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Old 09-03-2012, 07:04 PM   #4021
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OClairBrew - Thanks for the advice and ideas... I will definately grab a hydrometer, just need to find one, as I have not determined exactly where close by here is the nearest home brewing supply store.

As for swapping out the ingredients, I think I will wait to change things until after I do this first batch; mostly due to the same issue of not knowing a good local supply store to get the correct yeasts etc. I also want to minimize the variables that might go wrong on the first attempt, and I worry that changing ingredients out might complicate things beyond what I am ready for, as a total first time brewer.

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Old 09-03-2012, 09:15 PM   #4022
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I think you've made a wise choice. Brew it straight-up first so you have a baseline to work form in the future.

Pay attention to sanitization and temperature control. Ensure that you can keep the yeast within it's defined range and you'll make much better beer than if you don't.

Add 1 week to each step (ferment for 2 weeks, carbonate for 2 weeks - and if you can, let sit another 2 weeks at room temp before chilling).
Curiosity will get the better of you though and you'll likely test one at the 4 week mark. That's good, too. This will also allow you to see what conditioning does for beer and will help you to be patient in the future.

Good luck with your first brew.

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Old 09-04-2012, 12:58 PM   #4023
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:38 PM   #4024
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Hi, I just made my first batch of beer using the Mr. Beer kit and it turned out awesome! I can see this becoming an obsession in the future. For now I have my Mr. Beer kit which will have to do so I have a few questions to make my current experience brewing more enjoyable.

1) Can you brew other types of beer other than the Mr. Beer refill kits? If so what? Link to where I can buy on the web please.

2) If the answer to #1 is yes, can this kit which is for a 5 gallon setup be split to make in a 2 1/2 gallon Mr. Beer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/b...tract-kit.html

3) Where can I get plastic 12 oz bottles for bottling my beer? I'd rather plastic so that there is no chance of having exploding glass in my house.

4) Where is the best place to get Mr. Beer refill kits?

5) Does anyone have recipes to make Mr. Beer kits even better? I have seen some reviews of the Mr. Beer Octoberfest's Vienna Lager Refill Brew Pack http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Beer-Octobe...er+refill+kits with people suggesting anywhere from a tbs to a cup of brown sugar be added to the beer. Would love to see some various recipes to make even better beer.

6) If I decide to move up to a bigger kit, what are your suggestions to a good kit that I will not grow out of.

7) I have a 5 gallon poland spring bottle. Can that be used to brew or do I need a specific carboy?

Thanks and happy brewing!

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Old 09-04-2012, 09:16 PM   #4025
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonzoAPD View Post
Hi, I just made my first batch of beer using the Mr. Beer kit and it turned out awesome! I can see this becoming an obsession in the future. For now I have my Mr. Beer kit which will have to do so I have a few questions to make my current experience brewing more enjoyable.

1) Can you brew other types of beer other than the Mr. Beer refill kits? If so what? Link to where I can buy on the web please.
Sure. There are kits all over the place. 5 gallon kits are more common, but you can split them in half and brew them in the Mr Beer fermenter. Or you can make your own recipes.

Quote:
2) If the answer to #1 is yes, can this kit which is for a 5 gallon setup be split to make in a 2 1/2 gallon Mr. Beer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/b...tract-kit.html
Many people do exactly that. In some cases, you need to specify that you want the grains separate, or you need to brew all at once and split the wort between to fermenters.
Quote:
3) Where can I get plastic 12 oz bottles for bottling my beer? I'd rather plastic so that there is no chance of having exploding glass in my house.
You can reuse soda bottles as long as you keep them out of the light. I used to use root beer bottles because they were amber (but I think they were 16 oz). If you use root beer bottles, make sure you first rinse them in COLD water or you'll never get the smell out.

Quote:
4) Where is the best place to get Mr. Beer refill kits?
Mr Beer is having a sale right now, so that might be the bes place at the moment. Amazon often has deals on refills. WalMart sometimes carries them (order online and ship to store). There are also a number of places that carry Mr Beer as holiday items for Christmas and Father's day. Sometimes these places sell them at a deep discount after the holiday is over (like around half price). Shopko, Bed Bath and Beyond are two places I can think of that do this. I think CVS may also.
Quote:
5) Does anyone have recipes to make Mr. Beer kits even better? I have seen some reviews of the Mr. Beer Octoberfest's Vienna Lager Refill Brew Pack http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Beer-Octobe...er+refill+kits with people suggesting anywhere from a tbs to a cup of brown sugar be added to the beer. Would love to see some various recipes to make even better beer.
I don't like adding things like sugar (white or brown), honey, maple syrup, etc to my beer. I prefer adding malt (UME, LME, DME) because it adds flavor and body, but the simple sugars (aka adjuncts) add alcohol, but little if any flavor. They can also thin the beer and give it cidery notes.
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6) If I decide to move up to a bigger kit, what are your suggestions to a good kit that I will not grow out of.
There are many places that sell 5 gallon kits. Groupon often offers deals on 5 gallon kits from Midwest.
Quote:
7) I have a 5 gallon poland spring bottle. Can that be used to brew or do I need a specific carboy?
I wouldn't advise it. Those bottles are designed to hold water, not beer. I've heard of people using them and having success with one or two batches, but then having the bottle split open and dump all the contents out.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:18 PM   #4026
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonzoAPD View Post
Hi, I just made my first batch of beer using the Mr. Beer kit and it turned out awesome! I can see this becoming an obsession in the future. For now I have my Mr. Beer kit which will have to do so I have a few questions to make my current experience brewing more enjoyable.

1) Can you brew other types of beer other than the Mr. Beer refill kits? If so what? Link to where I can buy on the web please.

2) If the answer to #1 is yes, can this kit which is for a 5 gallon setup be split to make in a 2 1/2 gallon Mr. Beer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/b...tract-kit.html

3) Where can I get plastic 12 oz bottles for bottling my beer? I'd rather plastic so that there is no chance of having exploding glass in my house.

4) Where is the best place to get Mr. Beer refill kits?

5) Does anyone have recipes to make Mr. Beer kits even better? I have seen some reviews of the Mr. Beer Octoberfest's Vienna Lager Refill Brew Pack http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Beer-Octobe...er+refill+kits with people suggesting anywhere from a tbs to a cup of brown sugar be added to the beer. Would love to see some various recipes to make even better beer.

6) If I decide to move up to a bigger kit, what are your suggestions to a good kit that I will not grow out of.

7) I have a 5 gallon poland spring bottle. Can that be used to brew or do I need a specific carboy?

Thanks and happy brewing!
http://community.mrbeer.com/forum/index is another forum of Mr Beer brewers & experts or very informed people in the know!!! much like BPGreen...
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #4027
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BonzoAPD View Post
Hi, I just made my first batch of beer using the Mr. Beer kit and it turned out awesome! I can see this becoming an obsession in the future. For now I have my Mr. Beer kit which will have to do so I have a few questions to make my current experience brewing more enjoyable.

1) Can you brew other types of beer other than the Mr. Beer refill kits? If so what? Link to where I can buy on the web please.

2) If the answer to #1 is yes, can this kit which is for a 5 gallon setup be split to make in a 2 1/2 gallon Mr. Beer? http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/b...tract-kit.html

3) Where can I get plastic 12 oz bottles for bottling my beer? I'd rather plastic so that there is no chance of having exploding glass in my house.

4) Where is the best place to get Mr. Beer refill kits?

5) Does anyone have recipes to make Mr. Beer kits even better? I have seen some reviews of the Mr. Beer Octoberfest's Vienna Lager Refill Brew Pack http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Beer-Octobe...er+refill+kits with people suggesting anywhere from a tbs to a cup of brown sugar be added to the beer. Would love to see some various recipes to make even better beer.

6) If I decide to move up to a bigger kit, what are your suggestions to a good kit that I will not grow out of.

7) I have a 5 gallon poland spring bottle. Can that be used to brew or do I need a specific carboy?

Thanks and happy brewing!
I don't have all the answers for you, but I suspect if you were to peruse this thread back, you'd find most of these topics have been covered.

Anyway,

1&2: All you're really getting out of the Mr. Beer kit equipment wise, is a 2.5 gallon fermenter. The airlock design on that fermenter is a bit lacking IMO, but it seems to work repeatably for the Mr. Beer specific extract products. You can certainly split a 5 gallon traditional extract kit from NB, (or others) to 2.5 gallons, or whatever ratio you want.
The big differences with traditional kits is that you do a full boil with the extract (and more importantly, the hops) so you will need a large kettle to do this. You also will need to get (at a minumum) a hydrometer & test flute. You could use the Mr. Beer fermenter for those kits, but not sure why you would. If you want to move up to better kits, just get an ale pale style bucket fermenter with real airlock...it's cheap.
Just check out NB's extract beginner equipment kits...They are by no means the only source for these kinds of kits, but they all consist of the same basic bits...fermenter, airlock, racking cane/siphon, sipon tubing, capper, caps, cleaner, sanitizer, brushes and instructions. You may wish to add on to that kit a 5 or 6 gallon glass or better bottle (Plastic) fermenter, an immersion wort chiller, and a supply of glass bottles.
The thing about the Mr. Beer kit is that it's designed to be easy. If you follow the directions, you will get repeatable results. When you are ready to start branching out to get more variety and put personal touches on your beer with specific ingredients and/or process changes, that's when you will want get the other tools/equipment mentioned above. These sorts of kits are usually in the $90 to $130 range.

3&4 I always try to give my Local Homebrew Supply Store the business, and most of them will be able to get these for you if they don't have them on the shelves. Unless they turn out to be hacks, the benefit they have over Internet Suppliers is that you can go in and get personalized advice. Support local beer, I say. That goes for your starter kits as well.

7. Obviously thse bottles are food grade, so you're good to go there. What you want in a fermenter is smooth inner walls. I know many of those style bottles are textured and/or ribbed...that would be no good. Lot's of opportunity for wild yeasts/bacteria to take hold. Also, you would need to be very careful to only put chilled wort into it. Plastic bottles can easily distort with hot wort. Lastly, I would think it would be difficult to clean thouroughly with a carboy brush with the handle. If you can't scrub every inch of it, don't use it.

Happy brewing!
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:07 PM   #4028
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Thanks for all your great info! Another question. Is there a Mr. Beer refill that is similar to Sam Adams Boston Lager? If not is there a recipe that I can follow and brew in a mr beer to make a beer like it? Thanks.

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Old 09-06-2012, 08:25 PM   #4029
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Thanks for all your great info! Another question. Is there a Mr. Beer refill that is similar to Sam Adams Boston Lager? If not is there a recipe that I can follow and brew in a mr beer to make a beer like it? Thanks.
The Patriot Lager refill looks like it's trying to be that, but from what I've read from people who have tried it, there's not much similarity.

Your best bet would probably be to do an internet search for Sam Adams Boston Lager clone and scale a recipe you find to Mr Beer size.

The difficulty is that most of those recipes are likely to be all grain. If you're not up to all grain, try adding extract to the search terms. You'll still probably need to at least add some steeping grains. Also, not that the real deal is a lager. Lagers tend to take longer and require better temperature control. If you can't do an actual lager, you can use a "clean" yeast like US-05 or Nottingham brewed as close to 60 as possible to brew an ale with lager-like qualities. But to really nail the lager flavor, you need to use a lager yeast and brew at lager temperatures.
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Old 09-06-2012, 08:30 PM   #4030
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Yeah, I tried the Patriot Lager BASIC refill and it was nothing like it - but to be fair I was a beta-tester and I think they've worked on it. Given the packaging on it, I'd be willing to bet that if you used that + some of their (or anybody else's) UME/LME to it you might get something similar.

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