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Tabasco

Advice from LHBS .... eh

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So, anyway, I could be wrong ... but I think the guys in my LHBS (older, nice guys who I'm sure DO brew their own beer ... are not that knowledgable .... they know more about more sophisticated brewing systems (of course, the sell them!), but I think they are not as strong in the basics as many in here ... By that I mean, "improvising". I think there are many Mr.Beer brewers who have learned more about ingredients that alot of these "big breweres" ... even if they don't cook or steep grains.

For example:

1. I picked up a 3.3 lb can of HME in the store, and asked "can you tell about what ABV I should expect in a 2 lb batch?" Answer was "no, and they'd never put that on the can ...." I let it go at that, but WTF? Say you don't know if you don't know. Meanwhile, I'm figuring the average MR Beer is 1.2lb + 1.2 lb = 2.4lbs ME = 4.8% ABV, why wouldn't a 3.3 lb can of Munton's get me about 6% in a 2 gal batch?

They have a flyer that says the same can will get you 5%. I asked them on another day, why not 6%, and they said "five". Didn't seem to know why, only that it was what they were told to say.


2. I asked about adding hops. I had a can of IPA in my hand. They said "not to that!", which made sense ... it's an IPA. But I asked, if I wanted to add hops to an HME what do I do? They said you cook/boil it right in there. Subsequently, I'm seeing in here ... yah, boil hops into a DME, UME, but not an HME ... the hops are already boiled in ... don't reboil that.

3. I asked how much DME prortion wise, would go with an HME in a Mr Beer kit. They did not seem to be able to think that out. They said stuff like "no set percentage" .... HUH? WTF? In here, I easily found that 1lb DME = 1 Mr Beer can UME. All I wanted to know.


So, Don't let these LHBS guys look down on you. They could learn a few things themselves, at least the guys around here. Nothing wrong with that, but Mr Beer ain't really making' beer, oh nooooooooooooooo....

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Wow. Were they looking down there nose because of the smaller batches? Or did they just not want to be bothered by some new guy. I think that's what happened to me at my LHBS, because when I went back in a second time and spoke to someone different, he was more than willing to help, almost like he was welcoming me into the hobby.

In my case, my first time in I saw a guy who didn't want to bother with me. My next time, at least now I know who to approach when I go in.

BTW. if anyone is in the Spokane, Wa area, the place is Jims Home Brew.

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Yeah unfortunaly some LHBS are out just to make money...And don't really know anything...Until you buy about $150 worth of products..Then their experts... :angry:

Just walk in one day with a good brew...let'em have a sip...And smile... :P

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The tricky thing about the "small brew" is that a mistake very well may show it's self a lot more. The only time I like to "share" my beer with someone is when they are unaware (like sneaking a land mind in their shorts) that it's a MB. My LHBS guy never knows what samples I am going to lay on him to take to the club for evaluation. I like the feedback I get.

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Guest System Admin

yeah, thanks, guys ... I'm not trying to pick on these guys, and I know there's benefits to the 5gal setup w/ secondary fermenter.

That being said, I'm learning what I want to know about beer, and having the time of my life, right here, with my MrBeer kegs.

No two people are the same. These guys in my LHBS are ok, sometimes chatty, other times not, but I guess what I'm trying to get at is that for many, and I really think I'm one .. the MR BEER setup is not a compromise ... it's a desirable end.

It's the same thing with motorcycles .... so many think that because I don't have a Harley, I "settled", because everyone would "really rather have a Harley." WTF??? No, If I really would rather have a Harley (and I DO like them), I would have bought a Harley. I bought this, because I wanted this ... and I like the MR BEER methods.

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Good observations, tabasco and others.

It's probably the same in every business. I know I talk to my clients (especially new ones) and explain what I'm doing and why, and what they can expect, and why. I know other guys don't, but I don't mind talking and explaining (in case you couldn't tell that from my posts on the Borg! :lol: ), and I find the more a person understands about what I'm doing, the more they appreciate the service and are likely to stay customers for life.

Also, as our hot-sauce friend pointed out, it lets them know that I know what I'm doing, so they trust me more.

I've also learned a lot from reading this message board, and I'm incredibly grateful to the more experienced brewers who share their experience and insight. It's given me a lot more confidence to pursue the modifications I've tried on the standard malt extracts MB offers.

Brew on, folks!

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When I go to my LHBS I usually am there awhile chatting because the owner is cool, but one thing I've noticed while I'm hanging around in there is that the "wine customers" tend to lay out more green then the beer guys.

I know, prices can add up with beer equipment and ingredients.... believe me I know because I have 6 fermenters going steady for almost a year, but those wine making customers are really forking it over big time.

Perhaps the LHBS guys are more into wine making than beer, and that explains their lack of expertise??? Just a thought. And thank God for the Internet! :cheer:

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The LHBS in my area understands why some people use MrBeer. I live in the south and can not afford to keep my house at 70 degrees. So most of the home brewers have refriges and johnson controllers to keep temps right (tight mow we are using hot water bottles). Some don't have alot of space so I can get 2 fermenters and a lot of carbing and conditioning bottles in the space a 5 gallon fermenter. The store owner understands this and works with the MrBeer brewers to cut ingredients down for the smaller batches. Some LHBS guys want to work with all brew head and some don't. That's life.

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tabasco wrote:


2. I asked about adding hops. I had a can of IPA in my hand. They said "not to that!", which made sense ... it's an IPA.

Well, it depends. I've made the Muntons Premium Gold IPA and the IBUs are VERY low, like under 30. I had to verify it on their website because I was very surprised. So just because it's an IPA extract kit doesn't mean it should not get extra hops.

As to the not knowledgeable about Mr. Beer...if they don't sell the brand, I can understand that.

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i'll be honest. the brush off i got from my LHBS when I told them I was starting with Mr. Beer actually forced me to do my own research and understand the mechanics of brewing. I doubt I would have forced myself to learn as much had I bought their kit and started brewing one of their can't miss AG recipes. don't get me wrong, I plan on getting into 5G grain batches soon, but I wont be abandoning the MrB. and I'll have a head start on understanding what exactly I'm doing.

I'll actually quote him. "Brewing from all extract is like taking a can of Spaghettios, heating it up, and saying you made pasta." I corrected him. I said brewing from an extract is like making spaghetti using dry noodles and Prego. It's up to you from there. Do you add ingredients and learn how to make a better sauce? Do you become fascinated and learn to roll your own pasta? How the ingredients work with or against each other in different proportions? Or do you stick with what you've got?"

I pointed out that that's how I learned to cook (and I'm a hell of a chef now). Started with a can of Prego and began tweeking the recipe, learned all I could and from there.

Funny. He didn't have a response.

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the guys at my LHBS are very helpful. The do not look down on MB they have help alot. Guess they know I'll be back, 15 min walk from the house!

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Like i've made it known before. I got the brush off the first time I went to a LHBS and started asking questions and they found out I was using MR. B kegs and products. The 2nd place I went to was much friendlier and willing to help. He gets my business now.

The 2nd store planned an overthrow of government. He bought out his boss and is planning on firing him by the end of the month. It will be very beneficial to the store and the customers. The guy who will be owning it is very good and is planning on bringing in another guy to start doing classes. Can't wait for that one. I'm a hands on person and watching someone min-mash or do a new technique would be much more beneficial to myself!

All in all, if your LHBS guy is a jerk and you don't need something in a pinch than Midwest is a fantastic website.

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Hey PmdBama! Me too, Brewing beer is in the same family with food, and I can make a mud pie make you slap yo mama! I have been cooking since the tender age of 6, and you do start off using a pre-made ingredient, but then you evolve. So just ask the internet beer bros and just walk in the LHBS and get what you need. Don't ask them anything. When I do, the guy says nothing or a one word answer leaving me to guess. Screw that!

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Hey Eddie! Maiden is the S#%@!!! Powerslave! If I were to get a tattoo, your profile pic is the one I would get. Brew on!

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i hant been to the lhbs in my area yet,however i have had the chance to talk to one of the assitant brewmasters at a local micro brewery and explained to him how i just got started in home brewing and what kits i have been using(MrB kits).he basicly told me that is how he got his start into the brewing buisness.i have taken some of my home brews to him to get his opinion and he seemed very pleased with the out come.he has even offered to show me some more advanced steps like how to make the extract with using grains.all i need is time and space and i might get into some more advanced brewing right now i am happy with the way i am making beer now.i just goes to show you some people dont forget how they started.it may not have been a MrB kit but something similar.

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dpip75 wrote:

Hey PmdBama! Me too, Brewing beer is in the same family with food, and I can make a mud pie make you slap yo mama! I have been cooking since the tender age of 6, and you do start off using a pre-made ingredient, but then you evolve. So just ask the internet beer bros and just walk in the LHBS and get what you need. Don't ask them anything. When I do, the guy says nothing or a one word answer leaving me to guess. Screw that!

Exactly. I do my research here and get what I need there.

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Being in the Milwaukee, WI area we had two LHBS that were similar to Tabasco's experience. Then, rumblings started going out that there was this oasis of home brewing supplies coming to the area. Lo and behold, a Northern Brewer location opened up. The place is absolutely awesome! Each of the associates always amazes me with how helpful, knowlegable, and excited about home brewing they are. The quality of ingredients and the variety can't be beat and they even have an area where they hold brewing classes, clinics, and demonstrations. This opened a few months after I got my start in the hobby last year and it has helped me to grow more and more with what I have tried with my Mr. Beer kits.

I was just there today and the associate that I was talking was explaining to me that he pretty much sticks to extract brewing, but will make a 10 gallon batch and spread it out over 5 two gallon containers tweaking each 2 gallon batch slightly as a way to really get to know what happens.

I know that I am spoiled, but know that having this kind of place will really help me to keep growing as a home brewer. Even with the helpful LHBS, I usually come here and peruse the forum to get ideas and answers first. Thanks to all that share on here! It's always very helpful and informative.

Plus, a microbrewery/restaurant just went up across the street from my house. They have all of the brewery part of their operation in a lighted glass portion of the building. Every time I go past, I get thirsty. I'll have to go over and get to know them better. They make some good beer, so I won't have to have my arm twisted too hard.

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dpip75 wrote:

Hey Eddie! Maiden is the S#%@!!! Powerslave! If I were to get a tattoo, your profile pic is the one I would get. Brew on!

Get oot eh? My Eddie is cooler. :lol:

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Trooper is a good one. The original Eddie on the first album is the all time best.

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investingdad wrote:
[quote
As to the not knowledgeable about Mr. Beer...if they don't sell the brand, I can understand that.

I'm not expecting them to know or really care about Mr. Beer. I was expecting them to be able to think for a second about what ABV would I expect from one of these 3.3 lb HME's in a two gallon batch. That seems to be a very basic skill level for someone selling beer making ingredients.

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tabasco wrote:

It's the same thing with motorcycles .... so many think that because I don't have a Harley, I "settled", because everyone would "really rather have a Harley." WTF??? No, If I really would rather have a Harley (and I DO like them), I would have bought a Harley. I bought this, because I wanted this ... and I like the MR BEER methods.

I'm right with you on that one.

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