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Everything posted by pspearing

  1. I wish the temperature in my basement, in fact in any part of my house, was that consistent.
  2. Not using swollen cans is pretty basic, and the one who sold them to you was plain wrong. The only responsible thing he could have done was dispose of them in the garbage. No kidding, people sometimes die from botulism, and taking a chance of killing someone in exchange for a few bucks is beyond irresponsible. Your post is a worthwhile warning.
  3. The PET bottles that Mr. Beer sells have screw-on caps and those work well. I don't see why a glass or aluminum bottle wouldn't. That's not the same as the twist-off caps on many beers, which I'm told do not work.
  4. Half a cup isn't really all that much, and probably after conditioning the only effect will be more alcohol with very little change in flavor. My feeling is that experimenting is good, and that even a terrible batch can be a learning experience (learning experiences always seem to be things that you wish hadn't happened, but that's just life).
  5. 2 cans of CAL in one batch give a stronger flavor and more alcohol, and with a half ounce of hops added I think it would be decent. Better yet, a pound or so of malt extract boiled with a half ounce, or even an ounce, of hops for 20 minutes or so, then turning off the fire and adding a can of HME and proceeding as usual will probably give you good results.
  6. FWIW, I have found that a 3.3 lb can of liquid malt extract plus hops and yeast can make a really good LBK sized batch of beer. I'd suggest not more than half of a 3.3 lb can added to one of Mr. Beer's standard sized refills to boost it.
  7. Are there stores in Australia catering to home brewers? There are many in the U.S. I absolutely agree that malt extract is the best thing to add. I know that buying things from outside one's own country of residence can be anything from easy to very difficult, so local advice is your best bet. You might check this link: http://aussiehomebrewer.com/ I hope it works out well!
  8. Northern Brewer advertises kegging equipment, including the parts needed to convert a fridge to a kegerator. Our friend Google can help find fully functional kegerators for sale, They are not what I'd call inexpensive. A Party Pig will fit in a dorm-sized fridge. If there's a good LHBS near you they're probably your best source, because if the ones near me are typical the staff will be VERY well informed about anything related to beer. I'll shut up now.
  9. There is a thing called a Party Pig, which I have used. It's a small keg that holds a Mr. Beer sized batch and, based on one batch to date, works well. There's a second batch conditioning in it now. I got mine on ebay, and the LHBS sells the pressure pouches for it. Having home brewed beer on tap impresses guests. I have mixed feelings about bottling. I don't much like bottling, but I like having a variety of beers, for different moods, weather, and company. I can't afford, much less find room for, a keg system that gives me a half-dozen different beers on tap all the time. Using a bottling wand with the large PET bottles with screw caps and either sugar cubes or carbonation drops helps reduce the PITA factor, and a 1 liter or 740 ml bottle that's been opened and closed back up will stay good for a few days. I like the aesthetics of glass bottles, but PET is convenient, and if a PET bottle ruptures because of pressure (bottle bomb) it doesn't leave chunks of broken glass bottle on the floor. It has been said that there are 3 kinds of home brewers--those who have had bottle bombs, those who will, and those who keg. Keg bombs don't seem to happen, which is just as well because something that size exploding would be more than just a nuisance.
  10. Zorak made several good points, the most important one being that patience is rewarded with good beer. I would say that a few weeks of bottle conditioning at room temperature can be the difference between awesome and awful. The nice thing about developing a pipeline is that you can compare beers and drink what you're in the mood for, offer friends whatever best fits their tastes, and learn about the styles. The only down side is that I find that my weight and a sense of responsibility limit how much I can drink.
  11. If you'll email me at pwspearing at gmail dot com perhaps we can come to a deal. I wish the forums still had the private message feature, but that seems to be gone.
  12. I'm interested. Sorry about the situation, and I hope things work out for the best for all concerned.
  13. The instructions for Bavarian Weissbier say 68 to 76 degrees. That's one that I've been wanting to try but not gotten to yet, but from everything I've read the banana flavor comes with higher temperature, so fermenting it closer to the high end of the range seems smart. Depending on where you are, that may mean that January and February are not great times to make that one--I doubt that there's anywhere in my house that's up to 68 right now.
  14. I have occasionally found a few bottles that didn't carbonate. I suspect that they didn't get primed, but having a cap that's not fully sealed will do it too, and I know that happens once in a while. Usually snugging the cap does the job, but not always.
  15. A dog breeder I know slightly told me that a team of standard poodles ran in (and finished) the Iditarod at least once.
  16. Checking the calibration is a good idea. Some hydrometers are designed for 70 degrees, so check the markings on the hydrometer.
  17. If you use sugar cubes or priming drops the amount of sugar in each bottle is quite consistent. Batch priming also works, but for Mr. Beer sized batches, with all the bottles the same size, there's no great advantage.
  18. Because of too much stuff going on at home I've left one batch in the fermenter for just over a month, bottled it, lit it sit another couple of months before I drank any, and the results were fine. I'm sure there's an upper limit, but it's WAY over 3 weeks fermenting and 4 conditioning. The style of beer makes a difference in conditioning time--Classic American Light will be fine with the 3-4 method, but Winter Dark Ale needs more time.
  19. Rick is right--I've had a few refills bought from the LHBS that I've then kept around for a few months before brewing, and NEVER had bad yeast from Mr. Beer. I would suspect that people having dead yeast have let it get too hot--that's the sure way to kill it. The yeast packets seem to be well sealed, so they should store just fine, even without any further packaging. . Make sure you remove the yeast packet from under the can cover before letting the can sit in hot water, and make sure the wort is at a safe temperature before adding the yeast and all should be well.
  20. HI, I have a batch fermenting with baker's yeast as we speak, in fact it's about ready to bottle. I did this purely as an experiment, just to see how it would turn out. It looks and smells just like most of the other beer I've made, and I expect it to be good. When I've tasted the finished product I'll report back. I've NEVER gotten dead yeast from Mr. Beer, and I've brewed a good amount of beer, mostly from Mr. Beer refills--is it possible that something about the shipping, handling, or storage conditions is killing it? It's pretty sensitive to high temperatures.
  21. I think boiling for a few minutes will kill anything you need to worry about. Sanitizer is easy and convenient to use, but when I'm boiling wort I don't worry about sanitizing the (clean) hop sack or the hops themselves. You can't boil the LBK or most other fermenters, or the yeast packet, or the can of HME, so you sanitize. Just my 2 cents worth.
  22. Hi Tyler, The Mr. Beer instructions say NOT to boil the HME--it's already been boiled and hopped. I'm not one to follow instructions slavishly, but I think I'd be inclined to boil the pale ale extract you bought with the hops, then when you turn off the flame add the HME from the CAL can, and proceed as usual, Giving it 3 weeks in the LBK and at least 4 at room temperature in bottles should be good. My LHBS sells malt extract in 3.3 lb containers, and one of those seems to be about right for a LBK sized batch, with whatever hops are appropriate. Since you're using the CAL HME you might want to use between one and two pounds of the pale ale extract. After you see how that comes out you can decide what to do with the next batch, asymptotically approaching perfection. Happy brewing!
  23. Booster should be fine as long as the packet is sealed and it stayed dry inside. If it's got any mold or anything on the booster itself (not the bag) I'd suggest throwing it away. I don't know for sure about the no-rinse sanitizer, but I think it will be fine as long as it's stayed dry inside. The things I'd worry about would be HME, which might be okay, and yeast, which will be dead. I'm not a big fan of booster but I haven't used much of it--I started after the transition to the Coopers product which doesn't need booster.
  24. New Years might be a better target and Twelfth Night better still; by Christmas your beer should be carbonated but it will be a little while longer before it's at its best. The general experience here on the forum is that the best results come from letting it ferment for 3 weeks in the Little Brown Keg (LBK) and then sit in bottles at room temperature for 4 weeks. Carbonation takes place in the first week or two after bottling, then the beer "conditions" and some off flavors go away and mellow out. That said, I have drunk beer after 2 weeks in the bottle and it wasn't really terrible, just not as good as the same batch was a few weeks later. Welcome to the forum--I've had a lot of fun with my brewing and you probably will too!
  25. Having more water won't cause any trouble except a slightly weaker beer, which is not a big deal to me. Your SG reading seems low, but lately I've been brewing the seasonals and some other beers with lots of malt, so I may have skewed my perception, and I'm too comfortable to look at my notes from old batches right now. Let us know how it turns out!
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