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  1. My method has been after draining a bottle of brew, to VERY aggressively multi-rinse the bottle, let dry and store for next batch. Sanitize prior to refilling. Repeat a few times. Then periodically using oxygen properly mixed in a gallon jug, half fill each bottle with warm mix and scrub interior with a bottle brush, rinse thoroughly and let drain dry. A real pain in the butt... Is there a better way that is just as effective?
  2. "LBJ" = little brown Jug; LOL I knew better. Would have been nice if MrBeer had recommended that instead of Fast Ferment. Just have to wing it I guess. Think I'll add some more Cardamon seeds tomorrow...
  3. First time I've tried this recipe. Several questions/doubts have arisen. I used a 3 gallon Fast Ferment and am thinking this recipe is not appropriate for that fermenter and am searching for others who have experience with this recipe. 1. The teaspoon of Cardamom seeds settle right into the collection jar. Directions with this fermenter say to drain the jar after 5 days so now seeds are no longer in the wort. 2. Same with the cinnamon stick ( I returned the stick into the wort) 3. Should I now add more Cardamom seeds to the wort? If yes how much? 4. Even though I added the S-33 yeast properly and temperature is maintained at prescribed 59 - 68, no fermentation was evident in the air lock. Perhaps not an issue as I have had this happen once before but I still find it troubling not to see anything happening after 5 days. Should I have used the LBJ instead? Your comments please.
  4. Afraid not. Will just have to try again - and look at expiration date. Change of hops shouldn’t make that much difference should it?
  5. Thanks Cisco. That's what I was looking for. Old recipe used 2 packets of Centennial and 1 of Columbus hops; new recipe 3 packets of Columbus. That aside, recipes and brewing instructions are identical. But when I did the new recipe, it came out quite a bit darker and flavor not the same as before (I've brewed this recipe 4 -5 times now). Could the different hops make that difference? Wondering if the American Ale SME is different now??
  6. I think MrBeer changed this recipe in the last 12 - 18 months. I brew a batch as a Christmas gift each year and I don't think this year's recipe (2018) was the same. Does anyone have a printout containing the older recipe list of ingredients and brew instructions? Thanks in advance
  7. I'm always having a problem getting BrewMax to dissolve completely. Usually I'm reasonably successful after long term effort. I pour slowly and stir constantly with a wire whisk but it always clumps and takes forever to get it to MOSTLY dissolve. Is there a better way to address this issue? And does the yeast finish the job on any small clumps in the wort?
  8. Well I seem to be in a "brewing slump" lately. My last few batches have not met my expectations for various reasons; drinkable but some not as good as expected. I have been brewing with MrBeer for ~5 years now and have made >70 batches (nearly all different recipes) most of which were pretty decent. Still have my original LBK which I though I would have rendered unusable way before now by dropping or other mishandling. Also recently started using a 3 gallon FastFerment; not sure yet if I'll stick with it. Has some advantages over LBK but some disadvantages too. I clean and sanitize meticulously and don't allow anything to contact the brew unsanitized. Only use purchased bottled spring water. Anyway, I'm just venting. And like any good baseball player in a slump, will continue swinging until I bat my way out of it. Cheers.
  9. Thanks for the replies. I believe for me it all boils not allowing enough fermentation time. My bottle bulge problem occurred during the time I was following the early 1 -2 week MrBeer recommendation. Now it's 3 week min recommendation. I don't believe I was adding too much sugar as I measured it carefully for each bottle according to the size I was using. I have recently questioned if sugar QUALITY might have been a factor. My wife pointed out that she doesn't always buy Domino which I didn't know and perhaps store brands are not as good. I have a hydrometer but hate fussing with it. May have to reconsider.
  10. I know this has been discussed before but I don't know if anything has been done to improve the design so that the bottoms of the 16oz bottles don't bulge and deform during carbonation. I today am discarding several due to this. So my second question is, are they recyclable? I couldn't see any symbol to suggest they are.
  11. It's been 49 years for us together now - and sadly - I'm STILL learning "how to communicate like an adult"...
  12. Post script. My wife said the day following my misadventure "couldn't you have have sanitized a large pot and captured most of the brew and then transferred it to bottles"??? Hmmm.. Yes... I think that would have worked. I was able to shut off the flow but could open the valve again without losing control of it. But placing a large pot under the outlet and draining the fermenter makes sense - now... (she also said "you weren't willing to listen to suggestions and were swearing a lot at the time so I knew it was a lost cause to suggest a solution because you weren't receptive)"... I hate it when she's right - which is most of the time. 😒
  13. Frustrating update... this morning I decided to bottle. As mentioned, I am using a FastFerment. With valve shut, while disconnecting the threaded union at the bottom that holds the trub collection jar, beer started flowing. No matter what I did I couldn't correct it. Lost the entire batch. The ball valve bottom seal threaded seat had turned loose as I was unscrewing the union and I couldn't get it tightened enough with my fingers to correct it. Not being familiar with the FastFerment, I didn't realize until subsequently visiting one of their cleaning videos that the ball handle can be pulled off and there are "nubs" on the handle that can be used to turn the seal seal. Had I known that, I likely could have tightened the seat through the beer flow and only lost a portion of the batch. Don't know why this came loose. This batch was my third with the FastFerment. Not sure I'm going to like the FastFerment method vs. LBK.... Not giving up yet.
  14. You can adjust the temp by using fewer or smaller frozen water bottles and/or prop the cooler lid open a bit to allow some cold out.
  15. Yes, there has been plenty of trub accumulating in the collection jar at the bottom. So perhaps the fermentation did take place. I was was concerned because I never saw any sign of gas bubbles in the air lock as was always the case in previous batches. Will be bottling later this week and see how it turns out.
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