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:
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:
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
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:
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.