MOODY

New Brewer

44 posts in this topic

Hey gents, just wanted to introduce myself and share what I have experienced so far.

My name is Jesse and I received my Mr.Beer Kit from Santa this past Christmas.

- I knew we were going to be moving at the end of January, beginning of February so I did not want to start right away. I Started my first batch ( Classic American Light) February 13.

- I am sure I am not the first, but even after reading, re-reading, and reading instructions again, I felt like I was messing up every step along the way.

- The spigot, I do believe has given me the most problems,  I had to retest it for leaks 3 different times because I just couldn't seem to get it tight enough.

- Not sure if it matters, but I feel like I let my wort sit for too long before adding it to my LBK. It looked like it was starting to clump up, but spread back out after mixing it again.

- I do think I messed up by not having refrigerated water to top off the LBK. I just used the cold water out of the faucet. 

- After adding everything and screwing on the lid, the stick on thermometer it came with took a few hours to turn into a check mark. I bought a 2nd thermometer  to set in the box with the     LBK which has been right at 70 the whole time. 

- 2 days later, my spigot seems to be properly holding, temperature is holding at 70, but for some reason I still feel like I've done something wrong. Probably just Newbie Jitters.

 

I'll be sure to keep everyone updated, it looks like March 6 is my bottling date.

 

Please share any suggestions

 

dale hihn, kedogn, D Kristof and 1 other like this

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Welcome. Don't give up even if your first beer is not great. You are going to learn a ton here. Use that advice to better your skills each time. You are going to have fun with this and produce something that you and others will enjoy.

Shrike, MOODY, DEFbrewer and 2 others like this

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Welcome. If your first brew is anything like mine was it will be drinkable but not fantastic. But it has got better.

Leaks at spigot, yes, several folks including me have had that. Whatever you did to fix it, do the same thing again :-).

If you had the booster in the kit, yes it will clump, DME too even stirring constantly it takes a while to dissolve.  I find it works best to add the dry ingredients to cold water then increase the temp stirring all the time to prevent burning. When boiling and dissolved, take it off the heat and add the liquid extract.

I get the LBK ready first - other than adding the cold water (I use faucet water - if you can drink it,  it is fine for beer)  to it,  then I can add the hot wort right away.

Better to add the hot wort to the LBK, then let it cool a bit (say 68 to 85) with the lid on before adding yeast than letting the wort concentrate stand out to cool, I think, before adding to LBK. Cooper's says better to add the yeast as soon as the temp can be tolerated (< 90)  to protect the wort from infection. The beer will be better fermenting cooler than 70  higher anyway (mid 60's is good for clean beer), so don't worry about keeping it warm. If too warm if it can get a cidery taste.

Different yeasts work better with different treatments (e.g. lager or Belgians), but this is good for Mr B yeast or standard ale yeasts.

 

Still you won't be sure until you find what works for you. I think every one here has to experiment a bit before they find what they like in terms of bpth beer and personalized brewing process.

 

Read all Rick Beer's links at bottom of his posts for good results :-D.

 

 

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Welcome! I think i can say for all of us (Since we all have been where you are)..... Its your first batch... at best it will be meh.. drinkable. As you learn and improve on how you do the process, it will get better. Patience is key. Read, read, read, take notes, ask questions, we are here to help, then read, read, read again. Also.. i would nudge that temp down to about 65*F for better results. 

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Welcome to the hobby.  Read, read and read some more.  My first batch was, well, drinkable beer not great.  Second batch outstanding.  There is a learning curve and second guessing yourself is normal.  In the end, relax and enjoy your hobby and your beer.  Oh yeah, read some more.

DrMJG, hotrod3539 and MOODY like this

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Yesterday was the end of my first week of fermentation. I do not have a hydrometer yet, that will be on the list of things i need get. But my question is, Should I take a sample each week to taste and look how things are going?

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41 minutes ago, MOODY said:

Yesterday was the end of my first week of fermentation. I do not have a hydrometer yet, that will be on the list of things i need get. But my question is, Should I take a sample each week to taste and look how things are going?

Brewing takes time and patience.  It is difficult but rewarding in the end. 

Wait until it is time to bottle and then taste what you have done.

SilverBrewerWI and MOODY like this

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Welcome!  I was the same way with my first brew.  Lots of errors but it came out most drinkable. If you have questions, post them here and you will get lots of answers and tons of suggestions and most will be very good.  Work on basic technique for you first couple brew.  The hobby's addictive (I have only been doing it for a tad over 6 months and am now on new #16! So Prosit! Each brew will be unique Bec cause you brewed it!

26992609_10213214988403537_7120431811147065903_n.jpg

MOODY, KCullison86, Shrike and 1 other like this

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welcome. relax.  your first few brews will probably be full of mistakes unless you have ocd about following instructions to the letter. use these to learn the process. dont expect that your first few beers will be super awesome. they might be..   they probably will be at least as good if not better than store bought run of the mill beer. your first brews should be simple.. which is why we warn about not getting all mad scientist too early.

 

the most important things to know when starting:

 

1. patience. can you make beer in 7 days? sure. will it be good beer? probably not.

 

2. dont lift the lid once its going.  you can 'perv' the yeast all you want from the outside. just dont freak out when you see things like foam or gunk

 

3. ask. every mistake you can make has been made at least once by probably every other person here. there are no dumb questions. you WILL make mistakes. they happen. you might drop a label peel in the wort. you might forget to stir. you might do any number of things... we've all been there. relax.

 

4. yeast are incredibly hardy. if you dont go doing silly things to them like adding boiling water to them or stirring with a used toilet brush, they will

do what they do. they might not do it like you hoped but they are living things. they do what they do. give them food, shelter and proper temps and time.

 

5. you dont need to stir them in. agitate the wort before you pitch. they will find the food. you agitate at the start to mix in o2. o2 is needed at the very

start of fermentation only... the reproduction stage. once the yeast get going? leave them be.

 

6. yeast are not vampires. you will not skunk a beer under normal house light. UV light skunks hop oil. (sulfur development)

 

7. learn all you can. . . but dont be too eager to start new techniques and styles until you have built up on your basics. can you immediately start doing

all grain? sure... but all grain is complicated as heck. math.. chemistry... science...  more equipment. more work... learn the basics. master them. give yourself

about 2 years of nothing but kits while you learn. gradually add stuff like hop boils with unhopped extract. .. or steeping grains.

 

now one last point.  remember this: garbage in -  garbage out.  if your water is full of chlorine from the tap.. or tastes like sewage, dont use it.  chlorine can contribute an off flavor that is like rubber or band aids.  use a good bottled mineral water. for extract brewing you can even use reverse osmosis or distilled water. the most important thing is that it tastes ok in the glass. good to drink? probably good for extract beers. if you ever get into all grain, that is when water chemistry becomes super important.

 

good luck and happy brewing! if you get to the point where it's frustrating the snot out of you.. or you feel 'gosh.. this is hard work. i dont like this'... find a new hobby.  no point in doing something as a hobby that you dont enjoy.  you can make this as simple or as hard as you want. that's why i like brewing. i love making things difficult with gobs of science and extra steps. im weird that way.  :)

 

-z-

 

ps.   mr beer has an awesome customer support system.  if something goes horribly wrong that isnt directly due to negligence on your part, they can work with you.  if a spigot breaks for example, let them know. dont come here to bad mouth mr beer if you over-torqued the spigot. (which happens btw if you arent careful).

 

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in regards to the spigot, i had to take a knife and clean the hole that was drilled in the lbk. it had a big tab of plastic on it. once i smoothed the hole out there was no prob. brew on!

 

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re new brewer jitters... most if not all of us have been there. really want to get it right. you want to enjoy the hobby but you dont want to make mistakes.  some of us obsess like first time parents on our first beers. we rush to the fermenter every 5 minutes and freak out at everything we see. 

 

common freak outs:  omg it's not doing anything! i mean i pitched the yeast 2 hours ago and it's just sitting there! i mustve killed the yeast!  - lol. that was me. yeast can take a day or 2 to get started. it's not uncommon for yeast to start off slow, especially if you didnt give them any o2 at the start. or if they arent happy with the temps.

 

omg i see foam! it must be an infection!  - foam on top is krausen.  krausen is an old german word for 'hey! i'm making beer!' or something. foam on top = good.

 

omg there's a layer of sludge on the bottom! i mustve killed the yeast! - sludge on bottom is 'trub', another old german word that means 'see i told you i was making beer'.. or something.

 

omg i used whirlfloc and now it looks like my fermenter is full of sea weed! - me again.  whirlfloc is made from sea weed or irish moss more correctly. when it first expands to trap proteins and such before it settles out, it can look pretty gross.

 

omg i took a sample from the spigot and it tastes like bread! it must be an infection! -  no. you are sampling trub. trub is yeast poop, lazy or dead yeast cells, fats, proteins, etc. prop up the spigot end a little with a couple cd cases and trub will settle out behind the spigot. not where it can flow out.

 

omg i dropped a piece of label from a can in my wort! - it happens. you will likely be fine. if you want you can either remove the labels ahead of time on brew day or just give the can a quick dunk in sanitizer before you open it.  i never worried about it. just use a sanitized spoon to fish the label out.

 

etc.  once yeast get going they are very tough and will aggressively defend their turf against intruders like bacteria, mold, other yeasts.  you can still get these infections but healthy yeast that are happy will likely keep these things away.  use proper sanitation and care and youre golden.

 

so relax. ask questions. try to not panic.  be orderly and take care while brewing. limit distractions. keep the dog and cat out of your brewing area. keep the kids out.

follow instructions.. take your time.  wait til youre done with brew day THEN have a beer.

 

-z-

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If you want to be obsessive. If you want to freak out I suggest trying the following. If course this is assuming you already read the directions three times. Compared the directions against those printed on the label. And have finally gotten yourself mentally prepared and ready to begin.

DO IT! BREW LIKE YOU'VE BEEN THERE BEFORE! 

Now for the obsessive part. Sit down and write notes to yourself. List everything you thought you were doing wrong. List everything you KNOW you did wrong (you forgot to sanitize your thermometer when you checked the wort before pitching your yeast). Document the wort temperature when you pitched the yeast (maybe you forgot you wanted to do that. Add that to your list of mistakes.) Document the room temperature where you placed your LBK to perv on. Document any times you were distracted by your wife, your kids, your dog wanting to be let out, your cat knocking your spoon off the counter, that phone call from Mom... Then pour yourself a glass of your favorite brew and move your chair closer to the LBK so you can get a better look, you perv,

Why?

Because, the next time you brew that recipe all of those factors will be different. Your knowledge of the process will be better. The yeast will react differently. Etc. Your goals are to make a better tasting brew than the first, to make a brew that tastes as great as the one your buddies consumed watching the game. Try to recreate that mistake riddled, overheated, oxygenated, skunked brew your family loved and gave a name to as they dreamed about your future brew pub.

Laugh obsessively about how you acted when you first gave yourself to this addiction.

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another thing you can do when you get the brewing bug... become 'that guy' who can only talk for hours about yeast , beer and brewing.  that was me.  a colleague at work made the mistake of telling me he was into beer one day.  for over a year i would corner him to go on and on about my latest brewing exploits, how wonderful yeast are, etc. not everyone shares your obsession. they just want free beer.  another reason i like this forum... you can come here and talk for hours about brewing and no one will look at you like you are some kind of preachy weirdo or something.

 

yep i can look back and laugh. oh and for the record? my kind of chimay red not quite clone came out great. after only 1 month in the bottle it has a lovely banana ester, a nice heaviness that i like, a light hoppy presence....   was it worth the extra work to do a decoction mash? i think so.  i'm trying to be good and keep my hands off them. ive only had 5 bottles in one month..  32 left in the cooler.   hope to see how going more than 2 months impacts the flavor. must....resist.... 

 

incidentally danstar abbaye yeast does a good job. first time using it. i kept the temp at over 72f for most of the first 2 weeks and it makes fairly strong banana notes. 

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I have started thinking about down the road after I bottle this 1st brew. I will most likely be using the 2gal LBK for my first few brews before moving on to a 5gal system. But my question has to do with the number of bottles you typically keep on hand (Obviously, you can never have to much beer). .But sticking with the three week rotation, it looks like I will be starting my 4th batch before I will be able to start re using bottles?? 

 

2/13- 1st Ferment

3/6 - 1st Bottle, 2nd Ferment

3/27- 1st Condition, 2nd Bottle, 3rd Ferment

4/17- 24-12oz bottles ready to drink, 2nd Condition, 3rd Bottle, 4th Ferment 

and by the time 5/8 rolls around, I am sure I will have finished 24 bottles

 

So it looks like at least 72?- 12oz bottles are needed 

 

How long do you typically wait before starting another brew?

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Your question has no right answer, because it depends on consumption.  I know someone that brews every weekend, because he drinks 4-6 beers per day.  I drink 4-6 beers per week...

 

By the way, just because you want 5 gallons doesn't mean you can't use the LBKs.  I brew 5 gallons and put 2.5 gallons in each LBK.  1/2 the weight to carry.  As someone once told me, you can ferment in the back of a toilet.  

 

Make your schedule easier, eliminate the "condition step".  Just go 4 - 6 weeks from bottling for both carbonating and conditioning.  

 

From a standard Mr. Beer recipe, if you cold crash, you will get around 20 - 22 12 oz bottles at most.  2.13 gallons = 272.64 oz / 12 = 22.72, minus the trub.  

 

You have to figure out your consumption, then figure out how the brewing cycle fits into that.  At first, you'll be scrambling for bottles.  You'll be drinking at 4 weeks instead of going 6 weeks or longer.  You'll put beer in the fridge at 4 weeks, then at 6 weeks pulling out 3 bottles that you haven't drank yet and putting in 3 bottles that have aged 2 more weeks at room temp.  Then, as you build your pipeline you won't worry about anything.


If you're using glass flip top bottles (don't use screw top), and you're in a state with a deposit law, run an ad in Craigslist offering to meet people in the grocery store parking lot and buy their bottles from them, a case or more only (to make the trip worth it).  They don't have to stand at the stupid machine, and you get 24 bottles for minimal cost. 

 

I initially bought more PET bottles, then switched to glass and a bench capper, and got many cases of bottles from Craigslist.  In fact, last year I ended up returning a bunch of the ones I hadn't yet prepped to the store for deposit as I was never going to use them.

 

At one point, I had 15 different beers in the frig with a total of around 24 cases made. I'm down to around 10 cases now, and not brewing because the inventory is getting old.  And, I have enough bottles - glass and PET - to have 29 cases of beer.  

 

Oh, and this is what a pipeline looks like...

 

20140924_171336.thumb.jpg.5b6a6a1252005158a3619869310411b1.jpg20150407_161737.thumb.jpg.af3f2f9672d3f257f202d59d03d4313a.jpg

 

pipeline.jpg

Cato, MOODY and dale hihn like this

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1 hour ago, MOODY said:

How long do you typically wait before starting another brew?

Under perfect conditions, until a conical is open and ready to be filled. :)

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That looks great! I do believe my wife will be a little upset if my house stock became that large. As of now, the goal is to get to where I do not have to buy commercial beer anymore. I still need to get a beer fridge before I start on my stock pile.

When i got the Mr.Beer LBK, I also got a 5gal kit from Widwest Supplies. After checking everything out, i decided its best to leave this kit alone until i get the hang of things. (That kit came with a few more toys lolz)

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Welcome!

I got started in this hobby January 2017, slowly acquired 3 LBKs. The sheet on the fridge shows I have mixed 25 MB recipes (several twice). I drink 6-9 (12 oz) homebrews/week.

  I use the 740 ml bottles but figuring "a beer" is 12oz, using 3 LBKs As of this morning I have managed to build 122 refrigerated, 128 conditioning, 72 carbonating with 4.5 gallons fermenting. I don't even want to talk about the money.  :lol:  I did have to buy a basement fridge and some racks.

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2 hours ago, MOODY said:

I have started thinking about down the road after I bottle this 1st brew. I will most likely be using the 2gal LBK for my first few brews before moving on to a 5gal system. But my question has to do with the number of bottles you typically keep on hand (Obviously, you can never have to much beer). .But sticking with the three week rotation, it looks like I will be starting my 4th batch before I will be able to start re using bottles?? 

 

2/13- 1st Ferment

3/6 - 1st Bottle, 2nd Ferment

3/27- 1st Condition, 2nd Bottle, 3rd Ferment

4/17- 24-12oz bottles ready to drink, 2nd Condition, 3rd Bottle, 4th Ferment 

and by the time 5/8 rolls around, I am sure I will have finished 24 bottles

 

So it looks like at least 72?- 12oz bottles are needed 

 

How long do you typically wait before starting another brew?

 

I have two LBKs.  I stagger them so I'm bottling/brewing a batch midway through the next batch's fermentation , meaning I brew every 10-11 days.  I almost always bottle a batch, clean the LBK, then brew my next batch right away.  I alternate brews between ones with short conditioning times and ones with long.

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24 minutes ago, Shrike said:

 

I have two LBKs.  I stagger them so I'm bottling/brewing a batch midway through the next batch's fermentation , meaning I brew every 10-11 days.  I almost always bottle a batch, clean the LBK, then brew my next batch right away.  I alternate brews between ones with short conditioning times and ones with long.

Thats exactly what i do too. If i want to brew but dont have a keg available then i either brew a lager the slow way or i start filling growlers for people. Or i go the full three weeks fermenting. A keg is bound to empty by then. 

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