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Everything posted by sdrake

  1. I made a batch of Horse's Ass Ale with a 2nd CAL HME in it. It raised the ABV up around 7.5% and is a good beer.
  2. Blame the capper and not the bottles. The bottles are what's trying to get you.
  3. I think I used dark and I like it. But I really don't remember.
  4. Yesterday I tried my first bottle of my Horse's Double-Ass Ale after 2 weeks of conditioning. This is where I took the Horse's Ass Ale (1 CAL + 1c honey) and added a 2nd CAL. It is dry and I can definitely taste the hops from the 2nd CAL. I've never had a Horse's Ass Ale so I don't know the comparison. It's good and I'm sure it'll be better after it's conditioned more.
  5. I use a red one where I hold one handle in each hand, put it on the bottle and pull down. I've bottled 450 bottles with it and no complaints.
  6. This is an interesting topic as I guess the intent is that the new person's first batch is a successful batch that will make them want to continue. I believe the intent of the first batch is to teach them the process. Best to keep the first batch simple and low cost so any of the standard recipes work. My advice to Mr. Beer is when someone buys a starter kit, formulate a strategy with that customer to develop their beer-making skills beyond that first batch. In the Mr. Beer world, I see really 3 steps in developing a person who will enjoy making beer. Step 1 = Standard refill Step 2 = Deluxe refill Step 3 = Recipe The reason I identify these 3 steps is to make the beginning brewer realize that making beer is much more interesting than that first standard refill batch. Mr. Beer needs to say to them something like, "you did good with your first batch, now let's make something better." Ultimately you want the customers exploring different recipes and enjoying the hobby. So my advice is with the refill kits is this... 1. If there's a 2nd or 3rd refill in the kit, include an LME to make one of them a Deluxe refill batch. 2. Include a coupon in the kit towards purchasing a recipe. Make the coupon a little better than the sales and discounts Mr. Beer periodically has. Heck, take a loss at getting them to order a recipe after doing their first couple of refills. Your goal here is to get them to explore the Mr. Beer inventory of recipes and to start using their imagination of what they want to make. Plus (in my opinion), a recipe makes better beer than just making a standard or deluxe refill. I think one of the main reasons that people will get the kit but not continue in the hobby is because they view the simple standard refill beer to be simple, unimaginative beer. You need to get them to open their eyes to the discovery of the 100+ recipes.
  7. Thanks. From reading this, I gather that any methanol we produce when making beer is extremely small because we aren't using fruit and we're using a low fermentation temperature. I gather with moonshine the risk is because you're distilling it, you're concentrating the alcohol and any methanol that you concentrate risks too high a concentration, especially if you fermented the wrong stuff at the wrong temperatures.
  8. I didn't start this thread to discuss the legality of distilling moonshine. I started this thread to understand whether we have wood alcohol (methanol) when we ferment to make beer. Beer: various sugars & yeast = fermentation. No distilling. Moonshine: various sugars & yeast = fermentation. Distilling to concentrate the alcohol. Now if moonshine has methanol in it that must be removed because it's poisonous, how come our beer doesn't have some methanol in it? Or does it? Or are different sugars used to make moonshine that produces methanol while our beer ingredients don't produce methanol?
  9. But distilling the alcohol is simply a step in addition to how we make beer. In both instances, yeast is added to fermentable sugars. In our case, we bottle it up and call it beer without distilling it. For the person making moonshine, they're doing the same fermenting we're doing, but doing the additional step of heating it up to distill out the alcohol. Since the person making moonshine must remove the wood alcohol first because it's poisonous, it means that his fermented wort contains the dangerous alcohol. Wouldn't our beer also contain some of the dangerous alcohol since we're doing the same thing? sugars plus yeast = the same fermentation.
  10. I just had my first LBK overflow at 30 hours into fermentation. I'm making the API IPA recipe using the dented-can variety of the Diablo IPA HME. When I opened up the cooler to change the frozen ice bottles, I saw my LBK was sitting in a small puddle of brown liquid. My first reaction was that my LBK was leaking, but then I noticed the foam coming out of the top of the LBK and down the one side. This is my 21st batch of Mr. Beer beer and my first overflow. The API IPA has the Diablo IPA HME (I used the dented can variety) and an American Ale HME and is only to make 7.7% ABV beer. I've made a few recipes that are a higher ABV, but no overflow. But with my previous recipes with a higher intended ABV, I took the temperature in the cooler down to around 60F for the first few days. This time I took the cooler down to about 65F. I did have the lid a quarter turn loose to allow CO2 to escape. From what I've read on here, the overflow isn't an issue and my beer should still be good. I cleaned it up the best I can. I don't know if the Diablo IPA HME is more prone to overflows than other HMEs or whether using my dented can (on the seam) is an issue.
  11. Yesterday I was watching some videos on how to distill alcohol. I'm not going to do it, but I was just interested in the process. In one of the videos, the person heated the fermented corn and sugar to 170F to distill out the wood alcohol first so that it could be discarded because it's poisonous to consume. Then the person heated it to 185F to then evaporate out and distill the good alcohol. My question is this... If yeast, corn and sugar produces the bad wood alcohol, wouldn't our beer fermentation also be producing some of the bad wood alcohol also? Or is it in such small quantities because we're not distilling it that it doesn't matter?
  12. I can highly recommend the "That Voodoo That You Do" recipe. I bottled it 3 weeks ago and had to try a bottle even though it should have more conditioning. It's the first recipe that I've done that uses brown sugar. I really like what the brown sugar does in it. It gives it a little drier taste, but it also gives it somewhat of a molasses taste that's not overwhelming and just there in the background. I like it and look forward to drinking more as it conditions longer.
  13. MRB Rick, one other thing I've noticed about the packing over the past year. When an order has only standard refill HME cans (the shorter ones), the packing box is the same size as the HME cans and the size of the box (plus the cardboard dividers being the same size as the standard refill HME cans) creates no packing issues. Everything is good. When craft or seasonal HMEs are ordered with the taller cans, you then go with a larger box. The larger box combined with the foam popcorn and short cardboard dividers is where the issue is caused.
  14. Actually, getting a dented can is like paying for a new car but getting a car with 20,000 miles already on it.
  15. I mixed up API IPA this morning (my 21st Mr. Beer batch) using the Diablo IPA dented can. Please see the attached pictures of the can after it's been cleaned out and the label removed. As you can see, the large dent was into the seam of the can, something you can't see with the label on the can. It also required some extra effort to get the lid off the can with the can opener as the lip was a little deformed also. Opening from the other end wasn't an option because that's where the lip is extra deep to hold the yeast packet. I've instructed my wife that if I die in a few months from beer poisoning that I want the epitaph on my gravestone to read "Mr. Beer done him in." All is good if Mr. Beer will review their packing procedures and improve the process so the HME cans are restricted from touching and aren't able to freely float in the foam popcorn. When I opened up my large shipment that included 7 HME cans, I knew something wasn't good before I even pulled any product out of the box. It was obvious within the first 5 seconds of pulling the box open that everything had done a lot of shifting. HME cans are heavy and pack a lot of momentum when jostled. Like I pointed out earlier, the cardboard dividers are only the height of a standard HME and do little to restrict the movement of the larger craft and seasonal type cans. Fortunately, I have enough beer recipes to last me until Christmas. That gives Mr. Beer time to examine and improve their packing process before I make my next order. The one condition I have in continuing to be a Mr. Beer customer by ordering more recipes/refills is that the packing procedure is improved. (Note the Keith'sBrew's post where he says he's received cans are dented from moving around in shipment.)
  16. Josh & Rick. I've cooled off quite a bit since last night. I'll use the dented cans. I think I was more ticked off at the bad packaging than the actual dents. Thanks for your responses. The packing procedure needs to be improved. The issue is that your packing procedure works when all the cans are the size of the standard HME's as the cardboard dividers are the same size as the cans and keep the cans from coming in contact with each other. The issue with my order is that 6 of the 7 cans were longer than the standard HME with 1 being a monster can (the Australian Sparkling). The same size cardboard dividers were used, 1 per each box. These cardboard dividers only separate a portion of the larger HME cans from each other. Half the Australian Sparkling HME wasn't being protected by the cardboard divider. And probably 1/3rd of the other HMEs weren't being protected by the cardboard dividers. And given the size difference (box sized for the larger Australian Sparkling HME) and the movement of the styrofoam peanuts, the cans moved quite a bit, turning diagonally and banging into each other quite a bit. The HMEs are heavy and create a lot of momentum when they are dropped by the shipping company. If you can keep the HME cans from coming into contact with each other, you've probably solved 90% of this packing issue.
  17. I feel better now. I just drank a bottle of my Hopiphany White IPA. That's exactly what I needed to calm myself down.
  18. My point is that I don't want to go through 3 weeks in the LBK, the 1-3 months conditioning to only find the innards weren't good. When I buy a product, I expect to receive an uncompromised product. When you buy a new car, do you expect there to be a dent on the side and the dealer telling you that it still runs fine because it doesn't impact the engine?
  19. The 2 dented cans fail the USDA dented can test. http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/shelf-stable-food-safety/!ut/p/a1/jZHNTsMwEISfhUOOjjekVC23KBIigSaqIiD1BTmtfyK5dmQbovL0uC2XohbqPXnmG9m7iwluMdH0sxfU90ZTtb-T6TssYZrMcyjrefIARfW6rJ_yHGbNXQBWfwBVemX-wsngv3x5xQO3dpEvBCYD9RL1mhvcCuYR1W5k1uGWG7NBjnLmd4jTtUdOMuaDsdfQwZVUb1SvRdAkUxw5Tzv14x2T-A2T079AEqqo0mbyWFYp1JPfwJlhHYHL0wjtCmW6w2ZWme7SWejLMs4ss_GHDbL0fnD3EUQwjmMsjBGKxWuzjeBcRBrncXtK4mH70n49Z7wpEOl24803pmCQOw!!/#10
  20. When I earned my MBA about 15 years ago, in one of the classes it was stated that good customer service is making it easy for customers to complain. Customers get satisfaction by complaining. And every complaint is good information to make the product better. The company that makes it difficult to complain has little information about what their customers think of the product.
  21. And I've also learned on multiple occasions (Travelocity, ADT, Expedia) that the quickest and most sure way to receive a response is to never call their 1-800 number and to post on their Facebook page. This forum is a great courtesy, especially with Josh and other Mr. Beer people participating in it, and better than Facebook any day for customer service. I don't expect Mr. Beer to replace the dented cans even though the dents are as deep and as long as one of my fingers. I expect that they'll tell me that they're good and to use them. I've been reading online about dented cans and these 2 cans are dented enough that the USDA says they should be discarded. I know the cans were dented within the past few days from shipping as I do trust that Mr. Beer isn't putting dented cans in the boxes. And the disorganized state of the innards of the boxes shows they moved around in shipment and such. The dents do have sharp edges on the side and I am concerned the integrity of the cans have been compromised. I'll probably toss these 2 cans and just eat the cost of these 2 recipes. If Mr. Beer wants, I can ship the cans back at Mr. Beer's cost if they take returns. I've been a happy Mr. Beer customer in the past. I just got a lot of crappy packaging this time. What I hope for with this public complaint is to get Mr. Beer to actually learn that their packaging sucks and they need to improve it. If I send an email, I just don't trust much ever happens. But in the public, people read and discuss and the issue gets more notice. And yes, this forum does exist for all kinds of customer support and interaction. So I'm certainly not off topic. CANS SHOULD BE PACKAGED SO THEY CAN'T MOVE DURING SHIPMENT!!! I'm glad I wasn't ordering something from Mr. Nitroglycerin as something definitely would have exploded. Anyway, as long as I've ordered stuff from Mr. Beer, there's usually been issues with every order. Usually it's been product that has a month or two until the "best use" date. This order the "best use" dates give me plenty of time, but I have dents and poor packaging instead. Anyway, all I ask is that Mr. Beer improve their packaging.
  22. Bigger orders require more cans be stuffed together in the box, which should mean more care is needed when packing.
  23. Including the packaging list printed out by recipe or including each recipe's instructions (as they used to do) would suffice. I haven't suggest grouping the actual ingredients by recipe.
  24. It was free shipping because the order was over $125, so I guess I got what I paid for in the shipping area.
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