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Old 11-04-2012, 10:13 PM   #4161
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Originally Posted by im0a0ginger View Post
Would you suggest collecting all the supplies yourself of buying a kit online that already has everything?

It's my very first attempt at brewing and I didn't know if they kits are worth the money. I know that Mr.Beer is pretty popular but is it worth it?
Getting a starter kit is a good way to go, no matter if you are getting a Mr. Beer kit or a 5 gallon setup from somewhere. The Mr. Beer kit is a bit less expensive to start out and the beer mixes are very easy to brew.

Mr. Beer was recently bought by Cooper's (another beer kit maker) and there are some new beer mixes to brew. Take a look at the refill kits, you'll want to focus on the Deluxe or Craft. Does it look like enough to keep you busy for a while?
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:48 AM   #4162
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Default What to do with my Mr. Beer kit?

Hey folks, I just joined, mostly because I've got a Mr. Beer kit and am wondering what is the most practical way to use it. My apologies, but I've only scanned this 400-some-odd page thread so I hope I'm not repeating topics and questions that have been done to death. If I have, well, just ignore this post and move on to the next one.

Several years ago, I bought my Mr. Beer kit at a yard sale. It had never been used. The caps and airlock, etc., were still in a plastic bag and the "mix" was there, in its can, but it was expired and even bulging at the seams. Which is one reason, I guess, why I didn't start using it straightaway, and instead put if off. And soon it was forgotten about, and years went by.

Recently I came across it in my storage and it got me to thinking again. So I visited Mr. Beer's website, and found that things have changed just a bit. For one thing, the kit's container has changed. Mine is clear and is 6 gallons in capacity. It appears that now one can get only a 2 gallon container from Mr. Beer. And what's more, I guess that if I wanted to brew using one of their ingredient refills, and completely fill my container, I'd have to buy three instead of one. And for the craft beer stuff, that gets way too pricey for my meager budget. Not to mention the fact that I'd wind up with way too much beer to handle. No place to put the finished product, in my case. My wife keeps our refrigerator so perpetually crammed with stuff that I can barely fit in a six pack, and even then, I've got to poke the cans or bottles into the odd nooks and crannies.

So all this brings me to the point of my post, I guess. First of all, I'm wondering if I can brew decent batches of beer or ale -- or porter or stout -- using a fraction of my container's size -- or does it have to be mostly full? And second, is it significantly cheaper if I brew from scratch as opposed to buying the Mr. Beer ingredient refills? I've crunched the numbers with the Mr. Beer refills, and while they represent a cost savings, it really isn't all that much of one.

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Old 11-06-2012, 05:53 AM   #4163
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Well, cooltouch, I am not familiar with the old 6 gallon fermenter so I can't speak to it's functionality. At the end of the day a fermenter is a fermenter so maybe that is good enough.

Fermenting around 5 gallons of beer in a 6 gallon container is generally better than brewing 2 gallons. It can be done but one of the reasons it could turn out bad is the size of the container. In a pinch I'd consider it, and I have done it a couple times.

Some options for brewing 5 gallons are Munton's, Brewer's Best, or Custom Extract Kits, I think I have those in order of difficulty.

Another option would be to email peterg@mrbeer.com and mention to him you have an old unused Mr. Beer 6 gallon fermenter suitable for a museum and see what he has to say.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:30 AM   #4164
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Another option would be to email peterg@mrbeer.com and mention to him you have an old unused Mr. Beer 6 gallon fermenter suitable for a museum and see what he has to say.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cooltouch
So all this brings me to the point of my post, I guess. First of all, I'm wondering if I can brew decent batches of beer or ale -- or porter or stout -- using a fraction of my container's size -- or does it have to be mostly full? And second, is it significantly cheaper if I brew from scratch as opposed to buying the Mr. Beer ingredient refills? I've crunched the numbers with the Mr. Beer refills, and while they represent a cost savings, it really isn't all that much of one.
As long as your Mr. Beer fermenter is not leaking and you can sanitize it then you should be OK to ferment 5 gallon batches. It's always good to have a bit of headspace, (Most people that do primary in carboys, ale pails, food grade plastic buckets use 6.5 gallon ones for 5 gallon batches), but, as The Professor said, two gallons in a 6 gallon fermentation Vessel is probably leaving a bit too much space, possibly making it easier for unwanted bacteria to get in there.
If you spend a little time familiarizing yourself with the various processes by reading through some threads on here then you can decide how you want to proceed. Definitely, Munton's, Cooper's (although Cooper's now owns Mr. Beer and all the MrB extracts come from their Australian manufacturing plant), and a whole host of other extract kits will work out cheaper than the Mr. Beer refills. You can add Dry Malt/Liquid Malt Extracts (DMEs/LMEs) hops to balance the malt additions, to these kits(Hopped Malt Extracts/HMEs) whilst brewing too to make even richer, maltier, flavourful beer. Do some research, decide what you want to brew and then off you go. Loads of friendly people on here with a wealth of knowledge that are only too pleased to help by answering questions and giving some great advice.
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Old 11-06-2012, 01:15 PM   #4165
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Originally Posted by cooltouch View Post
Recently I came across it in my storage and it got me to thinking again. So I visited Mr. Beer's website, and found that things have changed just a bit. For one thing, the kit's container has changed. Mine is clear and is 6 gallons in capacity. It appears that now one can get only a 2 gallon container from Mr. Beer. And what's more, I guess that if I wanted to brew using one of their ingredient refills, and completely fill my container, I'd have to buy three instead of one. And for the craft beer stuff, that gets way too pricey for my meager budget. Not to mention the fact that I'd wind up with way too much beer to handle. No place to put the finished product, in my case. My wife keeps our refrigerator so perpetually crammed with stuff that I can barely fit in a six pack, and even then, I've got to poke the cans or bottles into the odd nooks and crannies.

So all this brings me to the point of my post, I guess. First of all, I'm wondering if I can brew decent batches of beer or ale -- or porter or stout -- using a fraction of my container's size -- or does it have to be mostly full? And second, is it significantly cheaper if I brew from scratch as opposed to buying the Mr. Beer ingredient refills? I've crunched the numbers with the Mr. Beer refills, and while they represent a cost savings, it really isn't all that much of one.
It looks like you have a Mr Beer fermentor sized for standard 5-gallon batches. You don't want to fill it with 6-gallons because fermentation creates foam called krausen which will cause your fermentor to overflow and make a mess.

I would recommend either using 2 Mr Beer kits (if you want to stick with Mr Beer), they make 2.25 gallons each so that would be 4.5 gallons total, or if you have a local homebrew store (lhbs) you could go there and ask about making 5-gallon batches. 5-gallons are what most kits and recipes are designed for.

Also, you don't need to put all your beer into your fridge at one time. Just store them somewhere cool and dark. Your fermentor should also be somewhere dark either that or cover it, light is what causes skunky beer.

Even if you don't use the fermentor to make beer, it looks like it would make a great bottling bucket. Also, just to be pedantic, porters and stouts are both Ales. Ale is one of two types of beer the other being lager.
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:09 PM   #4166
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BTW, any chance of you taking a pic of this 6 gallon MrBeer fermenter and posting it here?? I'm intrigued as to whether it's the same design/shape/concept as the current ones as I wasn't aware that they were 6 gallon FVs previously.

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Old 11-06-2012, 04:48 PM   #4167
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BTW, any chance of you taking a pic of this 6 gallon MrBeer fermenter and posting it here?? I'm intrigued as to whether it's the same design/shape/concept as the current ones as I wasn't aware that they were 6 gallon FVs previously.
Here's a thread about a 6.5 gallon Mr Beer fermentor:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/old-...enters-342640/
There's a picture in there. I assume that's the one that the OP has.
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Old 11-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #4168
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Yep, the one in the above link's photo is the same as mine. It's a big'un.

After posting the above comment, I spent some more time looking around the Mr. Beer site, and found out I can order one of their 2 gallon size fermenters for "only" $10, so there's that relatively painless route I can follow.

Makes sense about the headspace and all, not wanting too much or too little.

I'm still such a noob about the whole process that I don't know things like how long beer can be stored unrefrigerated. As I recall, having refrigeration available was a major condition for the brewers of old being able to expand their routes. So of course, I assumed that if it is unpasteurized, refrigeration was necessary.

Oh, and the jargon that you guys bandy about is like a totally foreign language to me at this point. But that's okay -- I'm a linguist. And I enjoy language challenges.

Tombstone, I don't mind a bit of pedantry from time to time -- I'm often guilty of it myself. I knew that porters and stouts were not beers, but I wasn't sure that they would be categorized as ales, or if they were something different. One homebrewer I met a couple years back, who brought some of his own amazingly good porter to a party I was at, told me that brewing porters and stouts was about as hard as falling off a log, and that he had a great appreciation for the Big Guys who could so consistently brew fine lagers and pilsners. Me, I told him that I was much happier sampling his porter than having Yet Another Pale Beer.

I much prefer ales, porters, and stouts, so that will be where I'll be concentrating most of my efforts. And if this fellow is right, namely that they really are easy to brew, well then, happy days!

Incidentally, the "mix" that came with my Mr. Beer kit is Armstrong Premium Pilsner Blonde, a 1.7 kg (3.75 lb) can. It's all bulged out at the top and bottom so I'm afraid to even open it.

Since Cooper's now owns Mr. Beer, and being an Aussie outfit and all, maybe I'll give one or three of their recipes a try. I like Aussie brews. My tastes aren't nearly as refined as most of you guys, I suspect, but two of my favorite brews are Foster's Premium Ale (used to be called their Special Bitter) in the big green can and a really hard to find stout, called Sheaf. I used to be able to find Sheaf occasionally at Trader Joe's in Southern California, but haven't been able to find it at all since I moved to Houston some 14 years ago. Just googled it and come to find it's brewed by Foster's now. But I wonder if it's even imported anymore, since the Foster's sold here is brewed up in Fort Worth nowadays.

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Old 11-06-2012, 09:04 PM   #4169
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If the can is bulging, don't use it. That's a sign of something SERIOUSLY wrong with it. Toss it and start fresh!

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Old 11-06-2012, 10:35 PM   #4170
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Yep, the one in the above link's photo is the same as mine. It's a big'un.

After posting the above comment, I spent some more time looking around the Mr. Beer site, and found out I can order one of their 2 gallon size fermenters for "only" $10, so there's that relatively painless route I can follow.

Makes sense about the headspace and all, not wanting too much or too little.

I'm still such a noob about the whole process that I don't know things like how long beer can be stored unrefrigerated. As I recall, having refrigeration available was a major condition for the brewers of old being able to expand their routes. So of course, I assumed that if it is unpasteurized, refrigeration was necessary.

Oh, and the jargon that you guys bandy about is like a totally foreign language to me at this point. But that's okay -- I'm a linguist. And I enjoy language challenges.

Tombstone, I don't mind a bit of pedantry from time to time -- I'm often guilty of it myself. I knew that porters and stouts were not beers, but I wasn't sure that they would be categorized as ales, or if they were something different. One homebrewer I met a couple years back, who brought some of his own amazingly good porter to a party I was at, told me that brewing porters and stouts was about as hard as falling off a log, and that he had a great appreciation for the Big Guys who could so consistently brew fine lagers and pilsners. Me, I told him that I was much happier sampling his porter than having Yet Another Pale Beer.

I much prefer ales, porters, and stouts, so that will be where I'll be concentrating most of my efforts. And if this fellow is right, namely that they really are easy to brew, well then, happy days!

Incidentally, the "mix" that came with my Mr. Beer kit is Armstrong Premium Pilsner Blonde, a 1.7 kg (3.75 lb) can. It's all bulged out at the top and bottom so I'm afraid to even open it.
Wow! You have a piece of history, Cooltouch! I haven't seen a full size Mr. Beer in over ten years. I'm guessing what you have is about 12 - 15 years old. Frankly, assuming you have no leaks and two cases of beer is not too much (gasp!), I think you're better off with what you've got than a newer Mr. Beer. Most recipes found on-line and at LHBS are geared for 5 gallon batches, so you will have a MUCH broader array of choices. You could go with a Brewer's Best kit or True Brew, or go by your LHBS and see what they're offering. If you want to produce an super easy beer, then go with a Cooper's Kit (you like stouts, right?) and add 2 - 3 lbs of dried malt in place of the sugar or booster (just an enhanced form of sugar). You'll end up with a surprisingly good final product, especially in comparison to the amount of effort required to brew it. I find these beers to be a little sweet because you are adding unhopped extract to a hopped one, which tilts the balance toward malty. To balance things out, I prefer to toss about half an ounce of hops in with the extracts and boil for 30 - 40 minutes (this will add bitterness), then turn the heat off and add the remaining half ounce (this will add aroma). Cool in the sink in a cold water bath. Ferment in your clear tank, and either bulk prime (3/4 cup sugar - cane, corn, brown or turbinado) or add the sugar per bottle (~2/3 tsp. per 12 oz. bottle). You can drop me a note personally, if you have more questions. I'm at sales@defalcos.com.

Scott Birdwell
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