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Trying 4 Greatness

? about your LBHS.

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Recently I stopped in @ one of the LBHS stores by me. When I asked if they did stuff in less then 5 gallon batches he asked if I was using a MrBeer kit I said yes. His reply was you really should be pulling the beer up off the trub not down through it. Generally didn't seem like he was interested in selling me much unless I wanted to do five gallon batches.

I guess my question is do you get grief @ your LBHS for using MrB or buying in less than 5 gallon batches?

Thanks,
T4G

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Actually you're lucky, my LBHS will hardly talk to you, he's too busy filling on line orders, and from the second you're there you feel like you're being pushed through the door.

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There are two or three guys at my LHBS. One of them seems to not really be interested in talking to me. I think he's the guy that runs the place. The other two guys seem to be very good and "personable".

But to answer your question...the subject of Mr. Beer really never comes up. I guess a part of that is just me and my personality...but I'm not in there to find my "homeboy". I go in wanting to buy 2 of the Briess Golden Light LME and a pound of Carapils and that's exactly what I go for. I have had a few times in the past year or so where they have asked me about a 5-gallon batch and I just have to figure on cutting it in half in terms of the size I'm going for...but no, I don't get into a gentleman's debate about the size of my brew.

The little skinny one gets pissed when you start talking about wheat beers...so I don't.

The heavier fella is pretty nice about everything.

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My LHBS don't want to talk about Mr. beer stuff but they are more than willing to sell me stuff at any size batch I want to make.

Though they have seen me enough and I have bought tons of stuff so they know being friendly sells more stuff.

--- edit ---

Just tell them you are doing 2.5 gallon test batches and will be thinking of buying 5 gallon batches later of brews you like.

They don't have to know it is a Mr. beer keg

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that doesn't happen at mine When I started they show me how to use the ingredients to do B sized batches, a lot cheaper. Only did the MR B kits for about 6 months before switching over AG % to 10 gal batches

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my place is kind of like yours...they scoff and recommend I start using a 5 gallon kit.

They are still helpful, but for the most part the idea I get is they think of this as a beginner's kit (in reality it is) that isn't meant to be used after you get the hang of things.

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I had read about people (us Mr.B folks) getting the cold shoulder from their LHBS, before I went to mine. Decided to mention it up front, before they figured it out. The place I go is a small independent , but they stock everything the big guys do. They have been very friendly and helpfull to me. I do spend money there almost every week. I could save money on some items online, but believe in buying local, within reason.

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The first time I went to my LHBS, I figured that if I wanted to get good advice for what I needed to do, they needed to know how I was brewing. So I braced myself and told the guy that I was using Mr Beer. He told me that the only thing I couldn't do with my Mr Beer that he could do with his 5 gallon setup was to make 5 gallons at a time (if you have more than one LBK, you can even do that). He then gave me advice about which extracts, hops and yeast to buy, crushed some carapils and bagged that up, picked a book off the shelf and stuck business cards in the chapters that he thought would be best for me to start with and rang up my order.

Needless to say, they've gotten a lot of business from me.

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bpgreen wrote:

The first time I went to my LHBS, I figured that if I wanted to get good advice for what I needed to do, they needed to know how I was brewing. So I braced myself and told the guy that I was using Mr Beer. He told me that the only thing I couldn't do with my Mr Beer that he could do with his 5 gallon setup was to make 5 gallons at a time (if you have more than one LBK, you can even do that). He then gave me advice about which extracts, hops and yeast to buy, crushed some carapils and bagged that up, picked a book off the shelf and stuck business cards in the chapters that he thought would be best for me to start with and rang up my order.

Needless to say, they've gotten a lot of business from me.

BP: You must be in Arizona...I dealt with the owner of Brewers Connection the 1st time I walked in, looked lost in this new adventure and he asked all the right questions, I told him I use MB and he said the worst thing about MB was it only made 2 gallons, from then on I shop him most of the time and will always deal with him. Helped me with my 1st extract batch and I have never looked back.

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On my first trip to Austin Homebrew, there were plenty of personnel on the floor, and several walked up and asked my if I needed any help. But as I asked more and more newbie questions and mentioned Mr Beer, it seemed they all became too busy with other things to talk to me. Might have been my imagination, not sure.

But on future trips, they got to know me better and became more and more friendly and helpful. My questions became more "intelligent" and I didn't act so ashamed and apologetic for using MB setup.

One guy did point out that I could do better with a larger setup, but he was not pushy about it. Several of them have made positive comments that it's a good start and a way to learn and there's nothing wrong with that.

All in all, I'm very comfortable shopping there, and I honestly feel that even if they do feel MB is an amateur method, they are respectful of me, anyway, so I'm good with that.

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bpgreen wrote:

The first time I went to my LHBS, I figured that if I wanted to get good advice for what I needed to do, they needed to know how I was brewing. So I braced myself and told the guy that I was using Mr Beer. He told me that the only thing I couldn't do with my Mr Beer that he could do with his 5 gallon setup was to make 5 gallons at a time (if you have more than one LBK, you can even do that). He then gave me advice about which extracts, hops and yeast to buy, crushed some carapils and bagged that up, picked a book off the shelf and stuck business cards in the chapters that he thought would be best for me to start with and rang up my order.

Needless to say, they've gotten a lot of business from me.


Nice...so far I've been a little afraid to walk into my LHBS, lest I suffer their scorn.

In fact, the way I entered the MrB world was through them: my daughter went in first to put together a starter kit for me as a Christmas present. She was given the options of a $100+ kit that didn't really include everything I'd need, or a $200 kit that pretty much did. In either case, she was told, I would still need a gas stove or outdoor turkey cooker, neither of which I have, and neither of which she was inclined stick under the tree for me. So, she researched the subject a little more on-line and settled on MrB as the way to go...which I've since been perfectly satisfied with.

So, at some point I will wander in there, but I've still got the stuff I need for one more batch--and likely to order more from MrB this week as I've still got a 20% discount code I need to use quickly. Still, there'll be a little trepidation when I do go in, as my daughter (who is 23 and cute, BTW) found their customer service almost laughably bad and somewhat less than welcoming. :pinch:

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I did locate my LBHS about an hour away...a small place with another business inside. They seemed to be well stocked.

I was the only customer at the time and did explain what I had, and where I wanted to go...They did push the 5 gal stuff a bit as that was the refill kits they carried were the Coopers and it was more of, " you can get a 5 gal refill for about the same $$$ as a 2.5 refill."

As we talked about extracts versus AG, he was real pro extracts as "you know what you are getting" whereas AG can be a roll of the dice and it is real easy to get inconsistent results as there are many variables, and why spend a whole afternoon at it.

Overall, I left with what I wanted and know I can get pretty much what I need to continue down the path I'm heading(DME's plus HMEs and added hops) at this time.

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Well from the business side of things any LHBS owner or worker is a total idiot for giving anyone walking into their place of business grief for anything. Seeing how you are there to spend money in their store if they dont want to help you simply becuase you have a 2.5 fermenter then they are complete and utter morons.

My LHBS actually made a comment that he gets new business every year around Christmas and he said that is because of Mr. Beer. He was happy to help me come up with MB 2.5 gal recipes and then after my third one he helped me upgrade to a 5 gallon kit.

The bottom line is if you are in an LHBS to spend money and they are giving grief for using MB products then the do not deserve your business.

What sucks is there are not many LHBS avaiable so they usually got you by the balls.

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I've stopped by my LHBS (Brew and Grow) on my way home from work a few times. I'm not sure if I ever completely showed my hand or not (MrB), or if it would ever matter, but they've always been very helpful and polite. I've given them pretty good business in my short 2-month brewing career. If you think about it, there's nothing that a 5-gal setup can do that 2 LBK's can't. I think most places realize that and won't cast judgment.

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My guy didn't seem to care, but he's the only game in town and is very busy. I just tell him the size of the batch and he puts it together for me.
If you're buying from them, even if you could save money by doing 5 gallons, why should they care. I thought the customer was always right.

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I live in a pretty small town so the only thing I've got that is close to an LHBS is a wine and beer making store. They don't really sell the ingredients, they are there to sell their services. However, when I needed some bottles in a hurry, they were more than helpful and they have offered to sell me whatever I need, from yeast to hops to malt extracts. They buy all of their malt in bulk so I would need to bring a container for them to fill and it didn't seem all that cheap, so I'll probably just stick with ordering from MRB. The girl I talked to had never even heard of Mr Beer, so she didn't give me a hard time at all. She joked about having to drink the trub in the bottom of the bottles because she has the equipment to filter and force CO2 carbonation, but that's about it.

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I've been to my LHBS, The Brew Mentor, just once. Up until that point I've ordered online only from MB.

The guy there, only employee on apparently that day, was friendly enough.

I was looking for lactose and Red Star Champagne yeast.

I told him I had just started the beer brewing hobby at Christmas and was using Mr. Beer. I said I was there that day to make a hard fruity drink for my wife to keep her on board with my new hobby.

Apparently he only heard Champagne yeast because he spent the rest of the time I was there trying to up sell me on their wine making classes or private wine tasting parties.

I never mentioned wine, and personally am not a fan of wine, so I was polite but proceed to leave as soon as I could.

To his credit he didn't diss Mr. Beer, but did try to offer me a wine making kit that could make 12 (or was it 20) bottles.

They looked to have a good selection of everything you would need to brew.

I'll probably go back to get supplies, but wasn't impressed enough by the experience or prices to not check online sources first if I have several days before brew day.

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No grief at mine. They are super busy on most days, so I just gather most of the stuff myself. They prefer to have an employee crush the grains though (anything more than 5 lbs). They are always helpful when I have a question.

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the lbhs here actually carries mr beer products.always have more than a few deluxe and premium refills on hand.the owner will also order what ever i am looking for. of course every time i go in there he trys to sell me a 5-gallon kit. overall though they are very helpfull and not anti mr beer.

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Brought in a MB recipe for Honey Wheat beer looking for some DME and the owners wife leaned in to me and said I should really learn how to make "real" beer with their 5 gallon kits. :angry: I buy online now. Just save up until I get enough to make a reasonable sized order to offset the shipping. I'm on my 4th batch and the first 3 came out great and significantly better than commercial beer so I'm happy with my MB "not real" beer. :laugh:

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Except for checkout, my place is self service all the way. I've never mentioned that I use MB, and they've never made any comments about the amount of stuff I'm buying.

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There's a new place in CF that I've been to. They are mostly into wine kits but have more than enough extracts and grain to satisfy most beer makers. Asked for a simple wheat extract recipe for a 2.5Gal MB and they were very helpful and great to work with.

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We have 1 LBHS. There are bad reviews all over the net about this issue.
It turns out that the guy scoffs at ANY questions, not just Mr Beer questions. He doesn't want to teach anybody anything or give advise. He wants you to know what your doing and just buy the stuff you need.
If you ask him for a specialty item, he's happy to get it and sell it to you.

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I've never mentioned to anyone at my LHBS that I use Mr. Beer. Why should I? All they need to know is that I'm shopping in their store. Whether I buy one can of LME or ten pounds of 2-row, it's none of their business what I'm doing with it.

Also, Mr. Beer is not the only method of making smaller batches. Glass jugs suitable for fermenting come in all sizes, and if you want to brew your own beer, but have limited space, or just don't drink a lot of beer, five gallon batches may be unsuitable for you.

Those "recommendations" that only "real" beer can be made in 5-gal batches are only thinly veiled attempts at making money off you. To an extent, I can't blame them; I'm all for free-market capitalism. But I'm also all for selling the customer what he wants and needs, NOT what YOU feel you need to sell.

Mr. Beer gets a bad rap because it's no-boil. Just mix it, then set it and forget it. That's been a controversy here and elsewhere. But having made plenty of Mr. Beer recipes, I honestly believe it's good beer, and I wouldn't be making five-gallon all-grain batches of my own devising had I not started with a Mr. Beer kit. It made sense for me to go in that direction, but that's not the choice that makes sense for everyone.

The guy at my LHBS is helpful, but I think it's taken a while for him to recognize me as a repeat customer. I've asked him one or two questions when I've needed to, although he's usually scrambling around the store, and getting his attention can be difficult. The last time I was there, I was looking through the hops fridge and he actually came up to me and asked if I needed anything specific. It's the first time he's done that, and I think it's because I'm more of a familiar face now.

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My LHBS is very helpful. They sell Mr. Beer products and are willing to answer questions and try to get you special ingredients if they can. They also have no problem selling me grains for a 2.5 gallon batch. With the plethora of options for online ordering, if you have an unpleasant LHBS, I would not go back, but thats just me.

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mrblase wrote:

Brought in a MB recipe for Honey Wheat beer looking for some DME and the owners wife leaned in to me and said I should really learn how to make "real" beer with their 5 gallon kits. :angry: I buy online now. Just save up until I get enough to make a reasonable sized order to offset the shipping. I'm on my 4th batch and the first 3 came out great and significantly better than commercial beer so I'm happy with my MB "not real" beer. :laugh:

That is retarded. So the only way to make real beer is thru hop boil? As long as the end product is good who cares how you made it?

When I make a PB sandwich I toast my bread and put PB in between. Should I mill my own peanuts just so I can say it's a real sandwich?

I love my MB beers and am proud to serve them to my friends.

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it is more like this you have condensed soup, add water and heat, or Momma's soup made from scratch. Both are real, it is just what you like better.

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FedoraDave wrote:

he actually came up to me and asked if I needed anything specific. It's the first time he's done that, and I think it's because I'm more of a familiar face now.

wow, thats not a good practice to obtain repeat customers

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mrblase wrote:

Brought in a MB recipe for Honey Wheat beer looking for some DME and the owners wife leaned in to me and said I should really learn how to make "real" beer with their 5 gallon kits. :angry: I buy online now. Just save up until I get enough to make a reasonable sized order to offset the shipping. I'm on my 4th batch and the first 3 came out great and significantly better than commercial beer so I'm happy with my MB "not real" beer. :laugh:

funny thing is they prob sell coopers and muntons beer kits.

Its amazing how biased people get when they sell or represent a certain product. Its always "the other peoples stuff is worthless and mine is superior so buy mine". I give so much more respect to a business when they recognize that other products are equally comparable besides their own and they try to show how they, themselves, are worth spending money with based on customer service.

For instance,. my LHBS treats me well and answers any question I have (at least try) and i appreciate that. They never push anythng on me. When I said i wanted to convert a food grade bucket to a bottling bucket and one as a secondary, they showed me what i needed. Didnt try to say their buckets are better.

When i had issues with my oxegenation sytem i got there, they refunded me and took it back until new ones came in. Now, I've waited over two months and have called many times to find out if new ones have arrived to no avail. I have not felt needed as a customer recently because no follow up has occurred and nothing more than "Nope, stil not here" response, like why bother. so unfortunetly now i'm open to shop else where.

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My LHBS is awesome the guy who owns it gives discounts if your there at least twice a month. Before I started with 5 gallon batches he helped me to make batches in my lbk. I absolutly love it there!!!!!

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Elsteve-o wrote:

My LHBS is awesome the guy who owns it gives discounts if your there at least twice a month. Before I started with 5 gallon batches he helped me to make batches in my lbk. I absolutly love it there!!!!!

This would be me, if I ran a LHBS.

My LHBS is "agnostic". They don't care what you do, as long as you buy stuff.

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mnstarzz13 wrote:

FedoraDave wrote:

he actually came up to me and asked if I needed anything specific. It's the first time he's done that, and I think it's because I'm more of a familiar face now.

wow, thats not a good practice to obtain repeat customers

Well, it seems to me they're a little understaffed, and it also seems to me that he's about the only one there who might know a thing or two about brewing. I could be wrong, but that's my impression. I'm a "regular" customer in that I go there every two or three weeks, depending on my brewing schedule. I'm not offended or put off by it, and since it's very convenient for me to shop there, I'll continue to do so. The only other really decent option is shopping online, which I've done, but I prefer to pick up my ingredients on Saturday and brew on Sunday, rather than have to wait a week and pay shipping, to boot.

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I feel fotunate to be within 20 minutes of several LHBS in the bay area.
I've been going to Good Brewer in Livermore most often because the owner, Daniel, is awesome.

The first time I was there ill admit I was a little nervous having heard about some negativity towards mr. Beer, but I mentioned up front what equipment I had and he was more than helpful. He showed me where everything on my list was, helped me pick out things I would be using most often, reccomended the yeast best suited to my temps and specific batch, and was overall one of the most pleasant and professional owners ive dealt with in any industry.

He will order anything you need if he does not have it in stock and actually goes out of his way to greet, help, or just chat with EVERY customer that walks in. The other day I came in with my 4mth old son, and he actually said "hey looks like yhou have your hands full there, lemme help you out with that list". He took my list, grabbed me every item I needed himself, ground my grains for me, and rang me up, all the while greeting otheer customers, asnswering questions, and giving tips. Totally awesome service!

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If anyone is in the NYC area, I recommend Brooklyn Homebrew. It looks like a bunch of young men/women just got together and started a small shop. Very helpful and courteous. Competitive prices too.

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The shop closest to me Quality Wine and Ale supply is very small they store there hops and dry yeast on the shelves next to the grains, DME, LME, etc they do sell Coopers, Muntons, and Brewers best kits but honestly the few times I was actually be there when they were open (sometime between 10:15 and 11:30 Tues and Sat) it seems one would have to knock the dust off most of there items to see what they were and try to get one of the clerks to come from the back room to check out... I don't go there anymore.
Now I have found I like Bell's General Store MUCH better sure it's almost 3 times further then local but as soon as I walk in the door I'm greeted by at least 2 clerks and there is usually another one walking around talking to people and stocking shelves and coolers, I have never been there a single time when at least one person asks me if I've found what I'm looking for or if I need any help (Heck they even gave me advice on there own recipes!) and they always have anything I ever needed, So far. They don't have everything that they sell on there website but after calling ahead and just being there I have no worries about finding stuff and There prices compared to my local place well enough make up for the time and gas for the trip! and the sweet part is I can go inside the Eccentric Café and have a pint or two of there delicious beer.
stickersupportyourUSA__40466_zoom.jpg

by they way I don't work for them but I wish I did.

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I'm a newbie but at my local supply shop everyone was very helpful and helped me get set up to divide 5 gal batches. very helpful and not pushy.

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My LHBS, Great Fermantations, is very helpful. They do push their 5, 10, 25 gal setups, but they sell Mr Beer stuff too and are always great at answering questions and helping with recipes.

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Today I went to my LBHS, or LHBS if you prefer.
The good news is I was like a kid in a candy store.
The bad news is I was like a kid in a candy store...

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Just a quick update I found another store some what close that was much nicer, better stocked, and had no problems helping me if I wanted to do a test batch. I definitely will be going back there.

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So I went to my LHBS on Tuesday to get supplies. They often ask if you needs hops or yeast if you are only getting grain, or if you are buying bottles, do you needs caps. You know, helpful and profitable suggestions. The guy ringing me up asked about the small auto siphon I was buying, wanting to make sure I was getting the correct size for my needs. "Small batches" he commented, and I decided to just spill it, and told him I started with Mr Beer. He thought it was pretty cool that I had moved on to AG batches still using the LBK. He asked what I used as a mash tun and I told him I was doing BIAB. Then he told me how he helped a guy scale down a 5 gallon batch for his 1 gallon AG setup just the day before. It feels good to know the place where I spend my hard earned cash isn't judgmental about Mr Beer or small batches.

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