Revising the Mr Beer starter kit brewing schedule

Link to original post: My tips for brewing with a Mr Beer starter kit

One of my earlier posts detailed tips for successfully using a Mr Beer starter kit. This article is a continuation of that list and I’d highly recommend reviewing both prior to attempting your first batch of Mr Beer. In this addendum of sorts I will update and explain the brewing process and schedules for adding custom grains, fresh or pelletized hops, primary fermentation, dry hopping, bottling and conditioning. After recently looking back at the guide included with the kit, I was surprised at how many seemingly simple issues I spotted. I would like to emphasize, this is not meant to replace reading the instructions. These are simply my suggestions that may help you brew a more flavorful and drinkable beer.

The first and probably most important suggested change to the brewing instructions has to do with the length of boil. They call for a 1 minute boil. If you have purchased any specialty grains or additional hops as I had previously suggested, you will need steeping time for the grains and at least 60 minutes of boiling time for the resultant wort. Any hops would be added as desired at the following times, 60 minutes for bittering, 15 minutes for flavor and 1 minute for additional aroma. Please make note, I do not recommend boiling the HME or booster pack included in the kit for this long. Instead add them just before you turn off the burner. The reasoning being that the HME has been infused with bitterness, flavors, and the aromas of hops and additional boiling will diminish them. Boiling the corn sugar booster pack for more than a few minutes serves no purpose

The second suggestion I’d make is to double or even triple the amount of time you let the beer ferment in the keg. The instructions suggest a minimum of 7 and up to 14 days time. Honestly, this is a bit ridiculous. It generally takes 1-3 days for the yeast to even start fermenting the initially available sugars. Although the alcohol content is for the most part completely converted by day 10, the yeast has not yet cleaned up the bi-products of this process. Let the beer sit in the keg for at least 3 weeks and preferably no more than 4. I’ve let batches sit on the yeast for upwards of 8 weeks with no noticeable effects, but this isn’t recommended. Although commercial brewers would have inherent issues with a primary fermentation this long, the small volume and lower pressures seen in home brewing equipment nicely avoid them.

I love to dry hop my beer. So much so that I’ve mentioned it in both posts. Nothing packs that big hop aroma into beer like a week or two of fresh hops added late in fermentation. Even when inappropriate for the style, I recommend adding an oz of aroma hops a week before you plan to bottle. I may sometimes go as high as 8 ounces, but I get a little crazy with the hops…

The fourth suggested change has to do with both the type of sugar used for bottling and how to add it. Mr Beer recommends adding table sugar directly to the bottles. Although this does work, it unnecessary creates more work for the yeast and forces it to work harder to carbonate your beer. Instead, I highly recommend using corn sugar (not corn syrup!!!) at a rate of 1/3rd cup dry measure (roughly 2.1 ozs by weight) per 2.5 gallon batch. Additionally, and to make bottling much simpler, add the corn sugar to a cup water, boil for 3 mins, cool and add to the keg. Stir very lightly making sure to not introduce any air. Your beer is now ready to bottle. Ideally, however you do not want to bottle beer directly off the yeast. This is where you are forced to make a choice whether to invest in a bottling bucket or try your luck. In either case avoid pulling any visible yeast or sediment into your bottles. Do not be concerned about having enough yeast to carbonate your bottles. If you used healthy yeast, there will be more than enough invisibly suspended in the beer.

Buy a bottling wand! This is simple, cheap and will radically improve the taste and shelf life of your homebrew. Simple to use, this will greatly reduce the oxygen introduced into the beer during transfer to the bottles. Any homebrew shop with have them for under $10. If not included be sure to ask for roughly 3 inches of tubing to connect the bottling wand to the spigot.

Finally, and this may be the toughest part, you need to let the beer age in the bottles for much longer than suggested. I recommend a minimum of three weeks before refrigerating and testing a single bottle. Even lighter ales may require up to 6 weeks of conditioning to achieve proper flavoring under certain conditions. Heartier styles such as stouts and barley wines are often aged for several months or even years.

If these posts help even just one person avoid the disappointment of cidery oxidized boring beer I’d be happy. There are very few things tougher to face as a brewer than putting in the time and effort only to end up with undrinkable swill. In my experience and with acknowledgment of feedback from other home brewers, these suggestions will lead to much better tasting beer that will also enjoy a longer shelf life before showing signs of age.

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About mrhopsbeertalk
Avid homebrewer and craft beer taster. I love all the hops I can get. #hops #ipa #iipa #ipl #porter #dipa #specialtyale #saison #craftbeer western mass · mrhopsbeertalk.wordpress.com

One Response to Revising the Mr Beer starter kit brewing schedule

  1. Pingback: Revising the Mr Beer starter kit brewing schedule | Bier Battered: Tasting Notes of the Random Pint

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