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Old 11-16-2005, 05:26 AM   #1
chadd
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Default Secondary size, and general advice?

Hello,

I recently purchased a Mr beer kit and up to this point I have been please with the results. So far I have made the West Coast Pale Ale, Archers Hard Cider and have Whispering Wheat Weizenbier in the fermenter now.

Question #1
I purchased a 3 Gal carboy and airlock to use as a secondary to give the brew a bit of time to clear up before bottling. My question is will the 3 Gal leave me with too much air space in the secondary? I filled the carboy with the same volume of water that the Mr beer fermenter holds "around 2.5 gal" and it leaves about 3 or 4" or dead air space at the top.

Question #2
Is it that much more difficult to brew with a traditional brew kit vs the Mr Beer kit and can you brew smaller batches say around 2.5 Gal with a kit that comes with a 7.9 gal pri and a 5 gal secondary?

I am not really that much of a beer drinker because I never have cared for the taste of most beer. Thats one reason why I bought the kit so I could try out different kinds and find something that I like to drink. I have plenty of volunteers to drink what I make and I dont like.

I have had a really good time doing it so far.

Thanks,
Chadd



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Old 11-16-2005, 02:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chadd
Question #1
I purchased a 3 Gal carboy and airlock to use as a secondary to give the brew a bit of time to clear up before bottling. My question is will the 3 Gal leave me with too much air space in the secondary? I filled the carboy with the same volume of water that the Mr beer fermenter holds "around 2.5 gal" and it leaves about 3 or 4" or dead air space at the top.
The air space isn't that much of a concern. Sure... less is better, but as long as you have a bit of CO2 on top of the beer to protect it, you could have 3 feet of air space in the carboy and it wouldn't hurt you. (When you transfer the beer from Mr. Beer into the carboy, it will cause some of the dissolved CO2 in the beer to be knocked out of solution, and this will provide the security blanket you need.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chadd
Question #2
Is it that much more difficult to brew with a traditional brew kit vs the Mr Beer kit and can you brew smaller batches say around 2.5 Gal with a kit that comes with a 7.9 gal pri and a 5 gal secondary?
I can't remember how Mr. Beer works, but if it's just one of those "max hot water with the syrup and put it into the fermenter" then I would say that 'traditionl' brewing is more difficult.

Well... 'difficult' isn't really the right word. It's more time consuming and involves more steps and equipment, but it's not hard to do at all.

As for brewing small batches in big containers..... read my response to Quesiton #1. As long as there is CO2 coming out of the fermentation, it will protect your beer from the air that might be in the vessel. Should work fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chadd
I am not really that much of a beer drinker because I never have cared for the taste of most beer.
Strange. You might be the first homebrewer I've run across that doesn't consider themselves a true lover of beer (excluding the kids that brew because they can't buy and just want alcohol.)

-walker


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Old 11-17-2005, 12:29 AM   #3
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The air space isn't that much of a concern. Sure... less is better, but as long as you have a bit of CO2 on top of the beer to protect it, you could have 3 feet of air space in the carboy and it wouldn't hurt you. (When you transfer the beer from Mr. Beer into the carboy, it will cause some of the dissolved CO2 in the beer to be knocked out of solution, and this will provide the security blanket you need.
Thats what I had hoped to hear.



Quote:
I can't remember how Mr. Beer works, but if it's just one of those "max hot water with the syrup and put it into the fermenter" then I would say that 'traditionl' brewing is more difficult.
That pretty much sums it up. Clean and sanitize everything, boil some water, mix in the syrup, add hops or whatever else you want to put in it, pour it in fermenter with cold water stir to aerate then throw in the yeast, let it ferment. Clean and sanitize your bottles, put in the priming sugar, transfer the brew to the bottles and let it carbonate.


Quote:
As for brewing small batches in big containers..... read my response to Quesiton #1. As long as there is CO2 coming out of the fermentation, it will protect your beer from the air that might be in the vessel. Should work fine.
The brew shop discouraged me from doing this do to excess air in the secondary. Again thanks for the answer



Quote:
Strange. You might be the first homebrewer I've run across that doesn't consider themselves a true lover of beer.
Yeah I got the strangest looks from friends at work when I told them I was making beer. I have never drank anything but commercial beer though and this will give me a chance to try whatever I want to brew up.

Also like I said I have plenty of volunteers at work to drink what I don't like.

Thanks again,
Chadd
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Old 11-17-2005, 02:00 AM   #4
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I started hating commercial beer when I was in my early twenties. (I'm 33 now). Luckily Microbreweries started popping up all over BC (And the Pacific Northwest in the US) and I was exited to learn I really like GOOD beer.

Unfortunately most of them have been bought up by the big breweries and while still "better" beer, they are starting to seem to generic. Recipe's are starting to be to consistant or slowly changing to apeal more to the generic beer drinker Thank god for brew pubs and local picobreweries! Though sometimes the expertise is a lacking at least they are trying and learning!

The mass produced swill they call "lager" now a days usually makes me won't to gag. I have my moments though, like hot summer's day camping and someone throws me a cold Canadian or Labatts or whatever and I'll drink it. "Beer is Beer" as my Dad would say with a shrug. I prefer, "Beer is Beer, but better beer is best!"

It may take yo a while to find a style you like. SOme people find they perfer a maltier less bitter beer, dark, light full body or light. SOme it's the type of hops or ... etc, etc.

Check out: Beer Styles

Don't be overwhlemed by the descriptions, but it will give you a sence of how many variations of beer there can be, never mention you can make your OWN style!

As for the 3 gall carboy and 2.5 gal mr beer keg.

You could also make 3 gallon batches, use the carboy as a primary with blowout tube, (you'll lose about .5 gal and will get rid of some nastier elements) and use your 2.5 as your secondary or as a naturally carbonated/conditoned cask?

Platic won't hurt you all that much unless you plan to age for a long period, and with the batch sizes you are doing it probably work fine.

just my 2 cents (2.4 Canadian)

What is it about commercial beer that you don't really like? too bitter? not bitter enough, no body etc.? Taste's like mule piss?

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Old 11-17-2005, 03:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
What is it about commercial beer that you don't really like? too bitter? not bitter enough, no body etc.? Taste's like mule piss?
Generally a little too bitter and lacking body. Some has also tasted what I would imagine mule piss would taste like.

I tried for a while in my early 20's to drink beer but never could aquire the taste. Back then "early 90's" probably what I considered the best tasting was plain old Michelob. It was tolerable but still not good enough to keep me drinking.

I think what I may end up doing is going through the Mr.Beer line up of brews to find out what I like and don't like then going from there with a Brew kit and doing a bit more traditional home brewing. I was really surprised at how much I enjoy messing around doing this stuff.

Thanks,
Chadd
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Old 11-17-2005, 03:47 AM   #6
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Go to a big liquor store and look at their imported beer section. Purchase one of each of these:

Newcastle Brown Ale
Belhaven Wee Heavy
Youngs Special London Ale
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout
Schneider Weisse
And if you can find one, either a Shinner Blond or a Red Hook Blond from the domestic section.

Drink each one of these on a seperate day and take notes. Let us know which you liked the best and why and I'll guarentee you that we can get you in the ballpark on that style and flavor.

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Bottle Conditioning: Oatmeal Stout

Drinking from Keg: Ordinary Bitter, Kolsch

Drinking bottled: Brown Autumn Wee Heavy
Hefe Weizen
Peaches and Cream Weizen


"This is grain, which any fool can eat, but for which the Lord intended a more divine means of consumption... Beer!"
-Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, Friar Tuck.

Next up: Hefe Weizen


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Old 11-17-2005, 06:06 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chadd
Generally a little too bitter and lacking body. Some has also tasted what I would imagine mule piss would taste like.
You might want to try a "Mild" They have good body and aren't as bitter. With hops there is a bitterness and a flavor element. They are both "infused" into the beer buy seperate methods (long boil, short boil).

A full bodied beer with lots of hops will often suprise you. You may find that the lack of body of generic lager was putting you off the hops. And if you use a yeast that leaves a higher FG then you'll have more residual sweetness to balance out the hops. Balance is key in any good beer.

Have you drank pale ale or other non lager beers?
Also for a good lager try "Czechvar". Great Czech lager and probably the first pilsner made (though Pilsner Urquel desputes this and claims that tile for themself). Pilsner Urquel is a decent lager as well but it is a bit more bitter than Czechvar. Czechvar is nown a "Budvar" in Czech, but can't use that name in the west due to a dispute with budweiser. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Czechvar
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Old 11-18-2005, 08:19 AM   #8
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I love it!! A brewer who isn't all that fond of beer, you have an infinite number of possibilities. When I first started drinking (at the ripe old age of 21 of course ) my buddies and I would buy smirnoff ice, wine coolers, etc. We then moved on to domestic (here in America that'd be Coors and Budweiser) then started drinking Sierra Nevada and the like, eventually graduating to big beers like Moylans Hopsickle, Arrogant Bastard, and Ruination IPA. Homebrewing is the best and worst thing that's ever happened to me. I can now make similar beers to the ones I liked, but now just about everything I pick up at the store tastes like the aforementioned mule piss. I never really understood the term "aquired taste" until I took up drinking beer. I hope you find a style you like and this forum is an amazing resource, good luck. Also gotta mention those Mr. Beer kits kick ass, that's what got me started in the first place.

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Old 11-18-2005, 11:08 AM   #9
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Quote:
Also gotta mention those Mr. Beer kits kick ass, that's what got me started in the first place
And me.

What I didn't realise thought is I could of bought two 2.5 gallon buckets and a beer kit to do the same job as a mr beer kit for a third of the price. The keg does look a little neater though.
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Old 11-18-2005, 05:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottT
Go to a big liquor store and look at their imported beer section. Purchase one of each of these:

Newcastle Brown Ale
Belhaven Wee Heavy
Youngs Special London Ale
Samuel Smiths Oatmeal Stout
Schneider Weisse
And if you can find one, either a Shinner Blond or a Red Hook Blond from the domestic section.

Drink each one of these on a seperate day and take notes. Let us know which you liked the best and why and I'll guarentee you that we can get you in the ballpark on that style and flavor.
Great idea! This is the perfect time to start "researching" beer styles

Regarding bitter beer: Some beers will suprise you on this front. While bitterness might not be your thing, there are beers out there that are very good and bitter at the same time. To me, there's a big difference between commercial (macrobrew) bitterness and microbrew / homebrewed bitterness.


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