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Everything posted by sdrake

  1. I understand about the packing peanuts because the static electricity makes them stick everywhere. But the problem with those packing peanuts is that they shift around as the weight of the HMEs shift around. There are some cardboard squares that are intended to hold the HME cans apart, but with the packing peanuts moving around, the cans start shifting up and down like pistons in their cardboard squares. Not all the HMEs are the same height and eventually they break down the cardboard squares separating them such that the different sized HME cans start moving around against each other with the lips of one hitting the side of the next. It's not rocket science. To package the cans, there needs to be some bubble-wrap around each of the cans or plastic wrap that can force each can into a stationary position. The current packaging method has nothing to keep the cans from shifting around and finding each other.
  2. One other comment about this order. Online the order shows all the ingredients sorted per each recipe. But the packing slip just shows the totals of all the ingredients with no mention of the recipes I purchased. Plus, it seems that the instructions for each recipe are no longer being included in orders. It would be nice when an order is shipped to include a copy of the order with the ingredients sored by recipe, like just the printout of the online order. It's a very small hassle to have to come back online to print out my order to remember what recipes I actually ordered so I can sort the ingredients and print out the instructions. (Sorry if I seem to be complaining, but packaging needs to be better to avoid dented cans.)
  3. I received my $150 order today in the mail which included 7 HME cans. 2 of the HME cans (Australian Sparkling & Diablo IPA) are heavily dented because the packaging wasn't done very well and the cans were able to float around inside the box with all the styrofoam. These are dents that go into the cans the width of one of my fingers. Two Questions... 1. Since Mr. Beer ships out lots of HME cans, how come they can't find a better way to package them so they aren't lose in the box banging up against each other? 2. Are the contents of these cans still safe to use? I've always been told not to eat food out of heavily dented cans.
  4. sdrake


    After 4 weeks of conditioning, I decided I had to try a bottle of my Novacaine. Yes, I know the recommended conditioning time is much longer, but I had to see what it's like. It's actually quite good, but could it be better? I find that the St. Patrick's HME overwhelms the taste. I wonder whether it would be better if another HME is substituted for the St. Patrick's HME. It doesn't numb my mouth or anything. It's very drinkable. I just find it to be a higher alcohol version of an Irish stout beer. I still like it.
  5. I love today's Diablo IPA 20% off sale. I'm in desperate need for more recipes and it hit at the perfect time for me. I purchased the following: American Burleywine API IPA Brew de Ale ze Bub Australian Sparkling Ale Winter Dark Ale 2 LME Softpacks-Smooth Since the Winter Dark Ale is still 50% off, I bought the two LMEs so I can make the Black Moon Rising recipe. Buying the recipe costs about $10 more than buying the HME and 2 LMEs separately. Plus, I got free shipping by getting my order above $125. The only downside is the $11 or so in sales tax.
  6. That could be an infection in those bottles. Perhaps those bottles weren't sanitized enough. In the 15 or so batches I've made, I've never had that happen, although I've often thought I carbonate too much.
  7. Thank you! Now I can submit my order.
  8. I just received an email from the Mr. Beer team announcing that today there's a 20% off sale on all refills and recipes with Diablo IPA. But when I pull up the Diablo IPA recipes, API API and Gila Monster Black IPA are 20% off but American Burleywine and Brew de Ale ze Bub aren't 20% off. Shouldn't all 4 recipes be 20% off as per the email? Thanks. (Can't make a purchase until this gets cleared up.)
  9. I find that after the first 3-4 days are gone, I can maintain the 63-66 temperatures be putting 1 or 2 20 oz frozen Coke bottles ever 12 hours or so. Get a wireless temperature gauge that's meant for outside. Much easier to just read the little display thing on your counter.
  10. The one time I made the Cherry Wheat disaster, I pureed it and poured it in. All my bottled beer had cherry particles floating around in them besides tasting like someone mixed beer and cider together.
  11. The Honey Maibock Recipe contradicts itself. The picture shows a LME-Pale but the ingredient list shows a DME-Pale.
  12. I've been drinking a bottle every month, starting with 1 month of conditioning. I liked it at 1 month and I like it at 5 months conditioning. I think I still have 18 bottles remaining.
  13. Enjoy making Big Red One. It's been my favorite recipe so far.
  14. They state the ever-inflated 5.0% on the standard refill pages.
  15. When did Mr. Beer start including a package of booster with a standard refill? When I bought some standard refills last August, it was just the HME can and a package of sanitizer. I'm glad Mr. Beer is doing this since most people begin with a standard recipe and 3.1% ABV beer is a poor way to begin homebrewing. I do question the 5% that's stated with the standard refills now as I'd expect an HME can and booster to yield something around 4.2% or 4.3%.
  16. I've never had a recipe to overflow. I have had a high level of foam/bubbles during the first week but never enough to overflow. And I've done several batches 8% ABV or higher including Novacaine that is over 10% ABV. My strategies to prevent overflows... 1. I go by the RickBeer rule and after screwing on the lid to my LBK, I loosen it 1/4 turn. This allows the small gap for released CO2 to be just a tad bigger and helps reduce any pressure buildup. 2. During the first week, I keep the temperature around my LBK (I have mine in a cooler with frozen water bottles to regulate the temperature) an extra 5-10 degrees colder. This slows down that initial fermentation so it's not so violent. I believe overflows are due to a high rate of fermentation. Cooler temperatures spreads that fermentation over a little longer time. 3. After mixing up the batch and getting the LBK safely in my cooler, I do the "no overflow" ritual. While holding a dead squirrel in my teeth, I hop around the cooler 8 times on my left leg, then reverse direction and hop around 8 times on my right leg. This is the most important rule.
  17. Mr. Beer's refills... so good on ice cream as a topping. Creamy malty goodness!
  18. Please, someone get adkponds some Budweiser.
  19. How can you tell your hopsack came open in your LBK? I can't see through the dark brown plastic of the LBK well enough to see much details of anything. And it's generally not a good idea to be opening the top of your LBK to look inside during fermentation.
  20. I've been to a local homebrew store several times and have never had any issues with being a Mr. Beer brewer. They've been overly helpful. They don't sell Mr. Beer products, but they do sell Cooper's cans of HMEs and LMEs as well as some other brands. The cans they sell are for 5 gallon batches. They've talked with me over all kinds of ideas about using the HME cans for 5 gallons in my LBK at creating something still drinkable. It's given me some ideas although I haven't bought any of their HMEs yet. I have bought empty 12 oz bottles, sanitizer, bottle caps and a hand capper from them. How they've treated me seems to make good business sense. They sell me a few things now, but they keep the door open if I want to expand my beer-making efforts down the road. Your experience at the homebrew store in Vermont stumps me. A customer today (no matter how insignificant) is a potential bigger customer in the future. It's rude besides being bad business. Just buy your hops online and avoid them since they don't appreciate you.
  21. sdrake


    It's been 7 1/2 days since I've bottled my Novacaine and no bottles have exploded. Room temperature between 75-80F the entire time. So I think this one did ferment all the fermentables during the 4 weeks in the LBK. I guess I'll open one up in a few weeks to see how it is.
  22. I like my Wild Wheat I did earlier this year. Nice taste and nice head on it.
  23. Can the refrigerator be set to hold a temperature of 65F? My expectations that the temperature ranges of refrigerators are too low for our brewing temperatures. Now if you want a place to keep your brew after you've bottled it, the refrigerator is good.
  24. Seriously, based on the postings in this forum, the Belgian Spiced Winter Seasonal has likely been one of the favorite recipes. Mr. Beer should consider making it a regular recipe.
  25. sdrake


    Besides the cautions I gave, I am leaning towards expecting it to be ok. It had a healthy layer of foam on the surface for the first 3 weeks of fermentation. During the last week, the foam went away. I think it got a good healthy ferment over the almost 4 weeks.
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