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Dunkindog

First attempt starting tonight

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Hello Everyone!  

 

Im making my first attempt as soon as the kit comes in today and am looking forward to it. I’m going to be brewing the Bewitched Amber Ale. Any tips, tricks and advise? Thanks in advanced.  I’ll post updates as time goes on. 

 

Dunkin Dog

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Just reading up on proper temperature control could make the difference between an end product that discourages you and one that makes you go "Wow, I made tasty beer in my kitchen!"

Oh, and welcome to a great hobby!

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Thank You!  I would not have thought of that. i definitely want to do this properly and have that wow factor.

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Welcome to the forum and the hobby! Kudos to checking in here first before starting your first brew!

 

What they said above is so true and please do read on the importance of temperature control, and sanitation, and feel free to ask questions.

 

I just started this in Feb, and unfortunately did not find this treasure trove of a forum before I had brewed two batches and though I followed the instructions to the letter that wasn't enough! For sure the first one fermented a bit too warm that first crucial week and I got green apple flavored Oktoberfest. My second, Bewitched, has been conditioning for a month and untried at this point.

 

Batches 3-5 though are another story altogether thanks to my new friends and their advice on temp control, procedures, yeast selection, bottling, and me poring over everything I could find on here to brew a better beer.

 

 

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Buy 2 gallons of spring water and put them in fridge.

 

If you have a thermometer, place it in the location you currently

intend to ferment beer, and monitor temperature.

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3 minutes ago, Fire Rooster said:

Buy 2 gallons of spring water and put them in fridge.

What would that accomplish?

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So I am definitely considering this the start of my first attempt and doing as advised as step 1.  Thank you guys!! 

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(( Buy 2 gallons of spring water and put them in fridge.

What would that accomplish? ))

 

Takes a few days to properly chill 2 gallons of water

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For what it is worth here is something I learned that has helped me.

DO NOT ALWAYS USE THE KITS INSTRUCTIONS
sometimes the can will have the label peel off and there will be instructions under it if not go to the MR Beer website and look at the printable instructions.
This may sound dumb but I have learned that some recipes have tiny little differences that the basic instructions wont cover. For instance the temperature on my Heavy Mcwee is a little lower than standard recipes.
also read the instructions 3 times before each move. double check yourself against every sentence.

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3 hours ago, Fire Rooster said:

Buy 2 gallons of spring water and put them in fridge.

 

If you have a thermometer, place it in the location you currently

intend to ferment beer, and monitor temperature.

Excellent advice, I am lucky I guess as that a closet of mine has a major draft lol so far the temps hover around 65 in there. I have yet to see what the temps are in the summer but I am sure that will be a challenge for a different day. In other words I second temp monitoring.

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28 minutes ago, Timelordjason said:

For what it is worth here is something I learned that has helped me.

DO NOT ALWAYS USE THE KITS INSTRUCTIONS
sometimes the can will have the label peel off and there will be instructions under it if not go to the MR Beer website and look at the printable instructions.
This may sound dumb but I have learned that some recipes have tiny little differences that the basic instructions wont cover. For instance the temperature on my Heavy Mcwee is a little lower than standard recipes.
also read the instructions 3 times before each move. double check yourself against every sentence.

That is interesting. I would rather use the proper instructions. Thanks for the heads up. 

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21 minutes ago, Rotbag said:

Don't give up if something goes wrong.

I don’t give up easy. That would be a waste of money and a lot of beer I would never get to drink!

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Welcome into the hobby/forum. Like everyone said, READ READ READ! If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

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Welcome and enjoy. You are embarking on an amazingly tasty time consuming obsession. Best advice I can pass along is to bottle condition for a month minimum. Also, great choice on the bewitched. Best mr. B HME in my opinion. 

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I also chose the Bewitched Amber as my first brew. It's currently bottled and conditioning right now. It seems that the consensus after reading around here is to leave it bottled for 4 weeks, then stick it in the fridge for a week and enjoy (total five weeks after bottling). Is this correct?

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22 minutes ago, Hougie said:

I also chose the Bewitched Amber as my first brew. It's currently bottled and conditioning right now. It seems that the consensus after reading around here is to leave it bottled for 4 weeks, then stick it in the fridge for a week and enjoy (total five weeks after bottling). Is this correct?

Yep, except three days in the fridge is all you need.

 

Welcome to the forum!

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Question. I am starting a second brew this weekend. I ordered hops to add but it says to add it in using a satchett. I don’t have one and I can’t find one on this sight or amazon. What alternatives do you guys suggest? Or can I just add it without the satchett? 

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23 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

Question. I am starting a second brew this weekend. I ordered hops to add but it says to add it in using a satchett. I don’t have one and I can’t find one on this sight or amazon. What alternatives do you guys suggest? Or can I just add it without the satchett? 

Hop Boiling Bags - 5 Pack https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BWS2VA6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_W3xVAbC9NF8A6

 

http://www.ritebrew.com/product-p/842338.htm

 

your hops can go with out it. I would just make sure you don’t disturb your trub when you bottle. You dont want a wad of hop goo in your bottle or clogging your spout

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23 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

Question. I am starting a second brew this weekend. I ordered hops to add but it says to add it in using a satchett. I don’t have one and I can’t find one on this sight or amazon. What alternatives do you guys suggest? Or can I just add it without the satchett? 

It's called a muslin sack and you can get them on here from MB or from your local homebrew store. Always good to have several extras on hand as many recipes call for hop additions. Don't forget to sanitize the sack before you put the hops in!

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4 hours ago, Dunkindog said:

Question. I am starting a second brew this weekend. I ordered hops to add but it says to add it in using a satchett. I don’t have one and I can’t find one on this sight or amazon. What alternatives do you guys suggest? Or can I just add it without the satchett? 

I a moment of desperation I've used a hairnet. LOL. You want it to have room for the hops to expand while remaining contained in whatever you use. And yes, the do break apart and expand quite a bit. For best results you want the hops to float inside the bag.

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Find a post by Rick Beer and read all his footnotes and references.

 

Some people do add hops with no bag, They mostly sink to the bottom, but they can get in the beer of clog the faucet.

 

Lots of bag alternates. End of stocking or pantyhose, painters straining cloth e.g.

From Mr B, or brew stores you can get disposable or reusable hop bags - as you prefer.

 

 

For later experimentation........

Another altenative is to steep the hops, strain  and just add the juice.

Results can vary - some folks find this can add a vegetal quality . But I have been successful.

Pour boiling water over hops and let sit for 30 min, drain and use juice or or let sit in fridge overnight for added flavors.

Some Cooper's (Mr Beer parent Co.) recipes  specify this treatment.

 

 

Or use a coffee French Press.

https://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/05/randall-at-home-use-a-french-press-to-infuse-beer-with-hops-spices-cocoa-nibs.html

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/big-hop-flavor-with-1-3-the-hops.55721/

 

 All these treatments will give slightly different results in terms of that flavors, aromas they extract from the hops.

So it is something one can experiment with later after establishing a repeatable good brew result.

Until you do this you have no idea why you get the different result you do.

 

On the other hand some may say go for it and learn by your mistakes. Hopefully they will all be consumable - lol.

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seems kinda silly to tell the guy not to brew, and to read first for a week. its bewitched amber ale, 1 can of lme to go into 4 quarts of water, and then into the lbk. not that complex of a recipe, lol. make it already, and put it in the lbk...you got 14-21 days to read while it ferments!  another thing I will say...if you do wait a week and read, then order yourself some better yeast,(safale us-05 for example) and don't use the yeast under the can lid. happy brewing!!!

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1 hour ago, Kevinah64 said:

seems kinda silly to tell the guy not to brew, and to read first for a week. its bewitched amber ale, 1 can of lme to go into 4 quarts of water, and then into the lbk. not that complex of a recipe, lol. make it already, and put it in the lbk...you got 14-21 days to read while it ferments!  another thing I will say...if you do wait a week and read, then order yourself some better yeast,(safale us-05 for example) and don't use the yeast under the can lid. happy brewing!!!

If only it were as simple as you state to make good beer.  You didn't mention anything about maintaining a good temperature.  Nor did you mention making sure that the wort you are pitching into is both aerated and the correct temperature for pitching yeast.  Yes, you can just follow the directions and make mediocre beer and then get discouraged and quit the hobby.  Or you can take a week to read and get as much useful information before beginning a hobby that can last a lifetime.  I think I would rather do the latter at the cost on 1 week of time.

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I might add to keep a log book of some kind to help you replicate your successes. Also lets you know if you changed ingredients(hops, LME, grains, booster additions) etc. 

 

Never hurts to give yourself reminders on brew day.

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I brewed right after I got mine. I read the instructions for temperature and brewed at room temp of 70-72. (within range but maybe not ideal.)

The instructions (2013)  gave a wide range  e.g. 59-75 def F and sometimes an ideal ambient temp. e.g. 67F.

My first attempts were varied some cidery, some meh, some quite good. I have got more consistent after learning more.

But I can certainly empathize with the urge to get going and try it.

As said above probably keeping it cool is the best advice.

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3 hours ago, BDawg62 said:

If only it were as simple as you state to make good beer.  You didn't mention anything about maintaining a good temperature.  Nor did you mention making sure that the wort you are pitching into is both aerated and the correct temperature for pitching yeast.  Yes, you can just follow the directions and make mediocre beer and then get discouraged and quit the hobby.  Or you can take a week to read and get as much useful information before beginning a hobby that can last a lifetime.  I think I would rather do the latter at the cost on 1 week of time.

well then,  I guess you're saying perhaps Mr Beer should make better directions, yes? not saying your opinion was wrong, or saying mine was right...its just an opinion. its not as hard as some of you make it seem. 

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18 hours ago, C-Note 1959 said:

I might add to keep a log book of some kind to help you replicate your successes. Also lets you know if you changed ingredients(hops, LME, grains, booster additions) etc. 

 

Never hurts to give yourself reminders on brew day.

Lol, plus one on the log book! I keep mine in Excel and find that works great for not only the recipe but inserting my comments and notes on OG, FG, yield, temps, etc.

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18 minutes ago, Cato said:

Lol, plus one on the log book! I keep mine in Excel and find that works great for not only the recipe but inserting my comments and notes on OG, FG, yield, temps, etc.

I use a 3 ring binder with work sheets from Brewers Friend that have templates for All grain, extract, BIAB, partial mash recipes. That along with a regular old spiral wound 8-1/2" X 11" notebook for extra notes. Hey what ever works. Right?

 

Happy Day for me today. I get to finally try my take on the Spiced Chili Porter. 

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11 minutes ago, C-Note 1959 said:

I use a 3 ring binder with work sheets from Brewers Friend that have templates for All grain, extract, BIAB, partial mash recipes. That along with a regular old spiral wound 8-1/2" X 11" notebook for extra notes. Hey what ever works. Right?

 

Happy Day for me today. I get to finally try my take on the Spiced Chili Porter. 

Nice, that one or Abbey Dubbel will come up in my queue  in a week. 

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Question... I’m 2 days in and I was wondering.. are you supposed to be able to smell it while it’s fermenting?

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6 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

Question... I’m 2 days in and I was wondering.. are you supposed to be able to smell it while it’s fermenting?

Shit yeah! My wife says to me tonight “you need to clean your brewery, it smells funky down there”. I says, “shit yeah it does. That’s called mosaic hops babe”. 

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9 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

Question... I’m 2 days in and I was wondering.. are you supposed to be able to smell it while it’s fermenting?

I ferment in coolers. When I open the lid I get a fermentation aroma blast! So absolutely.

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4 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

Shit yeah! My wife says to me tonight “you need to clean your brewery, it smells funky down there”. I says, “shit yeah it does. That’s called mosaic hops babe”. 

 

Thats hilarious but eases my concern. I got worried for a second the something was wrong with my lbk. 

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3 minutes ago, Jdub said:

I ferment in coolers. When I open the lid I get a fermentation aroma blast! So absolutely.

After doing some research I ordered a cooler to ferment in as well.  For a second I thought something was wrong with my lbk. 

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8 hours ago, Dunkindog said:

After doing some research I ordered a cooler to ferment in as well.  For a second I thought something was wrong with my lbk. 

Cooler is the way to go for temp control.

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11 minutes ago, Cato said:

Cooler is the way to go for temp control.

What are you thoughts on a beverage cooler that gives you the ability to control the temps easier?

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18 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

What are you thoughts on a beverage cooler that gives you the ability to control the temps easier?

Not certain what you have in mind, but I'll bite. Controlling temperatures will allow you to brew better a beer and do it again. The easiest way is a cooler with ice bottles and chilled water bottles. Each cooler, your home and your beer will determine the number of bottles. That said, you need to know what the actual temperatures were. Some here will recommend taping a remote read thermometer to your LBK. Keeping the wort temperatures within the ranges for your yeast will bring the best results. 

Heading for my morning coffee. Others will no doubt expand upon this answer and suggest you read earlier posts in this forum. 

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3 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

What are you thoughts on a beverage cooler that gives you the ability to control the temps easier?

Wort temp rises above ambient during that first week of high krausen, so whether in a cooler with a 16oz frozen bottle and thermo probe taped below the wort line or in a dedicated fridge with inkbird controller, most on here will shoot to maintain wort temp of 65F.

 

My Coleman extreme camping cooler, with above setup will hold 64F for 12-15 hrs with one full frozen bottle that first week, second week after high krausen is done I drop back to 1/2 a frozen bottle and maintain same temp. 

 

My US-05 yeast works very well at those temps and doesn't get stressed. Stressed yeast can produce off flavors.

 

20180228_152551.jpg

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2 hours ago, Cato said:

Wort temp rises above ambient during that first week of high krausen, so whether in a cooler with a 16oz frozen bottle and thermo probe taped below the wort line or in a dedicated fridge with inkbird controller, most on here will shoot to maintain wort temp of 65F.

 

My Coleman extreme camping cooler, with above setup will hold 64F for 12-15 hrs with one full frozen bottle that first week, second week after high krausen is done I drop back to 1/2 a frozen bottle and maintain same temp. 

 

My US-05 yeast works very well at those temps and doesn't get stressed. Stressed yeast can produce off flavors.

 

20180228_152551.jpg

Perfect. I used US-05 yeast in Coleman Belted Stainless cooler with frozen water bottles and have been able to maintain it 64. 

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2 hours ago, D Kristof said:

Not certain what you have in mind, but I'll bite. Controlling temperatures will allow you to brew better a beer and do it again. The easiest way is a cooler with ice bottles and chilled water bottles. Each cooler, your home and your beer will determine the number of bottles. That said, you need to know what the actual temperatures were. Some here will recommend taping a remote read thermometer to your LBK. Keeping the wort temperatures within the ranges for your yeast will bring the best results. 

Heading for my morning coffee. Others will no doubt expand upon this answer and suggest you read earlier posts in this forum. 

The reason I was thinking of a beverage cooler was because I also have a 2 gallon priemum kit that stands upright nd won’t fit in a cooler. 

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57 minutes ago, Dunkindog said:

Perfect. I used US-05 yeast in Coleman Belted Stainless cooler with frozen water bottles and have been able to maintain it 64. 

There you go! Just a sentence or two in the OEM instructions regarding temp control might have saved a lot of batches and retained some brewers IMO.

Now, there's plenty of posts regarding cleaning and sanitation that are worth reading to see if you spot any weak points in your process.

 

Lol, I just got back from HD with two more covered plastic totes to store carbing/conditioning bottles.

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7 hours ago, Dunkindog said:

What are you thoughts on a beverage cooler that gives you the ability to control the temps easier?

My bad @Dunkindog ! I misunderstood and now reading your replies concerning your current cooler, you must have meant a dedicated electric type of beverage cooler for your other fermenter that won't fit in a camping style cooler?

 

If so, its likely that you should measure that fermenter and see if it would fit in an inexpensive dorm fridge or small chest freezer. Those can be controlled with an inkbird. They sell them here on the MB site or Amazon carries a number of different controllers. I'm using two coolers right now for my LBKs, but considering getting that exact set up and putting it in my garage workshop. No ice bottles to monitor and change and you can go out of town without worrying about temps during krausen!

 

Many here use that set up and I'm sorry if I misunderstood your post. LOL, I though maybe you just had your LBK sitting in a closet and no other way of controlling the temp on it, so my bad!! :)

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7 hours ago, Cato said:

My bad @Dunkindog ! I misunderstood and now reading your replies concerning your current cooler, you must have meant a dedicated electric type of beverage cooler for your other fermenter that won't fit in a camping style cooler?

 

If so, its likely that you should measure that fermenter and see if it would fit in an inexpensive dorm fridge or small chest freezer. Those can be controlled with an inkbird. They sell them here on the MB site or Amazon carries a number of different controllers. I'm using two coolers right now for my LBKs, but considering getting that exact set up and putting it in my garage workshop. No ice bottles to monitor and change and you can go out of town without worrying about temps during krausen!

 

Many here use that set up and I'm sorry if I misunderstood your post. LOL, I though maybe you just had your LBK sitting in a closet and no other way of controlling the temp on it, so my bad!! :)

Lol. It’s all good. I do have a cooler setup but the other fermenter is way to big and was wondering if anyone had any success. Also it gets very humid in my place... I need 2 acs just to cool the living room in the summer time so I’m looking to make life a little easier for the brew. 

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4 hours ago, Dunkindog said:

Lol. It’s all good. I do have a cooler setup but the other fermenter is way to big and was wondering if anyone had any success. Also it gets very humid in my place... I need to acs just to cool the living room in the summer time so I’m looking to make life a little easier for the brew. 

I remember  seeing a cooler jacket for one of the conical style fermenter but not sure whether you're is a bucket or conical style. Whatever the style you can be sure others must use it too, and have to temp control it.

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19 minutes ago, Cato said:

I remember  seeing a cooler jacket for one of the conical style fermenter but not sure whether you're is a bucket or conical style. Whatever the style you can be sure others must use it too, and have to temp control it.

It’s the bucket style. If I choose to go that root I’ll update on how it works out and share my experiences. 

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So it has been five weeks and I finally bottled. Sampled it yesterday and was surprised that I had no green apple taste and I’m on the right track. Here’s a few picks... The Coleman cooler has been my wingman during this process. 

1A420AF5-98CD-4809-9369-F58009B1BFEB.jpeg

5A25FDFC-4A1C-4590-8443-6541152DCE1C.jpeg

2CAF49BF-B7ED-4C7B-B8C0-9A891964938D.jpeg

96476855-5689-4E0D-BB8E-0D31C09EA3BD.jpeg

E349457C-3AF2-48E3-B402-1CB52FD93FD3.jpeg

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On Saturday, May 05, 2018 at 7:15 PM, Dunkindog said:

So it has been five weeks and I finally bottled. Sampled it yesterday and was surprised that I had no green apple taste and I’m on the right track. Here’s a few picks... imageproxy.php?img=&key=c4b820ad04ea323fThe Coleman cooler has been my wingman during this process. 

1A420AF5-98CD-4809-9369-F58009B1BFEB.jpeg

5A25FDFC-4A1C-4590-8443-6541152DCE1C.jpeg

2CAF49BF-B7ED-4C7B-B8C0-9A891964938D.jpeg

96476855-5689-4E0D-BB8E-0D31C09EA3BD.jpeg

E349457C-3AF2-48E3-B402-1CB52FD93FD3.jpeg

Are those bottles laid on their sides? 

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What is the purpose of the Wine fridge?  Why are your bottles on their side. 

 

You need to carbonate at 70 degrees or higher.  Also, your bottles will carbonate on their side but then you will have a layer of trub on the side of the bottles.  Always keep your bottles upright to keep the trub on the bottom.  Otherwise it will end up in your beer when you pour it.

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Thank you guys for the heads up about laying them on their sides.  Was not aware of that... rookie mistake. As for the wine cooler, it is a necessary evil. When I bottled this past weekend it was over 90 in my apartment. 

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10 hours ago, Dunkindog said:

Thank you guys for the heads up about laying them on their sides.  Was not aware of that... rookie mistake. As for the wine cooler, it is a necessary evil. When I bottled this past weekend it was over 90 in my apartment. 

I always wondered if i laid them on their sides to condition and fridged them the same way, then when i poured it and i rotated it 180 and all the trub was on top when i poured, would that work? 

 

Im having flashbacks to my first batch and I conditioned them upside down for whatever reason and i had a cap and collar full of trub. Good times

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26 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

I always wondered if i laid them on their sides to condition and fridged them the same way, then when i poured it and i rotated it 180 and all the trub was on top when i poured, would that work? 

 

Im having flashbacks to my first batch and I conditioned them upside down for whatever reason and i had a cap and collar full of trub. Good times

I laughed way too loud at that closing comment. 

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41 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

I always wondered if i laid them on their sides to condition and fridged them the same way, then when i poured it and i rotated it 180 and all the trub was on top when i poured, would that work? 

 

Im having flashbacks to my first batch and I conditioned them upside down for whatever reason and i had a cap and collar full of trub. Good times

Lol, Creeps went conical!

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2 minutes ago, Cato said:

Lol, Creeps went conical!

Spot freaking on!

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