moving on to full 5 gal batches

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K5MOW

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Well got a Mr. Beer for Christmas:) and have not finised my first batch yet. So far I love the Mr. Beer:ban: and will still use it but I am going to upgrad to full 5 gal batches. I am still looking and will hopfully get a kit from B&S Brewers Guild Inc here in TX. I hope to get my kit in about one week. Well talk latter.

:mug:

Roger
 

TwoFortySX

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I too started with a MB kit and indeed felt inadequate to people who brew with "real" equipment. Even though I wanted to upgrade ASAP, I learned quickly that MB kits are an great teaching tool. They give you a good foundation to build on :)
 

Golddiggie

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To be completely blunt, and honest, from everything I've heard about mr. beer, you'll get poor results (unless you seriously modify what they give you)... Going to a regular HB kit will give you much better results. I would also avoid using the mr. beer extracts and such in regular 5 gallon batches.

When I started brewing back in November (yes, just a couple of months ago), I researched what the thoughts were on mr. beer as compared with the kits you find in most LHBS stores. Even though the LHBS may sell the mr. beer kits, you'll find that even a two bucket (5 gallon batch size) kit will give you better results. Plus, using either the kits created by the LHBS, or formulated by other HBS, will give you better beer.

Of course, that changes when you go either partial mash, or all grain (getting even better beers at each step). Start crushing your own grain and you'll soon find out how good home brewed beer really can be. I don't have a grain mill/crusher just yet, but that's on the horizon (should have it within a month). I've already progressed to brewing all grain 5 gallon batches (making my second one tomorrow) and am appreciating everything it brings to the table. I've also started washing my yeast. I made a starter for one of the splits of my first yeast wash, last night. As of just a few minutes ago, it's foaming nicely when given a good swirl, so the yeast is good there. I probably could have just pitched it in (since my next batch estimated OG is 1.058, but I would rather know the yeast is healthy, plus give it some time to reproduce.

While I do think that it's great that you enjoy brewing, don't overestimate what you'll get from the mr. beer kit. Follow best practices (especially sanitation) for your 5 gallon batches, using good quality ingredients and you'll soon pass over the mr. beer stuff.

Personally, I'll be 'stuck' with 5 gallon batches for a while due to space limitations. Once I've moved to a larger place (providing I have space outside, and storage space too) I'll be going to 10 gallon batches (for at least some of my recipes). If you don't have a lot of people to share the brew with, 5 gallon batches remain a good size to go with. :mug:

Oh, and just wait until you start wanting to keg... I'm also at that stage. Only thing that's been holding me back for the past couple of weeks was not knowing when I'd be working again. Since I'm about to start a new job, once I have my second paycheck, I'll be getting kegs and supplies (if not with the first paycheck). A keezer is also in my very near future. :D:drunk:
 

Golddiggie

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I too started with a MB kit and indeed felt inadequate to people who brew with "real" equipment. Even though I wanted to upgrade ASAP, I learned quickly that MB kits are an great teaching tool. They give you a good foundation to build on :)
Problem is, you'll need to change to a bit of a different process once you start brewing with real equipment... You'll also need to learn to read a hydrometer (not difficult) as well as be patient and give the brew enough time to complete. Knowing your yeast also becomes important. Know it's temperature range as well as ABV tolerance so that you use one that you can support. Also pick the right one for the brew style you're making.

Two books I can recommend to get more knowledge... Joy of Home Brewing [Charlie Papazian] and Designing Great Beers [Ray Daniels]... Both will give you more insight into brewing... Go for the joy book first, then get the other once you've made a few extract batches.
 

birvine

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I can second the Papazian book (books, actually). And I just ordered the Daniels book a few days ago so cannot comment yet, but I read good things about it/.

B
 
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K5MOW

K5MOW

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Problem is, you'll need to change to a bit of a different process once you start brewing with real equipment... You'll also need to learn to read a hydrometer (not difficult) as well as be patient and give the brew enough time to complete. Knowing your yeast also becomes important. Know it's temperature range as well as ABV tolerance so that you use one that you can support. Also pick the right one for the brew style you're making.

Two books I can recommend to get more knowledge... Joy of Home Brewing [Charlie Papazian] and Designing Great Beers [Ray Daniels]... Both will give you more insight into brewing... Go for the joy book first, then get the other once you've made a few extract batches.
Thanks I will look into those books. I am now reading How to brew by John J. Palmer.

Talk latter

Roger
 

TwoFortySX

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Problem is, you'll need to change to a bit of a different process once you start brewing with real equipment... You'll also need to learn to read a hydrometer (not difficult) as well as be patient and give the brew enough time to complete. Knowing your yeast also becomes important. Know it's temperature range as well as ABV tolerance so that you use one that you can support. Also pick the right one for the brew style you're making.

Two books I can recommend to get more knowledge... Joy of Home Brewing [Charlie Papazian] and Designing Great Beers [Ray Daniels]... Both will give you more insight into brewing... Go for the joy book first, then get the other once you've made a few extract batches.
I agree with you. I am not proclaiming that a MB kit is great or the results are great by any stretch. It is a tool used to gain the initial experience needed to understand the most very basic principals of brewing. The things a MB kit will teach you are the things that even novice "real" home brewers take for granted. I equate it to being a pre-school before kindergarten type of thing.
 

MaxSpang

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I, too, got the Mr Beer kit for Christmas. I've decided to skip the whole transition period, and go straight from a few Mr. Beer batches to a 5-gal batch of All Grain.


That being said, Mr Beer may have been one of the best gifts I've ever gotten - now I am HOOKED to brewing!
 

Golddiggie

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I do think it's great that you're getting into brewing, don't get me wrong there, I just see the mr beer stuff as only giving you a very small understanding of brewing. Once you go to a regular 'starter kit' you'll need to forget a lot of what mr. beer does and replace it with better methods/practices. Use unhopped extracts. Use pellet hops that either come in 1oz packets, or get bulk and measure them out yourself. Make starters for the yeast (more important for liquid than dry, but almost always a good idea), and so much more. Probably the only thing you'll keep from the 'pre-pre-pre-school' level of mr. beer is boiling water and adding ingredients at designated times/steps.

Personally, I skipped pre-school and kindergarden and jumped right into 1st grade for school. :D I have always been a fast learner, especially when I have an interest in the subject.

I've done three extract brews, one partial mash, and one all grain so far. All grain batch #2 is tomorrow. My yeast starter is farting away happily, so I know the washed yeast is good (my first yeast wash/harvest results, have a second cake in the fridge for use when needed)...

I will say, that I do prefer using carboy's (either glass or plastic for beer, but glass for mead) to ferment in over buckets. IF you have the cabbage to spare, get the kit that includes a carboy for fermenting (still use the bottling bucket)... DO get the auto-siphon too, you'll appreciate it quickly. I make it a point to also have one airlock for every fermenting vessel I have, even if it's not in use, or I plan to rack from one to the other, and could move the airlock... You can never have too many airlocks (well, you could, but it would be a silly amount)... I would also recommend going with the Grolsch style of bottles. I prefer them over ones with caps you use and toss (since you ruin them when opening the brew) for a few reasons. For one, you have only one gasket to replace, eventually (a long time in the future). For another, they come in 16oz and 32oz sizes. For another, you can reseal them after opening, so if you don't want to finish a bottle (usually on the 32oz sizes) you can reseal it (do it as soon as possible though) and set it aside for later. They are also very easy to close come bottling day, not requiring any additional hardware... They also sound really cool when you pop one open. :D One down-side of them is good luck in finding a bottle brush that will fit through the opening. I have yet to locate one. But, that's pretty easy to get around, since you just wash them out soon after draining them (I tend to do it within 20-30 minutes) and then just set them to dry. If you let them go too long, you can use either some PBW, or oxyclean to get the gunk out of them.

Just remember, good kits will help (from the LHBS, or mail-order)... Look on the threads here for good places to order kits (if you don't have a LHBS close enough that offers them). Also look for other brewers in your area to connect with. You can learn a lot from someone that's been doing it a while longer (most of the time)...

Of course, there's always the mantra to follow... RDWHAHB :mug:
 

jbsg02

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I kind of like doing small batches in my Mr. Beer because I don't drink that much and no one else in my house drinks, so it would take me a long time to go through 5 gallons of beer. Having said that, I open up a lot more possibilities when I move into 5 gallon brews. The cost for ingredients isn't that much more and it's about the same amount of work. I will probably move up to 5 gallon soon
 
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