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About Gutterbunnie

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    Newbie Brewer

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    bicycling & beer (city biking mostly, not mountain biking, hence the "gutterbunnie"

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  1. Bottled Voodoo that You Do yesterday. Sampled, very tasty, and very strong! Don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of bold, high ABV beers. I'm used to drinking microbrews, double IPAs, Lagunitas. So I didn't have my hydrometer when I brewed Voodoo, but I tried to take a reading from a sample after cold crashing & before bottling yesterday (let sample sit & warm to room temperature). Also, I read directions on mrB & various other websites, watched some YouTubes on how to use a hydrometer. Assuming that FG should be around 1.015 -1.018. My Voodoo reading was 1.010, or around there. Thinking maybe my hydrometer is not calibrated correctly, I tested spring water, which came out at 0.995 instead of 1.00. Am I correct in understanding that I would subtract .005 from my final reading of 1.010 which would give me an FG of 1.005? And if I go by the avg OG of 1.070 or 1.060, and subtract my FG 1.005, then multiply that by 131, on the high end I get 8.5% ABV, on the low end about 7.4% ABV (like the recipe says). but maybe I'm not using this hydrometer correctly, or my readings are inaccurate? Well anyway, I'm stoked because I think this is the first batch that perhaps I got right.....and then some. I followed recipe, adding LME and a cup of packed brown sugar., MrB yeast. Plus I used my spatula & always, always scrape out every bit of HME from the can, and I tried to do that with LME pouch but didn't work so well. Also I used a cooler to control fermentation temps. I can't wait to try a finished Voodoo in about 5-6 weeks, if I can wait that long. I know longer is better, at least 8 weeks conditioning. We'll see if my patience holds up!
  2. To answer one of Zorak's questions I missed - which I misstyped - this was my fourth batch with DME & pellet hops, and I agree, a bit too ambitious. Obviously hadn't read enough yet to dive into these additions. But I'm learning. And I'm reading more & more whenever I get the chance in between working & other stuff. I used LME in the Voodoo recipe (which I'm bottling this weekend) & that worked great - agree that LME is much simpler. no hot break or sticky messy fly-away DME. Plus there are more varieties with LME. At my local brew shop, they have few DME varieties: light, amber, dark, one more- wheat? can't remember....
  3. Thanks for all the tips! And I will check out the video. Could be my pot is a tad too big with only a quart of water. Thinking about adding a cup or 2 more water when using DME, maybe not worry about hot break. Mine didn't really do anything dramatic. But then I watched it like a hawk for boil-over. I was trying to following an older MRB recipe that had DME & hop sack, for flavor only. Not bitterness. Per insturctions, I left the the hop sack in the Wort, and that was a mess pouring into the LBK! Lost some down the sides of the keg & cleaned up outsides with some Star San cuz I read that if you don't, the bacteria can have a smorgasborg (not sure that's happened to anyone but I didn't want that, or any other creepy crawlies). I really like the idea of just throwing the hops into the wort, boiling for 5-10 min, maybe adding some cold water to Wort, and straining when pouring into LBK. Adding strainer to my toolkit. With the hop sack in the LBK, initially it had disappeared (sunk to bottom I'm assuming). My batch is about 6 days into fermentation in a cooler with lots of frozen water bottles (no crazy temps) & I noticed at about day 4 - 5, that the hop sack is now floating on top amongst the Krausen. Should I be worried or is this just all the CO2 from the yeast making hop sack float? Will it sink again? Should I remove with tongs before I bottle? Isn't it going to stop up my spigot? Thanks again for the help.
  4. I'm sure this has been asked a millions times before, but after searching posts, I didn't quite find what I was looking for. So when using DME with a standard HME, which only calls for a quart of water, and trying to reach the "hot break", a lot of evaporation occurs. Then adding some pellet hops in a hop sack to boil some more, didn't seem like enough water....just wanted some tips on how to improve this. How much water is safe to mix with DME before adding any hops, so the evaporation is limited? I probably got a bit too ambitious with my third batch using DME & hops, but Just trying things out. Any tips are appreciated.
  5. Thanks! I'm enjoying the whole process - learning as I go. Isn't that part of the fun of hobbies? I've considered buying brewing books for my library because so far I've just borrowed them. But this forum has an abundance of good information, so I think I'm good for now.
  6. Thanks everyone I will follow your recommendations. As my husband is always reminding me, patience is not my strong suit. So, probably I was jumping the gun hoping I could drink some within about a month. I will wait longer, try some more later. Anyway. It was my first batch & didn't have temp control, etc etc. I didn't think about taking the rings off - I thought they were supposed to stay there All good recommendations. With the recent Mr Beer sales I've bought a bunch more stuff, some refills, a hydrometer, more temp strips. Plenty to keep me occupied for a while. And I'm trying out temp control with my 3rd batch currently (in cooler with ice bottles). And, after reading posts on That Voodoo That You Do, I see now my patience is going to be tested! 4-6 months. Well there's other beer out there I can drink in the meantime. And husband teases me, & says he's going to buy me a TShirt that says "Beer taught me patience" or are those already out there to buy? OK guys, not many gals on these forums, I noticed. But, hey, I think Mr Beer's LBK is a great way for gals to get into this hobby. I can easily manage all steps myself, (I seriously doubt I could carry a full 5 gallon carboy) and my hubby just stays out of my way unless I ask for help. He's not interested in brewing beer, but then he's never been much of a cook either. If my beer is good enough, I'm sure he'll help me drink it will let you know how things turn out.........
  7. For my first batch, American Light (came with kit), most of the bottles seem to not be carbonated after 3 weeks. The ambient temp was probably 68-70. Also I tasted one (very very flat, and slight cider taste). Should I take them out of fridge & let them condition for another week or 2 at room temp? I thought maybe it was the PET bottles & not having a good enough seal as they all seem to leak a bit at the cap (if turned over). I bottled my second batch of home brew yesterday, Oktoberfest. even after cold crashing, it seemed a bit murky. I tasted & it seemed to be just like flat beer. After my first batch, I bought 22 oz glass beer bottles & had a hand capper from Mr Beer so I went ahead & bottled those in glass with crown caps. At first I couldn't figure out the capper tool and thought maybe I'm just a weakling, how to get those darn caps to crimp. But after watching a few You Tubes, I got it down. (the directions made it seem like the bottles were going to break all over me - didn't happen!). And today I brewed my third batch, Bewitched Amber, recipe That Voodoo that You Do. After reading through many forums, I placed LBK in a cooler with ice bottles, so I'm really hoping this 3rd batch turns out well. Wish me luck! Happy Brewing:)
  8. Thanks! Next batch, I'll try the cooler & ice bottles, at least for high Krausen. Even though thermometers read about 64 ambient temp, that means wort could rise to 74. Best to keep that at lower range during peak fermentation, 65/66, correct? bro said - don't let beer get to 80 or I'd ruin it. So his advice was probably not the most accurate, perhaps I worried less than I should have initially..... live & learn
  9. Ah, yes I wondered if it was truly a'll have to excuse my being a rookie, still have a lot to learn! So far I've read this forum, some other online forums, & about half a brewing book I checked out from library. Don't Lagers ferment at much lower temps, like in the 50s? Why does MR Beer refer to Oktoberfest as a Lager I wonder? Thank Shrike - yeah I know I've got the newbie jitters. I'll just leave it alone & check back in 2+ weeks. Will post what the end result is. I won't worry too much as there is some Krausen on side, still very cloudy so I can't see trub on bottom, but, I couldn't really see it on my first batch either. But it was definitely there when I bottled! So, for these 2 beers(American Light & Oktoberfest), maybe I don't have to worry too much about high Krausen rising to 72 but then dropping again to lower temps? Or do I? If it were really a Lager, possibly a bigger issue? Thanks again:) And I'm excited to try my first beers, it's a worthy endeavor. Try, fail, try again, right?
  10. Thanks for all the replies. I did take the 11th bottle (was very firm to touch) & bled off some C02. put in fridge. Maybe I'll taste test it.....maybe not. I will take your advice with the next batch of bottling - I had read about cold crashing but it seemed there were varying opinions. But with experience from first bottling, will try it with my next batch: cold crash, tilt LBK, also not add carbo drops to last few bottles until after filling. I think mainly I was concerned about O2 exposure & contamination. Anyway. Also I did not sanitize the spigot before bottling first batch, oops. didn't even cross my mind, and not really mentioned on Mr Beer instructions. Of course I followed all cleaning/sanitizing, I had bought oxygen based cleaner at local bottle shop & cleaned everything thoroughly & used the no rinse sanitizer before I brewed next batch, including disassembling the spigot & doing all that over again (which I almost forgot to do but read someone's post here). So I did brew the next batch of Oktoberfest Wed 2/28. Pitched yeast after adding spring water that had been chilled in fridge, so temp was low, didn't even register on outside therm. Saw activity within 12 hrs, bubbling, but not as active as Ale. Was concerned that the high Krausen temp creeped up to 72 degrees F. My house is not that warm, so I know outside temp was no more than 65. But I read that with fermentation the wort temp will rise. So next time, maybe I need to try the cooler & ice bottles? I looked at mini fridges but I don't think I'm ready to take that next step. I have coolers in the garage & plenty of water bottles I can freeze. Day 5 of fermentation of Oktoberfest. Temps are low. Low activity, still some bubbles on surface/middle, but very little Krausen on sides. With Lagers, maybe that's normal? Oh well just have to be patient, wait & see. Wish me luck. I have other refill kits coming in the mail, with some booster/LME. I'm interested in trying other recipes & adding LMEs to boost ABV & flavor. I read there is high drop out rate with this hobby, but since I've yet to sample a batch, we'll see. Also, I'm not one to give up very easily:) There's a learning curve and a science behind this, so now after reading other posts, I'm starting to document things, so I can adjust for next batches.
  11. Thanks! I'm excited to start another batch, different style beer. Hope it turns out well:) yeah I'm curious how awful the half filled 11th will taste because it got 2 carbo drops & half the volume! probably not mistake in putting in the carbo drops first before filling, I guess;)
  12. I'm pretty new to home brewing. Ordered Mr Beer kit in Jan, made my first batch of American Light in Feb & 3 weeks later, bottled on Sunday. (unless you count making beer with my brother 20+ years ago where he used sophisticated set-up, 5G Carboy, but lots of variation between batches d/t contamination & temp flux). So when it came time for my first bottling, I decided to go ahead & just use the PEP bottles that came with the kit for my first batch. Everything went fairly smoothly until the very last 11th bottle, and it fell short. I tried to get every lost drop of beer & ended up with half a bottle & lots of trub in my 11th. There seemed to be quit a bit of the white gunk settled on the bottom of the LBK. I hope that I did everything right. Has anyone else experienced this - maybe it was simply evaporation, or was some volume taken up by the dead yeast/trub? I find it somewhat difficult to regulate temp in my home but it's on the low end this time of year (above 60F). I have a small space, and best place I found was a dark closet in upstairs bedroom. I do hope that it fermented correctly. I bought a stick on thermometer but it's not the greatest. I have not yet invested in hydrometer. I'm doing my best to follow the instructions in the kit to a T. Any help or suggestions are appreciated. I am readying myself to make my second batch of either Oktoberfest or Diablo IPA. Thanks!