Rokitman

A (Positive) Word About MR. Beer Customer Service

20 posts in this topic

I have been a brewer and Mr. Beer customer for a relatively short time compared to most here. My favorite brew so far has been the Hacked Root Beer. My first batch was AMAZING! But sadly, the next two were not. I did not understand what I did wrong in subsequent brews, nor could the friendly folks HERE track down my issue.

As suggested by a regular poster here, I turned to customer support. Created a ticket and waited. It took a while for the first reply and I responded. After that... nothing.  I replied twice more, but still no activity from a rep. I got impatient and created a NEW ticket to complain about the first. Again, no activity. Convinced I was being ignored, I angrily closed out BOTH tickets and answered the resulting survey with just exactly how I felt.

Well, turns out I was NOT being ignored. There apparently was some sort of glitchy snafu in the ticketing system and my emails were not being seen. Shortly after my tantrum, I was contacted by Rick Zich, who explained the situation, apologized and assured me my original rep would be handling this.  And shortly after that, he was.

Tim Falk emailed me, also apologized, offered a monetary credit to my account and sent me a replacement HRB refill... which arrived today.

Now I guess it's time for ME to apologize. I was too willing to believe I was being ignored that it never crossed my mind that there could be technical reasons for this. I have never had an issue with Mr. Beer products, shipping, their website or any members of the forums in the past. There was no reason to believe I was having one now.

Thank you Tim Falk and Rick Zich for understanding my frustration and handling this in such a professional manner. Your generosity and concern for this impatient old man will not be forgotten. 

Cheers,
- Dean Rohs -


 

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57 minutes ago, Timelordjason said:

Did you ever figure out what was wrong with your last couple of batches?

 

I've tried to retrace my steps and see what I'm doing differently. My first batch I used 2 cups of brown sugar and 2 cups of white sugar along with some vanilla extract in the second keg ~ this recipe suggested by a very well known veteran brewer here . And other than a good portion of sediment in the bottles, this batch was amazing. I attributed the sediment to undissolved brown sugar.

So the next batch I pre-dissolved the sugar with warm water before adding ~ again, I've watched videos of long time brewers doing this.  The result was nothing close to root beer. It just tasted like beer. With very little if any root beer flavor. I can't imagine this small change could make such a huge impact. Other than this variation, I followed all the other brewing instructions as listed.

I've sent an email to Tim Falk with as detailed a description of my brewing technique as I can remember. Hopefully he can shed some light on this. The first batch was so damn good. I'd hate to think I can't do it again. Wonder if anyone else in the forums have experienced the same issue with their HRB.


 

Timelordjason likes this

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heres what you get when you ferment with brown sugar:  black licorice flavored crap. brown sugar is simply cane sugar with mollasses mixed in it.  the yeast eat the sucrose and leave behind the sulfury mollasses.

 

heres what happens when you dump tons of sugar in your beer or root beer...  you jack up the alcohol by volume. . . hence the beer like quality instead of root beer. ya made rocket fuel son!

 

follow the recipe as is a few times. see how it comes out before making mods.  ive seen brewers dump all kinds of silly things in their beers trying to chase abv instead of flavor... and some chasing really odd flavors like cabbage and cheerios ( yes... i did that... once.)

 

SilverBrewerWI likes this

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Thank you Rick. I didn't know if Josh would mind being mentioned by name. But I think we can ALL trust his advice on brewing. 

 

And I have to partially disagree with Zoraks opinion. Although it certainly has been mentioned more than once that brown sugar can cause some off tastes, it doesn't explain why my first batch was so damn good. If I didn't know any better, I'd think it was jacked up A&W. 

 

But I think his advice is valid. Perhaps I should stick to the recommended procedure before improvising on a tried and true method. Or maybe use less sugar? 

 

I DO appreciate everyone's input here. I truly enjoy this hobby and want to be a better brewer. I take to heart everything that is presented here. 

 

I'll let you know what Tim has to say when he replies. 

 

- Happy Brewing - 

dale hihn and Shrike like this

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Big difference between hacked root beer and beer, that's why I was clarifying.  And the fact that Mr. Beer's brewmaster recommended it is different than another person recommending it.  And you did mention his name in the prior post.  Josh isn't bashful.  

MRB Josh R and D Kristof like this

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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.

Shrike likes this

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9 hours ago, RickBeer said:

 And you did mention his name in the prior post.  Josh isn't bashful.  

 

I guess I did, didn't I? In this  crazy Internet thing, you can't be too careful when it comes to security. Especially someone  else's. 

 

 

D Kristof likes this

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26 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

Try to keep the main beer fermentation as cool as you can (65-68 is best).

 

@zorak1066, 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.

 

Temperature has never been an issue with any of my brews. My closet stays a constant 68 degrees day and night. Of course all my clothes now smell like beer! But only the best beer I've ever tasted. 👍

 

Perhaps the carbonation time could be an issue. I've generally left the bottles to carbonate the full time listed in the directions. Even though the bottles get fairly firm within the first few days. I've also noticed that many of the gaskets develop small pin holes in the center, and show small brown stains around the hole in the cap. Even though the bottles still seem to maintain good carbonation, I guess this is a sign I've left them too long?

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31 minutes ago, Rokitman said:

 

Temperature has never been an issue with any of my brews. My closet stays a constant 68 degrees day and night. Of course all my clothes now smell like beer! But only the best beer I've ever tasted. 👍

 

Perhaps the carbonation time could be an issue. I've generally left the bottles to carbonate the full time listed in the directions. Even though the bottles get fairly firm within the first few days. I've also noticed that many of the gaskets develop small pin holes in the center, and show small brown stains around the hole in the cap. Even though the bottles still seem to maintain good carbonation, I guess this is a sign I've left them too long?

 

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.

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5 minutes ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

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.

 

:blink: 71pb4VEvDGL._UL1500_.jpg

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7 hours ago, MRB Josh R said:

 

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.

 

I did not know this. I've never noticed the pin holes before. I thought the excess Co2 escaped around the edges somehow. Knowing this, should the bottles be chilled at the first sign of staining, or when the bottles become hard? 

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