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TMPinSYR

New Brewer - 1st Batch with Classic American Light

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Hi all- new brewer here a bit underwhelmed with my first batch. I used the Classic American Light to start off.

I carefully cleaned and sanitized everything before fermenting and before bottling. Do these times sound right?

-20 days in the keg

-30 days in the bottle (with carbo drops) at room temperature (around 70 degrees). I tasted the beer before bottling and it seemed to taste like flat beer. Maybe a bit cidery as I look back

-18 days in the fridge

I opened the first 2 bottles the other night and was a bit disappointed. Almost no head and very little carbonation. (I'm using the 750 ml plastic bottles and new tops. Each bottle got 2 carbo drops. Sanitized before bottling.)

During the fermentation in the keg, I was having a bit of a challenge keeping the room temperature just right. It may have dipped a few degrees below optimal (maybe into the low 60's for a bit.) 

I thought the 30 days of warm conditioning would be good. Is there any benefit to bringing the bottles out of the fridge? Can I reactivate the yeast in the bottle? Or is it more likely that the low temp in the keg prevented fermentation?

I've tried to provide the relevant details (from what I've been reading on the forum). Any insight or advice? Thanks in advance for any help!

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Don't be discouraged.  You brewed one of the weakest beers that Mr. Beer sells.  The amount of time you gave it was excellent, although you don't need to refrigerate anything you're not going to drink in the next 3 days - so YES, you can take beer back out and let it condition some more.  Your temps were fine.  I ferment mostly in the low to mid 60s.  Nearly all of the Mr. Beer batches have little to no head.  When you're ready, steeping 1/4 lb of Carafoam or Carapils will fix that problem and it's easy (like making tea).  

I've seem some people complain about the carb drops, and others say they're fine.  I only use table sugar so I can't comment.  

You did everything right.  Did the bottles feel rock hard before they went in the frig?

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I only use sugar to carbonate my beer as well and I have never used the carbo drops either. I have a friend that ended up with flat beer after using them and his temps and conditioning times were good. I am not a big fan of the MB 750ml bottles and the new caps. I bottled a few batches with these and some have produced almost flat beer while my good old plastic 1 litres and glass bottles  have held excellent carbonation.  Like Rick had asked were they rock hard before refrigeration?  After refrigeration were they softer than when you put them in? Leaky  bottles and caps sometimes do not leak until they're chilled. Finally, how is the quality of your water?   

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RickBeer and KLR- Thank you both for your posts!

The bottles did feel rock hard before they went into the fridge. I had checked for that and was happy because I took that as a sign that the carbo drops had done the job. The bottles seem softer now- which I'm inferring that may be a sign that the plastic bottles aren't holding pressure.

Water quality is good to begin with in here in Central NY. We're on public water but I used the filtered water from the dispenser on the fridge just to be sure.

I'm going to pull the beer out of the fridge and see if more conditioning changes anything. 

Carafoam or Carapils- added as part of the fermenting process?

Thanks again for the advice!

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Welcome fellow cnyorker. I had the same experience using carbo drops with the American Light. Even after further conditioning the head was weak and dissipated quickly, similar to a store bought light beer.

The Deluxe All Malt refills are stronger and produce a thicker head.

I use 4 of the ½ tsp size sugar cubes in a 740 ml bottle to avoid having to wash and sanitize a bowl a teaspoon and a funnel and I’ve had great results

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OK- so I was looking to see if I'd made some real error in my process but it sounds like there's nothing too unusual with my results. 

Thanks again! 

p.s. Where in Upstate? Syracuse here (the "inSYR" part of the handle...)

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Carafoam or Carapils- added as part of the fermenting process?

In a nutshell, you can get milled carapils from your LHBS (I get a pound bag at a time) and steep them for a 1/2 hour or so at 150°. My process is to put 1/4 pound into a re-useable nylon sack, drop that into a gallon of water, and raise your water up to temperature. Once you get to temp you can take it off the heat and cover it for 30 minutes. Then drain the spent carapils, go ahead and use that water for your HME/LME additions.

I'm sure you can find some other good info here and on google but this is a process that works well for me.

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Another option is using Briess LME 3.3lbs. most of the their LMEs contain Carapils malt and or Crystal malt which both help.They're unhopped LMEs.  hops would have to be added for bitterness,flavor,etc.there are tons of vids with process on the web check them out.

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Wow- thanks everyone for reading and responding. I think i'm going to try another batch using just the basic Mr. Beer process before I start adding anything.

Great community here!

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Welcome to home brewing. sounds like you are getting some great advice from the rest of the group. despite your disappointment with your fist batch I suggest you keep at it. use it as a learning experience, you will get the hang of things and will be making awesome beer in no time.  

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