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RogueChip

It's Mr. Beer for me!

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I "won" a 5-gallon True Brew California Common ingredients kit in a silent auction at a beer festival back in October. I was excited - I was "graduating" from Mr. Beer to a more serious home brewing system. I felt like I was taking off the training wheels. I gathered the neccesary equipment: a couple buckets, an airlock, tubing, sanitizer, etc.

 

What a pain the @$$! The wort boiling, the grain bag steeping, the hop volcano that made my kitchen smell like Milwaukee in August, the racking, the wrestling with - I mean cleaning and sterilizing - the six-gallon buckets, the siphoning...it just goes on and on.

 

Last night I finally bottled it up and it's gonna taste great in a couple weeks, but it was a huge hassle. This morning - in the space of forty minutes - I brewed and got a batch of Diablo Red into my good ol' Mr. Beer LBK. Quick, clean, and easy. Nice.

 

No more fancy, schmancy ingredient kits for me. From now on it's Mr. Beer at Der RogueChip Brau Haus. And actually since I now have a larger set-up, I'm gonna start doing double batches.

 

Cheers! :D

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For many the quickness of making a Mr. Beer batch is the key.  I had progressed to grain steeping and LME additions, and that added so much time (bring water to 160, steep 30 minutes, add LME, bring to boil and boil for 15) that I quickly progressed to extract recipes (kits but I assemble them from a recipe) and that's what I do now.  While it does take much longer, I am more satisfied with the result.

 

Many people I know that do all grain still do Mr. Beer batches for the convenience.  For many, it's tied to consumption, which is much higher than mine  :lol:

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Yep.  That's one reason I only do Mr Beer batches in the warmer months (others being it is harder to control temps and I don't have as much time).

 

I do brew 5gal, more involved batches when the weather turns cold since I don't have 2 acres of grass to worry about and have a lot more time on the weekends.  I do like the fact that I can control a lot more of the process using different grains and hops, but I'll doctor up a MrB batch when brewing in the LBK too if so inclined.  There are still a lot of options available when doing HME batches, just check out the recipe section.

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fwiw Coopers (the owners of MrB) have several 5 gal HME's that take no more work than a MrB HME. Even has the yeast under the lid. Your right it can be a lot of work. I brew AG mostly, and from time I pull my pot off the shelf to when I put it back, 6.5 hours. That's the great thing about this hobby. It's up to you how much time and effort you put in it. The end result is the same...Beer!

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It might not help imensely but you might check out the aussie method for cooling and pitching. For me, I get burnt out on the process by the time I get to the wort chiller, the aeration, etc so this might help to shave some time and effort...

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the ease of the mr beer and (the other guys who must remain nameless here but sound like crewfreeman)  make for a quick , no muss / no fuss brew day... and with tiny tweaks .. make great beer.  I still go back to the simple kits from time to time just for kicks.  for me though all the extra work of brewing .. the grains.. the hops... etc.. are like a religion for me. it becomes almost a zen thing for me to sit idly stirring while contemplating beer or whatever... and I love the smell of hops and malt in my home.  my wife does the dishes afterward for me while I sit , covered in sweat under the ceiling fan and drinking a beer to cool off. all the prep... the sanitizing.. the bottle washing... the ingredients gathering... the cooking.. the chilling... the yeast prep.. while definitely work, I find to be more a labor of 'love' thing. if I had the money and space I would be brewing almost every other day. I don't even drink that much beer! I just love making it. I find yeast absolutely fascinating and when I have happy yeast... it makes me feel like a proud papa.. like a benevolent demigod of sorts. 

 

moving to all grain when I can scrape up the money for my next batch. recipe all set and planned out... all due diligence is done... it's always about the money though. whatever your level, stick to whatever makes you happiest. there is nothing wrong with doing only mr beer kits.. even as is.. as long as you enjoy what you are doing.

 

have fun!

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I've done all grain classes and have decided it ain't for me.  Extract kits with steeping grains I can do as adding steeping grains and hops to a Mr. Beer kit to enhance/alter the flavor.  

 

To the OP, Jim had a good idea.  Since you now have a 5 gallon bucket take a look at some of the Cooper's kits.  Cooper's is MB's parent company and offer the same ease in brewing in larger sizes.  Go on YouTube and look up CraigTube.  He has a lot of videos on brewing Cooper's kits.  He also does a favorable three part detailed review of Mr. Beer.  

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I also tried boiling some grain and hops but for me the extra time, smell and mess is not worth the difference. In addition the need to coexist with SWMBO in the kitchen is the ultimate deciding factor. I have made 5 gal kit up but split it between 3 LBKs after supplementing to 6 gal. It turned out fine. Also I cannot easily lug 6 gal around at a shot. Much better with the 2 gal to make/bottle in kitchen and ferment in basement, cool steady temp & out of sight. I think a little bit of added grain steep is not an issue but kitchen counter/sink occupancy time and smell are. Another issue for me would be accumulating 5 or 6 gal of bottles. Doing 2 gal at a time I manage to brew 1 keg per 1-2 weeks and keep most of my bottle stock filled and maturing. I have accumulated 4 LBKs for parallel fermenting of various flavors.

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