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  1. 47 likes
    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. 23 likes
    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!
  3. 22 likes
    (more pics to come) Hey guys! I'm VERY excited to announce that we will be opening our VERY FIRST brick and mortar homebrew supply store in our 24 year history!! This will hopefully expand to become a nationwide franchise. I will be managing the store (don't worry, I will still be on here, too) and it will have EVERYTHING any brewer needs - even all-grainers and wine makers. While the store itself will have a much larger inventory than our website, we do plan on selling everything we have in the store on the website eventually (other than bulk grains/malt). The questions I have for the community are as follows: What do you want to see in your local homebrew supply store? What does your current LHBS lack that you wish they had? What types of events and/or promotions would you like to see from your LHBS? While I have several years experience running homebrew stores, times and trends change so I would like to get some input from you guys so we can make this store the best we can. For those of you in the area, we will have our social media site up soon. Grand opening in April.
  4. 21 likes
    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.
  5. 21 likes
    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:
  6. 17 likes
    I'm sure some of you have seen the new packaging from this image posted to our Facebook page, and I'm sure some of you wondering what those 2 cans are on the middle left shelf? Well, it's time to reveal the 2 new Craft Refills. Many of you are already aware of the "Churchill's Nut Brown" that is being released soon. But here is the other new Craft Refill, the "Long Play IPA" (aka "LP IPA"). This is much paler than the Diablo, and is very easy drinking. While the malt extract can is the same size as the Diablo, the gravity of the HME is a little lower making this closer to a session IPA. I've already been experimenting with this as a base for other beers, and I'm loving it so far. I think these 2 malts are my current faves because I love browns, and I love IPAs. There is no set date for these to be released yet as we are still waiting on the shipment from Australia. But hopefully they will be released later this Spring or early Summer. Cheers!
  7. 14 likes
    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.
  8. 13 likes
    Well... after 2 months of waiting... popped open first bottle of first batch (Classic American Light) 3 weeks fermentation 4 weeks carb/condition 3 days in fridge.... perfectly carbonated, clear, and tasted like a lite beer! I am happy with my achievement and I could not have done it without the help of everyone here on this forum, so from the bottom of my heart, thank you guys! Cheers to you!
  9. 13 likes
    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 likes
    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. 13 likes
    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.
  12. 12 likes
    After 3 weeks fermenting and 4 weeks bottled, I chilled a couple bottles of my first ever batch. It was an American Classic Light and was damn good a bit malty had a nice head and light golden in color. It will be a hit with my son who will like that I used the LBK Mr. Beer kit he got me for Christmas. Anybody else tried this?
  13. 12 likes
    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....
  14. 12 likes
    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: \
  15. 12 likes
    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"
  16. 11 likes
    Tomorrow I'm brewing a Landbier dedicated to Jim Johnson. Last year, Jim and I were discussing a recipe for a competition he was going to enter but I never heard the results from the batch. This batch is a little different from the one he decided on but hey, it's a farmhouse ale, the is no real style. Using the Mangrove Jack M27 Belgian Ale yeast @HoppySmile! sent me a few months ago in a trade. A 1 liter starter is already cooking. Here's the recipe.
  17. 11 likes
    @Creeps McLane Moving into all grain is a big step for me. It is something I said I would never do because I didn't really believe I could ever do it. But here I am....a year an six into my life as a brewer and I just completed my first all grain session. And it wasn't a disaster! But this isn't because of any special talent. It's because i was blessed to find my way to this forum. Thank you for your support and help during this. And thank you to all my Mr. Beer peeps.. @MiniYoda @RickBeer.... @Bonsai & Brew @KaijuBrew @HoppySmile! @MRB Josh R @MRB Josh B @MRB Tim @AnthonyC (miss you brother brewer!) @Shrike @Big Sarge @Nickfixit ....and anyone I missed.....like @NwMaltHead!!!!! .. While I love both my wife and daughter deeply, they are not really committed to my growth as a brewer. (Although my wife has promised me she will learn to use a refractometer and do my gravity reading/testings.....) Brewing has given me a deep joy and, if I am not getting to deep or sentimental, has honestly brought a bit of meaning to my existence. I love brewing beer. I love the malts...the hops...the yeast...the process. And, still being honest, I have no doubt without the support of the people on this forum I would have given up, moved along, etc. Every single person who takes the time to read a post, like it, respond, give advice, ask a question.....thank you. I've never met any of you IRL (YET!) but I appreciate you all. And with that...I am out for the night!
  18. 11 likes
    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.
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    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!
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    I'm sure many of you have seen me mention something called "diastatic power" when referencing partial mash recipes. But what is it? When grain is malted, enzymes are produced during germination. They are responsible for converting the grain’s starches into sugar during mashing. Diastatic power is an indicator of the amount of enzymes (amylase/diastase enzymes, in particular) available to convert those starches into sugars such as maltose and dextrins (not all of these are fermentable and will contribute to the flavor and body). The higher that power is, the more amylase enzymes are in the mash, and the more starch can be converted by these enzymes. Diastatic power is measured in "degree Linter". Malts with enough DP to convert themselves are at least 30 degrees Lintner. Base malts, such as 2-row and 6-row can reach as high as 180 or more. Other malts, such as many specialty malts (Crystal, Carapils, flaked malts, etc.) have 0 DP. While malts like Crystal, Carapils, and most dark malts may not need conversion since they don't really have starchy interiors due to the way they were kilned, other malts, such as flaked malts MUST be mashed with a grain that has a moderate to high DP for proper conversion. The higher the average DP, the more likely your chances are of a successful conversion. If you mash flaked grains on their own, you won't benefit from them as much (your oatmeal stout might have come out good, but it would be better with proper conversion of the oat's starches). It's always best to add some 2-row to help. A 1:1 ratio is the rule of thumb, but depending on the DP of the malt, you can use more or less. The addition of 2-row (pale, pilsen, are also 2-row) will also prevent gelatinized malts, such as flaked malts, to "gum up" in the mash, which will reduce efficiency (the husks of the 2-row prevent this). The gravity of the final conversion may be important in all-grain brewing, but in a partial mash recipe, the mash represents such a small proportion of the overall gravity that it won’t make a huge difference. Most of the gravity points will come from the LME/DME/HME. So while grains may boost your ABV by a fraction of a point in a PM recipe, this shouldn't be their sole purpose. If you want more ABV, add more LME/DME/HME. The main purpose of the grains in a PM recipe is to add color, flavor, or body. A slight rise in ABV is simply a pleasant side effect. In the end, I wouldn't worry too much about diastatic power unless you're using flaked grains. Then you simply just have to add some 2-row to it. Don't worry too much about the math or the science (though I encourage you to learn, if interested). You're most likely doing a 2 gallon PM recipe, not an all-grain recipe. Just follow this basic mashing guideline and your beers will come out much better.
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    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.
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    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.
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    Some of ya'll might remember me. Some of you might have forgotten me. But regardless your position.....one thing is undeniable. I AM BACK BABY! That's right. I am here. I am back. AND I AM BREWING!!!! Where have I been? Sapporo Tokyo Conrad Pistachio. And few other places here and there and between. But let's not move back. Let's go forward. Except of course in those particular cases where the only forward is by going back. The past - I've got a few brews that well conditioned and are unbelievable right now. My goldings pale, belgian wit, and hallertau special are all phenomenal. The future - I just brewed up a Brown Belgian Explosion. I know there are rules. I broke the rules. I chased the ABV. I went all in. Baltic Porter. Bewitched Amber. Three LME's. (two robust, one smooth.) And booster. T-58.....No shame in the game.... Just drank a biggie of my first quad. It was Belgianny...malty..and exquisite. Round two of the brewing game commences. Never down. Never out.
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    Great, now @MRB Josh R is gonna be pacing around the parking lot yelling at stuff for the rest of the day
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    I'm VERY excited to announce that we now have 11 new hop varieties available (more to come)!! We also got more Mosaic in!! Amarillo = 8 – 11% - Aroma Amarillo has a flowery, grapefruit-like aroma with some tropical notes and a medium bittering value. A great dual-purpose hop for pale ales and IPAs. Apollo = 15 – 21% - Bittering Super high alpha variety from the Hopsteiner breeding program released in 2006. High alpha acid makes it a great bittering hop. Exhibits some citrus and pine notes when used at end of boil. Great bittering hop for pale ales and IPAs Chinook = 12 – 14% - Dual-purpose The high alpha acid content in Chinook hops make them an excellent variety for bittering, but with a piney aroma with notes of grapefruit and spice, it is also a great aroma and flavoring hop. They have a similar fruitiness to other Northwest US hop varieties like Cascade and Centennial, but not as intense. Great for American pale ales and IPAs. Summit = 17 – 19% - Bittering Summit is a very high alpha hop predominantly used for bittering, but it can also be used for bright, citrus aromas and flavors if used late in the boil. With notes of tangerine, orange, and grapefruit, these hops are great for American pale ales and IPAs. Cluster = 5.5 – 8.5% - Dual-purpose Floral, earthy, and slightly fruity, Cluster is one of the oldest hop varieties grown in the US. This dual-purpose hop can be used in many beer styles, but it is most often used in stouts, porters, barleywines, and historical beers. Crystal = 3.5 – 5.5% - Aroma Crystal hops are a very versatile low alpha acid variety that is great in light ales and lagers such as blondes, golden ales, and pale ales, but it can also be used in stouts and porters. It has a combination of woody, green, and some floral notes with some herb and spice character. Ekuanot = 13 – 15.5% - Dual-purpose Formerly called “Equinox”, this very unique hop strain exhibits the flavors and aromas of melon, berry, citrus, pine, and fresh peppers. It’s great in any beer that calls for a pronounced hop flavor such as pale ales, IPAs, sours, and some wheat beers. El Dorado = 14 – 16% - Dual-purpose While the high alpha acid content of this strain makes it great for bittering, the bold, fruity aroma is what explains this hop strain’s recent growth in popularity, especially among IPA lovers. With notes of citrus, apricots, watermelon, and even “Jolly Rancher” candy, this is a very fruity hop for very fruity IPAs, pale ales, and wheat beers. German Bavaria Mandarina = 7 – 10% - Aroma German Bavaria Mandarina is a fairly new hop variety bred in 2012 at the Hop research Institute in Hull, Germany. When used for flavor and aroma, it exhibits strong citrus notes of tangerine, orange, and a hint of pineapple. Fruity and citrusy, it’s a great variety for American IPAs, saisons, sour, and wheat beers. Simcoe = 12 – 14% - Dual-purpose Simcoe is a high alpha bittering hop, but is also used for aroma and flavor. When used late in the boil, this strain exhibits notes of pine and citrus. Great in IPAs or any beer calling for intense hop flavors aromas, or bitterness. Used in pale ales and IPAs. Sorachi Ace = 10 – 16% - Bittering Originally created in Japan in the 1980s for Sapporo Breweries, this unique hop strain is popular for its aromas and flavors of lemon, lime, and dill. It works well in lagers and pale ales, but has also found some recent popularity in IPAs, sours, and farmhouse ales. Get yours HERE!
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    I'm finally chiming in after just looking around here the past couple weeks...................and holy heck there is a lot of info on this forum!! I recently built a bar in my cellar and figured I needed to make my own beer for when peeps come over. After doing a bunch of research and after receiving a bunch of Amazon gift cards for my birthday I came across this site and now I am hooked. I started with the Diablo IPA and just bottled it last night after a 3 week sit. About a week into it I couldn't take it and had to buy another Mr.Beer keg second hand and started the Pilsner that came in my kit which should be ready to bottle next week. Tonight or tomorrow ill get the Cerveza going after that next a Porter!! This is how it starts right hahaha I figure I'll keep it simple for a bit then maybe get into crazy brews. That's it for now I'm sure I will have a bunch questions. Thanks, Dan
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    What a great weekend for those of us in SE Michigan. A couple of sunny 70 degree days are exactly what we needed. Some wings on the grill, baked beans, and mashed potato salad was the perfect compliment to my first batch of beer. The CAL was better than anticipated based on what I've read in here. Very nice color, a bit darker than expected, and clear as a bell. Yes, it tasted like a standard bottled beer. Some have said Bud, I likened it to Miller. There was a slight cider after taste, not prevalent and well in the background. After about the third sip we either became desensitized or we just didn't notice it. Seems like the top of the bottle was more than the bottom. Excellent carbonation using table sugar. I chilled two 2-liter bottles, both are gone. So, all in all a success, much of which is to reading the excellent information posted by the fine folks in this forum. Thanks to you all! Nice color, very clear. Grandson Eddie Loves Puppa's baked beans and grilled chicken!
  28. 10 likes
    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.
  29. 10 likes
    Here is a picture of my first bottle, label and all. Can't wait for conditioning to be done so I can try one.
  30. 10 likes
    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.
  31. 10 likes
    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.
  32. 10 likes
    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.
  33. 10 likes
    I think the most essential accessory for a new brewer is these forums.
  34. 9 likes
    My first brew! My son and I got to try our first brew today, Churchill's Nut Brown Ale. It turned out so good! We started some Aztec Cerveza today, too.
  35. 9 likes
    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.
  36. 9 likes
    First of all, welcome. Your Know-it-All son in law is wrong. Adding more yeast may change the taste because there would be less character from the yeast but it would in no way change the ABV of the beer. I have a couple of people in my family that have made comments about my beer. I deal with them in this manner. THEY GET NO MORE BEER.
  37. 9 likes
    Hey guys and gals! Our LBK kits have been completely overhauled with new packaging! We've also expanded our line of Starter and Complete kits so beginners will have more choices when starting out rather than being stuck with the just the Classic American Light as their first brew. While that is a great beer for beginners to brew, not everyone likes the lighter style. Now they can choose a kit that starts with the American Lager (one of our best selling refills) or one of our Craft Series refills. We will also be working on separate packaging for the recipes that will include instructions and ingredients all in one small package. There is a lot more to come. Stay tuned... Cheers! Check out the new kits here: http://www.mrbeer.com/kits
  38. 9 likes
    We just released a new Partial Mash recipe! You may recognize the name from our older kits. That Whispering Wheat was good, but this one is even better! I made a batch and it was only on tap here for a few days! It went FAST! http://www.mrbeer.com/whispering-wheat-hefeweizen We also now have Red Wheat Flakes that you can buy separately. Keep in mind that flaked products must be mashed with an equal amount of 2-row to be effective: http://www.mrbeer.com/red-wheat-flakes Cheers!
  39. 9 likes
    Well....we just found out today that.... WE'RE HAVING ANOTHER BOY!!!
  40. 9 likes
    Our newest Brewery Collaboration beer is now available!! It is also our very first Partial Mash Recipe!!! Proceeds from all Sir Kenneth Blonde Ale recipes sold will be donated directly to Paladin Brewery's owner and Brewmaster, John Chandler. John started with a Mr. Beer kit several years ago, and recently decided to open his own brewery. However, he was diagnosed with sinus cancer right before the brewery's opening. Now, Paladin is celebrating their 6-month anniversary, and most importantly, John's health, as he is in remission. This Mr.Beer clone of Paladin's Sir Kenneth Blonde Ale is an American Blonde Ale using hops commonly found in a Bohemian Pilsner. This beer is crisp and clean with a nice, rich malt and spicy hop character. Get yours here for only $29.99: http://www.mrbeer.com/sir-kenneth-blonde-ale-collaboration
  41. 9 likes
    this is the label I made for the hacked root beer, for my friends daughters confirmation party ,, he's Jewish she's catholic ,,they will be enjoying this on sunday....
  42. 9 likes
    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
  43. 9 likes
    Just to pat myself on the back. This is my first recipe created 100% start to finish by me that I actually like. I'm now starting to think of myself as a homebrewer.
  44. 9 likes
    Just a note of thanks to all the great advice on getting started in this new, and tasty, hobby. My first batch, Canadian Blonde, was put in the LBK just over 2 days ago after a thorough sanitizing and to the letter instructions and advice. It's fermenting in an area fortunately at a constant 65 degrees and I've already seen the yeast hard at work. Upon sage advice, I did not add booster or anything else to this first batch to get a "baseline" of the beer for future recipes. My advice to new brewers (which has been said over and over again): Read about brewing on the forum well in advance of making your first batch. RickBeer's signature links are terrific. I'm afraid I would have been disappointed if I would have fermented and conditioned the amount of time the instructions said, if I would have been more casual with sanitizing, etc. Don't be afraid to ask questions - I have and I'm confident that my beer will be better off for it. Mr. Beer staff is a great resource when ordering. - I placed an order and talked to Josh and, as a brewer himself, gave me insight on the various extracts and some useful suggestions. Give back to the community - OK, so you've learned a lot from these expert home brewers. When you can help others out by sharing your experiences, answering a question or posting a recipe, you (and I) should do it. The community exists and thrives only as long as members contribute. Thanks to all that have helped me along the way, directly or indirectly. I'm counting down the days to bottling, conditioning and trying out my first home brew beer! Deano
  45. 9 likes
    don't like/not enough the hops? go to your LHBS they probably got what your lookin' for. It's like a toy store for brewers. I run the one in Columbus Ga(the one and only employee) I still can't believe they PAY me to do this. talk brewin' all day, Beer, Wine, 'Shine and it all started with the wife bringing home a Mr. Beer kit
  46. 9 likes
    I'm going to take exception with this comment. This section of the forum is called "New Brewers and FAQs". twadams777 said he tweaked his first brew. You're recommending that's great. I'm going to say it's not - it's a bad idea - as many others have said on the forum over the years. A new brewer needs to learn PROCESS. A new brewer needs to learn what base refills taste like BEFORE tweaking them. This hobby has a huge dropout rate, largely because people get results they don't like, have no idea why they got those results, and quit. Guidelines like 3-4 came about because people weren't allowing enough time for the beer to ferment and/or condition, and got bad results. While I don't have access to Mr. Beer's data, I'll bet that 3-4, along with efforts by contributors to this forum, have decreased the dropout rate. I, and others, strongly recommend that brand new brewers NOT experiment until they know what the effects of those experiments might be. But, it's a free country, so they can do what they want. Recommending to brand new brewers that they should experiment on their first or second batch (and by experiment I mean not even follow a Mr. Beer recipe), is in my opinion, bad advice. Your opinion is clearly different. And I'm sure you'll disagree with my opinion.
  47. 9 likes
    Lots of good info in my signature including "New Brewer? Read This. No kidding, READ IT" and "The RIGHT way to brew". I would advise NOT brewing today. Read for a while. There aren't 3 things, there are more... The biggest is 3-4. 3 weeks fermenting, ideally around 65 degrees. 4 weeks carbonating and conditioning in bottles, ideally at 70 or above. More is always better. 3 days in the frig before drinking. Welcome!
  48. 9 likes
    So yesterday I decided to brew my first "recipe". Howling Red Ale; I've done three brews before this what could go wrong? Well, heres a rundown....by the end of the process I felt like I should have put on some grease paint, some baggy pants, a rainbow wig and floppy shoes, and tried to sweep up a spot light up with a broom. Truly a comedy of errors. First off, I noticed that my LBK was more than a little funky from the last brew. So I need to clean it. Not thinking at all, I dump in a buttload of pink "Soft Touch Palmalive" and blast away with my high powered sink wand. Tweny minutes later, I'm finally convinced that the keg no longer smells like a stripper pole at Dirty Dan's. So I install the spigot (at least I have properly sanitized this) and much to my future horror leave the valve in the "open" position. Fun times folks, fun times. Now off and away to the brewing, I got my LME, HME, STP, and XYZ's all lined up. Problem is...I can't find my hop pellets. But my dogs have. My wife assures my that although the package was found under the sofa, it has been uncompromised. So, secure in the knowledge that all is right in the brewing universe, I read the directions and promptly put a gallon of spring water to the boil. Not 4 cups but 4 quarts. I was a chef throughout most of the 1990's and I know that you always read the recipe...twice. Doesn't matter, heat water long enough and it will boil, but by then my son has come back with some take out and dumps it all on my prepped counters. Argghh! No problemo, I sanitize again and cuff the young hoodlum smartly about the head and shoulders. You gotta be strong but fair with your parenting. Time to prepare the wort. I pull the pot off the heat, toss the bag of hops into the water and open up the can of HME. As I'm pouring the warm version of adult kool-aid into the water, my wife notes that a chunk of the soggy paper from the HME can has fallen into my pot of nascent wort. Point to remember...remove that label before opening the can. Okay, fish out the paper and continue on to the LME softpack. "Umm...honey have you seen the knife that I sanitized to open this"? "Yeah...I put it away. I didn't want you to cut yourseft". Two options present themselves; teeth or poultry shears. I dump the shears in to the sanitizing solution. Pull em out and they promptly fall apart. Well, in my defense, I can assure you all that I do brush regularly. After finally getting all my ingredients into the pot, I politely allow my better two-thirds to mix thoroughly. Love is all about sharing. Man, that pot is big and hot, then I remember to add the cool water from my fridge into the LBK. Remember a few paragraphs back what I said about the valve postion of the spigot? My lovely wife of twenty seven years sweetly informs me that I'm flooding the countertop. Sweetly translates to the decibel range of about 200. Amazing what can be accomplished in a matter of seconds with a sponge and the glare of a fairly pi**ed off Jamaican woman motivating you. Finally time to pour the wort into the LBK. Hey, I'm a pretty big dude but, it's a heavy stainless steal pot full of molten wort and I'm trying dump it all in without spilling any. Have I already mentioned the efficiency of sponges and Jamaican curses? Works a charm, trust me. Finally, with my Little Brown Dividend full up to the designated level, I decide (wisely) that mebbe, just maybe, it's too hot to pitch the yeast. At least I'm golden here. My culinary experience,along with the tools of my former trade, allow me to let the wort cool to 70 degrees and so, finally (once again opening the packet with teeth) pitch the yeast, cap the barrel and rack the beast. I won't say that I haven't ever cocked up something else in so many ways;however, in some ways home brewing is an intimate and personal endeavor. After reading more than a few posts on this forum, I am humbled by the knowlege and sense of shared pride that it's members demonstrate to each other. And I'm sure you will all agree that despite all the errors and miscalculations, beer is a fairly hearty beast and hopefully this batch will age from a rather ungainly fledgling into a brew that will spread it's wings and soar to the heavens. Or at least straight down into my awaiting gullet. Anyway, if you made it this far, thanks for reading. Best, Zoot
  49. 9 likes
    I think I'd rather cook up some thick Apple Wood Smoked bacon and eat it while enjoying a tasty Oatmeal Stout.. But that's just my opinion.
  50. 9 likes
    I've been drinking almost exclusively craft IPA's for a few years. My wife bought the LBK for me for Christmas and my first thoughts were "can I make my own IPA". I wasn't too enthused about making the Czech Pilsner but hey...especially after reading this forum I realized it was the right thing to do....but I was NOT going to like it. Well here's the confession....this Czech beer I'm drinking right now, that I brewed myself, is one of the best beers I've ever tasted!!!!!! I'm hooked!