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About PJB

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  1. A bit early but I sampled the Patriot Lager HME + steeped grain version. The FG was 1.011 and I bottled the beer on 19 Oct. and today is 31 Oct. I like the beer alright (not "oh wow" but good) and the most positive is that the beer does not have the "too fruity" flavor of my earlier Mr Beer recipes. I'll wait a week and try another bottle. That said, a version of the Abbey Dubbel with steeped grains is fermenting. I really like an earlier Dubbel so recommend the Bewitched Amber Ale HME.
  2. Good question Raider and wish I saw your thread before I made my own cooper wort chiller. After I went to the hardware store and bought everything; pinched the cooper tubing twice while forming the coils; went back to the store and bought a cooper tubing bender tool, finished the cooler at a cost of $20 more than the cost of one at our local brew store.
  3. Question for you guys: When you've rehydrated the yeast versus tossing dried yeast into the wort, was the lag time for the rehydrated yeast longer than the dry yeast? I ask because I think that is my experience - all of 2 times. The first time, after over 24 hours after pitching, nothing was happening so I tossed in another package of dried yeast into a 5 gal batch. The next day, the work had a thick level of foam. This second time, I rehydrated the yeast and pitched into a Mr Beer size Abbey Dubbel. I was more patient and after 2 days, it became active and working well it seems.
  4. PJB


    That's good advice. For what it's worth, I brewed a Mr Beer Abbey Dubbel, a recipe I really like. This time around I steeped a bit of Cara-pils and Munich malt grains with some fuggles hops. To minimize the boiling when I tossed in hops, I tossed a penny in the pot. Minimal foaming was the result. I learned this idea from the John Palmer book.
  5. Thanks for the advice to check again RickBeer. (And I admit to the typo) The store sold me 1.5 lbs of 2 row pale malt and .25 lb of Cara Vienne malt. The instructor did confirm the instructions and upon re-reading the differences, I mashed the grains by steeping for ½ hr then rinsing the grain bag. I poured it to the pot and boiled for ½ hr. I added German hersbrucker hops: ½ packet after 15 minutes then ½ packet with 5 minutes left to the boil. Similar instructions are shown in a video someone posted on this site: "Basic Brewing Video - Doctoring Mr. Beer - January 7, 2012". We’ll see how it turns out. The OG is 1.048
  6. My tasting observations so far: based on 4 Mr Beer recipes and thoughts going forward. Going from a Mr Beer deluxe kit to the Catalina Pale Ale and Abbey Dubbel recipes; I think the beer recipes may need more malt and hops. My beers taste a bit "green apple" like. One batch of NW Pale Ale had a stronger apple aftertaste but I think that was due to a fermentation period too warm. If so, my mistake I was more careful with the CPA - fermented at 70 degrees and AB batch - fermented in the low to mid 60s. Based on a few things I picked up in the "beer class" was that the recipes the store recommends provide more malt and hops. That said, my next batch will be with a can of Patriot Lager with 1.5 lbs of 2 row pale malt that I'll seep in a boil. I'll add hops at the beginning; mid boil and end. We'll see how this works out.
  7. Thanks. Been thinking about that and will learn more. On initial view, it looks like scaling to 5 gal capacity is required. I can't see brewing larger batches. Personally to date, I like the small 2 gal capacity of the Mr Beer keg.
  8. I'm trying that now with an Abbey Dubbel Recipe. It calls for the fermentation range to be 57 - 75 degrees and the yeast is Saflager W-34/70. I'm using a Yeti Cooler and just 2 12 oz bottles of frozen water. So far, I'm staying at 60 degrees and am replacing the bottles twice/day. One thing about using a cooler, when I open it, it gives off a gamey smell. Hope that's just being in a small enclosed box and that it's just the yeast eating and belching - so to speak. For another brew, Santa Catalina Pale Ale that calls for normal room temperature, I'm using the other cheap suggestion; wrapping the keg with a wet t-shirt. It appears to lower the temperature by 2 to 3 degrees.
  9. It is DeFalco's on Stella Link, near 610 Loop South
  10. Thanks for the opinions. You all reinforced the reasons I plan on progressing to all grain/partial grain someday. I like the idea of better understanding where the flavors come from and don't mind at all that it takes more time. I actually like the planning and organizing part of it. I', looking forward to the classes to be held in the LHBS here in Houston, Texas. The negative side is my wife thinks I'll become a bit obsessive and bore the life out of our friends when I want to talk about brewing. Oh well, I'm sure they'll be interested.
  11. I have a question for you all experienced with both techniques. Given the time and complexity, is all grain techniques that much better quality than Mr Beer HME technique? Your opinions are appreciated I'm pretty new at this and only have used the Mr. Beer recipes. So far, I've enjoyed the process and beer. I have found this forum especially helping and informative. I'm not planning to immediately jump to all grain but hope to do so at some point as I learn more about the process and the relationships between the different grains, hops and yeast. I have enrolled in a 5 session class at the LMBS in Houston to increase my education. The last part of the class will involve preparing an all grain recipe. So asked in a slightly different way; does all grain process offer the potential to brew much better beer than the Mr Beer recipes (along with the various personal touches) or is the all grain process mainly more enjoyable because you are involved in more complex process? After my class I hope to form my own opinion but ya'lls opinion will certainly be carefully read.
  12. Just about 25%; OG was 1.04 as I recall since I'm at work.
  13. Again, thanks all for the advice. I took a reading today (end of day 17) and the FG read 1.008, best my eyes could read. About the same as 2 days ago. Fermentation temperature was 73/74 degrees. I'll leave the keg alone for a few more days and either bottle the beer or try a cold crash in a refrigerator for a day. The flat beer tastes good now but I see some flecks of yeast (white specks?) floating on the beer.
  14. Thank you. I confess, I mixed up my semantics which you corrected and also provided a clear answer.
  15. Maybe I can receive consensus on my question concerning the use of a hydrometer to test when fermentation is complete. I've read various opinions on this site and I'm hoping to clarify 1 question. I'm fairly new at home brewing and have just been using Mr. Beer's recipes using the HME and the LME additive. In a scenario of using only a hydrometer to judge when the fermentation is complete, I am unclear about what alcohol % measurement should indicate completion. Per Mr. Beer's guideline, they give a range of alcohol % to expect. That range is fairly broad. Can I expect to be more precise? For example, I'm about finished the fermentation (16 days) of an American Ale and the alcohol reading I get calculates to 3.7% which is in the range Mr. Beer lists for the %. But it could go up to say 4.5% or so. From reading various posts, the main opinions that I recall are 1) don't worry about it; ferment for 3 weeks and bottle, and 2) take multiple measurements and when you receive the same calculations, the fermentation process is complete. Any other ideas or confirmation of the 2 opinions stated above? Thanks all. Your posts accelerate the learning curve of new guys.
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