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UpNorth88

Advice on sprucing up CAL?

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 Hey so i went shopping with my girlfriend today and just couldnt resist the Mr Beer classic brew kick that was on sale for $20 (normally $99). Came home watched the DVD, watched a few videos online, and read a few posts. Then brewed up my first batch of Classic American Light that came with my kits. Everything went smooth and i got it sitting in my basement right now for 3 weeks. Northern Minnesota here so my basement will stay low 60s consistently.

 

My question is that the store i bought my kit at has two more kits still on sale and i'm pretty sure i want to buy them. they come with the CAL extract/ 11 bottle kit also for 20 bucks. I am just wondering after reading all the post and comments that the CAL is under impressive is that if i buy these other two kits and recieve the CAL cans with them is there anything i can try to add to the recipe to maybe make them alittle more interesting? 

 

There are also 3 refill packs that include the CAL and Mexica Cerveza for like 10 bucks. Im thinking about snagging those up too. I look forward to joining all you guys and enjoying some brews i've made myself. I figure i might as well get these sale items and start with those while the price is so low. I looked at expiration dates and they still have about a year left so they arent outdated. 

 

Any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated and i look forward to reading more of your guys posts. 

 

Salute, EH

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Check out the "recipe" section of the retail site, and filter it by CAL extract, or pick up a "BrewMax LME Softpack - Pale" to add (this makes it Deluxe).

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Snag the refill packs,  that is a great deal.  I got a couple the same way as the store was clearing stock.

They may be old & outdated but will still brew fine. You may benefit from using a fresher yeast although mine were OK.

Those refills are quite light in flavor, but are easily augmented with booster, extract (DME or LME) and hop additions that will increase ABV and flavor.

As said above, the Mr B site has plenty of recipes that you can try and you can see them when you select the HME base refill on the page.

 

Using 2 cans in the same batch works, but makes a pretty strong beer. No harm in trying it though. 

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I'm not a fan of CAL or Aztec, bought that 2 pack long ago and learned that and sold the rest.

I spruced up an inventory of CAL by selling them to scouterbill... :)

I like malty brews like Oktoberfest, Bewitched Amber Ale, Winter Dark...

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I'd do as suggested and look at the recipe section of the Mr. Beer storefront for ideas/instructions. If you have a local homebrew store you can buy any hops or D/LME there, or mail order it from Mr. Beer. Either way, adding more malt and a hop addition are the typical next steps.

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Hey thanks guys! great ideas to double up the HME and also i didnt realize i could filter recipes on the MB website. Thinking about maybe trying out the All American Gold and the Girls and Boyseberries in the near future. 

 

Thanks again for pointing me in the right direction 

 

Salute, EH

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I'm not a fan of CAL or Aztec, bought that 2 pack long ago and learned that and sold the rest.

I spruced up an inventory of CAL by selling them to scouterbill... :)

I like malty brews like Oktoberfest, Bewitched Amber Ale, Winter Dark...

Yes, yes he did!

I'm thinking of going all mad scientist with them! I've definitely got some ideas for them. DME, recipes, hops, etc.

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Yes, yes he did!

I'm thinking of going all mad scientist with them! I've definitely got some ideas for them. DME, recipes, hops, etc.

 

I picked up the remaining North American Refills on sale today at my local retail store and checked the expirations dates July 2016 so once i get this brewing stuff down better I'll join ya later in the mad scientist race. 

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One interesting thing I have noticed about the basic Classic American Light with no adjuncts. It doesn't seem to be as tolerant of bad brewing or fermenting technique as other more flavorful or higher alcohol beers. Failing to aerate the wort, pitching the yeast at too high a temp, failing to keep the fermentation temperatures in the middle of the yeast range or below during the three-week fermentation, failing to cold crash, failing to carbonate / condition for a minimum of 4 weeks, and failing to chill for at least 3 days in the refrigerator, these will all likely lead to a disappointment in flavor or appearance of the finished beer that might be tolerable in a more flavorful beverage. CAL will (and probably should) inevitably be compared to a commercial light beer produced under extremely exacting conditions, and if not done absolutely right, it may fall short of those expectations. Heck, it will probably fall short of those expectations anyway. It's just a matter of how short....

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Add hops and malt.  I did a 20 minute boil with a half oz of Zythos hops with a half lb of light DME, then added .25oz of Zythos at flame out.  Came out pretty good.  I also fermented it at about 65 degrees, used a cooler with ice packs to control the temp.

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Here is a recipe that I put together utilizing CAL, let me know what you think.

 

Recipe: "In the Dark of the Light"

QBrew Version 0.4.1

 

1.87lb Classic American Light HME

1.5lb Briess Traditional Dark DME

1.5lb Crystal 60L

1.0oz Fuggles (U.K.) hops - 45 minutes

1.0oz Willamette hops - 15 minutes

1.0oz Willamette hops - 5 minutes

Safale US-05 ale yeast

 

Do a 30 minute steep of the Crystal 60L at 155F in 1 gal spring water. Remove grain sack and add 0.5lb of Briess dark DME. Stir well to fully incorporate DME while bringing wort to boil. Add Fuggles hops (for bittering) and boil for 30 minutes. During this 30 minutes, prepare LBK by adding 4 liters chilled spring water. Add Willamette hops (for flavor) and continue boil for 10 minutes. Do second addition of Willamette hops (for aroma) and continue boil for 5 minutes. Remove from flame and add remaining 1.0lb of Briess dark DME (stir well to fully incorporate DME) and then add CAL HME. Add the wort to the chilled water in the LBK and add remaining water to bring total volume to 8.5 liters. Continue brewing as per Mr. Beer directions using Safale S-05 instead of Mr. Beer yeast.

 

Recipe estimated original gravity: 1.075

Recipe estimated final gravity: 1.019

Recipe bitterness: 49 IBU

Recipe color: 26L

Recipe ABV: 7.3%

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That is a LOT of Crystal, even for a 5-gallon batch. At half that, it seems like it will be very sweet. I'd use maybe 4 ounces or so for a MrB-sized batch.

 

What is the C60L for, exactly?

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That is a LOT of Crystal, even for a 5-gallon batch. At half that, it seems like it will be very sweet. I'd use maybe 4 ounces or so for a MrB-sized batch.

 

What is the C60L for, exactly?

 

I agree, that's WAY too much C60. 12 oz at most is best (or no more than 15% of the batch). Crystal malts are mostly comprised of unfermentable sugar, which will overwhelmingly sweeten the batch in that amount. The Crystal malts are mainly for adjusting color and adding certain flavors (depending on the Crystal). They aren't used for fermentable sugars.

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I agree, that's WAY too much C60. 12 oz at most is best (or no more than 15% of the batch). Crystal malts are mostly comprised of unfermentable sugar, which will overwhelmingly sweeten the batch in that amount. The Crystal malts are mainly for adjusting color and adding certain flavors (depending on the Crystal). They aren't used for fermentable sugars.

 

That why I posted it! Other than steeping 4-6oz of Carapils for body and head retention, I am making my first forays out of the relative comfort of all extract brewing. I'm still learning what characteristics all of the different grains have. I wanted the color adjustment of a crystal malt but wasn't aware of the amount of unfermentable sugars in that grain. Obviously I will need to go to a lesser amount of C120.

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I'd drop the C60L altogether, replace with a pound of Munich II (Dark) malt & 4-6 ounces of Caramunich III.

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I'd drop the C60L altogether, replace with a pound of Munich II (Dark) malt & 4-6 ounces of Caramunich III.

Reasons????

Does the Munich II need to be mashed? I'm sticking with grains that can be steeped right now. I don't have the equipment to do anything more than steeping for the foreseeable future.

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Another option - There is an interesting looking  Mr B recipe that  uses a can of CAL with a can of Bavarian Wheat.

Lots of things you can do with it if you don't like it plain.

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Another option - There is an interesting looking Mr B recipe that uses a can of CAL with a can of Bavarian Wheat.

Lots of things you can do with it if you don't like it plain.

The reason that I went with the Briess dark DME and the crystal 60 was that I wanted a dark beer. I wanted to try experimenting and move away from the recipes.

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If you want some darkness without the extra sweetness, try using Carafa 1, 2, or 3. This is a de-husked dark malt that will contribute lots of color to your beer without any astringency. Because there are no husks in the malt, there will also be less tannins which contribute to astringent or negatively bitter flavors. Alternatively, if you can't find Carafa, you can also use Black Patent malt. This malt does have the husks still so to prevent any extra astringency, you can cold steep it for 12 hours in your brew water before starting your batch (I do this for my Cascadian Dark Ales). These are the best malts for adding color without negatively affecting the flavor, body, or ABV level.

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Reasons????

Does the Munich II need to be mashed? I'm sticking with grains that can be steeped right now. I don't have the equipment to do anything more than steeping for the foreseeable future.

 

You do realise that a mash is just a longer steep, right? And you'll get some (if not most all) conversion in just 30 minutes, although you don't really need it. These malts give good colour & some nice malty flavours.

 

Seriously, if you can steep 1-1/2 pounds of grain, you can mash it if you want to. My last batch, I did a mini-mash with 2-1/2 pounds of grain, used a BIAB bag in my BK, got the water up to target temp and then hit it with the flame for 15-20 seconds every 10 minutes and held 154° F the whole hour. But again, you don't have to mash these, you'll get flavour & character from the Munich II and the Caramunich is a "steeping grain" anyway.

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