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Everything posted by Tippsy

  1. Many thanks for the pointers everyone. The bottling-as-the-secondary idea just seems to cut out a lot of transfers and therefore the risks of contamination especially if the sugar can be added anytime thereafter. However you guys made valid points such as potential inconsistency and, if dry hopping for example, ending up with gunk in the bottles. As for my auto-siphon problems, I'm certain they come from my inexperience and clumsiness: 1) at first the flowing liquid in the tubing was not solid ie there was a flow of air alongside the entire length causing bubbling as I filled the bottle. I found pinching the tubing and letting go somehow allowed the tube to "fill" with liquid and finally create a solid flow. 2) the auto-siphon would move around. The clamp idea is a good one which I'll get for next time, but in my case yelling at the wife to do something useful and hold the siphon steady worked nicely. 3) transfering the tubing between bottles left drips everywhere. I don't have a bottling wand and use a tubing valve instead and somehow (perhaps the seal in the valve is crap) there is a continuous dripping. 4) On a few occasions, I'd forget to re-sanitze my fingers before grabbing the tubing to guide it into the next bottle. Here again, the wand would probably overcome this problem. 5) (this one's embarassing) during one occasion whilst straining to see the beer level in a nearly-filled bottle and juggling with the moving auto-siphon, I turned the valve the wrong direction and the beer overflowed. BigFloyd, I think the idea of having a spigot/tubing combo on my bottling bucket would make things a heck of a lot easier. Oh well. I suspect the first few bottles are probably contaminated but we live and learn. Thanks again everyone.
  2. I just batch primed today for the first time and found it tedious, nerve-racking and messy! So the thought of later introducing a secondary into the process aswell is just daunting. Admittedly, i think using the auto-siphon caused the biggest headaches. My question is, what are the major drawbacks of using the bottles themselves as the secondary and, a couple of weeks later, just dropping in sugar CUBES to start the carbonation? Just fill from the primary and cap 'em! The gentleman on this posting demonstrated that the beer does not foam up when cubes are added: http://community.mrbeer.com/forum/11-basic-brewing-techniques/363767-bottle-priming-again If I want to add flavor essence or santized zest, i could just drop some in each bottle and therefore not need to rack the beer over the additions in a secondary. Ok, the bottle might look wierd with some orange peel in the bottom but if we can tolerate a worm in your tequila bottle then what's a slice of peel.
  3. Fantastic. Will look into this asap.
  4. "ChizzleD" post=367135 said:Sounds like you got a better idea of what do shoot for next time. I keep my ambient temp in my fermentation box (AKA ice chest at 66*) I have had some fermentation reach 72* and use frozen water bottles to control it. Great idea, CD. You mean you're using one of those drinks cooler/insulated boxes? So do you keep your fermenter submersed in water? Very interesting. Incidentally, how does that chest temp you achieve (66F) compare with the room's ambient? Just wondering how effective it is. Thank you.
  5. Got it. 1) Avoid the more trubby liquid at the bottom when bottling (ie don't be greedy) 2) Sanitize everything that touches anything that even comes close to contact with the wort (I think I missed the handles of the pot) 3) Aim for a fermentation environment temp of 65-67F to allow for the fermentation spike I certainly don't want to blame MB's instructions (like a bad carpenter blames his tools) but stating that the fermentation location should be kept at 68-76F is kinda too imprecise if the wort can jump 10F at the peak. Anyway, thanks again to everyone for "racking" your brains over this.
  6. Wow, that's way lower than the temp range on the instructions. I'll have to find a cooler to achieve that. Ok, many thanks to everyone for the insightful views. Seems therefore my temp was simply too high and probably due to the concentrated amount of yeast. Man, it hurts. Six damn weeks of delayed gratification only to drink anti-freeze at the end. I'm gonna buy me a beer right now!! :think:
  7. Ah ha. These are great pointers. The ROOM temperature ranged from ~73-77F so there's a chance the wort itself might have risen even higher during the most vigorous stage of fermentation. But, isn't that the recommended temperature range on the MB instructions? The point about amount of yeast is interesting. So if I use the entire can of LME but in 7 liters of water (bottled mineral) instead of the recommended 8.5, should I reduce the amount of yeast that came with the tin?
  8. Just the can of Bravarian Weissbier HME and the dry yeast packet that was included. Nothing else.
  9. My experiment with the MB weissbier seems to have produced a REALLY bitter flavor - I'm not talking dark beer bitterness, more like drain-cleaner-solvent-type bitterness. :sick: What is most likely to have caused this? In short, here's what I did. I concentrated the wort to try to increase flavor and abv by using the full tin of LME but filled the keg to 7 liters only. On bottling day, I probably tried too hard to get every last drop out and ended up with quite a bit of trub, although I spread the trubby solution amongst all the bottles. Other than these factors, every other step was as per the instructions (2 weeks fermenting at constant temps + 4 weeks bottle/conditioning). Carbonation was excellent. Could having too much trub with the beer for 6 weeks cause the yukky bitterness or is this the typical taste of contaminated beer? Surely, concentrating the LME wouldn't cause it since the ratio of hops to malt is the same? Thanks everyone.
  10. Use less water in making the wort but maintain the same amount of ingredients. I'm trying to achieve what you're after with my current batch. I followed the MB instructions to the "t" except I only filled my keg to the 7 quart mark. I'm hoping the beer will be more flavorsome and have a higher ABV. Of course the downside is I'll have less beer to enjoy! Quality over quantity?
  11. Man, that would not be funny. Like 6 weeks of waiting to taste the fruits of your labor isn't painful enuf let alone to find it all over shattered glass...nope, they must be cheap for a reason.
  12. Can you experienced brewers tell if a new swing-top bottle is UNLIKELY to be suitable for carbonating beer? I'm considering getting these from Ikea for $3.99 (that's not bad, right?) and they use silicon washers so theoretically they should last longer than rubber ones. But when I played with them at the store, it didn't take much effort to lock the swing-top which kinda made me worry about their airtightness. Thanks. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/40227983/ Forgot to mention that the top is hard plastic - not the ceramic types you find on Grolsch. Not sure if that make a huge difference.
  13. Great pointers, thanks. The bottle says Rayner's from the UK so it appears authentic, altho I like the ideal of using alcohol based essences in future. My batch priming gear won't arrive until probably week 3 of my fermenting! Luckily I've read on this forum that 3 weeks in the LBK should be fine. If it's going to arrive later, I'll just wait till the next batch cycle to experiment.
  14. Do flavor essences need to be "sanitized" before being added to a bottle eg boiled with a little water first? I'm thinking about adding a couple of drops of vanilla essence in future when priming the bottles. The small bottle I have says "non alcoholic". Thank you.
  15. I'd recommend learning how to batch prime - if you're not already doing it. I've had issues getting consistent carbonation by bottle priming. Otherwise, the MB FAQs page has some good tips on how to get more consistency when bottle priming (http://community.mrbeer.com/frequently-asked-questions?view=category&id=238, under the topic "My beer has been fermenting for several weeks. Is it still good?") Good luck!
  16. "JohnSand" post=351370 said:I've also had inconsistent carbonation. I'm working on it. I am trying carb drops and sugar cubes on this batch, we'll see. If you want to batch prime cheaply, I've read that a slimline water dispenser is a good priming bucket. This is a clear plastic container, boought from walmart, already has a spigot, lists for $10. Don't give up. Hey JohnSand, if you don't mind could you let me know how your carb drop and sugar cube experiment pans out? That seems a good idea.
  17. I'm glad us newcomers can provide such entertainment to some of you "experts"! Seems to me the objective is the same ie to more evenly distribute the suspended yeast amongst the bottles whether by batch priming (intuitively the best way as the sugar is also evenly distributed altho requires an extra step), spreading the cloudy portion of the beer over all the bottles (the Mr Beer way, but requires lots of bottle juggling) or gently stirring the SUSPENDED yeast in the lbk before bottling (but runs the risk of stirring up some of the dead yeast settled on the bottom). Thanks for the useful advice and encouragement. I'll try the MB way with this batch coming up and go look for batch priming gear.
  18. Basically, I'll soon be bottling my second batch ever and would like to know if anyone has a strong view on these ideas I have for achieving more consistent carbonation. Now, I'm reading that batch priming is the way but that'll have to be a later project as I'm still a newbie with only the basic MB kit. My first batch was very mixed despite 3 weeks' conditioning at room temp and it's now obvious that the bottles with more trub carbonated fantastically whilst the clear bottles were flat as hell (altho I've never been). My ideas: 1) On bottling day, sanitise a spoon and very gently swirl the fermented wort in the lbk so that the suspended trub gets mixed more evenly and then bottle, or 2) follow the MB guidelines under "community.mrbeer.com/frequently-asked-qu...=category&id=238" under the subject "My beer has been fermenting for several weeks. Is it still good?" BUT, instead of spreading the final portion of fermented wort amongst all the partially-filled bottles as suggested, spreading the initial portion amongst all the bottles (surely it's the first portion that has more trub, am I wrong???). Thank you gurus.
  19. I'm having a similar experience. The first few bottles I opened had perfect carbonation and produced a beautiful head on pouring (see the picture). However, the most recent bottles produced ZERO head although still had a little carbonation in the mouth. Now, I know exactly what happened as I tracked my bottles very precisely. The beer that was bottled with more suspended yeast carbonated really quickly (within a day the bottles began hardening) and produced the great heads. However, the bottles containing super clear beer took around 3 weeks to carbonate noticeably. These are the bottles that are not producing any head. I noticed some guidelines specifically on solving this issue on the Mr Beer website (http://community.mrbeer.com/frequently-asked-questions?view=category&id=238) under the subject "My beer has been fermenting for several weeks. Is it still good?" Now I know how to bottle my next batch better.
  20. [attachment=11691]DSC_0776a.jpg[/attachment] [attachment=11692]DSC_0779a.jpg[/attachment] Here it is - my first brew ever! Check out the head on this first pour! I'm sooo pleased. Well, the carbonation was fantastic (as you can see) but the flavour of the Cerveza was rather bland (a bit like watery beer). Ok, I confess that this bottle had only gone through 1 week of conditioning after 2 weeks' "bottling" so fingers crossed that the remaining bottles will be more flavoursome after another week (will they?). Anyway, many thanks to all the gurus on this great forum who have tolerated my naiive questions and for tolerating many more such questions from so many newbies every day. We owe you guys more than a beer!
  21. Thanks for the great tips. No, I don't intend to experiment until much later so I'm just building a palette for future concotions! Currently, I've just begun the "conditioning" stage of my first batch ever. Boy, I hate delayed gratification....
  22. I wish to add hints of flavours to my future beers and not necessarily full-blown fruit purees. Specfically, I hope I can produce a batch with a hint of cinnamon and another of orange peel zestiness! Now I've seen the useful How-To video on adding fruit, so my question is: how does one create the flavour hints that i'm referring to? Do i just throw a cinnamon stick into the boiling water before making the wort? Do i do the same with orange peel or do I need to liquidise it first? If there's a past post on this, then please would you just direct me there. Thank you!
  23. Thank you, gents. As a newbie to brewing (bottling my first Mr. Beer batch ever tomorrow - can't wait!!), I definitely would be wise to stay the course for at least the first few batches and heed your advice. But you gents are already giving me ideas for down the road....
  24. I've read in this forum about how, in order to increase the ABV and keep the integrity of the flavour, one should add extra malt extract in conjuction with sugar. What about just reducing the amount of water in the wort to start with (so increasing the concentration of HME) and then adding some sugar? Other than reducing the volume of the end product, are there any other negative effects on the finished beer? Thank you.
  25. Hi guys, I'm new here but certainly keen after receiving my Mr. Beer kit last week! Quick question. I watched the Mr. Beer video on adding fruit which states that the liquidized fruit should be added to the wort at the beginning even before the yeast. However, you gentlemen are adding it ~7days afterwards. Why?
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