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About JWB

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  1. I did an experiment with the Mr. Beer Seasonal ESB using Danstar's Nottingham and Windsor yeasts. I made both beers the same day (OG for both 1.063), pitched the different yeasts and fermented in picnic coolers in the basement. As expected the Windsor yeast did not attenuate as well as the Nottingham (FG 1.021 vs 1.014). I bottled both beers using 2 PrimeDose capsules per 12 oz bottle. Both beers tasted great. The Nottingham beer seemed a little drier with more pronounced bitterness. The Windsor beer seemed a little smoother, more balanced with a much lower level of perceived bitterness. Overall, a nice little experiment to show just how different yeasts affect the flavor of your beer.
  2. I bottle from a 2nd LBK, but the process I use would work with any kind of bottling bucket. I attach one end of a length of sanitized clear tubing to the fermentor LBK's spigot. Onto the other end of the tubing I tie a small sanitized muslin sack (the kind used to hold spices or hops) and place that end into the sanitized bottling LBK, usually submerging the sack into the priming solution. Then I transfer the beer into the bottling LBK. The muslin sack will trap hop particles or other debris without filtering out the yeast still in solution. I don't get any aeration.
  3. You can also buy the Michigan hops direct from the grower at: http://www.hopheadfarms.com/
  4. I've made beer with Mr. Beer HME's and some Michigan grown malt and hops I bought from AIHB. Try a partial mash or just use some of the Michigan grown hops to give your beer a real Wolverine flair!
  5. I like to keep my LBK's in a picnic cooler while fermenting just to try to maintain a steady temperature. A plastic pop bottle or two filled with frozen water will help lower temps in the cooler if the ambient room temperature is warmer than recommended for fermentation.
  6. Somebody once said "Patience is a virtue." I'm not sure about that, but if you get hooked on this hobby, a second LBK (or more) will help build that pipeline of beer you'll want so you're not tempted to rush into bottling or tasting beers that aren't ready for prime time.
  7. When you dry hop you're putting the hops into an alcoholic environment which will inhibit bacterial growth. Hops have an inherent antibacterial character which also helps preserve the beer. I would sanitize the hop sack before putting it into the LBK.
  8. Dry hopping after fermentation is mostly complete will add more hop aroma to the beer. Late hop additions to the boil will add more hop flavor (and a touch more bitterness - use a brewing software like Qbrew to see how much). Adding hops at flame out (adding them to boiled water just before pouring in the Mr. Beer HME/LME will add some aroma, but a lot will be lost during fermentation as gasses escape the LBK. That's why the recipe calls for dry hopping now -- keeps more hop aroma in the beer. The Blue Moon website says they use a mix of domestic and imported hops in their signature beer. Most of the Blue Moon clone recipes I've seen use Hallertauer in a 60 minute boil for bittering. Mt Hood is a Hallertauer hybrid mostly used for aroma. It's described as spicy whereas Falconer's Flight is described as citrusy. BM also uses Valencia orange peels which are sweet. If you're using the zest, Valencias are easy to find in the grocery.
  9. If you're using city water its probably been treated with chlorine or more likely chloramine. Chloramine won't dissipate from a jug of water left on the kitchen counter overnight like chlorine. Boiling doesn't get rid of it either. You might want to run your tap water through a Brita charcoal filter before putting it into your recycled jugs. This will eliminate chlorine/chloramine. Alternatively you could add half a crushed Campden tablet to your water before brewing and get rid of the chloramine that way. Whether chlorinated tap water negatively effects the taste of your beer is debatable I suppose. I've seen it written if your tap water tastes great, its OK to use. We've got one of those Brita water pitchers on the counter, and the water out of it tastes better than the tap. So if I need some extra top up water I use the Brita pitcher.
  10. You might enjoy Santa Catalina Pale Ale recipe (CAL & American Ale). Haven't tried that one myself, but it has good reviews from those who have. I made the Powerful Patriot Ale recipe (CAL & Patriot Lager) and was very happy with the results.
  11. I've used the handles of two wooden spoons clamped together and run the softpack between them. Heat the softpack first in hot water to get the LME runny.
  12. I recently brewed Camilla's Folly, described by Mr. Beer as an ESB. I followed the recipe except that I added some steeping grains and did a 20 min flavor boil with the Northern Brewer hops. I dry hopped with 1/2 oz of Glacier and Willamette hops after 11 days. Before bottling I batch primed with sugar targeting 1.3 volumes of CO2. I drank my first bottle the other day right out of the fridge. It seemed very under-carbonated, watery and lacking in flavor. Flavor got better as the beer slowly warmed. The next bottle I left on the kitchen counter for 30 min before opening and the flavor was much, much better. Still wasn't a big fan of the low carbonation though. I went to the store to get a 6-pack of Fuller's ESB to compare it to mine. Color the same. Carbonation about the same, maybe Fuller's had a touch more. The malt flavors were very similar. Fuller's had more mouthfeel and more hop bitterness and flavor which surprised me. Qbrew suggested I was too bitter for the style. And I was disappointed that I didn't get a better mouthfeel after steeping 1/4lb each of CaraPils and Crystal 40 for 30 min in 160F water. Next time I might do a partial mash and carb at 1.75 for a little more fizz.
  13. So far this year I've brewed 29 batches -- about 62 gallons. Gone Mr. Beer Classic American Light Mr. Beer Grand Bohemian Czech Pilsner Mr, Beer Aztec Mexican Cerveza Mr. Beer Northwest Pale Ale Mr. Beer 1776 Ale Mr. Beer Howling Red Ale Mr. Beer Diablo IPA Deluxe Mr. Beer White IPA Spring Seasonal #1 Mr. Beer Bohemian Bronze Mr. Beer Powerful Patriot Mr. Beer El Diablo Blanco Drinking Mr. Beer White IPA Spring Seasonal #2 Mr. Beer Biere de Saison Summer Seasonal Mr. Beer Oval Office Honey Amber Mr. Beer Camilla's Folly Mr. Beer Punkin Lager Mr. Beer Pumpkin Spice Ale Mr. Beer LBK IPA (modified) Mr. Beer Spiced Christmas Ale Northern Brewer West Coast Radical Red Mr. Beer KT's Caramel Apple Graf Mr. Beer La Vie Boheme (modified) Conditioning Mr. Beer Amberosia Tripel Mr. Beer Nut Brown Ale Fall Seasonal Mr. Beer Heavy McWee Oatmeal Stout (my own recipe) Full Moon Pale Ale (my own recipe) Fermenting Valley Forge IPA (my own recipe) The name that shall not be named Hellfire Deep Radical Red (mod)
  14. I just bottled my Punkin' Lager this weekend after cold crashing for three days. The batch was pretty clear until the last bottle where I could see some pumpkin puree flowing down the bottling wand after tipping the back end of the LBK up to fill the bottle.
  15. @ Diane B...I'll bet the pumpkin recommended in the article you read was a sugar pumpkin. They make great pies and are not much bigger than a softball. I looked for one at the grocery yesterday, but they only had the big ones.
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