus (see image below). Meniscus is a fancy word for the curved surface of the liquid. 7. Be sure to take good records of your readings! That's it! Pretty simple, huh? There are a couple of other things you need to know to get an accurate measurement. Most hydrometers are calibrated to give correct readings at 59-60 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher temperatures thin the liquid slightly and result in lower readings than you'd get at the correct temperature. At 70 degrees F., the reading will be 0.001 low. To correct it, add 0.001 to the reading. At 77 degrees F., add 0.002. At 84 degrees F., add 0.003. At 95 degrees F., add 0.005. At temperatures above 95 degrees F., you risk killing your yeast and losing your beer. If you can't remember all that just print out the chart below. Another thing you need to know is that most hydrometers come with three scales. Specific Gravity, Balling, and Brix are the ones that are usually on your hydrometer. Specific Gravity and Brix are the ones that are most used. Sugar can be measured as ounces per gallon, or as degrees Balling, or Brix. Ounces per gallon are measured on a numeric scale in which an S.G. of 1.046 equals 16 oz. (one pound) of sugar per U.S. gallon. Brix is measured as a percentage of sugar by which pure water has a Brix of 0 (or 0% sugar), an S.G. of 1.046 equals a Brix of 11.5 (11.5% sugar), and an S.G. of 1.095 equals a Brix of 22.5 (22.5% sugar). If you have a choice and want to simplify your life, buy a hydrometer that measures sugar by ounces per gallon. That should cover everything you need to know about your hydrometer and how to use it. Here are a few tools that may help: Handy Tools: Brix/SG Conversion Calculator Hydrometer Temperature Adjustment Calculator Cheers!
  12. 12 points

    Home Grown Beer Labels

    Still working on these labels. Left to right: Powerful Patriot Ale, Baltic Porter, Sir Kenneth Blonde, and 1776 Ale. Not as sharp as Hoppytobrew's nice Alamo label. Good job! Texas Independence Day is coming up next week (March 2nd). Big celebration day for us Texans....
  13. 12 points
    The contest asked... how many distinct beers could you make with Mr. B ingredients. You were asked to submit an answer and give a bit of info on how you arrived at your conclusion, and people on this site voted on the winner. Of course, being a person who tends to get obsessive and go overboard on these kinds of things, I had to go a bit crazy on the presentation... There were a great many great entries, and I ended up tying with another borg member. Mr. B gave us both this huge prize. Pretty awesome of them... Here was my presentation and findings: \
  14. 12 points


    Wep, I'm very very new to this brewing hobby.I find it very interesting in all of the comments that I have found on this FAQs page supper great with all inputs of other brewers. I have just started my first batch of maybe a great beer? I did however make one mistake, but let mek explain maybe why. I'm 75 years old and sometimes I don't remember my name...HAR! anyway reading and reading the instructions I FORGOT to mix the malt and stir hard before adding the yeast....So I was scared! But to the thanks of this FAQs page..I found my answer in not to worry...I HOPE.... You may wonder why a 75 yr old would want to brew?Well I figure even after my doctors say's (you konw what he would say)..I really don't how much longer on the wonderful earth I HAVE, SO i'M going to enjoy the rest of my time and hope to make a great beer...I hope no doctors are watching? "HAPPY BREWING TO ALL"
  15. 12 points

    Problems with my porter

    When I don't have a cooler or ice packs handy, I have my teenage son stand next to the LBK. He's the coolest thing around. If you don't believe me, just ask him. And if it gets too cool, I have his sister stand there. Apparently she's the hottest thing around. No wonder I drink so much beer.
  16. 11 points
    If you think this is cold crashing, please immediately sell your kit on Craigslist and exit the hobby. To find out what cold crashing is, read the next post. No beer was harmed in the posting of this picture.
  17. 11 points

    Old Recipes located

    I was looking for old recipes for the 2013 seasonal and Internet search turned up the Mr Beer Customer support page - a good resource. Mr Beer, please post ALL discontinued Refill and other recipes there MR BEER (JOSH) HAS EDITED THIS LINK TO PROVIDE ACCESS TO THE RECIPE ARCHIVE THANKSJOSH!! http://support.mrbeer.com/support/solutions/folders/5000147513
  18. 11 points
    I think the most essential accessory for a new brewer is these forums.
  19. 10 points

    Home Grown Beer Labels

    I'd like to see some of the creative beer labels you've all come up with. Since the fall of the Alamo was March 6, 1836, and since I'm from Texas, I came up with an "Alamo Commemorative Label" for my Aztec Mexican Cerveza which will be bottled on or around March 6th.
  20. 10 points


    Here is my second beer!!!!! The ESB in a mini-mug. I LOVE IT! Smooth...easy.....now there is a slight bitterness there but I do not know if it is because it is an English Bitter or something I did wrong. I can say there is no apple cider present at all....which is AWESOME. I am pretty sure I brewed this straight up. I don't really remember but it is not above me to have done something stupid. I also think (I might be wrong) that I detect a bit of the same "earth" spice I tasted in my Butchered American..... A few mistakes I know I made - * I pitched this too warm. I did not realize the importance of COLD water to balance out the initial temps. * I did not do a good job with ferment temps. Sometimes too warm..sometimes too cold.... Another mistake I am realizing - the importance of taking notes. I was wondering if I used the same water for this and my first...but I do not know....don't remember if I did something lame...etc. Still....really liking this beer. Thinking I am not in a rush. No reason not to let this one condition for another couple of weeks to see how it turns out.
  21. 10 points

    My First Bottle

    Here is a picture of my first bottle, label and all. Can't wait for conditioning to be done so I can try one.
  22. 10 points

    Review: Slap Hoppy Stout

    Ladies and Gentlemen of the Mr. Beer Forums, I report that the Slap Hoppy Stout* I bottled on April 3, 2015 is one tasty brew. My goodness, slap me silly! Opened the first one-liter PET bottle this evening after a frustrating day at the office, and after a few sips all of those petty irritations just slipped away. Not an Imperial Stout, but still a big flavor, full and smooth mouth-feel, low carbonation, and appreciable malty finish. Since it was in the bottle for over ten months the hops flavor is not as pronounced, but that's OK with me. I'm a malty kinda girl, especially during these dank, dark Ohio winters. Note to self: I must save a couple of bottles to share with my BIL on St. Patrick's Day. I bet it'll go well with his famous corned beef and cabbage, as well as with his curmudgeonly company. IIRC, this one overflowed the LBK, as I was not as attentive to fermentation temps as I am now. Still turned out awesome. It would be an incredible flavor addition to a slow-cooker roast recipe, but I'm reluctant to use any of it in cooking. That's what GL Oatmeal Stout is for. I'm saving MY brew for quaffing. *I initially misread the recipe title as "Slap Happy Stout." Not a bad misread, I believe.
  23. 10 points

    Brewer's Glossary

    The old Mr. Beer community had a glossary, for some reason the new one doesn't. Here it is, copied from the Wayback Machine: Glossary AcetaldehydeGreen apple aroma, a byproduct of fermentation. AdditiveEnzymes, preservatives and antioxidants which are added to simplify the brewing process or prolong shelf life. AdjunctFermentable material used as a substitute for traditional grains, to make beer lighter-bodied or cheaper. AerobicAn organism, such as top fermenting ale yeast, that needs oxygen to metabolize. AlcoholEthyl alcohol or ethanol. An intoxicating by-product of fermentation, which is caused by yeast acting on sugars in the malt. Alcohol content is expressed as a percentage of volume or weight. Alcohol by weightAmount of alcohol in beer measured in terms of the percentage weight of alcohol per volume of beer, i.e., 3.2% alcohol by weights equals 3.2 grams of alcohol per 100 centiliters of beer. (It is approximately 20% less than alcohol by volume.) Alcohol by volumeAmount of alcohol in beer in terms of percentage volume of alcohol per volume of beer. AlcoholicWarming taste of ethanol and higher alcohol's. AleBeers distinguished by use of top fermenting yeast strains, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. The top fermenting yeast perform at warmer temperatures than do yeast's used to brew lager beer, and their byproducts are more evident in taste and aroma. Fruitiness and esters are often part of an ale's character. All-maltA relatively new term in America. "All malt" refers to a beer made exclusively with barley malt and without adjuncts. AmberAny top or bottom fermented beer having an amber color, that is, between pale and dark. AnaerobicAn organism, such as a bottom-fermenting lager yeast, that is able to metabolize without oxygen present. Aroma HopsVarieties of hop chosen to impart bouquet. (See Hops) AstringentA drying, puckering taste; tannic; can be derived from boiling the grains, long mashes, over sparging or sparging with hard water. AttenuationExtent to which yeast consumes fermentable sugars (converting them into alcohol and carbon dioxide). BacterialA general term covering off-flavors such as moldy, musty, woody, lactic acid, vinegar, or microbiological spoilage. Balling DegreesScale indicating density of sugars in wort. Devised by C J N Balling. BarleyA cereal grain that is malted for use in the grist that becomes the mash in the brewing of beer. BarrelA unit of measurement used by brewers in some countries. In Britain, a barrel holds 36 imperial gallons (1 imperial gallon = 4.5 liters), or 1.63 hectoliters. In the United States, a barrel holds 31.5 US gallons (1 US gallon = 3.8 liters), or 1.17 hectoliters. BeerName given alcohol-containing beverages produced by fermenting grain, specifically malt, and flavored with hops. BitterBitterness of hops or malt husks; sensation on back of tongue. BitternessThe perception of a bitter flavor, in beer from iso-alpha-acid in solution (derived from hops). It is measured in International Bitterness Units (IBU). Black maltPartially malted barley roasted at high temperatures. Black malt gives a dark color and roasted flavor to beer. BodyThickness and mouth-filling property of a beer described as "full or thin bodied". Bottle-conditioningSecondary fermentation and maturation in the bottle, creating complex aromas and flavors. Bottom-fermenting yeastOne of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Bottom-fermenting yeast works well at low temperatures and ferments more sugars leaving a crisp, clean taste and then settles to the bottom of the tank. Also referred to as "lager yeast". BrewhouseThe collective equipment used to make beer. Brew KettleThe vessel in which wort from the mash is boiled with hops. Also called a copper. BrewpubPub that makes its own beer and sells at least 50% of it on premises. Also known in Britain as a home-brew house and in Germany as a house brewery. Bright Beer TankSee conditioning tank. BungThe stopper in the hole in a keg or cask through which the keg or cask is filled and emptied. The hole may also be referred to as a bung or bunghole. Real beer must use a wooden bung. ButterscotchSee diacetyl. CabbagelikeAroma and taste of cooked vegetables; often a result of wort spoilage bacteria killed by alcohol in fermentation. CAMRAThe CAMpaign for Real Ale. An organization in England that was founded in 1971 to preserve the production of cask-conditioned beers and ales. CarbonationSparkle caused by carbon dioxide, either created during fermentation or injected later. CaramelA cooked sugar that is used to add color and alcohol content to beer. It is often used in place of more expensive malted barley. Caramel maltA sweet, coppery-colored malt. Caramel or crystal malt imparts both color and flavor to beer. Caramel malt has a high concentration of unfermentable sugars that sweeten the beer and, contribute to head retention. CaskA closed, barrel-shaped container for beer. They come in various sizes and are now usually made of metal. The bung in a cask of "Real" beer or ale must be made of wood to allow the pressure to be relived, as the fermentation of the beer, in the cask, continues. Cask-conditioningSecondary fermentation and maturation in the cask at the point of sale. Creates light carbonation. ChlorophenolicA plasticlike aroma; caused by chemical combination of chlorine and organic compounds. Chill hazeCloudiness caused by precipitation of protein-tannin compound at low temperatures, does not affect flavor. Chill proofBeer treated to allow it to withstand cold temperatures without clouding. ClovelikeSpicy character reminiscent of cloves; characteristic of some wheat beers, or if excessive, may derive from wild yeast. ConditioningPeriod of maturation intended to impart "condition" (natural carbonation). Warm conditioning further develops the complex of flavors. Cold conditioning imparts a clean, round taste. Conditioning TankA vessel in which beer is placed after primary fermentation where the beer matures, clarifies and, is naturally carbonated through secondary fermentation. Also called bright beer tank, serving tank and, secondary tank. Contract BeerBeer made by one brewery and then marketed by a company calling itself a brewery. The latter uses the brewing facilities of the former. CopperSee brew kettle. DecoctionExhaustive system of mashing in which portions of the wort are removed, heated, then returned to the original vessel. DextrinThe unfermentable carbohydrate produced by the enzymes in barley. It gives the beer flavor, body, and mouthfeel. Lower temperatures produce more dextrin and less sugar. While higher temperatures produce more sugars and less dextrin. DiacetylA volatile compound in beer that contributes to a butterscotch flavor, measured in parts per million. DMSTaste and aroma of sweet corn; results from malt, as a result of the short or weak boil of the wort, slow wort chilling, or bacterial infection. -- Dimethyl sulfide, a sulfur compound. DosageThe addition of yeast and/or sugar to the cask or bottle to aid secondary fermentation. Draft (Draught)The process of dispensing beer from a bright tank, cask or, keg, by hand pump, pressure from an air pump or, injected carbon dioxide inserted into the beer container prior to sealing. Dry-hoppingThe addition of dry hops to fermenting or aging beer to increase its hop character or aroma. EBCEuropean Brewing Convention. An EBC scale is used to indicate colors in malts and beers. EnzymesCatalysts that are found naturally in the grain. When heated in mash, they convert the starches of the malted barley into maltose, a sugar used in solution and fermented to make beer. EsterVolatile flavor compound naturally created in fermentation. Often fruity, flowery or spicy. EsteryAroma or flavor reminiscent of flowers or fruits. Fahrenheit (degrees)F = ((Cx9)/( 5) + 32. FermentationConversion of sugars into ethyl alcohol and carbon dioxide, through the action of yeast. Final specific gravitySpecific gravity of a beer when fermentation is complete (that is, all fermentable sugars have been fermented). FiningAn aid to clarification: a substance that attracts particles that would otherwise remain suspended in the brew. FilterThe removal of designated impurities by passing the wort through a medium, sometimes made of diatomaceous earth ( made up of the microscopic skeletal remains of marine animals). Yeast in suspension is often targeted for removal. Fruity/EsteryFlavor and aroma of bananas, strawberries, apples, or other fruit; from high temperature fermentation and certain yeast strains. GrainyTastes like cereal or raw grain. GravitySee specific gravity. GristBrewers' term for milled grains, or the combination of milled grains to be used in a particular brew. Derives from the verb to grind. Also sometimes applied to hops. Hand PumpA device for dispensing draft beer using a pump operated by hand. The use of a hand pump allows the cask-conditioned beer to be served without the use of pressurized carbon dioxide. HangLingering bitterness or harshness. Hard CiderA fermented beverage made from apples. Heat ExchangerA mechanical device used to rapidly reduce the temperature of the wort. HefeA German word meaning "yeast". Used mostly in conjunction with wheat (weiss) beers to denote that the beer is bottled or kegged with the yeast in suspension (hefe-weiss). These beers are cloudy, frothy and, very refreshing. HogsheadCask holding 54 imperial gallons ( 243 liters ). Hop backSieve-like vessel used to strain out the petals of the hop flowers. Known as a hop jack in the United States. HopsHerb added to boiling wort or fermenting beer to impart a bitter aroma and flavor. HoppyAroma of hops, does not include hop bitterness. InfusionSimplest form of mash, in which grains are soaked in water. May be at a single temperature, or with upward or (occasionally) downward changes. IBUInternational Bitterness units. A system of indicating the hop bitterness in finished beer. KegOne-half barrel, or 15.5 U. S. gallons. A half keg or, 7.75 U. S. gallons, is referred to as a pony-keg. KrauseningThe addition of a small proportion of partly fermented wort to a brew during lagering. Stimulates secondary fermentation and imparts a crisp, spritzy character. LagerBeers produced with bottom fermenting yeast strains, Saccharomyces uvarum (or carlsbergensis) at colder fermentation temperatures than ales. This cooler environment inhibits the natural production of esters and other byproducts, creating a crisper tasting product. LageringFrom the German word for storage. Refers to maturation for several weeks or months at cold temperatures (close to 0 degrees C /32F) to settle residual yeast, impart carbonation and make for clean round flavors. LauterTo run the wort from the mash tun. From the German word to clarify. A lauter tun is a separate vessel to do this job. It uses a system of sharp rakes to achieve a very intensive extraction of malt sugars. Lauter TunSee mash tun. LengthThe amount of wort brewed each time the brew house is in operation. Light-StruckSkunklike smell; from exposure to light. LiquorThe brewer's word for water used in the brewing process, as included in the mash or, used to sparge the grains after mashing. Malt (ing)The process by which barley is steeped in water, germinated ,then kilned to convert insoluble starch to soluble substances and sugar. The foundation ingredient of beer. Malt ExtractThe condensed wort from a mash, consisting of maltose, dextrins and, other dissolved solids. Either as a syrup or powdered sugar, it is used by brewers, in solutions of water and extract, to reconstitute wort for fermentation. Malt LiquorA legal term used in the U.S. to designate a fermented beverage of relatively high alcohol content (7%-8% by volume). Mash(Verb) To release malt sugars by soaking the grains in water. (Noun) The resultant mixture. Mash TunA tank where grist is soaked in water and heated in order to convert the starch to sugar and extract the sugars and other solubles from the grist. MaltoseA water soluble, fermentable sugar contained in malt. MeadMeads are produced by the fermentation of honey, water, yeast and optional ingredients such as fruit, herbs, and/or spices. According to final gravity, they are categorized as: dry (0.996 to 1009); medium (1010 to 1019); or sweet (1020 or higher). Wine, champagne, sherry, mead, ale or lager yeasts may be used. MedicinalChemical or phenolic character; can be the result of wild yeast, contact with plastic, or sanitizer residue. MetallicTastes tinny, bloodlike or coinlike; may come from bottle caps. MicrobrewerySmall brewery generally producing less than 15,000 barrels per year. Sales primarily off premises. MouthfeelA sensation derived from the consistency or viscosity of a beer, described, for example as thin or full. MustyMoldy, mildewy character; can be the result of cork or bacterial infection. Original gravityA measurement of the density of fermentable sugars in a mixture of malt and water with which a brewer begins a given batch. OxidizedStale flavor of wet cardboard, paper, rotten pineapple, or sherry, as a result of oxygen as the beer ages or is exposed to high temperatures. PasteurizationHeating of beer to 60-79C/140-174F to stabilize it microbiologically. Flash-pasteurization is applied very briefly, for 15-60 seconds by heating the beer as it passes through the pipe. Alternately, the bottled beer can be passed on a conveyor belt through a heated tunnel. This more gradual process takes at least 20 minutes and sometimes much longer. PhenolicFlavor and aroma of medicine, plastic, Band-Aids, smoke, or cloves; caused by wild yeast or bacteria, or sanitizer residue. PitchTo add yeast to wort. Plato, degreesExpresses the specific gravity as the weight of extract in a 100 gram solution at 64F (17.5C). Refinement of the Balling scale. PrimingThe addition of sugar at the maturation stage to promote a secondary fermentation. PubAn establishment that serves beer and sometimes other alcoholic beverages for consumption on premise. The term originated in England and is the shortened form of "public house". PublicanThe owner or manager of a pub. Regional specialty breweryA brewery that produces more than 15,000 barrels of beer annually, with its largest selling product a specialty beer. Reinheitsgebot"Purity Law" originating in Bavaria in 1516 and now applied to all German brewers making beer for consumption in their own country. It requires that only malted grains, hops, yeast and water may be used in the brewing. Saccharomyces cerevisiaeSee Top-fermenting yeast. Saccharomyces uvarumSee Bottom-fermenting yeast. Saccharomyces carlsbergensisSee Bottom-fermenting yeast. SaltyFlavor like table salt; experienced on the side of the tongue. Secondary fermentationStage of fermentation occurring in a closed container from several weeks to several months. Shelf lifeDescribes the number of days a beer will retain it's peak drinkability. The shelf life for commercially produced beers is usually a maximum of four months. SolventlikeReminiscent of acetone or lacquer thinner; caused by high fermentation temperatures. Sour/AcidicVinegarlike or lemonlike; can be caused by bacterial infection. Specific gravityA measure of the density of a liquid or solid compared to that of water ((1.000 at 39F (4C)). SpargeTo spray grist with hot water in order to remove soluble sugars (maltose). This takes place at the end of the mash. SquaresBrewers' term for a square fermenting vessel. SweetTaste like sugar; experienced on the front of the tongue. SulfurlikeReminiscent of rotten eggs or burnt matches; a by-product of some yeast's. TartTaste sensation cause by acidic flavors. Terminal gravitySynonym for final specific gravity. Top-fermenting yeastOne of the two types of yeast used in brewing. Top-fermenting yeast works better at warmer temperatures and are able to tolerate higher alcohol concentrations than bottom-fermenting yeast. It is unable to ferment some sugars, and results in a fruitier, sweeter beer. Also known as "ale yeast". Trub(from the German for lees) is the layer of sediment that appears at the bottom of the fermentor after the yeast has completed the bulk of the fermentation. It is composed mainly of heavy fats, proteins, and inactive yeast. TunAny large vessels used in brewing. In America, "tub" is often preferred. VinousReminiscent of wine. WinySherrylike flavor; can be caused by warm fermentation or oxidation in very old beer. WortThe solution of grain sugars strained from the mash tun. At this stage, regarded as "sweet wort", later as brewed wort, fermenting wort and finally beer. Wort ChillerSee heat exchanger. YeastA micro-organism of the fungus family. Genus Saccharomyces. YeastyYeastlike flavor; a result of yeast in suspension or beer sitting too long on sediment.
  24. 10 points
    1) Temp control is key. If you cant keep the WORT temp around 65 degrees youll get green apple beer. I do 62 now and really practice my patience. (For my Safale US-05) Obviously differs per yeast 2) Patience is key. Waiting the 3 weeks for fermenting is easy, its once its in a bottle thats hard for me. 2 week conditioned beer sucks, 4 is the earliest I would taste anything that wasnt kegged. Then determine when you think itll be ready to drink 3) Experimenting is good. As long as it wont ruin the whole batch, do what you want. See what a beer tastes at each week of conditioning, try different yeasts, stick some bottles in the fridge for a month and some at 70 degrees for a month and see the difference. 4) Yeast is HUGE!!! I proof mine now almost all the time. I dont use MB yeast but I do think you can. Maybe just use two packets??? I dont know, I just like buying bulk packs off amazon and use whatever yeast I feel appropriate. When I first started I thought about Hops and grains, thats about it. Yeast is possibly the most important part of brewing. Its the thing that actually turns your wort into beer, and it sounds like a tedious process. Treat your yeasties right yall 5) Be prepared. I can crank out a batch of MB in 20 minutes if I have a batch of StarSan ready. Otherwise a 60 minute boil with mashing grains takes me about 3.5 hours. Either way, Its a bad thing to be running around looking for your spatula or bottling and all of a sudden you realize you dont have enough bottles. 6) Be clean, like real clean. I feel like why even say this. if you want to brew with dirty equipment then you deserve crappy beer. Im a sloppy person but my brewing equipment is perfect come brew day. I wash, store, and on brew day wash again and sanitize. You should do the same unless youre prepping the night before ie bottle cleaning. Oh and... 7) Bottle cleaning sucks. You know what the solution is? Make a friend or get your spouse involved cuz cleaning 25 bottles vs 50 is an amazing thing. If not, suck it up and do it. Bottle brushes have a little loop on top that I stick my pointer finger through and spin my finger. Amazing how long it took me to realize I could do it that way. 8) Taste your beer prior to bottling. Or take a hydrometer reading but I think your taste buds could tell a beer that needs to be fermented longer. You should taste malt and hops, not sugar. You stay up on a Friday washing bottles all night only to taste your beer Saturday and realize you need a few more days... bad situation. 9) Batch Priming is good. It may sound like more work but its not, trust me. I made maybe 10 different 2 gallon batches yielding 21 bottles at 12oz per bottle priming batch. Then I bought extra LBK's and batch primed... Next batch I got 23.5 bottles at 12oz by batch priming. Now its all I do. While Im sanitizing bottles Im boiling my priming solution. It literally adds 1 minute to bottling day. 10) Have fun. When I brew I put on a new album, lay out my hop schedule, and just go. I have a brew buddy and we make 5 gallon batches of IPA's cuz thats what he likes. Me, I make 2 gallon experimental batches of whatever I want or whats on sale. When I brew with my buddy, we joke and drink and maybe if the hop schedule permits, we sneak out for a smoke. And then we wash our hands... and continue drinking. Dont worry about your brew, just put it in your basement or closet or wherever and forget about it for 3 weeks. Dont poke, dont prod, just let it be. This is a fun hobby, let it stay fun. Thats all I got, agree or disagree or add your thoughts cuz Im not perfect. Ive made 15 batches and three ended up down the sink. One was bad fermenting temps, one was bad yeast and one I cant explain. Like I said, Im not perfect but ive noticed a lot of people posting on here asking for newbie help. Here it is. This will get you a step ahead of the game. Go Pack Oh and take notes. Hard to duplicate the perfect batch if you cant remember what the heck you used.
  25. 10 points
    LHBS: 1) Profit. Because when you brew with Mr. Beer ingredients, supplied by Mr. Beer, your LHBS makes nothing except for some hops or steeping grains sales maybe. If they do sell Mr. Beer HMEs, they likely price them too high to make their standard markup. 2) Future Customer... Because that idiot doesn't realize that Mr. Beer is a stepping stone for him to gain a future customer. He should coddle you. 3) Ignorance. Because he's ill informed. When I emailed my initial questions to my LHBS, the owner told me that you can ferment in the back of a toilet, it's just a closed recepticle. He realized he had a future customer (he also sells Mr. Beer and other HMEs, as well as wine making products, and is a large ecommerce seller). Within 6 months I was buying steeping grains from him, then everything. Now I buy all my steeping grains and LME there, but my hops and yeast and bottlecaps I buy elsewhere because I can get them cheaper and he focuses on making his margin (versus customer lifetime value). The Mr. Beer fermenters are just fermenters. You can put anything in them, including stuff sold at your LHBS. That guy was ignorant. Homebrewers: 1) Ignorance. Lots of hate for Mr. Beer on forums and in LHBS stores, which comes from ignorance. People enter Mr. Beer brews in contests and win prices. If someone did a study, they'd likely find that the ratio of success with new Mr. Beer owners continuing past some time period is higher than those that get all grain kits. I have a neighbor that made one all grain batch and quit. He was disappointed with how hard it was - holding temps during the mash, etc. I explained how I started, and what my current process was. He tasted some of mine and was astonished at how good they were (all were extract recipes, not Mr. Beer). But he didn't take me up on my offer to get him re-started. 2) History. Prior to the Cooper's buyout in 2012, Mr. Beer's products contained substantially less malt than they do today. In comparison, they were noticeably inferior to the standard refills of today, and very noticeably inferior to Craft and Seasonal HMEs. Directions were much shorter time periods - resulting in much inferior results. 3) Snobs. If it isn't hard, it must not be good. If that was a salesperson, and not the owner, consider contacting the owner and telling them of your experience. If it was the owner, then if you have another store available, frequent it.