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Pappybfc

So is it really that easy?

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First off, Im new here! :)

 

I have homebrewed in the past with friends that were hard core brewers: milling the hops, adding "stuff" to change the taste of the beer, huge set ups to produce gallons upon gallons of beer at one time, lots o sacks of said "stuff" boiling pots, etc... honestly is seems like a second job instead of a hobby so when I saw Mr. Beer I was intrigued, add the extract and wait. No boil over and minimal mess! I’m about to pull the trigger and get the set but I had to ask is it really as easy as it seems? Call me a skeptic, because I am. Like my daddy always said "If it seems too good to be true it probably is." ;) 

 

Thanks in advanced for the replies

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It really is that easy, plain and simple.

 

With our kits, you can make great tasting beer at home without devoting half your garage to brewing equipment, and without dipping so much into your precious free time.  Simply put, we do all the hard work for you.

 

We also can supply you with all the "Stuff" to enhance or modify the beers characteristics such as hops, yeast, fruit, and various other adjuncts.

 

Being the skeptic you are ^_^  I'll let some of our community members chime in.  (I'm a bit biased ;) )

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Two things make it easier.....

 

1. Smaller batch size.

2. Pre hopped malt extract.

 

1. Makes life easier as you have to boil less, lift less etc. etc.

2. Keeps you down to a minimal boil time.  Most other recipes will have you boiling 60min or more.  Malt Extract, means someone else already took the great deal of time extracting all the sugars out of the grain.

 

But other than that, many of the processes are the same, cleaning, sanitizing, temp control. And, you can still get sucked in spending much time, on a fun hobby.

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I'm pretty new into this also.  I've only done 4 batches.  But with the mr.beer kits and especially the community of people here on the forums (they really help people out).  You can't go wrong just to at least try it.  Once you understand the basics of it.  Just make beers that you will enjoy.  :ph34r:

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I think they were milling grains, not hops  :)

 

Yes, it's that easy.  Great way to get started.  You can keep doing Mr. Beer recipes, move to Mr. Beer and other recipes, move to all grain, etc.  Read the Brewer of the Month section to see how some of us did it.  

 

Logical progression for many is Mr. Beer refill batches, then Mr. Beer recipes, then adding in steeping grains and hops, then brewing other extract recipes, then some move to all grain via various methods.  

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mr beer kits are surprisingly easy but...

 

unless they have updated their instructions, they used to be a tad misleading as far as time.  if you follow a few simple guides they make good stuff:

 

brew... shove the wort in the lbk... agitate (careful not to scratch lbk inside).. pitch... leave it alone for 3 weeks.  this is a guide not a rule but the 3 weeks seems to allow complete fermentation and the yeast time to clean up after themselves.

 

bottle with priming sugar - put in 70F location... leave for 4 weeks.

 

mr beer tends to mislead ppl into thinking they can have great beer in just a couple weeks. this isn't the case usually. sure you can have beer but the fining that comes from the extra time is worth the wait. also a steep of dextrin malt added to their kits helps the body.   oh and the booster is largely crap. use UME instead... but since youre already a brewer you knew this  :)

 

out of all my mr beer kits only one came out crappy. largely this was due to a lacto bacter infection from libbys pumpkin puree and using too much of it... not mr beer's fault.  I really enjoyed the west coast pale and the diablo with little tweaks.

 

sometimes easy is a good thing!

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You can make a great tasting beer from one of these kits provided you sanitize properly and maintain temperature control.  Folks here recommend three weeks in the fermentor and four weeks room temperature conditioning.  I've found at times two weeks fermenting is enough and I've also found that regardless of how long you ferment it sometimes takes five or six weeks of conditioning.  But that's what logs are for - to figure out what works with each beer.  

 

But back to your question.  You can make excellent tasting beer that will surprise your grain brewing friends.  I read a taste test a fellow in Britain did with six of his friends.  Long story short, he brewed the same style of beer with a canned kit like Mr. Beer, an Extract with partial boil and steeping grains and all grain.  All six of his friends in a blind taste test picked the canned kit as being the best beer and they all voted that they thought it was the all grain beer.  BYO magazine had an article a year ago about how far these kits have come.

 

Keep in mind too that you still have a lot of control with brewing a Mr. Beer kit.  You can steep grains, add LME, DME or hops of your choice.  You can change the yeast out or change the PH of your water.  All of these things will change how the beer turns out and tastes and yet they don't add much time to the process.   Brew one of these and see for yourself.  Extract and kit brewing truly makes this a hobby and not a chore.  Tonight, I'm going to enjoy a glass of Oktoberfest that I brewed two months ago.  Enjoying the fruits of your labor is what this hobby is all about. 

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Yes it is that easy to make good drinkable beer.

Does it always come out exactly like the commercial beer of the style described - no. You need to experiment a bit to see what you like.

If you sterilize as instructed it all should be drinkable.

I second the "keep it for a few weeks" before drinking. If you make a batch and sample a bottle each week after the bottles (Mr B. PET) have got firm with carbonation you will see at some point 3-5 weeks maybe there seems to be a change.

Generally I found that the more malt/hops a beer has the longer it takes. If you are making a basic recipe like American Light, then it is fine a bit earlier.

If you like IPA, then yes, make the Diablo and put a bag with 1 oz cascade hops in the LBK for a week before you bottle it.

To start there are enough Mr B ingredients to try any style you want. Check their listed recipes. You can try other sourced ingredients later if you want but buying a tried complete recipe is very convenient. You can select for the style you want or the ingredients you have as a base.

The forum brewers seem to like 3 weeks fermenting, 4 weeks maturing. I mostly do 2 weeks fermenting but I get some variability with the carbonation I can only attribute to incomplete initial fermentation. But try both if you want and repeat what works for you.

Click the "My Beers" button in my post to see what variety you can make :-).

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First off, Im new here! :)

 

   Welcome.  Yes, it certainly is as easy as making Kool-aid.  But the caveat is you are going to have to like the "flavors" Mr. Beer provides.  Don't read that as meaning what they provide isn't good, just that outside of some minor hop variations you can do, there isn't much you can do to drastically alter the original intent of the HME.

 

   Your friends have complete control over what they make, but that also means they can make completely undrinkable garbage.

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Yes, it is as easy as "that," and you do get some good beer.  But be forewarned it WILL become more difficult over time as you will want to start pushing the boundaries and making tweaks and changes as go progress.  The most important thing as stated is ferment for 3 weeks (unless you have a hydrometer) and carb/condition for 4.  Feel free to pop one open early if you want (we all have around the 2 week mark) and see how the taste changes as it conditions.  Take notes so you can refer back.  So many people have quit the hobby (I can attest by the $2 fermenters I get at garage sales) because they followed the "have great beer in 10 days" mantra and realized it was not only NOT great, but barely beer at all.

 

And make sure to read these forums.  There are lots of smart people here.

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@Bluejaye - it is true you cannot do a lot with MrB in changing the bittering hop and the general intent of the HME, unless you do a boil with added grain and hops too or use multiple HMEs.

But I have been able to change it quite a lot adding other malts and aroma hops of different kinds, non-standard yeasts, also varying water hardness, and probably temperature too although I have not tried that. So try what they sell and browse their recipes and look at this and other forum content and most likely you will get beer you will be proud to serve to your friends.

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Its the waiting that can be hard. I know for sure as I am a noob here and waiting on my first batch. I recommend several good books and/or old I Love Lucy re-runs. I have received lots of encouragement and input from our community. I, myself, am happy with the Mr Beer approach. Simple

is good! All those pots/pans,grinders/hoses/scales, etc is way too nooby intimidating and cluttered for my small space. I say go for it!

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i like the fact that you can play with the mr beer kits to tweak them.. and not add all that much labor. example:  it is a  simple thing to open a can of ume , add it to water with a qtr oz or so of a certain hop, and boil for 30-60 minutes.  simpler still to open the hme and dump it in after flame out.  a steep before hand ? sure! not much extra work there either. dry hop? why not? what's so hard about tossing hop pellets in a hop sack then into the keg? you like orange peel? go for it! again no big labor addition and the best thing.. no math! no worries about water chemistry, ph balancing, mashing, mash rests....   you can make it as simple or as complicated as you want.  because you are not doing full volume boils or large boils, you can even make the beer on your stovetop... a plus when it is 105 F outside.

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mr beer kits are surprisingly easy but...

 

unless they have updated their instructions, they used to be a tad misleading as far as time.  if you follow a few simple guides they make good stuff:

 

brew... shove the wort in the lbk... agitate (careful not to scratch lbk inside).. pitch... leave it alone for 3 weeks.  this is a guide not a rule but the 3 weeks seems to allow complete fermentation and the yeast time to clean up after themselves.

 

bottle with priming sugar - put in 70F location... leave for 4 weeks.

 

mr beer tends to mislead ppl into thinking they can have great beer in just a couple weeks. this isn't the case usually. sure you can have beer but the fining that comes from the extra time is worth the wait. also a steep of dextrin malt added to their kits helps the body.   oh and the booster is largely crap. use UME instead... but since youre already a brewer you knew this  :)

 

out of all my mr beer kits only one came out crappy. largely this was due to a lacto bacter infection from libbys pumpkin puree and using too much of it... not mr beer's fault.  I really enjoyed the west coast pale and the diablo with little tweaks.

 

sometimes easy is a good thing!

 

This point was heard loud and clear.  Our latest instructions say 2 weeks to ferment and 2 weeks for bottling.  This is the base of course with instructions for the more advanced recipes stating longer times when necessary.

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The other thing not mentioned that would impact me is that the significant other is not appreciative of hop/malt smells in the kitchen - also not a beer drinker but tolerates my hobby. Mr B kits minimize that smell aspect. When I do need to boil, like with the Dew Point Dunkel, I had the stove exhaust fan full blast and did it when she was out. Got no complaints. :-)

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The other thing not mentioned that would impact me is that the significant other is not appreciative of hop/malt smells in the kitchen - also not a beer drinker but tolerates my hobby. Mr B kits minimize that smell aspect. When I do need to boil, like with the Dew Point Dunkel, I had the stove exhaust fan full blast and did it when she was out. Got no complaints. :-)

 

Nickfixit, please let us know how that Dewpoint turns out! Since the Collaboration recipes are a new endeavor for Mr. Beer, we are excited to get us much feedback as we can  :)

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The other thing not mentioned that would impact me is that the significant other is not appreciative of hop/malt smells in the kitchen - also not a beer drinker but tolerates my hobby. Mr B kits minimize that smell aspect. When I do need to boil, like with the Dew Point Dunkel, I had the stove exhaust fan full blast and did it when she was out. Got no complaints. :-)

Time to trade in the significant other...   :lol:

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The other thing not mentioned that would impact me is that the significant other is not appreciative of hop/malt smells in the kitchen - also not a beer drinker but tolerates my hobby. Mr B kits minimize that smell aspect. When I do need to boil, like with the Dew Point Dunkel, I had the stove exhaust fan full blast and did it when she was out. Got no complaints. :-)

 

 

to me, malt cooking smells are similar to raisin bran and beef boulion.  hops smells to me come off as pinesol-like while boiling.  neither smell is offensive to either me or my wife. since I moved to an outdoor cooker though it doesn't matter.

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My wife encouraged me to get into the hobby and she don't even drink beer.  I'm definitely keeping her.  

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The other thing not mentioned that would impact me is that the significant other is not appreciative of hop/malt smells in the kitchen - also not a beer drinker but tolerates my hobby. Mr B kits minimize that smell aspect. When I do need to boil, like with the Dew Point Dunkel, I had the stove exhaust fan full blast and did it when she was out. Got no complaints. :-)

lol

When brewing my first batch indoors, the youngest came by, turned up his nose, and said "that smells like BUTT!"  Seeing as he had no vote in the decision and has now moved to college it hasnt stopped me although for 60 minute boils I have moved it outside but mainly to keep the beer drips off the newly painted (at the time) kitchen ceiling.

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... for 60 minute boils I have moved it outside but mainly to keep the beer drips off the newly painted (at the time) kitchen ceiling.

 

I don't drip on the ceiling...    :o

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lol

When brewing my first batch indoors, the youngest came by, turned up his nose, and said "that smells like BUTT!"  Seeing as he had no vote in the decision and has now moved to college it hasnt stopped me although for 60 minute boils I have moved it outside but mainly to keep the beer drips off the newly painted (at the time) kitchen ceiling.

 

Hmm, I absolutely love the smell in the kitchen when brewing and luckily the Mrs agrees.

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Thanks to everyone for the replies. I have requested a kit from Santa this year, if that doesnt happen I will be buying one after the 1st of the year.... Looking forward to not screwing up my first batch! :rolleyes:

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I will repeat what was already well said - Yes, it is easy. Most move on to more advanced tweaks and techniques but you can stick with the MB system and be completely happy with your brews. I just had a Winter Dark Ale  that was excellent, and I added nothing extra. Great body, foamy head to the last sip, great ale taste with that hint of spice all straight up from the can. Ferment 3 weeks and condition 4 weeks and its hard to screw up. You're into a great hobby and this site is a great resource. Welcome.

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Start with the basics you will have some good beers..get comfortable and then experiment, this is a great place to ask questions of the more experienced brewers they will not steer you wrong. Cheers

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lol

When brewing my first batch indoors, the youngest came by, turned up his nose, and said "that smells like BUTT!"  Seeing as he had no vote in the decision and has now moved to college it hasnt stopped me although for 60 minute boils I have moved it outside but mainly to keep the beer drips off the newly painted (at the time) kitchen ceiling.

May smell like butt but tastes like gold..

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Hope you get  your Christmas kit.  Best of luck to you brewing your first batch.  Read the stickies here and you'll do fine.  Remember, the biggest ingredient to making a great Mr.  Beer is patience - letting your beer properly bottle condition.  It was hard for me to wait when I started, but now that my pipeline is established I can sit back and enjoy the fruits of my well seasoned labors.  Had one last night and it was better than anything I've been buying.  I kept saying to my wife "I made this.  I can't believe I made this.".  It was that good.

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Hope you get  your Christmas kit.  Best of luck to you brewing your first batch.  Read the stickies here and you'll do fine.  Remember, the biggest ingredient to making a great Mr.  Beer is patience - letting your beer properly bottle condition.  It was hard for me to wait when I started, but now that my pipeline is established I can sit back and enjoy the fruits of my well seasoned labors.  Had one last night and it was better than anything I've been buying.  I kept saying to my wife "I made this.  I can't believe I made this.".  It was that good.

 

 

well to be fair the yeast did all the real work ;)

 

it is such a great experience though to have a beer come out perfectly.

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