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slym2none

Why is there a range of ABV on Mr. Beer kits?

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I was looking at just the individual cans of HME, and see they all give a range of ABV - we'll use the NW Pale Ale for example, with an estimated ABV of 5-6.9%

 

Why such a large range? Wouldn't having the consistency of the canned HME pretty much get you within a couple of tenths of a percentage point every time? I could see a few tenths of a percent range, but almost 2 whole percent, esp. when the range is only from 5 to 7 anyway? I am just trying to figure out if my Klondike Gold is going to be 7.3% ABV, 9.2% ABV, or wherever in between...

 

  :(

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I think it's not the range of fermentables in each can but the range in amounts of water people use that causes the differences.

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Your Klondike Gold will be 5.1% for the base refill plus a point each for the LME and booster, so figure around 7% like it says.

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Squeegee - then if I was careful about adding water only to the exact amount, I would be getting 6.9% out of the base HME? And if I somehow bumped it up all the way to 2.5 gallons, it would dilute the beer all the way down to 5%? That doesn't sound right...

 

Rick - what I am asking is, why does the base NWPA say 5%-6.9% ? Where does the extra 1.9% possibly come from? It's just a wide range of variance, that's all.

 

:unsure:

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You will NOT get 6.9% ABV from the can.  You will get around 5%.  Maybe 5.1.  On their website it says 5.5%.  Every refill is higher than anyone I know has hit.  And that's for 2.13 gallons.

 

I cannot tell you why Mr. Beer's website has a range like that.  I didn't create it.  My website would be more accurate   ;)   If you add the LME and the booster you will add roughly 2 points, so around 7 or 7.1%.  

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Yeah, as it stands, I have been using the low number as my baseline. I get that.

 

 ;)

 

I guess I hope that one of the Mr. Beer guys will see this and give us all an answer.

 

  ^_^

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Your abv could differ depending on your yeast attenuation, but a 2% range seems excessive for that.

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That's a good answer, thanks, Gerry!

 

Also, I notice that when you go to the ingredient page (we'll use the St. Patrick's Stout here) that it lists the range (3%-4.9% ABV) but when you go to the refill page (which is just the can of HME + a packet of No-Rinse sanitizer) it claims the SPS is good for 3.7%

 

Please, can we get a Mr. Beer person in here to explain all these variations???

 

B)

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The base refills are 3.1%.

 

Mr. Beer staff works Mon - Fri, not in on weekends.  

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Mr. Beer staff works Mon - Fri, not in on weekends.  

 

I am hoping this thread will still be here tomorrow.

 

 :)

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I see all the standard HME's are now listed as 3.0 to 4.9%. It doesn't make sense that you could get 4.9% out of 850 grams of malt.

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I see all the standard HME's are now listed as 3.0 to 4.9%. It doesn't make sense that you could get 4.9% out of 850 grams of malt.

 

This... this is what I am sayin'!

 

  :D

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The same reason they pushed a 2-2-2. Get people to buy it, Joe Blow on the street ain't going to buy it if he knows that CAL is only going to get him a 3% brew. So they get generous with the %s and say 3.7%

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Squeegee - then if I was careful about adding water only to the exact amount, I would be getting 6.9% out of the base HME? And if I somehow bumped it up all the way to 2.5 gallons, it would dilute the beer all the way down to 5%? That doesn't sound right...

 

Rick - what I am asking is, why does the base NWPA say 5%-6.9% ? Where does the extra 1.9% possibly come from? It's just a wide range of variance, that's all.

 

:unsure:

You clicked on the Flavor Profile tab...

If you want more specific information, go to the refills page.  That non-precise flavor profile page is for beginners and just gives ranges.

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I wonder if the range might be to account for the differences between a US gallon and an imperial gallon. If I make 2.5 imperial gallons there is considerably more water than if I make 2.5 gallons US.

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I wonder if the range might be to account for the differences between a US gallon and an imperial gallon. If I make 2.5 imperial gallons there is considerably more water than if I make 2.5 gallons US.

LOL the range is associated with a color code that MrB assigned to recipes.

 

It's a six color scale from yellow to brown for ABV, SRM, and IBU.  This scale is for newbies.  Search under the refill for more precise info.

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You clicked on the Flavor Profile tab...

If you want more specific information, go to the refills page.  That non-precise flavor profile page is for beginners and just gives ranges.

 

I did see that page. It says the base beers have 3.7%ABV, but there is already someone here saying they are only 3%.

 

I really hope a Mr. Beer person sees this thread tomorrow...

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It says approx 3.7% if everything went 100% perfectly.  But traditionally, it's more like 3.1%.

 

Please don't stress out about 0.6% ABV.  A common saying here is:  chase flavor not abv.

 

If this helps, the OG for the standard HME is 1.036.  If you don't know what OG is, then it need not matter.  And you shouldn't concern yourself with ABV lol.

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I am not stressing. I am just curious about the near 2% discrepancy they give on the one page for each beer.

 

I hope being curious is still allowed...?

 

And thank you for the attempt to make me look foolish. No, I have no idea what original gravity, final gravity, a hydrometer, or even alpha acids in hops are.   /sarcasm

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I wonder if the range might be to account for the differences between a US gallon and an imperial gallon. If I make 2.5 imperial gallons there is considerably more water than if I make 2.5 gallons US.

First, the difference is 20% in your example, an imperial gallon is 20% bigger. Using 8 imperial quarts to make your Mr. Beer recipes would make it lower in ABV, not higher. All directions for refills that I've seen are written with US quart, not imperial quarts, or specify liters (see below). Also, no Mr. Beer recipe calls for 2.5 gallons, they make 2.13 gallons, 8.5 US quarts.

Interesting though, the newest Mr. Beer directions that provide directions for all three fermenters specify filling to the 8.5 liter mark on the LBK, not the 8.5 quart mark. Doing so will result in 8.981 US quarts, or 5.66% more water, again lowering the ABV. http://www.mrbeer.com/help

I assume Josh will jump in today and say something to clarify why they note it as they do on the other page, but the only way to get 3.7% is to put in a lot less water.

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My error - confused the. 5 L with .5 gallon.. But I guess the other thing is no matter what anyone says, hydrometers are not very accurate as a tool in and of themselves, and being able to determine with accuracy ABV to half a percentage point plus or minus would be surprising... Home wine makers, for example, don't claim their wines are 12.3% or 11.7 % ABV.  These would both be 12%... So whatever, the reason for the range, for folk with simple measuring equipment like hydrometers, given the inaccuracy of the tool and given the presence of CO2 and given the need to calibrate all readings based on temperature and given our own ability to accurately gauge the height of the meniscus... methinks the need for such "accuracy" (to 1/10 of an ABV) may be a little ... um... misplaced...   

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I am not stressing. I am just curious about the near 2% discrepancy they give on the one page for each beer.

 

I hope being curious is still allowed...?

 

And thank you for the attempt to make me look foolish. No, I have no idea what original gravity, final gravity, a hydrometer, or even alpha acids in hops are.   /sarcasm

Again, there's no discrepancy.  YOU'RE READING THE WRONG AREA.

 

If you go to the refills section, it will tell you the precise amounts of everything according to MrB.

 

In the ingredients section, they use ranges like 5-6.9%.

 

For example, you said Northwest Pale Ale... here is the REFILL page

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The ABV ranges were put in place for the purpose of helping new brewers find beers that fall within the ABV range they're looking for. According to the graph, there are 6 ranges. It has nothing to do with showing an exact ABV because that's not the intention of the graph. With that said, we are unveiling our new website this week (or next week at the latest) and it will not have these ranges. It will, however, still state our standard refills at 3.7% ABV. If you can get every drop of malt out of the can, use the correct amount of water, and ferment at the correct temps, you can reach 3.7% with a standard refill. More often, it is around 3-3.2%, but 3.7% is achievable.

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The ABV ranges were put in place for the purpose of helping new brewers find beers that fall within the ABV range they're looking for. According to the graph, there are 6 ranges. It has nothing to do with showing an exact ABV because that's not the intention of the graph. With that said, we are unveiling our new website this week (or next week at the latest) and it will not have these ranges. It will, however, still state our standard refills at 3.7% ABV. If you can get every drop of malt out of the can, use the correct amount of water, and ferment at the correct temps, you can reach 3.7% with a standard refill. More often, it is around 3-3.2%, but 3.7% is achievable.

Don't toss out that can with extract still in it.

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ABV:  I'm only at 3.1%.

 

Josh: Come on ABV, you can do it, you can do it.

 

ABV: I think I can I think I can.

 

Josh: Good to the last drop.

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Yeast:  I'm getting a little stressed her guys.

 

Josh:  Oh shut it, yeast.  You're stronger than you give yourself credit for.

 

ABV:  If he's stressed, can I take a break?

 

Josh:  Both of you get back into the game!  You're professionals.  Act like it!

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Again, there's no discrepancy.  YOU'RE READING THE WRONG AREA.

 

If you go to the refills section, it will tell you the precise amounts of everything according to MrB.

 

In the ingredients section, they use ranges like 5-6.9%.

 

For example, you said Northwest Pale Ale... here is the REFILL page

 

I'm reading both areas. And in doing so, I now have more questions.

 

 :)

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I'm reading both areas. And in doing so, I now have more questions.

 

  :)

 

Any questions you have about our website will be in vain because that site will no longer be active within the next few days. ;)

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The ABV ranges were put in place for the purpose of helping new brewers find beers that fall within the ABV range they're looking for. According to the graph, there are 6 ranges. It has nothing to do with showing an exact ABV because that's not the intention of the graph. With that said, we are unveiling our new website this week (or next week at the latest) and it will not have these ranges. It will, however, still state our standard refills at 3.7% ABV. If you can get every drop of malt out of the can, use the correct amount of water, and ferment at the correct temps, you can reach 3.7% with a standard refill. More often, it is around 3-3.2%, but 3.7% is achievable.

 

Thank you, sir! That answers my questions fully.

 

  B)

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I'm reading both areas. And in doing so, I now have more questions.

 

  :)

 

Geesh, you would think this was a forum to ask questions or something...

 

No matter how you ask, nor how you beg your can of wort, or round up, you're not going to get more than 3.1 or 3.2% (I'll give Josh a 10th of a point) ABV in my experience, nor 5.5% in a Craft refill.

 

That said, whether a beer is 3.1% or 3.7%, it's still well below most beers that people drink.  I used to drink Killian's, which is 4.9%.  I like brews in the mid 5s to 6s, but I also don't drink to get a buzz, or get plastered.  I outgrew those impulses two-score years ago...

 

Adding 1/2 lb of LME, or just buying the Deluxe refills, is much more satisfying to me, but I like malty brews.

 

SWMBO is very happy with a mid 3% ABV.  

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Thank you, sir! That answers my questions fully.

 

  B)

 

Glad I could help! :D

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No matter how you ask, nor how you beg y our can of wort, or round up, you're not going to get more than 3.1 or 3.2% (I'll give Josh a 10th of a point) ABV in my experience, nor 5.5% in a Craft refill.

 

Famous-characters-Troll-face-Challenge-a

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Famous-characters-Troll-face-Challenge-a

 

 

Josh showing us how big his fish was:

 

bob_arms-spread-out-300x201.jpg

 

Josh's Uncle was Paul Bunyan.

 

Josh's car can go 317 miles an hour.

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I'm reading both areas. And in doing so, I now have more questions.

 

  :)

 

 

Geesh, you would think this was a forum to ask questions or something...

 

I know, right? And yet I feel like some people don't want me to...

 

  :unsure:

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No matter how you ask, nor how you beg your can of wort, or round up, you're not going to get more than 3.1 or 3.2% (I'll give Josh a 10th of a point) ABV in my experience, nor 5.5% in a Craft refill. 

 

 

Famous-characters-Troll-face-Challenge-a

 

This is hilarious!

 

^_^

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Josh used to do marketing and created this ad...

 

 

Shape-Ups.png

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I really need to remember to make my LinkedIn account private... :ph34r:

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I used to drink Killian's, which is 4.9%.  

 

One of Charlie Papazian's books, "Microbrewed Adventures", has a chapter on the Killian's story including a recipe for the original version. Long story short, it was an Irish red ale brewed by a French brewery (Pellforth) under license from an Irish brewing company (George Killian Lett). Coors got ahold of it in the early 80s and f***ed up the recipe because they thought more people would buy it that way. I can pm the original recipe if anyone is interested. I don't mind Killian's myself. Last year we wanted a keg of Abita amber for our annual Bacchus party, but our retailer of choice was sold out. We got a keg of Killian's instead, and I don't think anybody noticed the difference. Plus we saved a few bucks.

 

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What was the original poster inquiring about anyway? Conditioning time? What temp to pitch yeast? What time of day the new website will be up and running? Christ, I won't be buying any green bananas since it took so long for an answer...JK

 

Salud my Friends

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Josh used to do marketing and created this ad...

 

 

Shape-Ups.png

 

False advertising. My wife bought a pair of sketchers, but didn't get the results implied by this ad.

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Famous-characters-Troll-face-Challenge-a

Now Josh, now cheating.  Only use the provided mr. beer instructions and yeast...

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Now Josh, now cheating.  Only use the provided mr. beer instructions and yeast...

 

I really hope he does it! All I can say is, I got about 98% of each of the HME out of their cans with a sanitized rubber scraper, and used a full packet of US-05 yeast on a 2.4 gallon batch of Novacaine. I am keeping the ambient air temp of my cooler between 60 & 62° F, so I am on the right track there, as far as Mr. JoshR's advice is concerned. Really, no matter what, this barleywime is going to over 10% ABV, so I can live with that.

 

Now is when I wish I had a hydrometer... no OG, no FG in a few weeks... just guesswork on that end. Oh well, as long as it tastes good!

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I always remove the labels from the cans of HME & dip em in sanitizing solution. After I scrape em out real good with my rubber spatula, I like to use my brewing spoon to dip out hot wort from my brew pot & swish it around in the cans to get as much of the extract out as possible. I also only use 2 US gallons of water + extracts in my LBK, which I expect raises the ABV slightly.

I just recently acquired a hydrometer so I haven't got a clue of any exact ABVs of past brews. I haven't done a single HME can recipe in a LONG time & don't expect to brew one up in the foreseeable future either. I'll take you guys' word on the ABV per can & wait to see the results of JoshR's experiment.

Cheers!

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The higher number may be their approximate ABV% for the deluxe refill of that particular HME

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Basic refill kits (HME, yeast under lid, & sanitizer) all claim 3.7% ABV. So maybe you are on to something, as the LMEs will give you 1% more, and the Booster pack claims 1.3%.

 

Hmm...

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The ABV ranges were put in place for the purpose of helping new brewers find beers that fall within the ABV range they're looking for. According to the graph, there are 6 ranges. It has nothing to do with showing an exact ABV because that's not the intention of the graph. With that said, we are unveiling our new website this week (or next week at the latest) and it will not have these ranges. It will, however, still state our standard refills at 3.7% ABV. If you can get every drop of malt out of the can, use the correct amount of water, and ferment at the correct temps, you can reach 3.7% with a standard refill. More often, it is around 3-3.2%, but 3.7% is achievable.

 

Where is this new website?

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Where is this new website?

 

It's been delayed due to some technical issues. It's just about ready to go live, though.

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It's been delayed due to some technical issues. It's just about ready to go live, though.

 

Beer on tap in the break room, I bet I know what those technical issue are. Somebody brewed a new beer called Technical Issues and the whole team went to sample it and it was really really good. A few hours later " weren't we supposed to roll out the new website? . . . ahh it can wait"

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I've gone on a few tours in the local breweries this past month.  No one is doing anything!

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Probably a dumb question, but if Budweiser is 5% why are the standard refills 3%. That's 40% less than Bud. Is there something I'm missing.

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Maybe because they couldn't fit a bigger can of extract inside the LBK for the bare-bones package.

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Probably a dumb question, but if Budweiser is 5% why are the standard refills 3%. That's 40% less than Bud. Is there something I'm missing.

 

Probably trying to keep the price down for the beginner.

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Probably a dumb question, but if Budweiser is 5% why are the standard refills 3%. That's 40% less than Bud. Is there something I'm missing.

 

Bud Light, which is more popular than Budweiser in most states is 4.1%. But we're not here to make Budweiser...

Chase flavor, not ABV.

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Bud Light, which is more popular than Budweiser in most states is 4.1%. But we're not here to make Budweiser...

Chase flavor, not ABV.

Testify, Brother, Testify

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Bud Light, which is more popular than Budweiser in most states is 4.1%. But we're not here to make Budweiser...

Chase flavor, not ABV.

 

I think it's trickier to brew a really good low-abv beer. It's harder to hide flaws, unless it's a Irish-style dry stout or something but they're usually at least 4%. That's been my experience anyway. For my money, I'd rather have a dry stout as a "session beer" instead of an over-hopped 4% IPA. YMMV of course.

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Probably a dumb question, but if Budweiser is 5% why are the standard refills 3%. That's 40% less than Bud. Is there something I'm missing.

It's a base.

Most here will tell you that most of the HME's on MrB are a base.  If the HME was the whole thing, then there were only be 18 recipes and the only variance would be yeast.

 

There are so many combinations that will meet or exceed 5% it blows the mind.  Then change the yeast, steep some grains, ferment cooler, dry hop.....................

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Not sure if there was some irony in Vakko's last post but I don't think that dry hopping or changing the yeast has very much to do with a higher ABV. If the grains are mashed at lower temperatures (and we are using extract so we have no control over mashing temps) then the wort is more fermentable and a more fermentable wort is less sweet and so has a higher ABV. So the two things I can think of that increase the ABV are low temp mashing and /or more malt (so more extract). The thing is that recipes are about balance and so ABV and maltiness (the sweetness) and the flavor from hops (whether dry hopped or added to the boil  for bitterness all need to be carefully balanced. If you look at some (all? ) recipe calculators you can see such things as a ratio  between the original gravity and the bitterness and while (I suppose) to each their own, there is a fine line between making a beer that is both drinkable and something very pleasurable and a beer that you glug down and forget...

As an aside (but it is still related) I make wines and ciders and my ciders are about 6 or 7% ABV and my wines are about 11 or 12 %. I don't want my ciders to be higher than 7 percent and I don't want my wines to be lower than 10%.. The intensity of the fruit flavor , the acidity and the tannins and the oak and mouth feel (I hope) are well (or well enough) balanced for each of the kinds of drinks I make...

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What I was saying was after you have set up your abv, there's still the yeast, dry hopping, types/amounts of hops used... the beer recipes are limitless.

ABV, SRM, and IBU are such small portions of the actual beer.  It's sad that there has to be stats associated with a beer but that is simplest way to identify a style aka ballpark.

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Not sure if there was some irony in Vakko's last post but I don't think that dry hopping or changing the yeast has very much to do with a higher ABV. 

 

Yeast can make a difference, since some attenuate more than others.

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