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packerfan87

Seasonal Brews

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I recently ordered the Saison and Nut Brown seasonal brews.  Given that the amount of HME in the seasonal brews are larger than other refills, I'm concerned with more active fermentation that could lead to my LBK losing its top, so to speak.  Am I over thinking this?  If you've made one of these, what was your experience? 

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It is highly unlikely that you'd lose your top.  It's possible that a fermentation becomes very active and overflows out the lid vents.  Bewitched Amber Ale and Winter Dark both did that for me.

1) Put your LBK in a Rubbermaid tub, or on a cookie sheet.  I do the tub because IF the spout broke off it contains everything.  The cookie sheet SHOULD contain any overflow.

2) After tightening the lid, back it off 1/4 turn.  

RDWHAHB!

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I put my LBK in a bath tub that we don't use. I also try and ferment at the lower range of the yeast. I just put in the Shameless stout with an addition of 1/2lb DME dark. I used a full packet of Safale S-04 and pitched at 60F. I stuck it in the tub and let it free raise to 64F and the yeast took off in about 4 hours. I have been using the wet towel method to keep it right at 64F and no blow out's.

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Nut Brown is great. I just had my first bottle after 6 weeks conditioning. There was a very active fermentation, with some overflow for a couple of days. Use a tray under the keg. The temperature was between 64-66 deg F. So far the best straight MB yet, IMHO. If it does overflow, back off on the cap for the keg a bit, just to ensure the vents are open, but don't remove the lid to clean the vents unless you are positive both are completely blocked (unlikely). 

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I just did  1 can El Diablo IPA and 1 can Classic American Light, 1 oz Liberty, 1 oz Cascade and 1 oz Columbus hops. Thanks to QBREW can't wait to try this Imperial IPA. I got the wort all ready and set up in one LBK, aerated good, poured off half to another LBK, aerated both again, then pitched half the appropriate total amount of yeast in each. About 36 hours in I had both LBK's fermenting great with a lot of action, but would have over flowed if all in one.

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I haven't done the Saison yet but I just started a batch of Nut Brown a few days ago. It has gone through high krausen and it never came close to the lid, in fact the Spring White bubbled higher then the nut brown surprisingly but neither overflowed. I also overfill my kegs a tad to get that last bottle full and to also take a couple gravity readings. I didn't overfill the fist batch of

 but I did double pitch the yeast on that batch. I keep two of my LBKs in rubbermaid tubs and I also have two that sit in cupboards with trays under them to catch any overflow. 

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Thanks Jerry.  One other question...did you rehydrate the yeast as the packet said, or did you just follow the MB instructions and pitch it straight from the packet? 

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I put together the English Nut Brown tonight, which also presented my first opportunity to use a hydrometer.   I got an OG of 1.054.  I was surprised at the reading, but after thinking about it, I figured this was due to a larger amount of HME compared to other refills.  Am I on the right track, or did I do something wrong (I understand most OG readings are around 1.034)?

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I just pitched it in from the packet. 

my starting gravity on the Nut Brown with nothing else added was 1.052 and is about what I expected from that kit. 

I had to add a LME and a DME to get one of the craft kits, the Diablo IPA, up to 1.054. I did a Canadian Blonde and got it up to 1.044 by adding a LME and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. 

on the hydrometer make sure you are reading from the horizon of the liquid and not where the liquid meets the gauge, it slopes up toward the edges of the glass and the test tube. 

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OG readings will vary depending upon:

1) How much fermentables are in the wort.  The standard refills have less malt extract than the craft refills which have less malt extract than the seasonal refills.  Therefore, OG will be higher and resulting ABV will be higher.

2) How much fermentables you add to the wort including fruit, LME/DME, sugars (any type), etc.  

3) Temperature - although it's a small variance.

I would HIGHLY recommend new brewers NOT adding anything to the refills, regardless of type.  Make it, taste it, and learn what it takes like.  Then, make it with ONE change.  Compare.  Then make it with more changes.  Compare.  The single biggest reason new brewers quit is because they make bad beer and have no idea why.  Patience is key.  If you don't have it, you may have picked the wrong hobby.

I don't have it.  So, I got two LBKS, and brew two batches at once to build my pipeline so I have no rush to try a new brew.  If I screwed up a batch, it wouldn't matter - I'd have beer to drink.

Another longtime recommendation on the forum is to chase taste, NOT ABV.  If your goal is to get drunk, you can do it much cheaper buying cheap 30 packs.  

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yeah I have come to the conclusion that less is more. I actually only used the brown sugar because of one of Craig's videos praising it, and I had some to use. I will stick to the LME/DME method for the standard refills and probably leave the crafts alone for the most part, maybe a little extra DME, the Winter Dark was fine in taste and gravity with nothing else added, and I have been brewing the seasonals straight up. I may have went overboard on this batch of Diablo IPA I have conditioning, I added a Mr. Beer LME and one of Mr. Beers DME bags and it probably needed neither of them in hindsight. 

I really want to start doing partial grain batches. I have a Northwest Pale Ale to get to and I have heard it is a great base kit to add stuff to. What I want to do is add a steeping grain and do a hop boil. Does anyone have any recommendations or what kit I should use as a starter or what grain and hop/hops goes good with the NWPA? 

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It's now been 3 weeks into fermentation for the English Nut Brown, so I took my first FG reading, which came to 1.012 (OG was 1.054). I'm going to take another reading in 48 hours, but with that number, I'm thinking fermentation is damn near complete.  

However, my sample smelled very cidery.  I know I should go more by taste than smell, but I'm a little concerned because my first 2 batches each tasted cidery as well.  Granted, the first batch I only fermented for 2 weeks (I hadn't discovered this forum yet) and my 2nd batch just now reached 4 weeks bottle conditioning, but I'm still a bit nervous I'm doing something wrong to cause this.  I've been quite patient as instructed by all the experienced brewers here, so I truly don't believe that's the issue...thoughts?

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The condition time on Mr Beer site recommends 1-3 months of conditioning on that refill. Remember patience makes good beer. Rushing it gets you mediocre to bad beer.

I started my first batch back in November and am still conditioning (the Voodoo you do) recipe. My next is the Ye Auld Dubliner recipe brewed Christmas Day and it will condition until St Pattys day. I have a hopped version of west coast pale that will be at 4 weeks next week and another LBK to bottle Monday and one in two weeks. Keep brewing. Be patient and build the pipeline.

 Your readings put you around 5.5% ABV.

Cheers!

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my Nut Brown is 8 days in the bottle. I am going to wait 40 more days before I open one. the waiting is one of the exciting things about brewing but it is also one of the hardest things about brewing. Luckily I have a batch of Canadian Blonde in the bottle for a month ready to be drank and my Chocolate Porter and batch of CAL should be ready in a couple weeks and my White IPA should be good to go in about three weeks. my pipeline is almost in a constant flow now. 

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RICKBEER says--- "I don't have it.  So, I got two LBKS, and brew two batches at once to build my pipeline so I have no rush to try a new brew.  If I screwed up a batch, it wouldn't matter - I'd have beer to drink.



Another longtime recommendation on the forum is to chase taste, NOT ABV.  If your goal is to get drunk, you can do it much cheaper buying cheap 30 packs."


You hit it right in the head RB! a buddy of mine said "man it sounds like that stuff is pretty expensive to make, you know what types of beer you like why not just keep buying it, they always have it ready and cold at the Liquor Barn"  he's the same guy who stocks up on Coors light cases any time they're on sale. So after I got my kit for XMAS  from my wonderful wife I went on Ebay and bought two more LBK so I can keep the pipeline flowing at all times. Chasing taste!


 

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Update:  After some thought, the cidery smell and taste bothered me, so I decided to give it one more week in the fermenter (totalling 4 weeks in the LBK).  Upon testing it again with my hydrometer,  I had a FG reading of 1.010 (down from 1.012), and the cidery smell was gone.  Upon tasting it, the cidery flavor was gone too.  I've since bottled it and now play a long waiting game (I understand the conditioning time for seasonals is significantly longer).  I'm really excited about this one...the flat beer tasted fantastic! 

Bottom line, as patient as I have been, I've learned a great lesson in meticulous patience.  Loving this obsession...always something to learn!!!

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Yeah I dont have much patience either, I recieved a kit for christmas 2013, and have since bought 2 more kits, have brewed 4 batches now, bottled 3, bought to brew a 5th, and am creating a nice pipeline...I have yet to try anything yet. my first batch has only had a couple weeks of conditioning, and I wanna wait at least another month before I try it...

the only plus is that ive been drinking lots of my favorite craft beer to get empties for all theses batches to hold me over for when the pipeline is finally ready :)

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The seasonals generally are just fine at 4 weeks in the bottle. They do continue to improve with age, but go ahead and try one at 4 weeks. Most are about 6.4% ABV which is really not a big beer.

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I'm a neewb but just wanted to comment on the cidery smell and taste...I've read on here that it's from the batch being to young. I made some mexican cerveza and when I bottled it had that same smell and taste. I cracked one open after 3 weeks conditioning and the same smell and taste. I put them in the fridge after 4 weeks and had a couple last night which now have been in the fridge for 2 weeks after the conditioning phase and it was clear with no cider smell or taste....Patience is the key for sure. I have 4 LBK's and got a nice pipeline going. The Nut brown sounds great has anyone added brown suger to that and if so how was it?

Mike

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I was wondering the same thing about the nut brown ale if it was good with brown sugar, although I think Ill make the can i have as is. but if they dont run out of it by the next time i order it was something I had in mind.

I just brewed the summer saison as is, although I hydrated the yeast according to yeast instructions instead of just pitching it as mr beer suggests, and after a few days fermentation has taken off wonderfully. Im really excited to see what it tastes like.

anyone got any idea of what the 2014 summer seasonal might be?

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