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Brother James

Using 2 cans of MrB HME and no booster

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Can you get better, more flavorful beers by using twice the HME and no booster? If so, does this work generally, or just with some varieties?

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Basically, yes, you generally do get a better quality beer from two HME's than you do from an HME and a booster. But it's not entirely that simple. Some HME's are high in IBU and some are not. It comes down to a matter of taste. But if two HME's has too much hops for you, you can use an HME and a UME (LME) as a third choice.

If your question had been does two malts make a better beer than a malt and a booster, I would have been even quicker to just say yes. But even then, it goes back to the matter of taste. I'm always surprised by the number of friends and family I know who are so accustomed to Bud and Miller and such, that they simply don't like the extra malt, and seem to be happier with a lighter, crisper beer.

So what's better is very subjective. Whatever you like, that's what's "better" for you to make.

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As a rule, you'll get more flavor from using more malt, yes. Booster doesn't really add flavor; it adds a little body (very little) and adds some fermentable sugar to "boost" the ABV.

Whether this makes a beer better is a matter of opinion. Mr. Beer recipes are designed to have a certain ABV and flavor profile, so by doubling the HME, you're screwing around with that flavor profile.

It won't automatically be twice as good, is what I'm saying.

But using an HME as a base and adding more malt will give you more body, flavor, and ABV.

Lots of people have developed excellent recipes by experimenting with Mr. Beer HME as a base and adding UME, LME, or DME and extra hop boils.

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I believe that both Joe and Dave gave you good answers.

One think to keep in mind is also that that Joe touched on briefly was doubling the IBUs

An HME such as the Canadian Blonde only has 13...so if you use 2 full cans, you have 26 IBUs. But the American Porter has 41...so 2 of those is 82 IBUs. And if the bulk of those IBUs are concentrated in the flavor end of the mix...then you may be compounding something you don't want....or maybe you do. That's a personal choice. But it's a choice be explored by using the ingredient as is, first.

It's always a good rule-of-thumb to brew it as-is first to gain an appreciation of what's there. What are you working with. Once you have that established, then you can make a better determination of using 2 would work.

=====

As an example, I did use 2 of the American Porters in a recipe (see below)

http://hopville.com/recipe/1404613

(Note that hopville did not have the American Porter in its ingredient listing, so I entered the Mr. Beer Black Tower Porter in name only)

I submitted this beer to a competition as a specialty beer (a Robust Porter with addition IBUs). One of the comments here was that - due to my entering this in the specialty category, they thought the additional hops would be a lot stronger. One judge gave it a 29 and the other gave it a 34. The 34 falls it into the Very Good category. As for me, personally, I really enjoy this recipe/beer and will be sure to do it again.

Neat to learn what you can create in mad-scientist mode.

My next experiment in using 2 HMEs will be the Canadian Blonde. Friends have told me that my Nordique Hustle recipe with this HME was awesome. I brewed it as a Mr. Beer LBK batch. For my next magic trick, I'm going to make a 4.5 gallon batch...basically just doubling all of the ingredients.

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Using two cans of Mr. Beer/Coopers HME is a mighty expensive batch. You reach a point where things can get cost-prohibitive -- right? I added 1/2 lb. of Golden LME to the Bavarian Weiss last week. They call this refill 'Deluxe.' I'd try adding LME or DME first.

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