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Old 01-12-2013, 03:34 PM   #1
tackett
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Default My official newbie questions thread.

Hey guys and gals.

I guess it's time to ask some newbie questions. I know how to use both the forum search and google search. But after searching and reading I still have some unanswered questions.

1: I am finished with my mr beer ingredients. Should I continue buying the 2.5 gallon mr beer recipes until I can reliably produce them? Or should I just start making 5 gallon batches now?

2: I read the entire mr. Beer thread here and I have come to the conclusion that the mr. Beer ingredient kits are capable of making good beer. Is this the general concensus or did I misread?

3: when its time to move up to larger batches, I must say that the sheer amount of available equipment is a little daunting. Especially as most of it is really expensive. 90 bucks for a 7.5 gallon brew pot makes my butt pucker a little. Can anyone point me to a list of must haves? Here is what I'm thinking:
-7.5 gallon brew pot
-long stirring paddle
- idophor
-hydrometer
-auto siphon
-bottles
-capper
-caps
-carboys
-airlocks
-bottling bucket
-bottling wand

I think that about does it. All in all that's a lot of money. Again, should I just keep making the mr beer ingredients before I dump this much money?

4: can someone link me to some good educational threads that I may not know about just from searching and reading the stickies?

Thanks guys!

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Old 01-12-2013, 03:37 PM   #2
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Read the stickies and use the search function.

Rick

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:04 PM   #3
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1.Mr. Beer is really simple so I can't imagine it taking more than 2-3 to get it down pat. Point being, its really up to you if you already wanna take it to the next level.

2. You're right, the beers from mr. Beer aren't bad but they also aren't award winning. The way I see it is if you already enjoy drinking craft beer then it'll be a hobby you really enjoy and move to extract. If you're just getting into craft beer then make a couple different kits, have a couple of different styles of beer and see if its for you.

3. If you don't have a LHBS check out.midwest, northernbrewer, austinhomebrew, all them have beginner kits you can look at to begin figuring prices. But for about $200 you can get a decent kit that will get you going and a pot

You don't need a 7.5 pot to start with, I starter with a 5 gallon pot and that worked fine for me for partials and extract. If you do want the bigger pot I'd say go over 8 gallons to make it usable for when you go all grain.

4. If you've read all the stickies, you could buy a book or check out threads that sound interesting or that mention something you have read about already.

Hope all that helps!

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:19 PM   #4
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As long as you want to stick to extract only kits and recipes for a while your shopping list is closing in on being complete. Without opening the debate on primary/secondary opinions - you may want to get a primary fermentation bucket or carboy and have 2 additional carboys or better bottles around so that you can run 2 to 3 different batches at any given time.

The biggest issue you'll run into with 5 gallon batches is the space for them, the added weight of moving them around, the added logistics of boiling the larger recipes and twice or three times as much stuff to cart around and sanitize.

Though I've never had a Mr. Beer kit - it's pure portability seems pretty nice considering that 5 gallon brewing occupies a much larger footprint in your life and living space. If you think the equipment requirements for extract brewing are demanding - get setup for doing quality extract brews and then start to read a little about AG or "All Grain" brewing, which is the natural progression of things.

Mr. Beer, then 5 gallon extract batches, then gradually building into AG capability - all the while practicing techniques and good sanitation practices because they become more and more important the more ambitious your brewing becomes. Just my 2 cents..

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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Thanks for the input fellas!

I have my second mr beer batch fermenting in a 5 gallon bucket downstairs.

I need to buy an auto siphon, then I plan to move the wort from the bucket to the mr beer keg. And use it as a bottling bucket and batch prime.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:38 PM   #6
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...also notice the threads appearing at the bottom of the page.

If you title a post correctly they should end up being related to your post.

Maybe something along the line of, "Next Step", or "Moving Up", or "Go Big or Go Home".

If you are really enjoying it, look at your finances and your ability to store equipment and square footage for empty/beer storage.

Good luck man.

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Old 01-12-2013, 04:56 PM   #7
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You can upgrade getting equipment piece by piece to keep the initial outlay as low as possible. I suggest that you try to determine where you want to end up so that you don't buy too much equipment that you will not use in the end.

For example if you plan to end up brewing only 10 gallon all grain batches you won't need smaller pots in the end.

If you want to do 5 gallon batches you can take a small step and brew 5 gallon extract kits. They would be pretty much the same as Mr. Beer kits just 5 gallons in the end.

In answer to your question about making good beer with Mr Beer; Yes, you can make good beer. IMO you will make better, more complex beers by stepping up to other kits. The ones with specialty steeping grains are easy to do and give you more style options.

-7.5 gallon brew pot ** You can start with a 20qt aluminum pot from the grocery store for about $20-$25
-long stirring paddle ** Use the longest spoon you already have.
- idophor ** or Starsan. IMO this is a must - sanitation is most important.
-hydrometer ** also a must - the only way to know exactly the progress of your fermentation.
-auto siphon ** A good buy it makes transferring your liquids easy.
-bottles ** ask friends to save empties, check out recycling centers - get free bottles.
-capper ** necessary unless kegging
-caps ** ditto
-carboys ** or buckets or Better Bottles (way safer than glass carboys!)
-airlocks ** necessary
-bottling bucket ** again necessary unless kegging
-bottling wand ** ditto

I think that about does it. All in l that's a lot of money. Again, should I just keep making the mr beer ingredients before I dump this much money?

This depends on what you want to accomplish. To make more complex styles you will need to move up.

Check out the equipment in the starter kits from Midwest.com, Northern Brewer.com, Austinhomebrew.com among others.

I started using the Northern Brewer Deluxe starter kits and their extract kits. Then as I continued to collect equipment I did some partial mash kits, then started formulating my own recipes and progressed to a gravity fed all grain setup.

What you end up with depends on what you feel comfortable with. Many brewers stick with extract kits, others work from recipes others go in all the way and spend thousands.

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Old 01-12-2013, 05:10 PM   #8
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As a Homebrew Shop owner, you can buy starter kits reasonably cheap. I sell the Brewers Best Equipment kits and they start at $84 and have everything you need to start in the box minus a kettle. Or, you can just get it piece meal. Buckets are about $14 with the lids. The hardest part is getting all the small things. Youre really better off going with a kit, then you know its all there. If you want all the upgrades I have the Beast Kit, which has all the upgrades including auto-siphon, glass carboy and a 20qt brew pot for $180. Not that you will be buying from me, just giving you some options.

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Old 01-12-2013, 11:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tackett View Post
Thanks for the input fellas!

I have my second mr beer batch fermenting in a 5 gallon bucket downstairs.

I need to buy an auto siphon, then I plan to move the wort from the bucket to the mr beer keg. And use it as a bottling bucket and batch prime.
Can I ask why your Mr. Beer is fermenting in a 5 gal. bucket? That's 2.5 gallons of beer, right?
Maybe Mr. Beer does 5 gal. batches, and I'm unaware.
The Mr. Beer kits that I've used fermented in the Little Brown Keg.
Forgive me if I'm missing something, and welcome to the wonderful world of homebrewing!
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Old 01-13-2013, 01:56 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobot View Post
Can I ask why your Mr. Beer is fermenting in a 5 gal. bucket? That's 2.5 gallons of beer, right?
Maybe Mr. Beer does 5 gal. batches, and I'm unaware.
The Mr. Beer kits that I've used fermented in the Little Brown Keg.
Forgive me if I'm missing something, and welcome to the wonderful world of homebrewing!


No it's 2.5 gallons. I just used a bucket because batch 1 was already fermenting in the LBK.
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