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Old 12-18-2011, 04:07 AM   #1
tokyo
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Default What's the worst that can happen?

Where to begin.....

I had a Mr Beer, but the "keg" was lost in the last basement flood clean-up. I had a couple of refill kits and recently purchased a 5 gallon starter kit (buckets, carboys, chems, etc). So anywhoooo....

I doubled up the amounts per Mr Beer directions on the Irish Stout HME, decided to get creative and added one pound dark brown sugar and 1/4 cup molasses (all I had) to the booster. Four gallons of water, an OG of 1.041 later, I sit in a primary (4.5 gallons total).

Any thoughts, comments, concerns, I would love to hear it. I am quite new to this so any feedback will be appreciated.

Just a couple of concerns at this point....the refill kits were close to a year old and I pitched yeast at 80 degrees. If it takes off, great...if not, I am only out a little bit of time. Progress reports to follow.

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Old 12-18-2011, 05:17 AM   #2
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Generally you want to pitch below 70 and use a good yeast did you use Mr beer yeast? The sugar will dry it out and thin the body a bit more. If you added their booster that consists of corn sugar also so if you used 2 of those you have quite a bit of sugar compared to extract. There seems to be a certain percentage of sugar that works but if you are over that percentage it may go downhill.
I would skip the creativeness until you learn what the outcome is beforehand.And know the basics.What temp do you have it sitting at now?Just leave it for 3 weeks or so. Maybe longer if it fermented at a high temp.How long did you plan on doing primary?
Since you have the stuff you may as well get a good ingredient kit next. If you want to get creative you may want want to look around in the recipe forum. Its fun making your own but no fun when they turned out nothing as expected.

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Old 12-18-2011, 05:59 AM   #3
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Used two of their boosters, two of the extracts, two of the Mr Beer yeasts, plus the other sugars. Plan to check gravity in two weeks (again in three days or so), if it even takes off. Primary is sitting in 70-72 degree, the only other option is the basement currently at 56.

I don't have very high expectations for it, just had the stuff laying around, had some time to burn, and my good buddy Jim Beam thought it was a good idea...lol.

Thanks for the comments and suggestions!

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Old 12-18-2011, 06:04 AM   #4
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I say "let it ride" while you order a recipe kit or get a good begginer recipe off of this site for the next batch...

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Old 12-23-2011, 03:22 AM   #5
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5 days later, the air lock showed no activity. Like a good citizen I took a gravity (and bought yeast). Started at 1.041, now at 1.028. Hooray fermentation! Since I am new to this, my guess is things are moving along as they should be. I will be taking another gravity in 3-5 days to see how things are progressing.

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Old 12-23-2011, 03:36 AM   #6
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I agree with jonmohno, give it at least 3 weeks, 4 would be better. I think your temps are on the high side, but I've had some good beer at those temps. I just left them for a month or so. [edit] Also, I don't do secondary. It sounds like you don't have the equipment to do a secondary, so don't worry about it. Leave it in the primary for a month, and then bottle.[/edit]

Also, go get yourself a good kit to go along with the new equipment.

And welcome to the obsession. The most expensive way to get cheap beer.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:08 AM   #7
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Okay, that is two replies on fermentation temps being on the high side. What would have been an ideal temp? Am I committed to my current temp or can I make move to cooler temps. I appreciate the feedback, but telling me what is wrong and not telling me what I should have or need to do, does not help the learning process. This little experiment is just that, a learning experience. Telling me to buy an ingredient kit does not help me with the current batch.

I am constantly reading and trying to learn, but the feedback from those of you that have time in is invaluable.

I hope this did not come off as a rant, just looking for advice I can sink my teeth into.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:20 AM   #8
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Ideally once fermentation kicks off say you pitched 65 deg. within 12 hrs with hydrated dry yeast. Put it somewhere cool like 60 degrees or low 60's if possible.Once krasuen has started to fall its ok to get it in a warmer temp. Fermentation temps can reach 5-10 deg higher than your ambient temps during fermentation which for me dry yeast usually does not take more than 2 days.This is most critical to the outcome of your beer along with appropriate yeast pitching rates.

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Old 12-23-2011, 04:40 AM   #9
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Thanks jonmohmo, that is the kind of info I am looking for...is that a hard and fast rule or just for this particular style? Would there be any major negative implications if I moved to cooler temps at this point, or am I committed to ride this thing out?

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Old 12-23-2011, 08:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tokyo View Post
Would there be any major negative implications if I moved to cooler temps at this point, or am I committed to ride this thing out?
The Mr. Beer yeast has a stated temperature range of between 68 to 76 deg F
so if you move it to your 56 deg F basement the yeast will eventually slip into hibernation. This won't hurt your beer, as such, but while hibernating the yeast aren't going to be swimming around cleaning up off flavours and smells that were formed during the initial, vigorous, fermentation phase. There are a number of ways you can raise the temp of the fermenter/wort to where it's in its ideal range again.

Maybe, in your case, keeping it where you have it now but using a swamp cooler and rotating bottles of frozen water a couple of times a day will help you stay in the optimum temp range for the Mr. Beer yeast.

When you are quoting your fermentation temps are you just talking about the ambient (room air) temperature or do you have an adhesive backed fermometer stuck on your Fermentation Vessel??

Absolute ideal temp for the Mr. Beer yeast would probably be keeping the wort at exactly 68-70F for the initial phase, or first week, and then maybe letting it go up to, and sit at, 72F for the next two weeks.

I've never done a MR. Beer kit with a 1:1 ratio on HME and Booster, generally I've done 2 cans HME, 1 pack booster and some other LME additions with a couple of 2.5 gallon brews so far, so not sure how your 5 gallon 2:2 ratio with a pound of dark brown sugar and molasses will fare but I'd have thought the DBS should leave a fair amount of residual flavour (molasses actually) after fermenting and the molasses doesn't ferment like cane sugar does so, theoretically, you shouldn't have an unbearably dry finished product.

Having quite a large percentage of easily fermentable adjuncts in there might give those two little 2 gram packs of MR. Beer yeast more of a chance to accomplish their task but, in future, a pack of Safale S-04 or US-05, with a temp range of 59 to 75F, will give you a better chance of producing a good to great beer.
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