MRB Josh R

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Everything posted by MRB Josh R

  1. 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!
  2. My business trip is the AHA NHC.
  3. No promises or anything. I will have to check my funds to see if I can afford it. Chances are slim, but I'll see what I can do.
  4. I do need a vacation.....hmmmmm
  5. As I said above, I recommend contacting our customer service department for replacement caps/bottles. This has been a recent recurring issue and we are investigating.
  6. HAHAHAHA!!! Just noticed that and fixed it.
  7. Well, we do have access to rice syrup solids. Let me see what I can do.
  8. "Lager" means cold-conditioning. While it's not required, it helps make a very clear and crisp beer. It's most common for lagers (hence their name), but can also be done for many light ale styles. Higher ABV beers and dark beers generally benefit from cellar conditioning instead (55-65 F).
  9. Think of a keg as a very large bottle of beer. If it is a style of beer that ages well then, yes, you can leave it at room temps, but cellar temps are always preferred (55-65). But as Rick said, a couple of months at 75 should be fine. Just be sure you are purging the headspace with Co2 just before carbonation (while pulling on the pressure relief valve, add some Co2 for a few seconds to allow it to push oxygen out of the tank, then release the valve and let it carbonate at your desired pressure). Always store your IPAs and lagers cold.
  10. No, I did not know this because I don't drink Miller, nor do I have any desire to research their recipes. I have heard of tetra iso-extract, but didn't realize Miller was using it. I assumed they were using some sort of chemical treatment. Again, I don't drink Miller. The reason I ask here is because this is a FORUM, which is intended for discussion among the forum members. These discussions wouldn't happen if everyone just went to Google.
  11. It's too damn hot to be doing anything outside during the summer in AZ anyway!
  12. Huh? How so? What are they doing to prevent lightstrike of the hop oils? This I would like to know.
  13. Just a heads up for you guys that free shipping on orders over $39 will start this afternoon and run through the weekend. It's the best time to stock up on those Winter Dark Ales before they're gone again.
  14. ^^^Definitely overcarbonated.
  15. The pin holes are put there by us. This is what lets excess Co2 escape to prevent explosions. The brown stains indicate that there was some foaming coming out of the caps, which would imply that it is done carbonating.
  16. The problem may have been the beer fermentation itself. If it's too warm, the yeast will create more "beery" esters. Try to keep the main beer fermentation as cool as you can (65-68 is best). This will give you a cleaner fermentation that will result in less of a beer flavor in the final product. @zorak1066, the brown sugar in the HRB isn't for ABV, it's for sweetness. The main fermentation has no sugar added to it. The sugar is added when the beer is mixed with the root beer extract. Like the regular Mr. RootBeer kits, the Hacked Root Beer uses special gasketed caps to prevent explosions during carbonation, which typically only takes about 5-7 days because of the high volume of sugar. Once the bottles are firm and/or the caps start to foam a bit out of the gaskets, the root beer is to be refrigerated right away to prevent any further fermentation. If done properly, the brown sugar will not ferment out creating the flavors you described. Keep in mind that the product is called "Hacked" for a reason. Feel free to experiment with different sugars and flavorings. I actually like to add a small amount of molasses (not black strap, something lighter) to my batches. I've also found that maple syrup tastes amazing in root beer.
  17. The chocolate malt is out of stock, but the warehouse should have received the new shipment today. It should be back in stock by tomorrow or Saturday.
  18. 66-72 is the sweet spot. We are always referring to ambient temps, not the temps inside the keg.
  19. As I said in my first reply, we are currently looking into more affordable ways to make our products more accessible to our Canadian customers. This is one of our priorities for 2018. In the meantime, Amazon is always a good option for our Canadian customers. Even if supplied by a US distributor (which would be us), Amazon pays for the shipping, especially if you are a Prime member.
  21. Have you tried calling our customer service line during our business hours? If you sent an email, you may be in for a long wait because we are still catching up on returns, exchanges, gift card orders, military discount forms, etc from over the holidays. Please keep in mind that we have 2 customer service reps here at Mr. Beer. Myself and @MRB Tim. The quickest way to get a hold of one of us to answer your question is through our live chat or through our toll free phone number, 1-800-852-4263. Also, as I've explained above, we cannot tell you where to buy individual items because the inventory will vary between stores. But using our store locator I linked above, you should be able to find a store in your area that carries our products.
  22. Standard caps for the regular PET bottles, I believe. We are working with the manufacturer to find out what went wrong on the last batch. Not sure if it's the caps' liner or the threads. It's not a widespread issue, but we have had at least a few emails and calls about it.
  23. I recommend contacting our customer service department for replacement caps/bottles. This has been a recent recurring issue and we are investigating.
  24. As @epete28 mentioned above, IPAs are meant to be bitter. But because hop oils are volatile and will decrease over time, aging your beer will mellow the bitterness if that's not your thing.
  25. Our newest Craft Refill, the Long Play IPA (aka, LP IPA) is now available!