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Blatzman

Using non-Mr.B extract kits

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So I've been to the LHBS and seen several extract kits (w/steeping grains) that look interesting. I do not have a 5 gal carboy, nor am I interested in getting a "traditional" home brew set-up.
My questions:
1)Can these 5 gal extract kits be used w/ the Mr.B keg, fermenting/bottling process?
2)Would I have to make the entire kit and ferment it in 2 Mr.B kegs (and dump the remainder) or could I measure out the correct amount of ingredients to use w/one Mr.B 2 gal set-up?

Thanks!

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I've only seen 5 gallon batches (not that it means there aren't more) so I'm not sure what remainder would have to be dumped if you are using two LBKs. I heard that many on here split the 5 gal batches with 2 LBKs.

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You don't have to dump anything. Just split between two kegs. Bottom of the word "QUART" is 2.4 gallons. That's close enough for government work, and should still leave room for high tide.

What kind of kits did you buy? If they are Brewer's Best kits, then the starting boil volume is 2.5 gallons. So you would need to top off with water anyway.

Edit: If you have two LBKs, it's easier to brew everything, then divide between the two kegs. Split the yeast, or buy extra for batch #2.

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What packerduf just said. Mix the whole batch then split between 2 LBK's you will be above the 8.5 mark but that's ok, high on the Q. If that don't work for you because you only have 1 LBK you can split the ingredients, a little harder though but it will work.

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+1 to the 2 LBK method. If you don't want to do that, depending on how the ingredients are packaged, you may be able to split the ingredients in half for two separate brew days. For instance, if each grain is packaged separately, you could split each (and the hops, etc.) in half. It gets trickier if they've mixed the grains together.

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So I plan to use two LBK's, but do I fill to the 4 qt mark with cold water and then pour the wort to the 8.5-ish mark? Or do I have to chill the wort (ice bath) before pouring in the LBK's? If not, will it be cool enough to pitch the yeast, as I am not adding additional cold water? Not quite sure of the steps here. I've only made Mr.B kits so far and I'm trying to relate those steps to this and I'm a bit confused. Sorry and thanks for the advice.

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I would cool in an ice bath, split the batch into the two fermenters and then top off with cold water. That will cut a lot of the guesswork out...

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Usually the beer kits come with instructions, no?

If you are doing a full boil, you will need to cool the wort prior to pouring the wort into the LBKs. If you don't have a wort chiller, then go with an ice bath. Cool to a decent pitching temp, then pour the wort into the LBKs. A little in this one, a little in that one, a little more in this one, a little more in that one, etc. Once you have the wort equally split, you can pitch the yeast as you would with the Mr Beer refills/recipes.

Is a hop boil even required? If not, then you should have some HME and you can make it just like the Mr Beer refills. Then you would have room to add cold water, which would help you get to a better pitching temp.

What kind of kits did you buy?

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Thanks. I didn't buy any yet, but we have a Northern Brewer store in my area (Milwaukee) and I've been looking at some of their kits. So far the kits I have seen require a hop boil and steeping grains. Not sure if they sell kits w/HME? I'm just looking to try something different and save some shipping $ at the same time.

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Blatzman wrote:

Thanks. I didn't buy any yet, but we have a Northern Brewer store in my area (Milwaukee) and I've been looking at some of their kits. So far the kits I have seen require a hop boil and steeping grains. Not sure if they sell kits w/HME? I'm just looking to try something different and save some shipping $ at the same time.

AH SO!

You can buy the Munton's Premium Gold kits. They come with two cans of HME, so you make them just like the Mr Beer refills. You still should consider buying an extra sachet of yeast, because the kit will only come with one 6 gram packet. The neat thing here is you could, if you choose, purchase a different yeast for the other half and compare the two. Or stay with the same for both. Either way.

You can also buy the Brewer's Best kits. A hop boil will be required, and in most cases they come with some grain to steep. The boil volume will only be 2.5 gallons. You can start with 2 quarts of cold water in each LBK, then split the cooled wort between the kegs. You will still most likely need to add cold water to each LBK to fill them to the 2.4/2.5 level. This is ideal, because it allows you to cool things down to a real nice pitching temp.

I'm sure Northern Brewer sells their own kits, and they would be similar to the Brewer's Best kits. Maybe the same in some cases.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your decision/results.

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I have a 40 pint kit running in one lbk right now. I measured out what I wanted and put the remainder in sanitized jars for storage in the fridge.

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I can't speak to every extract kit out there but I've been using the Cooper's kits for a while now. They call for something else to be added, whether'e it's DME or sugar(or who knows what else) depends on which beer you are trying to make. I've got an Irish Stout that is brewing right now that went into my LBK as is. You're basically just using 3.75# of extract, not an inordinate amount in my opinion.

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Good question. I was going to use a Munton's or Cooper's kit like a seasonal MrB refill. The amount is about the same(as far as the can) so I'm guessing it should work fine.

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You can use them like seasonals, but a word of warning. The seasonals, though the same size cans and same amount of extract, are hopped for a 2.2 gallon batch. The Munton's/Coopers/etc. extracts, on the other hand, are hopped for a 5 gallon batch. Thus, you are essentially doubling the intended amount of hops/bitterness when you use the can in one LBK. And, they are expecting you to add the additional malt to balance the hops further, so if you are not adding the additional malt, you may be more than doubling it.

Now, that being said, depending on the beer style that may well be OK. I, for instance, did this with a brown ale and it came out drinkable. But, you are not really making the beer that the maltster is intending.

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Blatzman,

We must be in the same neck of the woods. I assume you are talking about the Northern Brewer near Greenfield off Hwy 100.

I was just there this past weekend to get some bags for dry hopping some jalapenos. I'm really interested to see how your experiment turns out. I was thinking of doing this myself.

I work in Research Park not one mile north of Northern Brewer - I live out in Waukesha.

Blatzman wrote:

Thanks. I didn't buy any yet, but we have a Northern Brewer store in my area (Milwaukee) and I've been looking at some of their kits. So far the kits I have seen require a hop boil and steeping grains. Not sure if they sell kits w/HME? I'm just looking to try something different and save some shipping $ at the same time.

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Yup, that the Northern Brewer store...it's fermenting now. I'll post an update next week.

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Very true. Since I like hops and it was an IPA I made I'm not too worried, thought it might be out of balance. I put one in the fridge last night, I should know today some time. The other one I've done is a stout where you don't add malt, just sugar. I think I'll be good there too.

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Most of the 5 gallon brewers I know do not use the pre hopped stuff. Myself I feel I get better beer by doing the full volume boils adding my hops etc. You can definetly split bewteen two kegs. When I first started doing 5 gal kits that whait I did. You can buy with confindce from Northern Brewer, great people.

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