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Old 03-21-2013, 05:43 AM   #4761
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I am your daily example. Noobs gonna noob


::face palm::
We were all new at one time.

And don't feel alone. Many people try different priming agents for a variety of reasons. I know somebody who batch primed with honey when he started and kept doing it for a long time because, well, because. Then he decided on one batch that he wanted to save some time and primed with sugar. He couldn't detect a difference, so he never went back.

I've done a fair amount of experimenting, but when I decide I want to try something, I always have a clear idea of what I want to try, why I want to try it, what I think it will do to my brew and why I think it will do that to my brew. I'm not saying that's how I approached it in my first two batches, but I learned my lesson pretty quickly.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:06 PM   #4762
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Default Any *valid* criticism of Mr. Beer as equipment?

Total noob here.
I admit I've an ego. So buying a Mr. Beer at clearance prices but for kicks and giggles and "gee, I wonder what making beer would be like" makes me feel like a cross between making chocolate cake with an EZ-bake oven and/or riding around on a tricycle with pictures of flaming tail-pipes painted on it.

But it seems to me (as a noob doing internet research and not as anyone with any, you know, actual knowledge and experience and that kind of stuff) that when it comes to fermenting *any* container will do. (That is, any container unexposed to air and with a means to allow gas to escape.) So...

Is there any reason the Mr. Beer fermenter ("cute; It's shaped like a plastic beer keg; how .... precious") is any worse (or better) than any other container? (Other than volume capacity, of course.)

Feel free to bash. But give valid reasons to the bashing.

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Old 03-26-2013, 06:29 PM   #4763
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The lbk (little brown keg) can be problematic for beers with a great deal of trub (spout gets clogged) or high gravity brews with very active fermentations (spill over). Other than that, I've been using them for a decade with good results. You can brew any style with it and follow any brewing process (canned kit, extract plus hops, extract plus hops and steeping grains, partial mash, all grain.) Heck, I've done wine and cider in them too. I know others who have done mead in them.

Another advantage to Mr Beer is that the lbk fits inside an ice chest, which means you can use frozen water jugs to control fermentation temps. That comes in really handy during long Texas summers.

A new company called Brew Demon is making a conical-shaped fermenter and selling the old Mr Beer recipes from before the Cooper's buy-out (the old recipes came from New Zealand.) If I was going to buy a new small fermenter, I would probably try theirs as it has more room for trub below the spigot and more head room for highly active fermentations (and the option of a traditional air lock.) On the downside, they cost more- $15 for an LBK and $25 for the Brew Demon conical. Also, the BDC (brew demon conical) is too tall to fit in an ice chest.

All of this assumes you want to have a small fermentation system. I like small batches because I have beer ADHD and brewing 2.25 gallon batches keeps me from getting bored with a particular brew. If you'd rather brew less often and have more of the same beer on hand, skip Mr Beer and Brew Demon and go with plastic buckets.

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Old 03-26-2013, 07:06 PM   #4764
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The lbk (little brown keg) can be problematic for beers with a great deal of trub (spout gets clogged) or high gravity brews with very active fermentations (spill over). Other than that, I've been using them for a decade with good results. You can brew any style with it and follow any brewing process (canned kit, extract plus hops, extract plus hops and steeping grains, partial mash, all grain.) Heck, I've done wine and cider in them too. I know others who have done mead in them.

Another advantage to Mr Beer is that the lbk fits inside an ice chest, which means you can use frozen water jugs to control fermentation temps. That comes in really handy during long Texas summers.

A new company called Brew Demon is making a conical-shaped fermenter and selling the old Mr Beer recipes from before the Cooper's buy-out (the old recipes came from New Zealand.) If I was going to buy a new small fermenter, I would probably try theirs as it has more room for trub below the spigot and more head room for highly active fermentations (and the option of a traditional air lock.) On the downside, they cost more- $15 for an LBK and $25 for the Brew Demon conical. Also, the BDC (brew demon conical) is too tall to fit in an ice chest.

All of this assumes you want to have a small fermentation system. I like small batches because I have beer ADHD and brewing 2.25 gallon batches keeps me from getting bored with a particular brew. If you'd rather brew less often and have more of the same beer on hand, skip Mr Beer and Brew Demon and go with plastic buckets.
I got a conical from Brew Demon. I can fit 2 lbk's in my mini fridge, and zero of the conicals,,,so it's nice, not cute,,,but I'll keep using the lbk's

To avoid trub getting close to the spigot, just ferment with a couple of cd cases under the front of the lbk and you'll be all set.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:16 PM   #4765
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Total noob here.
I admit I've an ego. So buying a Mr. Beer at clearance prices but for kicks and giggles and "gee, I wonder what making beer would be like" makes me feel like a cross between making chocolate cake with an EZ-bake oven and/or riding around on a tricycle with pictures of flaming tail-pipes painted on it.

But it seems to me (as a noob doing internet research and not as anyone with any, you know, actual knowledge and experience and that kind of stuff) that when it comes to fermenting *any* container will do. (That is, any container unexposed to air and with a means to allow gas to escape.) So...

Is there any reason the Mr. Beer fermenter ("cute; It's shaped like a plastic beer keg; how .... precious") is any worse (or better) than any other container? (Other than volume capacity, of course.)

Feel free to bash. But give valid reasons to the bashing.
You can make really good beer in the LBK. You can make really bad beer in a carboy. And vice versa.

The first time I went to my LHBS, I had only made the Mr Beer refills, and I was nervous about telling them I was using Mr Beer because I had read forum postings from people who got treated badly at their LHBS. But I figured that the only way to get the advice I needed was to tell them what I was using so they could scale recipes, etc. I told the guy I used Mr Beer and waited for the insults. Instead, he said, "The only thing I can do with my setup that you can't do with yours is I can make 5 gallons at a time." He then took me around and helped me pick ingredients for my next few batches.

I now mostly brew 5 gallon batches, but that's because when I do, I can make 5 gallons at a time. But I still make Mr Beer sized batches occasionally, especially if I'm trying something experimental like a gruit.

There's nothing wrong with the LBK. For that matter, there's nothing wrong with the Mr Beer refills. They're high quality and if you want to make a batch in a hurry, there's nothing like using prehopped extract. It takes several hours to make a partial mash batch (a bit longer for all grain, less time for an extract batch with a hop boil), but once you get the process down, probably less than a half hour to make a batch from a Mr Beer refill.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:24 PM   #4766
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There's nothing wrong with the LBK. For that matter, there's nothing wrong with the Mr Beer refills. They're high quality and if you want to make a batch in a hurry, there's nothing like using prehopped extract. It takes several hours to make a partial mash batch (a bit longer for all grain, less time for an extract batch with a hop boil), but once you get the process down, probably less than a half hour to make a batch from a Mr Beer refill.
My fellow Mr Beer fan is right. I only use the canned kits about every third or fourth beer I brew- and even then I doctor them up to suite my taste. But the kits aren't bad at all. In fact, there were several of the old recipes that I really liked. I'm less familiar with the range since the Coopers buy-out, but hey- Cooper's has a following for a reason. I'm already planning on buying the fall seasonal brown ale kit when it becomes available just to give it a go.
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Old 03-26-2013, 10:05 PM   #4767
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We've been on the outside looking in with regard to the Mr. Beer Kits. I've owned a homebrew shop for 32 years & have dealt with many MB customers over the years that either didn't want to order on-line or simply didn't want the tiny cans that were formerly supplied. One of my biggest complaints with the LBK was the spigot, which you had to hold in while filling the bottles. Fortunately, this is no longer the case as they've gone to a standard turn-handle homebrew spigot - a big improvement. (Unfortunately, you still can't add an airlock, which I would much prefer.) Otherwise, apart from the small size, there is no reason you can't make good beer in one, as long as you keep it clean, sanitize it, and keep the temperatures moderate. In other words, just like any other fermenter. As for the little conical fermenter from Brew Demon, it looks cool (I ordered one just to see what customers might be using), but doesn't work any better than the LBK. They're pretty interchangeable from my point of view. Another thing that Cooper's has improved is the former little tiny, 1.2 lb. cans which required "Booster." You only need Booster if you don't have enough malt extract. Fortunately, Cooper's has now bumped up the can size by 50%. The new cans are now 1.87 lbs. with the larger ones coming in at 2.86 lbs. While the smaller cans still border on "wimpy" it is a vast improvement & the nearly 3 lb. can is downright respectable for 8 liters. FWIW We've been selling Cooper's malt extracts for many years and they make a good product. I think you'll be impressed. Recently we've actually started stocking MB kits and refills. Sometimes, you just have to join'em. My two cents worth.

Scott Birdwell
DeFalco's Home Wine & Beer Supplies
www.defalcos.com

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Old 03-27-2013, 01:24 AM   #4768
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woozy
Total noob here.
I admit I've an ego. So buying a Mr. Beer at clearance prices but for kicks and giggles and "gee, I wonder what making beer would be like" makes me feel like a cross between making chocolate cake with an EZ-bake oven and/or riding around on a tricycle with pictures of flaming tail-pipes painted on it.

But it seems to me (as a noob doing internet research and not as anyone with any, you know, actual knowledge and experience and that kind of stuff) that when it comes to fermenting *any* container will do. (That is, any container unexposed to air and with a means to allow gas to escape.) So...

Is there any reason the Mr. Beer fermenter ("cute; It's shaped like a plastic beer keg; how .... precious") is any worse (or better) than any other container? (Other than volume capacity, of course.)

Feel free to bash. But give valid reasons to the bashing.
Chocolate cake from an easy bake oven = chocolate cake.
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Old 03-27-2013, 10:03 PM   #4769
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The spigot is downright terrible. It pours at a trickle and gets clogged up over nothing. It also randomly leaks. Other than that I like the keg just fine.

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Old 03-27-2013, 10:07 PM   #4770
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The spigot is downright terrible. It pours at a trickle and gets clogged up over nothing. It also randomly leaks. Other than that I like the keg just fine.
If the spigot continues to be an issue, you can syphon the beer out of the LBK to the bottles. Once you get it going, it should be as fast, if not faster, than the spigot (when it's working correctly).

Scott Birdwell
DeFalco's Home Wine & Beer Supplies
www.defalcos.com
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