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Michael Astfalk

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Everything posted by Michael Astfalk

  1. When batch priming, how much table sugar and water are to be used for a typical Mr. Beer batch?
  2. Jim: That new batch that I made on Saturday (Distracted Ale), seemed to reach high klausen over the last couple of days. The LBK temp was right around 68f for that time. Now it is dropping as of today's temp, right around 66f for now - foam has subsided. You said that you ferment around 65f. Should I take any action with this or just let it go & do its work? LBK is in a cooler. I could put some hot water bottles in to bring the ambient temp up and try to affect the wort temp, or just see if it levels off and then let it go.
  3. Wishful thinking on my part. There's four of them. The seven year old likes to help me - and is a big help. the distraction is the two little ones. Probably will get on to it better as I get more familiar with the process. Early morning on a saturday might work. I'll figure something out for the next batch and give that a try.
  4. No, you and John gave good advice here. Thank you. I had copied the recipe in to my notes on the iPhone so I could lay it out - put the order to it - and was using that. It got too much between the recipe, the phone shutting off, and the activity in the house. Trying to sanitize equipment, prepare the recipe and then follow it got to be a bit of a challenge with a toddler & a preschooler under my feet shredding paper all over the kitchen floor. In the end, my mistake and I'll see where it comes out on this batch. Next time I'll actually print my notes/recipe the way I had it in my phone. That ought to help me with the list for brew day and to follow it.
  5. No. It was stuff I had from Mr. Beer already. Had to pick up the yeast at the LHBS. I have this box downstairs with refills, LME packs, hops, etc. I bought it on sale after the holidays. I don't know how much slower I can go. It took me 90 minutes to make this recipe. My trouble is work space/environment and being able to actually read the recipes. Type is very small and cramped and too many distractions in my house. Will read them a couple of times in the future. Will try to go slower next time. Thanks for the guidance.
  6. I met you guys half way on this. I switched gears and I'm doing the Barley Smoked Porter Recipe - at least with ingredients that I could get for it here locally. I'll end up making a donation to this or another similar charity on my own. It was the only recipe I could find where it was close to what I want to do. This way, i have an exact recipe to follow. I'll remove the hop sacks from the wort after the boil times - but it doesn't say that in the directions. Not sure why. It actually is working out content wise - I had to buy 1 oz of hops for each of the types called for, so I can use those later in the other recipes. UPDATE on this, (20 minutes after I originally responded) - I think I messed up the recipe. Will have to see how it turns out. We talked about removing the hops sacks at flame out. This particular recipe said to leave them in for the fermentation. Not sure why, because this recipe is doing exactly what we were talking about, 20 minute boil then 10 minute boil. I removed the hop sacks at flame out as we discussed and tossed them, then noticed the end of that paragraph in the recipe said to leave them in. The other thing I noticed is that the recipe did not say to let the wort cool - but because I had heated it so long and boiled it, the temp in the keg was at 75 even after adding cold refrigerated water. Have it cooling down with ice packs in the cooler & will watch it.
  7. I have some LME bags. What do I do with them? I thought they were to be added to the recipes?
  8. But the Mr Beer recipes do not call for a boil of the HME. In what are we boiling the hops? Just the water? Then the recipes say to leave the hops in - pour the mixture in the LBK for fermentation.
  9. Not sure I'm getting this? So I would boil the wort for 20 mins with 1/2 the hops for the first 15 mins, then the other half for the last 5 mins? Then what do I do with the hops, completely remove them? Do I have it right?
  10. I'd like to get get it slightly hoppy but balanced. If I understand Jim's graph correctly, a balance between flavor and aroma or flavor and bitterness would either be 12 min boil vs 30 min boil respectively? How much hops would I need to add to balance it out? Should I boil or just add to the recipe? Most of these recipes don't require a boil of the hops, so I would think I am just adding hops in the bag and leaving it in?
  11. It is in the 60s, but I should really check that. I use the cooler to regulate the temp. I was advised earlier to add ice packs to regulate it further. I was getting LBK temps in the mid 70s in the cooler when it was in my dining room.
  12. Just wanted to do a quick run down on starting the next batch to make sure I'm on track - I'm going to try Ole Mole Stout. I'm following the recipe exactly. I've got all those steps down. Sanitize everything. Once completed and in the LBK, primary fermentation begins - I'm immediately putting the LBK in to my cooler, which is now in my basement. I'm controlling the temp in THE LBK to be around 68 degrees - or even a bit lower, checking the stick on thermometer that I have on the side of the keg. This is critical during primary fermentation when the yeast heats up and is most active. I will be using ice packs in the cooler to get the temp down, checking several times a day. Do I have all this right? I have a couple of LME packs. Is there an issue adding 1-2 of these to the Ole Mole recipe? Does that affect anything? Thanks in advance for your answers. Again, I know I'm a bit redundant on this - just making sure I'm getting this.
  13. Rick - if I understand, commando or bagged, we are leaving the hops in the wort and pouring in to the LBK. Correct?
  14. Jim: The percentage on the jpg - is that IBUs? Does the desired affect relate to the type of hops that you use?
  15. I want to make sure I understand the hops - going to try a recipe that calls for them - We are putting the hops in AND never removing them per the recipe instructions? I don't see where it says to remove them. We are just leaving them in the hop sack & wort and adding all of that to the LBK?
  16. I thought it was clear, but then when i took the other two bottles out of the fridge I noticed they were a bit cloudy when I held them up to the light. All bottled beer is now in a corner of my kitchen on an inside wall. These should go to room temp no problem. It was the warmest area I can find. Frigid here in PA this year. Feel like I'm in Maine or Minnesota.
  17. Rick: It may even have gone lower than 58 - closer to 50. Thought the cooler was keeping them good. I'm moving both upstairs now. Michael
  18. I just put a thermometer in the cooler and closed the lid. It looks like it is about 58 degrees in the cooler. I didn't think it would be that low. I don't know where to move these bottles of beer. I could switch around what I am doing - move the cooler for the LBK down in to the basement so there is a lower temp for fermentation, move the cooler for the beer upstairs where it is warmer. Have I stalled the process though? If I warm up the beer bottles by moving them to a different room, will that kick start the process of carbonation/conditioning again?
  19. My next attempt is going to be the Ole Mole Stout. It is basically the Irish Stout with cocoa and brown sugar added. Directions say: Remove the yeast packet from under the lid of the can of hopped malt extract (HME), then place the unopened can in hot tap water. aUsing the sanitized measuring cup, pour 4 cups of water into your clean 3-quart or larger pot. Bring water to a boil, and then remove from heat. Add the cayenne powder, cocoa powder and dark brown sugar, stir to mix well and cover for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, open the can of HMEb and pour it into the hot mixture. Stir until thoroughly mixed. This mixture of unfermented beer is called wort.So no boiling of the HME or added ingredients, just the water?
  20. Rick: I guess I don't understand. I feel like a total idiot when it comes to this. Didn't see the head in any discussions, but I'm not on here every day. I don't read all the posts and do a quick search before asking a question. Sorry for the ignorance. I did gently pour it and left some in the bottom. Not sure where to move the beer to. Sounds like I need a brewery just to do a couple gallons of beer.
  21. I noticed on the recipes and directions that it just says to bring to a boil and remove from the heat. In one of the books that I've picked up on home brewing, the author talks about boiling the LME/Wort for about 45 minutes. Is there a certain boil time that is recommended for the Mr Beer recipes? Michael
  22. Need some feedback and advice on this again. It has been 4 weeks since I bottled this first batch of beer - the American Light that I posted about here. I chilled a few and tried one last night. Ugh! It is drinkable, but I'm not impressed. First off, it is indeed carbonated BUT it didn't have much of a head. Beer is still slightly darker in color. Taste? Instead of hoppy, it was a bit bitter as in a "vinegar taste". Also, it had a yeasty smell & initial taste to it. It tasted more like beer when I tasted it from the keg before bottling even though it had these tastes to it. I expected it to improve, I don't think it did. I conditioned it in a spare cooler which I put in the basement. Basement stays cool, at or below 68 degrees. Kept it away from heat. Not sure what I did wrong - or if maybe I should give it another week? Not looking forward to my next swig of it though. I'm now concerned about the Winter Dark Ale that I have conditioning in the basement (not in the cooler, but I put the PET bottles back in the box that they came in). Also a little gun shy on doing another batch - I was going to cook up the Ole Mole Stout this weekend. Feedback? Can this be corrected?
  23. Thanks for the responses. I missed finding that topic because I was searching for PET. I'm also not not he forum regularly. Sorry for the repitition. Rick, when you say Winter Dark is going to get messy, at which point do you mean? I'm towards the end of my fermentation - has been almost 21 days - and the LBK has been in a cooler the entire time. Regulated the active fermentation down until I leveled off at 68 degrees. Then I left it alone, checking once a week. I haven't seen any mess in the cooler? Do you mean it will get messy bottling the beer or conditioning it? Michael
  24. My second batch, the Winter Dark Ale, is about ready to bottle. I had some questions on this though - A. How long to "lager" this beer? Some of the Winter Dark Ale recipes say to give it a few months of lagering/conditioning - but I didn't see anything on the recipe directions that came with it. B. Regardless, if a beer will be kept longer in the bottles, either for conditioning or just over time, which is better to use - the PET bottles or glass bottles? I can do either, I have both. I was reading in a brewing book that PET is not good for keeping beer for long durations. Thanks for the feedback in advance. Michael
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