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Old 08-23-2012, 08:11 PM   #1
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Default My thoughts/review on my first brew with Mr. Beer kit

I received a Mr. Beer kit as a gift as I'd been wanting to try my hand at some different beers. It came with the standard Pale Ale beer kit and I wanted to try my hand at it first before I screwed up something I really wanted

The initial smell on the beer is that of honey and a bit alcoholy/hot. The front end is very bready/malty, followed up by that alcoholy/hot taste, and a bit of bitterness. It's fairly low in carbonation, but I'm not sure what the head on this beer should be any way. I could probably put a bit more sugar in it next time. Overall, it's not HORRIBLE but just barely drinkable.

Things I think I did right:
- Fermented for over 3 weeks.
- Bottle conditioned/carbed for about 3 weeks.
- Cold conditioned for about 1.5 weeks.
- Sanitized pretty well.
- Didn't fret too much on how the beer would turn out as I figured it'd be bad any way!

Things I think I did wrong:
- I think I didn't control the fermenting temp as well as I should have. I left it a day at room temp, then into a cooler with a few ice packs. Unfortunately, I forgot a day or two and the air temps ranged from 80ish-75ish.
- Didn't cool the wort or pour it into COLD water (just room temp water). Next time, I'll put the pot into an ice bath and bring the temp down before putting it in the fermenter.
- Used tap water to put into the fermenter first; I'll make sure I have bottle water on hand (and in the fridge!) next time.
- Didn't prime the yeast. This may not have made a difference, but I still will do it next time.
- Used a low end beer kit. Though this was on purpose, I'm going to get a higher quality, all LME kit next time.

Anyone have any comments or suggestions? I'm trying to stay with extract kits my first few times to continue to improve my process.

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Old 08-23-2012, 08:45 PM   #2
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For your next beer try to get the wort down to fermenting temperature before adding yeast and then control the temperature during the first 3 days of fermentation, trying to keep it in the low 60's.

Lighter color beers don't take as long to be ready to drink. For a Pale Ale I would let it ferment for 2 weeks rather than 3 and bottle condition for perhaps 1 to 3 weeks before refrigerating one for at least 24 hours before sampling. My dark beers such as a stout I leave in the fermenter 3 to 5 weeks and another 4 in the bottle and they turn out good.

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Old 08-23-2012, 09:00 PM   #3
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dont do what you did wrong, you will make beer.
nothing wrong with "low end" beer. its still BEER

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Old 08-23-2012, 09:17 PM   #4
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Keep your temps down int the 60's and practice good sanitation and you'll make good beer. I don't bother to proof my dry yeast. Be careful not to pour boiling hot wort into the LBK, it will cause it to crack. Pour your top up water in first then the hot wort.
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:32 PM   #5
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I really think fermentation temperature control is the most important factor in producing good beer, no matter what size batches you're brewing.

I've been pretty unhappy with a few Mr. Beer batches I've done by just letting it ferment at room temperature (72-74* ambient). I suspect pulling temps down to about 66-68* during fermentation will make a huge difference, and I've been looking at ways to do that myself without blowing the bank or taking up a huge amount of additional space in my apartment (ie, no new brew-fridge :-( ). Looks like a cooler w/ freezer packs might just be the best way to do it.
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Old 08-23-2012, 09:39 PM   #6
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I think you did a lot of things correctly. As far as sanitized "pretty well" Hmm, clean anything that will touch the wort after boiling and then soak it or spray it with StarSan. I doubt that came with your kit but it is a good investment. It is also a no rinse sanitizer.

As has already been said, and you stated from the beginning the ferm temp was a bit on the hot side, that's more than likely where the alcoholy/hot smell came from. Also definitely don't pitch yeast till the wort is well below 80, 65 would be better.

As far as rehydrating your yeast, it's not a requirement but won't hurt either. It allows them to soak up some water to help their little bodies before being introduced to the wort and they will thank you for that.

Oh, two other things. 1. You didn't mention aerating your cooled wort, this will help help the yeast as well, but never aerate the wort while hot or during/after fermentation. 2. Aw crap.. I forgot what I was going to say but will probably remember the moment I hit the submit button!

Have fun brewing! It's a blast
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Old 08-23-2012, 11:04 PM   #7
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These guys are all giving great advice! I started with Mr Beer and a small cooler with frozen water bottles is a must to keep the temps in the mid to low 60s and your beer will thank you. Also, the Mr Beer kits are lacking in malt extract for a decent tasting beer IMO. When I added a pound of light DME to a batch and swapped the "fromunda" yeast for something like US-05 I wound up with a much better product. After only 4 Mr Beer batches I jumped right into 5 gallon all grain brewing though and the obsession just keeps growing. Welcome to the hobsession!

No yeast, no beer. No beer, no civilization. Therefore, we really have yeast to thank for all our modern-day conveniences and tasty beer

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