Vlad the Impale Ale was my first recipe kit from Mr. Beer. I used the regular keg and spigot (no wand or new tap assembly). Ingredients:
Vlad the Impale Ale Kit
3 Gallons spring water I had no issues with boiling the wort and getting all the ingredients blended evenly, and the spring water had been in a cool grocery store followed by a cold car ride home, probably a little cooler than room temperature by the time it entered the keg. By day 2 the fermentation was very active and I could watch the bubbles growing and popping in the keg. I kept the keg in a roasting pan covered by a file box turned upside-down, in case of any blowups or spills (new, nervous brewer, wasn't sure if my carpeted closet I was keeping it in would be safe). No spills, no overflow. Fermentation lasted in the closet around 70° for 2 weeks before I decided to bottle. I put the keg on my counter for bottling and examined the trub layer - it was about a half-inch thick and covered the entire area of the rectangular extension on the bottom of a Mr. Beer keg. I bottled in 2x64oz glass gasket-top growlers, and 4x32oz glass gasket-top growlers. I used 2.5tsp of unbleached milled cane sugar in each 32oz growler and 5tsp in each 64oz growler. All of the containers were filled to the taper of the neck and sealed, overturned gently to help dissolve the sugar, and stored in a dual-walled cooler bag inside the same file box, closed and zipped (in case of any blowouts). After 2 weeks warm conditioning I decided to crack a 32oz bottle to test for carbonation, flavor, and whether it needed another week. I saw no trub at the bottom of the bottles which worried me. All homebrews I've dealt with or tried have had a layer of "don't drink" business going on but these didn't. I was getting nervous so I opened one to see. The carbonation was massive. Opening the bottle led to at least 2 minutes of gas-release management to keep from having a geyser. Once it settled I poured a glass. It was very heady, very dark, but incredibly smooth. I could taste the bitterness of the two rounds of hops from the recipe but the overall profile was not at all bitter. The other surprising thing was the strength. The recipe page said expect 6.5% ABV or around there. I added no other sugars but this one is comparable to a 7.5-8% ABV. I only attest this because my usual favorite, Flying Dog Raging Bitch IPA is nearly 9% ABV and 2 of those with no food in my stomach makes the edges a little soft. This one had me outright lit after 2.5 glasses. I poured to the end of the growler and let the last 3-5 oz go into a small glass for examination. It was sweeter than the initial pour and slightly cloudy, which makes me think I didn't tumble the bottles enough to distribute the priming sugar. Lesson learned, I think. Thanks for reading. Any suggestions? Comments?