Mr. Beer

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Steve Brown
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Mr. Beer

#1 Post by Steve Brown » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:38 pm

Hey,

I don't remember who was talking about this a couple of months ago. A group was talking about getting a Mr. Beer kit just to see what sort of results that experienced brewers could get with one. There's one on CraigsList today if anyone wants to try it. This would have the added challenge of not knowing just how old the thing might be!

Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System - $20 (Lawrence, KS) pic
http://lawrence.craigslist.org/hsh/1882127920.html
New Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System in the box never been used. $20
Located in Lawrence, 816-898-2692

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Jensen
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Re: Mr. Beer

#2 Post by Jensen » Thu Aug 05, 2010 7:34 pm

Steve Brown wrote: This would have the added challenge of not knowing just how old the thing might be!

I always wonder how old these things are in the stores as well. Not much turn around on them, 'cept for last minute holiday purchases. I looked for a date on one once and could not find it.
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Rob Martin
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Re: Mr. Beer

#3 Post by Rob Martin » Thu Aug 05, 2010 8:29 pm

Steve - if you get it, I'll drink it with you.

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Re: Mr. Beer

#4 Post by Steve Brown » Thu Aug 05, 2010 9:16 pm

Rob Martin wrote:Steve - if you get it, I'll drink it with you.
... hmmm, that sounds an awful lot like I'd have to drink some ...

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Glenn
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Re: Mr. Beer

#5 Post by Glenn » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:56 pm

Steve Brown wrote:
Rob Martin wrote:Steve - if you get it, I'll drink it with you.
... hmmm, that sounds an awful lot like I'd have to drink some ...
And therein layeth teh rub.
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Rob Martin
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Re: Mr. Beer

#6 Post by Rob Martin » Tue Aug 17, 2010 5:54 pm

Guy at work gave me one of these today:

Image

minus the Booster and the tall Pilsner glass full of Pale Ale. (They can't even get the glasses right for the website, sheesh!)

http://www.mrbeer.com/product-exec/prod ... ster_trade_

So, I'm going to make it for those willing to try it. First, I needed to find out exactly what is the 'Booster'.

http://www.mrbeer.com/product-exec/prod ... er_trade_1

Found this:

Ingredients
Mr. Beer Booster contains a mixture of corn syrup solids in these proportions: 8 percent glucose, 56 percent maltose, 16 percent maltotriose and 20 percent dextrins.


Read more: What is mr. beer booster? | Answerbag http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/1995390#ixzz0wtfcHX4G

I'm not going to buy the Booster, so from the percents above, I think I will use 3/4 DME and 1/4 Corn sugar. For all you lucky folks, this just may be ready for Friday night Brewfest.

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Re: Mr. Beer

#7 Post by Steve Brown » Wed Aug 18, 2010 2:59 am

Hmmm. How basic are you going, Rob?? You've been doing this for a while, and might have forgotten how to do extracts!! (I think your "Booster" will be about right for a fair representation of the Mr Beer product.)

For the very most introductory brewing folks (I remember it well...): Here's a few comments regarding my progression as a brewer from the beginning, where one might start to see if it's at all interesting and to practice sanitation - can't say it enough: sanitation and cleanliness. Even if the final product is nothing like what you had in mind or want at all, if your sanitation is there, the product will at least be drinkable.

Even when I did strictly extract brews, I *still* put in a bit of bittering/flavor hops and a few 5 minute hops, generally an ounce full-boil somewhere between 30-60 minutes, and an ounce within the last five minutes. This was for hopped extracts; for unhopped syrups, I added more, of course. (For this West Coast Pale Ale, an easy choice would be to use those free Cascades from Free State via Jensen.)

For that can of West Coast pale, the beginner could add up to 2 to 5 lbs corn sugar for a bit more alcohol in a five-gallon batch. You have to add some hops to balance the added sugar! For a partial-boil, stove-top method, heat two+ gallons of water in a typical 16-quart stock pot (stainless steel or enamel with no scratches) while dissolving the syrup and sugar. You can use some of the hot water to get all of the goodies from the can; in fact, you can even cut both ends out and put the can into the hot water for a few minutes! (Or you could use two cans for a five-gallon batch instead of adding sugar/"Booster".)

[Optional: A step up in product quality, and IMO a *big* improvement, would be to use DME (dry malt extract) or LME (liquid malt extract) instead of sugar at the beginning of the boil. (Or you could use two cans for a five-gallon batch.) I've read that sugar won't affect the taste; in my experience, I have to disagree. I find that too much sugar yields cidery-to-vinegary off-flavors.]

[Optional: The next step up would be to do a "partial mash" or "mini-mash" by steeping some grains. For this example, I'd try a half-pound of carapils for head-retention and mouth-feel, and maybe a pound of crystal 40 or 60 for color and toffee/caramel flavor. Steep them in the water like a big tea-bag in cheese cloth or a nylon brew bag at about 150 degrees for thirty minutes. Remove the grains before increasing the heat and adding the syrup/DME/sugar and raising to a boil.]

Bring that to a boil, occasionally stirring the bottom of the kettle so that it does not scorch! Also: if you do not stir it once in a while as it nears a boil, the wort will rise up like an angry mob and attempt to flee the pot! Do NOT let this happen!! It is a huge and sticky inconvenient mess, and an occasional stir will prevent that - break the surface tension. Once boiling (assume you're going to boil it for a total of 60 minutes), add an ounce of hops - these will add bitterness to the beer. After 40 minutes, add another half-ounce of hops - these will add some flavor to the beer. Sometime within the last five minutes, add another half-ounce of hops - these will add aroma; IMO later is better. Some people say you need to pasteurize the hops - therefore boil five minutes. I disagree, as hops act as a preserving agent; therefore, late is OK with me. More than five minutes and the aromatics will be driven off.

[Optional: Another basic step-up, IMO: for this style use three ounces of hops! Or more!! (This is for a pre-hopped extract - even more if it's unhopped!) Spread that second ounce of hops out. For example, add the first ounce at the beginning of the boil for bitterness. Add 1/4-1/3 oz. after 15 minutes of boil, another 1/4-1/3 oz. after 30 minutes of boil, the rest after 45 minutes. I've read that anything over 20 minutes boils off the flavor components and merely wastes bitterness utilization. I disagree; IMO this gives a fuller flavor profile. Add the third ounce very near the end, as above.]

As soon as you turn off the heat, the idea is to cool the wort as quickly as possible. Cool the kettle in an ice-bath in the sink. [If you froze some pre-boiled water in sanitized containers the day before brew day, you could plunk that into the pot, too!] Put a sanitized colander on top of your fermenter bucket and pour the cooled wort through the colander. This will trap some of the hop matter and help to aerate the wort. Dilute to about 5.5 gallons aiming for a temperature of 60 to 65 degrees for this style. The beer will warm as it ferments, so a bit on the cool side is OK.

[Optional: At this point, you could add oxygen to the wort, and that will help the yeast take off fast, essential to overtake wild yeasts - for this style, anyway! Buggy people might disagree :) But pouring the wort through the colander will splash things around and add O2 for the basic brewers.]

Pitch your yeast! Follow the instructions. If using a Wyeast smack-pack or a WL vial, the yeast should be cooler than the wort. If it hits cooler wort, it will be shocked and its virility will be reduced, similar to jumping into a cold shower.... If it hits warm liquid it will find tumescent nirvana. If using dry yeast, sprinkle it on top.

[Optional: pre-activate the dry yeast by hydrating it for an hour in sterile water in a covered, sanitized container while boiling the wort.]

[Optional: if using liquid yeast, grow a starter - a bigger pitch will help reduce chances of infection. See other threads for details.]

When fermentation is complete, there will be some trub at the bottom. By starting with 5.5 gallons, you'll be able to get a full 5 gallons of beer! Bottle or keg five gallons of yumminess! (Threads on carbonation, like building yeast starters, can be found elsewhere.)

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Rob Martin
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Re: Mr. Beer

#8 Post by Rob Martin » Wed Aug 18, 2010 3:21 pm

Actually, I'm interested in seeing what Mr. Beer does when their instructions are followed. Never had a Mr. Beer, but I got a feeling it will be similiar to my first kit I made 20 yrs ago. I've gone back and forth from kits, partial mashes, all-grain, back to partials and even did a few kits inbetween. Last true kit I did was in 2004.

I was planning on following their instructions as close as I can without actually buying their equipment or Booster pack, which is why I was leaning towards the 3-to-1 ratio of DME and corn sugar for the additional 13 oz of Booster. BTW, this can of extract is only 19.4 oz. and the recipe makes 2 gallons of beer. The extract is hopped and is supposed to be 22 IBU which seems low, even to this non-hop head, but that's what it calls for. There is the smallest yeast sachet under the lid I've ever seen. The can does have an expiration date of July 2011.

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Re: Mr. Beer

#9 Post by Rob Martin » Sat Aug 21, 2010 12:11 pm

EPIC FAIL BY NEWB!

Here's the directions I was following with my adaptations:

Step 2: Brewing

2.1. Fill keg (plastic primary bucket) with cold water to the 4-quart mark on the back.

2.2. Remove yeast packet from under lid of HME, then place unopened can in hot tap water (warm liquid pours more easily).

2.3. Using the sanitized measuring cup, place 4 cups of water into a clean 3-quart pot, then slowly sprinkle in Booster™ while continually stirring to avoid clumping.

(Substitute 9.5 oz DME & 3 oz corn sugar for Booster)

2.4. Once the Booster™ is fully dissolved, bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

NOTE: HOPS MAY APPEAR AS GREEN LEAF PARTICLES AND WILL NOT DISSOLVE.

2.5. Stir HME into mixture of water and Booster™ (this mixture is called the wort).

Didn’t like the idea of not boiling my HME (Hopped malt extract) after opening it with a can opener and watching the extract leak all over the can and my non-sterilized opener. So, brought it to a boil.

EPIC FAIL!
My wort was 2 qts in a 3 qt pot (per their instructions). It boiled over big time. More than half of it. This was the worst boil over (percentage of wort) and stickiest wort I have ever had. I lost at least half of my wort. It took me longer to clean the stove, the oven (it leaked into the oven) the cabinet and the floor than it took me to do steps 1-5. I threw the remaing 1 qt of wort down the drain.

EPIC FAIL BY NEWB!

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sam
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Re: Mr. Beer

#10 Post by sam » Sat Aug 21, 2010 1:01 pm

Ahh, brings back memories of my first stove top attempt of a extract kit beer. I too, spent the better part of an afternoon cleaning. It all happened so fast! It was like having Mount Saint Helen in your kitchen. My ex-wife was thoroughly impressed with the extent of the calmity, I assure you. May have precipitated the decline of the marriage. :lol: :occasion5:
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Re: Mr. Beer

#11 Post by Melonmon » Mon Aug 23, 2010 9:47 am

See what you started, Steve? Sheesh. What a mess.

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Re: Mr. Beer

#12 Post by Steve Brown » Mon Aug 23, 2010 6:07 pm

Oh, Oh yeah - blame the partial-mash, partial-boil guy! Thanks, Ellen! :)

I knew Rob had in mind following the instructions for a Mr. Beer. I was aiming for a basic set of instructions for a "successful" first brew.... I tried to give a basic overview for people new to brewing and/or returning to the basics. Buried somewhere in the tips for the most-basic approach was this tiny gem:

"Bring that to a boil, occasionally stirring the bottom of the kettle so that it does not scorch! Also: if you do not stir it once in a while as it nears a boil, the wort will rise up like an angry mob and attempt to flee the pot! Do NOT let this happen!! It is a huge and sticky inconvenient mess, and an occasional stir will prevent that - break the surface tension."

All you folks who never deal with the thick, syrupy, condensed wort of a partial-boil; or, if you do all of your boiling outdoors - you probably forget how big a mess this can be! :shock:

Gosh, I remember making wort for a 5-gallon batch in, I think, a six-quart aluminum pot; maybe eight-quart tops. I left about an inch of empty space to work with - no ferm-cap! (A gas range is far superior to electric when preventing boil-overs - turn the flame off and the heat source ends, too. It can be tricky trying to keep stirring the angry mob of rising wort while turning off the burner and *still* having to move the pot off of an electric heating element! At least, it is for those of us with fewer than three or four hands.) Very quickly, I bought a 16-quart stock pot. Oddly enough, I never had a boil-over until last year, about six months after I bought a Bayou Classic burner and started working outdoors....

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