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About xmack

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  1. A quick question, I'm trying to decide what is the best course of action. I was throwing together a recipe with whatever I had left in my house. I used what One Step I had on my keg. Then I realized that the only yeast I had left was a pack of liquid, and I hadn't smacked it yet. Luckily, I haven't opened any HMEs/UMEs yet! But I'm now out of sanitizer, and my yeast won't be active until at least tomorrow. And there really isn't anywhere I can buy sanitizer around here (and I don't have time to, even if there was!). Should I: 1) Leave the keg with the sanitizer and water until tomorrow then continue? 2) Empty the keg but leave everything as is then continue tomorrow? 3) Continue as is, pitch the yeast unactivated, and just hope it is alright? 4) Continue as is until I would normally pitch, seal the keg until tomorrow, then pitch the yeast tomorrow? 5) Or do something else?
  2. Another thought that I had was that perhaps this particular combination of spices is leading to the off flavors. I have tried other recipes using some of the same spices, but I believe this is the most spices that I've ever put in a single brew. I don't see how they could lead to these flavors, but who knows? One experiment I had considered (but never got around to) was to brew the exact same recipe as the pumpkin lager, except without the pumpkin. If this led to the exact same issues, perhaps cutting the spices in half is the answer. If not, maybe these exact same spices plus a pumpkin spice would result in a decent pumpkin ale. Hell, most commercial pumpkin ales just use pumpkin spices anyway! Maybe someone who has an empty keg would like to give it a try?
  3. After having this same problem several times with pumpkin puree, I cleaned and cooked my own pumpkins last October and used them to make a pumpkin ale. I am sad to say that, when I tried this beer last month, it had the exact same metallic taste that the previous batches had had. It was less severe than with the puree, and it subsided slightly with conditioning. But it was definitely noticeable (to me, at least). I was very disappointed. Next fall, I probably just stick to pumpkin pie spices...
  4. I would say hands down yes! Not necessarily that one is much better or much worse than the other. It really all depends on what mixes and what UMEs you're using. A West Coast Pale Ale with just the Booster is going to be a lighter, crisper, and hoppier beer. Replace the Booster with a Creamy Brown UME, and you're gonna have a darker, fuller, and maltier beer. Use a Mellow Amber instead, and it's gonna be reddish with a more-balanced flavor. The flavor difference may be subtle in some situations and huge in others. Really, you just need to experiment with it and see what YOU personally enjoy more. But that's the fun of it!
  5. I just made a batch with the Superior Lager Yeast (off the Mr Beer website), which I've never done before. There were some instructions on the packet about rehydrating the yeast by adding it to cold water for 15 minutes then adding it to the wort. I did this but it seemed kinda weird because I've never had to do this for any other yeast. My question is has anyone else used this yeast? Did you follow these steps? Or did you just add it to the keg and wait 5 minutes, like you do for the regular yeast? I hope I didn't screw it up! Also, how did this yeast come out as opposed to the regular yeast?
  6. There are certainly ways to deal with the colder weather. No way should you let the weather stop you from brewing! I live up in New England, where I'll be lucky to get a day of 60+ from here to April. I've found ways to get around this. For example, I always rap my kegs in thermal blanket during at least the first week of fermentation. I keep them inside sealed containers, so the heat can't get out. And I keep the containers in a closed closet, where the temperature stays more stable. Doing all this, I have no problem keeping my kegs at least mid-60s, sometimes even higher than that. It's not too hard!
  7. I've done at least one recipe using both hops and fruit. I think it was called Rascal Raspberry or something like that. I don't see any reason why you can't combine the two.
  8. I haven't had issues with damaged packages in the year that I've ordered from Mr Beer. But I have had a couple incorrect orders. What you should do is either call up the Mr Beer Customer Service or send them an email. The sooner, the better! In both cases, they have sent the missing ingredients Priority Mail the next day... without question! They didn't even ask for any proof or anything! And I've heard other people who've said the exact same thing. They have really great Customer Service! So there's no need to b*tch them out or anything, just tell them your problem and they will correct it for you.
  9. I've had a couple kegs overflow as well. I suggest putting your keg in some kind of container (I either use an empty laundry basket or a cooler), just in case. You may also want to check the keg every couple days and wipe it down if it overflows. Otherwise, your keg can get kinda sticky. In the end, it isn't going to screw up your beer if it overflows a little. It's just gonna make a bit of a mess. Also, you want to add the fruit directly to the keg, either right after adding the wort or right after bringing it up to 8.5 quarts. But not to the wort itself.
  10. I had the Jamaican Mon over the summer. It's a solid beer. Not spectacular but a very well-balanced mellow flavor and very drinkable. If it were up to me, I'd go with the blueberry. But, really, it's all about what you want to drink!
  11. I just made this for the first time a couple days ago, and I decided to add a teaspoon of vanilla extract to kick it up a notch. Don't know how it's gonna taste, but it sure smelled good!
  12. I look at it like cooking. It just tastes so much better when you know you made it yourself!
  13. There is a great thread right here: http://community.mrbeer.com/index.php?option=com_kunena&Itemid=58&func=view&id=1710&catid=8
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