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Old 02-20-2012, 11:05 AM   #3561
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Originally Posted by FreshZ View Post
Exactly what I was going for. My first, off the cuff recipe in the beer so it doesn't really matter too much. If I end up with anything the SWMBO likes at all, then it's a win for me. If I actually like it, then that's a bonus.

So, no booster then, some pilsner LME, crystal 20 or wheat malt, and Amarillo hops? I think an oz of hops oughtta do it, right? Is 2 pounds about right on the LME? How bout the grains?
Amarillo hops are really good for aroma in an IPA. If you want to make something SWMBO will like, go for the orange peel and wheat malt. If you want to make something like a hybrid IPA, go for the pilsner malt and amarillo aroma hops.

Rule of thumb: 1 lb. fermentables per gallon ~ 5% ABV. So, 2 lbs. + MrB is going to be a bit strong, but still alright. Add some extra hops to offset the sweetness of the malt, unless you buy more pre-hopped extract like MrB uses.

2nd Rule of thumb: grain often gives 60-70% the sugars of the equivalent weight of malt extract. Some people optimize their systems to get more, but 60% is a good guesstimate, so 1.7 lbs roughly equals 1 lb.

3rd Rule of thumb: steeped grains should not exceed 6 oz. per gallon, but as little as 2 oz. per gallon is pretty good. This isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but just a little something I tend to follow when making up recipes.

4th Rule of thumb: don't stick your thumb in the beer. No, really. They used to do that to check the temperature of the mash. They really, really did.


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Old 02-20-2012, 12:16 PM   #3562
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Haha. I like the 'will probably be drinkable' response. What is the biggest difference between a Mr. Beer kit and other kits?
As said, Mr Beer includes hops already in their liquid malt extract. It's really designed to be as simple as humanly possible. Provided your sanitation is solid, there's very little you can do to mess it up.

They include a West Coast Pale Ale kit with their starter sets. It's pretty much their cheapest refill kit and doesn't included as much malt or hops as their other refill kits. It's just a cheap kit to start you off with. My batch was about equal to any of your common commercial products, like Miller or Bud. Their premium two-can kits are tasty.

Check out the premium and deluxe starter sets on Amazon. They're pretty cheap on there. Get the one that already includes the plastic bottles. Think it's like $25 shipped. Stick with Mr Beer for awhile. Maybe 3-4 batches minimum. Then upgrade if you feel the need. Honestly, I see no reason for myself. You can steep grain and add additional hops if you'd like with Mr Beer. And my drinking doesn't keep up with 5 gallons of brewing.


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Old 02-20-2012, 02:11 PM   #3563
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In addition to the premium and deluxe MrB kits, there are the brew master recipes where they use MrB items and other ingredients found at the grocery store. I have a few of those lined up ready to brew once the fermenter opens up. I'm excited to try the triple and the cranberry maibock.

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Old 02-20-2012, 02:15 PM   #3564
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Yes the Mr. Beer kits are perfect to experiment with. If you find a recipe that you like, do it in a 5-6gal.

On the subject of kegging and force carb: I've heard it is actually cheaper to get 5-6gal kegs than 2-3gal because soda companies 99% of the time use 5-6gal kegs so they are always easier to find. So get like the 6gal bucket kits like from Northern Brew. Then purchase the 5gal keg and CO2 tank to force carb.

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Old 02-20-2012, 02:17 PM   #3565
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stokes_
Question:

Would it be better for me to start out with Mr. Beer, or just go ahead and get a more advanced kit?
I started with the Mr. Beer kit as a gift two years ago and ended up getting another fermentor I started doing five gallon kits split between the two fermentors since then I have gotten a bottling bucket, and three five gallon buckets for five gallon kits/recipes.

I still use the Mr. Beer fermentors for their seasonal refills nice easy quick a d very tasty for a simple kit. Plus I am getting ready to do my first all grain batch using the Mr. Beer fermentor a 2.5 gallon BIAB recipe single infusion with a sparge .

Very useful fermentor for smaller batches
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Old 02-20-2012, 03:24 PM   #3566
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Yes the Mr. Beer kits are perfect to experiment with. If you find a recipe that you like, do it in a 5-6gal.

On the subject of kegging and force carb: I've heard it is actually cheaper to get 5-6gal kegs than 2-3gal because soda companies 99% of the time use 5-6gal kegs so they are always easier to find. So get like the 6gal bucket kits like from Northern Brew. Then purchase the 5gal keg and CO2 tank to force carb.
You can force carb smaller amounts of beer in a larger keg. CO2 fills the headspace, so no worries.

I've been very disappointed with my kegged beers. My bottled beers have always been better. YMMV.
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Old 02-20-2012, 05:55 PM   #3567
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Hey what are some ways I can keep trub out of my bottles?

1)Cold crash 2 days before bottling
2)Whirlfloc Tablets during make-up
3)Irish Moss during make-up
4)Unflavored gelatin?

Any others? Just checked on my bottled Witty Monk. It has about a week left of warm conditioning and already has nearly a 1/2" of trub at the bottom of each bottle. And I could see it floating around due to me picking up the bottle to view it.

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Old 02-20-2012, 09:15 PM   #3568
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stokes_ View Post
Question:

Would it be better for me to start out with Mr. Beer, or just go ahead and get a more advanced kit?
I found myself asking the same question a few months ago. I opted for the Mr. Beer. I'm glad I did. I've learned an awful lot about the basics of brewing from Mr. Beer. My first basic batches were fair/good. Then I stepped up to their premium batches and recipes, and have made some very good beer. I'm getting ready to start my 6 and 7th batch...

So while I'm going to be stepping up shortly, I think the time and money I spent on Mr Beer was very worth it. I learned a lot, made batches better than BMC beer, had some fun with it, and will still be able to use a lot of the Mr. Beer equipment after I step up.

And I made beer!
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Old 02-20-2012, 09:28 PM   #3569
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Originally Posted by firebirdude View Post
Hey what are some ways I can keep trub out of my bottles?

1)Cold crash 2 days before bottling
2)Whirlfloc Tablets during make-up
3)Irish Moss during make-up
4)Unflavored gelatin?

Any others? Just checked on my bottled Witty Monk. It has about a week left of warm conditioning and already has nearly a 1/2" of trub at the bottom of each bottle. And I could see it floating around due to me picking up the bottle to view it.
Unless you pasteurize your beer, filter it and force carbonate, you're always going to have some trub.

But there are ways to reduce the amount of trub in the bottles. 1/2 inch seems pretty excessive to me.

Cold crashing is supposed to reduce the amount of trub you get. I've never done it, though, so I can't say for sure.

I've read that if you're doing extract beers, you should avoid things like whirfloc, gelatin and Irish moss. I think you can also run into problems carbonating if you use those in conjunction with cold crashing. I'm going from memory on that, though and I could easily be wrong.

I rarely have very much trub in my bottles. When I use the Mr Beer fermenter, I prop the front of it up with several empty CD cases so that the trub settles to the rear. I ferment for two weeks, then transfer to a priming container, along with priming sugar that I've boiled in a small amount of water. I try not to get any trub from the fermenter into the priming container. If I do get any, it's spread among all of the bottles instead of ending up in the last one or two that I fill.

Using an autosiphon instead of the spigot may also help reduce the amount of trub that goes into the priming container.

I warm condition for 4 months or more, then put the beer in the fridge for a minimum of a week (I'm considering extending this).

The end result is that most of my beers have very thin layers of trub and the trub that is in them is very compact. As a result, I can almost always pour the full bottle out without getting any trub in my glass.
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Old 02-20-2012, 10:51 PM   #3570
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I was going to batch prime my stout i have in a few days and was thinking about using brown sugar. I was hoping for some advice on how much to use for a regular 2.4-2.5 gal batch.

Also, would that give a fuller tighter head than using cane/table sugar? How much cane/table sugar would I use for the same thing? Thanks.



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