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8 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

I'm entirely with you on this idea of adding just a bit more water to the keg to get a full twelve - 32oz bottles of beer.  It really isn't that much more water, about 1-1½ quarts or so.  I'm adding some DME and dark brown-sugar to the recipe so that should compensate for the little bit of increased water, I'd think.

Ooops, NOT a full 12 bottles but 8!!  Twelve 32 oz bottles would be 3 gallons!!  Explosion?!?! lol

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27 minutes ago, Mic Todd said:

 Which is my feeling exactly, as indicated in my two other posts here.  I figured the CAL would be the one to try experimenting with.  I've decided on 1 full pound of DME and a cup of extra dark brown-sugar into the wort.  I am planning on dry-hopping in the bottles themselves with a hop tea I'll make with a french press.  The one thing I haven't quite worked out yet is whether or not I should substitute a different yeast (and a little more than the included MRB pack has in it) to the wort instead?  I have some fresh Safale 05 available but could use some advice on that.

So there are 2 things I look at in yeasts.

One is the Attenuation, how much of the sugars in the wort the yeast will consume. So the net result of that is a sweeter beer or a drier beer, Ale yeasts like Mr Beer's eat in the low 70% of the sugars, other yeasts can go as high as 90% I think. US-05 makes a drier beer than Mr Beer yeast, and you will taste the hops more. Saison yeasts for example eat a great deal of the sugars. You can find these numbers on the Internet but the Recipe builders also have an indication under yeasts, and will change the FG accordingly.  So it depends what result you want. Reading the manufacturer description is a good start, they indicate styles the yeast is good for too.

 

The second thing is the production of esters that add flavor. Some yeasts make more than others and they add flavors of various kinds. You want them or you don't. Clean means no esters.

 

The third thing (oops - I said 2?)  is the temperature. This will affect the ester production and the rate yeasts eat through the sugars. For example wheat yeasts will produce banana or clove flavors depending on the  temperature (generalization).  So the temperature profile throughout the fermentation will control the flavor. Esters are mostly produced during growth phase at the start of fermentation is what I read. 

 

These are the most important things for me.

There are surely others too that other folks here may worry about.

 

Hope this helps.

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1 hour ago, Nickfixit said:

These are the most important things for me.

There are surely others too that other folks here may worry about.

 

Hope this helps.

It does, somewhat.  But it almost makes for more questions.  As I read it on the package, the Safale 05 is an "American Ale yeast producing well balanced beers with a very clear and crisp palate."  "Sedimentation is medium." (?)  "Final gravity low to medium."   In contrast, I have no information on how this compares to the MRB yeast under the lid of the mix.  I guess I was thinking that since I am adding a pound of dark DME and 1 cup of dark brown-sugar (which will certainly change the light lager characteristics of the CAL) do I need more yeast than just what the single packet under the lid offers to eat all those additional sugars I'm adding?  And is it advisable to mix the two yeast types or just go with the Safale 05 which I have plenty of?  See what I mean?  More questions.  Conclusion: I just go for it and try it out.  Why not?  I have 4 more recipe mixes from MRB coming so if this one turns bust I'm still in business.  Fun, fun, fun.

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9 hours ago, Mic Todd said:

Which is my feeling exactly, as indicated in my two other posts here.  I figured the CAL would be the one to try experimenting with.  I've decided on 1 full pound of DME and a cup of extra dark brown-sugar into the wort.  I am planning on dry-hopping in the bottles themselves with a hop tea I'll make with a french press.  The one thing I haven't quite worked out yet is whether or not I should substitute a different yeast (and a little more than the included MRB pack has in it) to the wort instead?  I have some fresh Safale 05 available but could use some advice on that.

What are you going for with the dark brown sugar?

 

If you are using it for color and ABV, it would be better to use a cup of regular sugar and some darker grains to get the same effect.  The molasses in the brown sugar can sometimes not produce the flavor you want.

 

I would use the Safale 05, it is very clean especially at the cooler end of the scale.  The Mr. Beer yeast would be enough but I found my beers improved when I stopped using that yeast.  I did other things to improve my beers at the same time but I haven't used it since.

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Using a tool like QBrew, you can do "what-ifs" with a recipe to determine the impact of proposed additions.  QBrew can be obtained here: http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/2010/09/qbrew-homebrewers-recipe-calculator.html and you need to also add the ingredient database mentioned further down.  There's no "I think", it's simple math, and QBrew does it for you.  

 

A Mr. Beer batch is 2.13 gallons, i.e. 8.5 quarts.  Adding 1 1/2 quarts of water would be an increase of 17.6%.  That's is "much more".  That's why you need to add malt (LME, DME, or steeped grains) to counteract the impact of the added water to the recipe.  

 

If a recipe produces 5% ABV in 2.13 gallons, and you increase to 2.5 gallons, you need to add that same percentage increase in malt extract.  QBrew will show you the recipe as is, then you can experiment with adding LME/DME and extra dark brown sugar.

 

You may also want to read about adjuncts, specifically the impact of extra dark brown sugar.  Yeast eats the sugar, leaving unsweetened molasses.  That's a very bitter taste.  

 

You should also read this blog post that among other things discusses the max amount of adjuncts you should add.  https://www.mrbeer.com/blog/tips-when-increasing-the-alcohol-level-in-your-homebrew/

 

As far as hop tea, maybe you found an article about making hop tea with a french press, but that's a new one on me, at least with hop pellets.  Don't know what you'd be pressing.  Of course you would also need to sanitize all equipment since you're dry hopping right into the bottle.

 

I'll point out one last thing.  This hobby has a very high drop out rate (homebrewing in general, not Mr. Beer specifically).  There are some main reasons that people drop out:

 

1) Don't follow instructions, make crappy beer, and quit.

 

2) Go all mad scientist, not knowing the impact of changes they make, and then wondering why they made crappy beer.

 

I'm all for modifying recipes, but know the impact that your proposed change(s) are going to make.  Try one change at a time, see the impact, then make another change.

 

 

 

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36 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

Using a tool like QBrew, you can do "what-ifs" with a recipe to determine the impact of proposed additions.  QBrew can be obtained here: http://www.thescrewybrewer.com/2010/09/qbrew-homebrewers-recipe-calculator.html and you need to also add the ingredient database mentioned further down.  There's no "I think", it's simple math, and QBrew does it for you.  

 

A Mr. Beer batch is 2.13 gallons, i.e. 8.5 quarts.  Adding 1 1/2 quarts of water would be an increase of 17.6%.  That's is "much more".  That's why you need to add malt (LME, DME, or steeped grains) to neutralize the impact of the added water to the recipe.  

 

If a recipe produces 5% ABV in 2.13 gallons, and you increase to 2.5 gallons, you need to add that same percentage increase in malt extract.  QBrew will show you the recipe as is, then you can experiment with adding LME/DME and extra dark brown sugar.

 

You may also want to read about adjuncts, specifically the impact of extra dark brown sugar.  Yeast eats the sugar, leaving unsweetened molasses.  That's a very bitter taste.  

 

You should also read this blog post that among other things discusses the max amount of adjuncts you should add.  https://www.mrbeer.com/blog/tips-when-increasing-the-alcohol-level-in-your-homebrew/

 

As far as hop tea, maybe you found an article about making hop tea with a french press, but that's a new one on me.  

 

I'll point out one last thing.  This hobby has a very high drop out rate (homebrewing in general, not Mr. Beer specifically).  There are some main reasons that people drop out:

 

1) Don't follow instructions, make crappy beer, and quit.

 

2) Go all mad scientist, not knowing the impact of changes they make, and then wondering why they made crappy beer.

 

I'm all for modifying recipes, but know the impact that your proposed change(s) are going to make.  Try one change at a time, see the impact, then make another change.

 

 

 

+1 on the comments by Rickbeer and Dawg!

I'm a big fan of brewing software and use Qbrew for every recipe Mr Beer, ones I've found on AHA,  Breiss, wherever. I'll probably move to Beersmith before long, but like Rick points out you can run scenarios, tweaks, or formulate your own.

 

I use 3 different size fermenters so I'm scaling all the time. Another big benefit is saving your recipe so you have an exact procedural log for next time or to fine tune.

 

Probably best to get your brewing procedures down with a few batches of MB recipes, and MB pm's until you start producing some tasty beers. How your beer tastes shows how you are progressing.

 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, BDawg62 said:

What are you going for with the dark brown sugar?

 

If you are using it for color and ABV, it would be better to use a cup of regular sugar and some darker grains to get the same effect.  The molasses in the brown sugar can sometimes not produce the flavor you want.

 

I would use the Safale 05, it is very clean especially at the cooler end of the scale.  The Mr. Beer yeast would be enough but I found my beers improved when I stopped using that yeast.  I did other things to improve my beers at the same time but I haven't used it since.

One more thing. The Mr B yeast packet has 5 gm yeast, targeting enough yeast for 2 gal brews.

The S-05 has 11 gm. targeted nominally at  5 gal brews.

So if you are making more than 2 gal and want a "clean" taste, you are likely better off using the larger amount of yeast. The 5g pack will do it but it will need to grow more cells  making more esters in the process.

The 05 also ferments 81% of the sugars making a drier (less sweet) beer vs 72% for the Cooper's yeast according to https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/calculator

(Some brewers intentionally under pitch yeast to make more esters.) Generally I will use the complete 11 gm pack  for the 2 gal. if using a Safale yeast.

That said, the Cooper's 6 gal kits supply 7 gm of yeast and that does make beer I like. So there is some flexibility, It depends on the taste you want.

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There is no reason to use more than a Mr. Beer yeast packet for a 2.5 gallon brew.  I routinely use 1/2 of a regular yeast packet (11, 11.5g) for a 2.5 gallon brew.  It is NOT stressing the yeast.  The old Mr. Beer yeast was 3 grams, not 5.

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9 minutes ago, RickBeer said:

There is no reason to use more than a Mr. Beer yeast packet for a 2.5 gallon brew.  I routinely use 1/2 of a regular yeast packet (11, 11.5g) for a 2.5 gallon brew.  It is NOT stressing the yeast.  The old Mr. Beer yeast was 3 grams, not 5.

That's what I was trying to figure out - would the MRB yeast packet still be enough to process the extra DME and brown-sugar?  I could always used just half of the Safale 05 because I did read it was dosed for 5-6 gallons.  As far as the Mad Scientist syndrome:  I like it!  lol  No, I have followed the MRB instructions to the letter on the first two batches I've brewed and am only experimenting on the 3rd because I don't think I would like the CAL as brewed.  Right now I have 10.5 bottles of Octoberfest conditioning and another 2 gallons of American Porter about to go to bottle.  Next up, after the CAL experiment, will be my attempt to make a Pumpkin Rising, following MRB's instructions exactly.  Wish I had started it about 3 weeks ago instead of the Porter.

 

I'm adding the brown sugar to give the experiment a little more abv AND change the color of the beer (along with the added DME).  Trying to see if I can give the CAL an amber color and a bit of 'rum' flavor. The hop tea idea I got online.  I'll boil some water and pour it into a french press with 1/2 oz of Ekuanot hop pellets, steep for a few minutes, press the pellets (or what's left of them) to the bottom and add about an ounce of the 'tea' to each bottle when bottling.  It's crazy, i know, but I think it's gonna be fun.  Can't imagine it not being drinkable, but we'll see, I guess.

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2 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

One more thing. The Mr B yeast packet has 5 gm yeast, targeting enough yeast for 2 gal brews.

The S-05 has 11 gm. targeted nominally at  5 gal brews.

So if you are making more than 2 gal and want a "clean" taste, you are likely better off using the larger amount of yeast. The 5g pack will do it but it will need to grow more cells  making more esters in the process.

The 05 also ferments 81% of the sugars making a drier (less sweet) beer vs 72% for the Cooper's yeast according to https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/calculator

(Some brewers intentionally under pitch yeast to make more esters.) Generally I will use the complete 11 gm pack  for the 2 gal. if using a Safale yeast.

That said, the Cooper's 6 gal kits supply 7 gm of yeast and that does make beer I like. So there is some flexibility, It depends on the taste you want.

I replied below about this, Nickfixit, see if you think I'm all wet or not.  I really appreciate your weighing in on this.  I know you guys know a heck of a lot more about these things than I do!

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2 hours ago, Cato said:

+1 on the comments by Rickbeer and Dawg!

I'm a big fan of brewing software and use Qbrew for every recipe Mr Beer, ones I've found on AHA,  Breiss, wherever. I'll probably move to Beersmith before long, but like Rick points out you can run scenarios, tweaks, or formulate your own.

 

I use 3 different size fermenters so I'm scaling all the time. Another big benefit is saving your recipe so you have an exact procedural log for next time or to fine tune.

 

Probably best to get your brewing procedures down with a few batches of MB recipes, and MB pm's until you start producing some tasty beers. How your beer tastes shows how you are progressing.

 

 

 

 

The pound of DME I'm experimenting with is a Breiss product.  I have only the one size of fermenter (LBK) but that's enough for now - till I learn more about what I'm doing.  Actually, the 2 gallon size is perfect for experimenting I think.  If the experiment doesn't turn out - better than dumping 5 gallons down the sink.  I'll check out some of the brewing software you mention, but so far I've had fun trying to come up with my own recipe base on what I've learned from you guys here, what the staff at MB have advised me with and what research I have gleaned from other brewers on-line and in-person.  There's really no one beer style that I love more than others, being a fan of IPA's, Porters, Stouts and some Ales.  So the field is wide open for me.

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4 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

What are you going for with the dark brown sugar?

 

If you are using it for color and ABV, it would be better to use a cup of regular sugar and some darker grains to get the same effect.  The molasses in the brown sugar can sometimes not produce the flavor you want.

 

I would use the Safale 05, it is very clean especially at the cooler end of the scale.  The Mr. Beer yeast would be enough but I found my beers improved when I stopped using that yeast.  I did other things to improve my beers at the same time but I haven't used it since.

It's the possibility of getting some new flavors that I am using the brown sugar for, Dawg.  I'm just not a fan of beers like Bud light anymore and if I can change the color of the cAL a bit and give it some interesting flavors - I'm all for it.  I'll also be hopping it up a bit too, for the same reason.  If it turns out lousy, I'll probably still drink it, as long as it doesn't make me sick!!!

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1 hour ago, Mic Todd said:

The pound of DME I'm experimenting with is a Breiss product.  I have only the one size of fermenter (LBK) but that's enough for now - till I learn more about what I'm doing.  Actually, the 2 gallon size is perfect for experimenting I think.  If the experiment doesn't turn out - better than dumping 5 gallons down the sink.  I'll check out some of the brewing software you mention, but so far I've had fun trying to come up with my own recipe base on what I've learned from you guys here, what the staff at MB have advised me with and what research I have gleaned from other brewers on-line and in-person.  There's really no one beer style that I love more than others, being a fan of IPA's, Porters, Stouts and some Ales.  So the field is wide open for me.

Nice! You're right, the LBK's are a convenient size, as they'll fit in a cooler, fridge, dorm fridge, and it's nice two have several different style brews going at once.

Brewing is like cooking. You can come up with so many variations but just like spaghetti sauce or chili there are some checks and balances in the ingredients and spices so that you don't get it out of kilter and too hot, sweet, spicy, etc.

 

Lol, I want something tasty in that sample bottle at the end of six weeks. I normally have two batches fermenting, and one of them will be a pretty closely followed recipe maybe just some slight variation, maybe in my two row, or my ibu's since I don't like real bitter stuff. The other I  might get a little more adventuresome with, but still maintain a good balance. If I'm in doubt at all I'll post it and ask for an opinion or help.

 

 

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1 hour ago, BDawg62 said:

The molasses in the brown sugar does not give an appealing result in my opinion. 

 

I would steep about 4 oz of 120L Cara/Crystal malt in a qt of water to achieve a better result.

some people may like it but i'm with you. I think I've only used brown sugar once (that voodoo that you do) didn't care for the flavor. It's been in bottles about 6 mos and I still am not a big fan. haven't used enough to form an opinion.

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1 hour ago, BDawg62 said:

The molasses in the brown sugar does not give an appealing result in my opinion. 

 

I would steep about 4 oz of 120L Cara/Crystal malt in a qt of water to achieve a better result.

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@Mic Todd the only time I'll use brown sugar is occasionally with a coffee stout.  I don't think you'll enjoy it at all used with a CAL.  Like @BDawg62 said,  steeping some grains will give you some color and add a more pleasing flavor; even 4 ounces of crystal 40 or 60 will make a difference.

It's your beer, brew it how you want.  Just note that of all the responses on here (which includes some from VERY experienced and knowledgeable brewers, folks that I still learn things from) not one has been "Hell yeah, brown sugar with a CAL will be great!"  🤔  :)

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@Mic Todd, if you think black licorice would go well with a light beer, go for it, you're the brewer. Brown sugar isn't raw sugar it is refined sugar with molasses added to it. The sugar will ferment and leave behind the licorice flavor. If it were me, I'd steep some grains, but hey, that's just me. 

To paraphrase another member of this forum, if you don't brew it, who will?

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Rather than brown sugar,  if I want something different and I don't want to do PM, I add different malt extracts. You want it darker, add some dark DME. You will also get some roasty flavor probably. It depends what it is. I have had good luck with LME too, getting a 1.5 kg tub and adding various amounts. The Special Dark is my favorite.  It is very strong so you do not need much but it is good for dark ales and porters. to add more roastiness. But the Trad Dark DME is good too.

 

Here is an enhancement to Winter Dark Ale that I really like. I used the Mr Beer yeast.

The added sweetness reduces the bitterness of the HME but not totally. I get choc, caramel and hints of coffee taste in it. For me, it is a good dessert beer

I do similar with Mr B Porter, adding a Robust and a Smooth LME pack, also nice.

Winter Dark Ale 
+ 8oz Sparkling Amber DME
+ 5-7 oz Trad Dark DME (What I had left)
+1.5 oz Lactose

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On 10/3/2018 at 10:46 AM, BDawg62 said:

The molasses in the brown sugar does not give an appealing result in my opinion. 

 

I would steep about 4 oz of 120L Cara/Crystal malt in a qt of water to achieve a better result.

I've read both positive & negative about brown sugar on the web - seems to depend on which brewer or site your reading.  I don't know what 120L Cara/Crystal is but I do have a fresh pack of dark brown sugar (bought at a home brewing station in a local store) so I will experiment with that, this time around.  If it works, I'll be in the camp of the 'Positives'.  If it doesn't, then I'll join the ranks of the 'Negative'.  I'll report back with an honest assessment when I get it past the conditioning stage and actually drink some.  Here's to Experimentation....!

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On 10/3/2018 at 12:34 PM, Shrike said:


It's your beer, brew it how you want.  Just note that of all the responses on here (which includes some from VERY experienced and knowledgeable brewers, folks that I still learn things from) not one has been "Hell yeah, brown sugar with a CAL will be great!"  🤔  :)

 

Good grief!!!  It seems to be 5-0 against brown sugar - maybe I had better reassess my recipe?  Hard to go against 5 experience brewers without a single brewer weighing in positively.  It is, after all, why I joined this forum in the first place...

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Someone else does do it...……..https://lagunitas.com/beer/brown-shugga

But I am sure this was not their first time...…

 

This might help too, with suggestions about what styles it might go with.

http://allaboutbeer.com/brewing-with-sugar/

 

So it really depends how brown and strong tasting your sugar is.

 

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5 minutes ago, Nickfixit said:

Someone else does do it...……..https://lagunitas.com/beer/brown-shugga

But I am sure this was not their first time...…

 

This might help too, with suggestions about what styles it might go with.

http://allaboutbeer.com/brewing-with-sugar/

 

So it really depends how brown and strong tasting your sugar is.

 

Lagunitas beers are some of our favorite craft beers, my wife especially.  I wasn't aware of what, exactly, they used to brew the Brown Shugga but we've both tried it and we've both enjoyed it.  As a matter of fact, Lagunitas remains one of our favorite brewers (they have several very good varieties) even tho we tend to support the Oregon-based craft brewers (Lagunits is in Petaluma, Ca if memory serves me).  So...now I'm in a real quandry!!  I was only gonna use 1 level cup of the stuff to 1 pound of dark malt extract and 1 can of CAL.  And 1/2 oz of Ekuanot hops. How bad can it be?  lol

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Sierra Nevada is another (non-Oregon) brewer that we really enjoy beers from.  It was, I believe, SN who helped pioneer the Ekuanot hop when it was hybridized from Oregon hops.  There are plenty of World-Class craft brewers in the West but Oregon & California lead the pack as far as we're concerned.  That's why I chose the Ekuanot Hop to brew my hop tea with (that and its characteristics).  I really have NO idea whether or not CAL, DME, brown-sugar and those hops are a good idea or not.  Strictly flying by the seat of my pants here guys...

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