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Mr Beer Pilsner Witbier : One Time Only

It came down to two final Mr. Beer kits left.  I’d recently brewed the IPA, and it was so awful most of that needed to go down the drain, so I wasn’t looking forward to wasting my time.  I think my processes made the IPA less than awesome, so I wanted to find a way to scale up the size of the batch so that I could use my normal brewing equipment.  Then it hit me… combine the Pilsner and the Witbier!  Sure the two styles aren’t exactly made to be combined, but they’re both light beers.  How bad could it be?  I also made the decision to do a 30 minute boil and add some hops, using some leftover Chinook hops that I had around.

Ingredients:  One Time Only Ale

Recipe Products

  • 2 Cans of Mr. Beer “Witty Monk” Witbier
  • 2 Cans of Mr. Beer “Pilothouse” Pilsner

Hop Additions

  • .3 oz Chinook (11.4%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .3 oz Chinook (11.4%) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .3 oz Chinook (11.4%) – added during boil, boiled 0 min

Yeast

  • Safale S-05 – Reused from Black IPA & Blonde Ale
  • Generic Mr. Beer Yeast packet (after slow start from the 05)

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.042 / FG 1.010
  • 4.22% ABV
  • Brewed 03/26/11, Kegged & Bottled 04/16/2011
  • Fermentation temps:  ~60° in Primary, ~64° Secondary

The Extended Mr. Beer Boil

This key to this batch of beer was to use Mr. Beer elements in a way contrary to their usual instructions.  Generally you boil water, then dissolve the cans of hopped extract in to the hot water.  I wanted to add my own hops, so I decided to change up the processes quite a bit.  I started by bringing the 2.5 gallons of water to a boil (2 gal filtered, .5 gal tap water).  Once the water was boiling, I added one can of the Pilsner extract, and one of the Witbier.  I then returned the wort to a boil and started my hop additions.  I added .3 ounces of Chinook hops at 30min, 15min, and 0min.  At the 0 minute mark, I added the remaining 2 cans of LME, stirring until dissolved.

With all the hops and LME added, it was time to cool the 2.5 gallons of wort.  I used a simple ice bath in the kitchen sink.  While the wort was cooling, I filled my fermenting bucket with about 3 gallons of cool water.  Once I got the wort down to a decent temp, I strained it in to the bucket of cool water.  Using cool water allows me to transfer the wort at a little warmer temperature.

For fermentation, I had saved about 2 cups of yeast slurry from my Blonde Ale.  I poured this yeast in to my fermenting bucket and gave it a good stir.  At this point I capped the bucket and placed it in my temperature controlled fridge.  After about a day, I wasn’t happy with the speed of the fermentation, so I broke down and added one of the generic yeast packets from the original Mr. Beer kit.  A day later, my fermentation was rolling perfectly!

Drinking the Mr. Beer Pilsner Witbier

I ended up calling this beer “One Time Only”, as there’s no way I’d ever be able to match it, even if I wanted to.  In all honesty, after dumping most of the Mr. Beer IPA, I didn’t expect much better results from this batch, especially after combining two very different styles.  This beer was crystal clear out of the primary, so I opted to skip the secondary and just get this in the bottle.  That meant I was drinking it a little sooner than usual, but even with that said, this beer wasn’t bad at all!

Not only did this beer turn out okay, it was actually pretty great.  When it was all said and done, the beer came out to be a slightly sweet, orange flavored, Pilsner.  Not exactly something I would try to emulate, but people really took to it.  This was introduced to my test drinkers (aka friends & family) at the same time as my recent Blonde Ale, and for the first couple of months, the OTO was the preferred beer of the two.  Go figure.

I should also mention my hop additions.  While the Chinook didn’t exactly make it’s presence known, I think it did a nice job of tying everything together, and combining the flavors of the Pilsner and Wit.

The downside of this batch was that it didn’t age well.  It was decent at first, but got a little stale with age.  In contrast, the Blonde Ale improved over time, and eventually became the better beer.

 

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Brewing the Classic American Blonde Ale

An interesting thing happened on my last batch.  I didn’t feel like my Doppel Bock was fermenting, so I stole a packet of yeast from the Blonde Ale kit.  The catch, that meant that now I’m short on yeast for my Blonde.  This gave me a fun chance to try out reusing the yeast from the Doppel Bock.

The day I bottled the Doppel Bock also needed to be the day I started the Classic American Blonde Ale.  I went ahead and bottled the Doppel Bock, just like normal, but I made sure to leave the trub and old yeast in the bottom of the Mr. Beer Keg.

Next up, I boiled water and dissolved my sugars – standard stuff for a Mr. Beer batch.  I filled the Mr. Beer keg with some room temp water, added my hot dissolved sugars, then topped off with cooler water to bring down the temp.  I didn’t make a good note, but I think I lightly stirred the contents of the keg.  Not fully stirring up the sediment from the last batch, but enough to mix things up a little.   At this point I screwed on the lid and crossed my fingers…

Used Yeast Fermentation

Eureka!  I wouldn’t have bet on it, but the next day I could smell that fermentation was taking place.  Looks like this might just work!

Bottling the Blonde Ale

I ended up getting a little busy… so this batch sat in the keg for a whole month before I was ready to bottle.  At least I know the fermentation had completed, right?

Starting gravity was 1.025.  When it was all said and done, my final gravity was .096 – which calculates to about 5.8% alcohol.  Nice!

I’ve got most of my plastic Mr. Beer bottles being used for other batches, so I had a strange mix of the Blonde.  I used 2 Growlers, 3 Liter Bottles, and 3 Grolsch style bottles.

I primed using amounts specified in the instructions, but I may have made a mistake… about a week after bottling I ended up with my first Bottle Bomb!  I’ll write and post pix of that soon!

Final Tasting and Thoughts

The best part of this batch was that I got to re-use yeast from another beer.  I have a feeling that this contributes a little more character to what might otherwise be a pretty boring Blonde Ale.  Using the yeast from a much darker beer, I think that my Blonde ended up with a little darker color, and a little bit of additional flavor.  Honestly, it’s pretty good.  As with any Mr. Beer, it’s nothing too mind blowing, but there’s also very little to complain about.  A fun experiment that actually worked out in the end.

Twice Used Yeast

 

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Mr. Beer Linebacker Doppel Bock – Mr Beer #3

After brewing a couple of the “Standard” level Mr. Beer kits, it was finally time to step up a level to one of the Deluxe All-Malt beer kits.

I opted for the Linebacker Doppelbock, which Mr. Beer says, “Mix together the deep roasted malts, toasted nutty flavor, and coffee aroma of the Linebacker Doppel Bock and the complex blend of pilsner, caramel, and chocolate malts of the Creamy Brown UME to create a nearly black and extremely roasty flavored porter style beer”.

Brewing the Linebacker Doppel Bock

Brewing this kit is pretty much just like the last couple of Mr. Beer brews I have created.  What makes this kit one of the “Deluxe” kits is the can of unhopped malt, in this case a creamy brown.  Instead of a booster pack, you get something that will make the beer quite a bit more interesting and flavorful.  Other than that, it’s the same process.  In short, I heated the water, dissolved the two cans of LME (liquid malt extract), and added to the Keg.

After adding the yeast and letting it sit for 5 minutes, I screwed on the cap and took the Keg to my special brewing room (a.k.a. – my hall closet).

Fermentation and Bottling

With the Mr. Beer kits, I struggle to find much to write about, as the processes so closely match from batch to batch, but I did run into some issues with this batch.  After a couple of days in the Keg, I didn’t feel like the beer had begun fermenting at all.  I tasted the wort, and it didn’t seem to have changed at all — though I really couldn’t tell one way or the other.  I figured I should take action before the whole batch went bad, so I decided to steal one of the yeast packets from a different kit.

The yeast packets are all generic, so I’m assuming the yeast is the same for every batch of Mr. Beer brew.  I borrowed the yeast from my Blonde Ale.  I won’t elaborate for now, but I’ll explain how I made up for the loss when I write up my Blonde Ale blog.

Anyways, the second packet of yeast seemed to do at least a little something.  I wouldn’t say there was much action in the Keg, but I could finally smell that alcohol was being created (one of the bonuses of using a small closet, I guess).

Bottling went smoothly.  Again, I used an 8 pack of the plastic one liter bottles.

Drinking the Linebacker Doppel Bock

It’s currently Summer, and dark beers aren’t exactly thirst quenching, but I can say that this is easily my best Mr. Beer brew thus far.  The darker beer has quite a bit of flavor, while being smooth and inoffensive, as seems to be my impression of Mr. Beers in general.

About Doppel Bocks

From Wikipedia: It has a very strong malty aroma, with some toasty aromas. Some alcohol aroma may be present, and darker versions may have a chocolate-like or fruity aroma. The flavor is very rich and malty, with toasty flavors and noticeable alcoholic strength. Most versions are fairly sweet, due to little or no hop flavor.

From BeerAdvocate: have a very full-bodied flavor and are darker than their little Bock brothers and sisters and a higher level of alcohol too. They range in color from dark amber to nearly black, and dark versions often have slight chocolate or roasted characters.

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Something a little different on the Making Homebrew blog. I’ve got a guest post! I wrote a while back about my purchase of the Deluxe Mr. Beer Kit, and I decided that it would be helpful to have somebody else brew a couple of the eight different beers that were included.

I’ve enlisted the help of friend and fellow beer brewer Travis.  What follows is a nice step by step account of the creation of a Mr. Beer beer.  Travis has brewed several Mr. Beer kits in the past, and has a few techniques that I have not yet adopted!

The following is a guest blog from Travis, webmaster of Scroll Saw Villiage

Brewing a Mr. Beer Octoberfest Vienna Lager

I’ve brewed a number of Mr. Beer kits in the past.  Its a quick and easy way to make a batch of beer, especially when you’re short on time or space.  This time, I’m making up a batch of Octoberfest Vienna Lager.  This a basic ingredient kit from Mr. Beer.  The refill kit comes with a pre-hopped malt extract, yeast packet hidden under the lid, booster, and a sanitizer.  The instructions came with my original kit.  I’ll deviate a little from the instructions provided with the Mr. Beer kit.  I just found these techniques easier.

First, gather all of your utensils.  Naturally, you’ll need your Mr. Beer keg.  You’ll also need a pot, a large bowl, a saucer plate, measuring cup (1 cup), can opener, a whisk (optional), stirring spoon, and a spatula.

The first thing I do whenever using a Mr. Beer kit is to rinse out my keg.  Dust and other debris may accumulate while in storage.  I certainly don’t want to find a dead spider in my beer.  Just a quick rinse under the faucet and a wipe-down (inside and out) with a soft washcloth does the trick.  Don’t use soap! You’ll notice that I don’t have the spigot in place yet.  I store my spigot, o-ring seal, and nut inside the keg while in storage to prevent mold.  I’ll also rinse these off separately before assembling.  I’ll also open the spigot and let water run through.  I don’t have to get too crazy, just get the dust out.

After I rinse off the pieces, I’ll assemble the spigot on the keg.  The rubber o-ring goes on the threaded end of the spigot.  The inside of the cup should face toward the spigot.   Just twist it on until it won’t go anymore.  Then put the spigot through the hole in the keg and attach the nut.  The large flat surface on the nut should face toward the keg wall and the spigot.

Now its time to start sanitizing your equipment.  The sanitizer takes about 10 minutes or so to kill any nasty bugs that will hurt your precious beer.  First, I’ll fill the keg 1/3 full of water while pouring in half of the sanitizer packet.  We’re only using  half of the sanitizer powder at this point.  The other half will be used during bottling.  I usually put the lid on the keg, then slosh the sanitizer solution all around, making sure to coat every surface.  Sloshing up and down will make a mess, but a round horizontal sloshing motion will get everything mixed up and coated pretty well.

Now the keg has been sanitized, its time to sanitize some of your utensils.  Which ones?  The ones that would potentially come in contact with the beer after the boil.  This would include the whisk, spatula, and can-opener.  The saucer plate will be used to place utensils on between uses, so that will have to be sanitized too.  Just open up the spigot and rinse the plate.  Then add a bit to the plate for awhile, just for good measure.

What about the rest of the stuff?  Well, those items come in contact before the boil.  Since boiling sanitizes anyway, there’s no need to sanitize those items.  Your sauce pan, large bowl, measuring cup, and stirring spoon can escape the bath.

OK.  Lets start brewing some beer!  With your large bowl, fill it up with the hottest tap water you can get.  Then place the pre-hopped malt extract (in the can) upside down in the bowl.  Why?  Liquid malt extract is thick!  The hot water will warm up the malt extract and will make it much easier to pour.  I place mine upside down so when I open the extract, less will stick to the bottom.  Set this aside for now.

With your measuring cup, add 4 cups of water to your pot.  Open up your booster and slowly start sprinkling in the booster while stirring.  It will clump and congeal on the bottom of the pot.  Just keep stirring and use your spoon to break apart the clumps.  As soon as it is completely dissolved, put it onto some heat.  Don’t get too crazy with the heat, because we don’t want to burn the sugar.  But we do want to bring it to a boil.  Continue stirring while the mixture comes to a boil.  What kind of boil?  Well, we don’t want a vigorous rolling boil.  That’s too hot and can alter the properties of the sugar. We’re trying to get the mixture hot enough to sanitize the solution, dissolve the sugar, and thoroughly mix the pre-hopped malt extract (next step).    So, just enough boil to break the surface.  Once it reaches this point, take it off the heat and get rid of your spoon (we won’t use that anymore).

Dump the remainder sanitizer solution from the saucer.  Remove the utensils from the keg and place them on the saucer.  Remember, once these utensils come out of the solution, they should not come in contact with anything that hasn’t been sanitized (hence the sanitized saucer).  Put the lid on the keg again, and give it another slosh or two.  Then dump the sanitizer out.

With your sanitized can opener, open up your pre-hopped malt extract.  Pour it into your pot (off the heat…not even on the warm burner) and stir with your sanitized spatula.  Use your spatula to get every bit of extract out of the can.  You may be tempted to dip the can into your solution to get some water so you can really rinse it out, but don’t.  Remember, the outside of the can hasn’t been sanitized and you’ll risk contaminating your beer.  Keep stirring with your spatula until its thoroughly mixed.  Congratulations.  You now have wort!

Fill your keg to the 4 quart mark (pre-marked on the back of the keg) with cold water from the tap.  This water will prevent thermal shock and prolong the life of the keg.  Then pour your hot wort into the keg, using your spatula to get as much wort out as possible.  Then fill the keg with cold water again until it reaches the 8.5 qt mark.  This will cool the wort mixture to the proper temperature for pitching (adding) the yeast.

But before we add the yeast, we must aerate and mix the wort.  Aerating give oxygen for our yeast friends so they can use so it can make a great byproduct called alcohol.  Put the lid on the keg, and start shaking the heck out of it.  Remember to slosh it around in a horizontal motion rather than up and down to prevent a huge mess.  Do this for two or three minutes.  This is great exercise and will burn off that beer gut.  But if exercise isn’t your thing, you can also use the sanitized whisk to do the same thing (wuss).

Open the keg, and sprinkle in the yeast.  Try to get it nice and even across the top without actually touching anything.  Put the lid back on the keg and wait for 5 minutes.  This might be a good time to get yourself another beer, or clean up your mess before your wife flips out.  After 5 minutes of rest, shake the heck out of it again for another 2-3 minutes.

Now its time to find a place for your beer to ferment.  You’ll need a dark, dry place that maintains a temperature of 68-74 degrees.  Once fermentation begins, the yeast will kick out some heat too.  So I shoot for a temp of 68-70 degrees.  Keep it out of the light, too.  Beer hates light.  Why else do you think they come in brown bottles?  I found a closet in the middle of the house that is both dark and the right temperature.  I added a separate thermometer so I can monitor the temp of the closet.  But I also keep an eye on the thermometer strip that comes with your Mr. Beer kit.

The Mr. Beer kit says it will only take 7 days to ferment.  Is this true?  Kinda.  Most of the fermentation process takes place in the first few days.  But depending on how old the yeast is, how old your kit is, and your fermentation conditions (temp), this will vary.  We want to be absolutely sure that all the sugar has been eaten by our yeast friends.  This is especially true of you choose to bottle in glass bottles.  If your beer isn’t done fermenting when bottling, it can result in exploded bottles or over-carbonated beer.  I always keep mine in the keg for 14 days.  The results are much better.

Article written for MakingHomebrew by Travis

Drinking the Octoberfest Vienna Lager

It was really interesting to compare the Mr. Beer Octoberfest with the Brewer’s Best Oktoberfest that I brewed last year. At the time, I felt like my first Oktoberfest was overly simple, and a little too boring. Funny that the Mr. Beer Octoberfest would fall into that same category. As with any of the Standard kits from Mr. Beer, the use of Booster instead of LME or DME results in a pretty simple final brew. This beer tastes absolutely fine, in fact it’s probably more to my pallet than the Cowboy Lager. My only complaint is that compared with most Oktoberfest beers on the market, both of these kits produced malty, simple tasting beers. I would like to add in some additional flavors or spices to make things a little more interesting.

I think the only other major difference is the carbonation.  I think the use of table sugar for priming gives the Mr. Beer beers a ‘harsher’ carbonation.  They need a few minutes after opening to mellow out, otherwise they can be pretty bubbly.  Almost like a soda.

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Mr. Beer Cowboy Lager | Golden Lager

I recently purchased a Deluxe Mr. Beer kit, so I’ve got a LOT of Mr. Beer beers to brew.  There are several levels of beers offered by Mr. Beer.  My kit came with 3 Premium, 3 Standard, and 2 Deluxe.  The Standard options are the most basic of the Mr. Beer offerings, and come with a can of pre-hopped LME, a bag of booster, and yeast.  The booster helps add alcohol content, I think, but doesn’t contribute much complexity to your final product.  The Premium and Standard options have a second can of LME instead of just booster.

Brewing Mr. Beer Cowboy Golden Lager

March 13: For my first batch of Mr. Beer, I chose the Cowboy Lager, which I describe as “beer beer” when I’m sharing it with people.  For people who don’t like anything ‘fancy’, this beer is pretty similar to your Bud or Miller, only quite a bit better if you ask me.

After doing several Brewer’s Best kits, it feels like cheating to make Mr. Beer beer.  It’s really, really easy.  You start off by sanitizing everything with the included one step no-rinse sanitizer.  Just follow the Mr. Beer instructions.

Start making beer by boiling 6 cups of water.  After you’ve reached a boil, slowly add your Booster.  Slower is better with the booster, to avoid having a clumpy mess.  Even if you do, though, it’ll eventually dissolve.  At this point, you’re DONE boiling… really.  Remove from heat and add the can of LME.  It’s best to soak the can in warm/hot water first to help soften up the mixture.

Time to add the wort to your Keg.  Add 4 quarts of cold water into the keg first, then add your warm wort to the Keg.  Fill with cold tap water to the 8.5 quart mark.

Next up you need to add the yeast.  The instructions say wort temp should be between 70-103°F, but cooler is better.  Just sprinkle the little packet of yeast on the top and let it sit for about 5 minutes, then stir the wort vigorously.  I think you want the yeast pretty mixed in, as well as adding some oxygen to help the yeast do their thing.

That’s it!  In less than about an hour, you’ve created a batch of beer.  In theory you should be ready to bottle in about a week.  I sometimes have procrastination issues, so this cowboy lager sat in the Keg for 3 weeks before I got a chance to bottle it.  That’s fine, though, I think I’d suggest a min. of 2 weeks anyway.

Bottling Mr. Beer

Trub Left in Keg / Filled Bottles

April 4: Bottling can be done the same way you would bottle any other beer, OR you can do it the Mr. Beer way.  As this was my first Mr. Beer batch, I just followed their instructions.

First of all, and probably most important, SANITIZE the bottles.  Use the remaining One-Step sanitizer from when you originally brewed the beer.  Add some to each bottle, shake, and let sit for 15 minutes or so.

My Mr. Beer Kit came with 8 plastic bottles, so that’s what I chose to use this time around.  I mentioned in my Mr. Beer Hard Cider blog that I love these plastic bottles.  They are handy as hell.

My brewing closet. Lager up top, Cider in the middle, and the Hopnog 2009 in the bucket.

The part that still throws me when bottling a Mr. Beer batch is the use of table sugar as primer.  It works great, but seems to cheapen an already simple process, I guess.  At some point I’ll research differences between table sugar and priming sugar.

Anyways, bottling… my kit came with a measuring spoon, great for adding table sugar to bottles.  I added the sugar to all 8 bottles, then filled them using the tap on the keg.  This part is one of the setbacks of the Mr. Beer system.

Filling bottles from the fermenting vessel means that you’re going to stir up some of the sediment that you’d otherwise prefer to leave behind.  Your carbonated bottles are going to have a little more sediment than I’d prefer, but it’s not a huge issue for flavor or drinkability.

As you fill each bottle, just screw the cap on and you’re good to go.  Again, screw caps are another bonus of these plastic bottles.  Not to mention the decreased chance or mess of a bottle bomb during fermentation.

Drinking the Cowboy Lager

Now for the best part.  Drinking!  I’ll be honest… I’ve had better beer.  With the lowest level, or standard, Mr. Beer kits, you’re adding “booster” instead of LME or DME.  You’re obviously not going to have the world’s most interesting beer.  That said, there’s nothing bad about this beer.  I’d rather drink this Mr. Beer Lager than most of your domestic beers you’ll find on the grocery shelf.  At the very least, the Cowboy Lager is a decently refreshing beer to throw back during the hot Summer months.

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Mr. Beer Archer’s Orchard Hard Cider

When I made the decision to purchase a Hard Cider kit, I figured I was rolling the dice.  At the very least I’d have something interesting to blog about.  It seemed hard to believe that a person could make a decent batch of cider from a “Mr. Beer” kit.  Having now official brewed, bottled, and tasted my first batch, I can honestly say I was pleasantly surprised!

After brewing from several Brewer’s Best kits, it really does feel like cheating to make anything from Mr. Beer.  It so quick, so easy, and so painless that it almost doesn’t feel fair that you should end up with something that’s even decent to drink, much less enjoyable.  Luckily this isn’t true!

Making the Mr. Beer Hard Cider

March 13: Brewing the Hard Cider is REALLY easy.  You start off by sanitizing your fermenting barrel and any tools you’ll be using to brew.  That would include your spatula, mixing spoon, etc.  With sanitizing solution in your barrel, give it a few good swirls and allow it to sit while you’re getting your beer started.

First step is boiling ? cups of water.  Once you’re up to a boil, remove the pot from heat and stir in the can of Hard Cider mix.  At about the same time, you’ll need to empty the sanitizer from the Fermenter and fill it to about the 4qt. mark with cool water.  You’ll want cooler water in the fermenter to even out the recently boiled mixture.  All you need to do here is add in the cider mix and fill the fermenter the rest of the way.

Make sure your cider wort has cooled enough, and you’re ready to add the yeast.  They say to let this set a few minutes, then stir, so that’s what I did.  Time to put the cap on and stick in the brewing closet!

The entire process was started and finished in under 45 minutes.  Who says you don’t have time to brew beer?

Bottling the Hard Cider

April 4th: Bottling with a Mr. Beer kit feels wrong.  How can table sugar be okay??  Isn’t that rule #1 when brewing?  Not to use table sugar?  Well, I’m a direction follower, so I did it how they said.   The cider kit I purchased came with a handy sugar measuring spoon, and I was using the screw top plastic bottles (which also came with the kit) for bottling.   I measured sugar into each of the 8 bottles, then filled them using the handy tap at the front of the Mr. Beer keg.  Piece of cake.

I neglected to measure original gravity or final gravity for this batch of cider, but I did taste a sample out of the keg. It was actually pretty tasty.  With the cider, sweetness isn’t so bad, and carbonation isn’t necessary, so it was decent.  If it was chilled, I would have been glad to sip on one.

I gotta say one more thing about these bottles.  I LOVE them.  I started out really skeptical of plastic bottles for brewing, I’ve totally changed my thinking on that one.  The screw top caps are a piece of cake compared to having to put the cap on each glass bottle, you don’t have to worry about explosions with glass, and best of all, they’re portable as hell later on.  They are an awesome way to take your brew with you to share.

Drinking the Mr. Beer Hard Cider

So how does it taste?  Pretty dang good.  It’s pretty similar to a lot of the store bought ciders you can find.  I would say the main difference is a harsher carbonation, and a lot less body.  It seems like everything from Mr. Beer has a bubblier carbonation than usual beers or ciders.  That could be from the table sugar for priming, but that’s just my guess.   The lack of body is probably just due to a lack of fermentables.  This was one can of the cider mix and that was it.  I think adding a little DME to the batch might make for a more interesting cider.

Another thing to note about the taste of the cider is how it has changed over time.  When it was a few weeks old it was fairly sweet, with a nice apple finish.  As it has aged, it’s almost turned to a campaign.  It’s a lot more bitter, and much less sweet or apple flavored.  This is the first thing I’ve brewed that doesn’t get better with age.

The kit I purchased came with the stuff to make 2 batches of cider.  The next kit has added blackberries.  I’m pretty excited to see how that works out.

Yeast floating atop unstirred cider.

 

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Mr. Beer Archer’s Select Hard Cider Kit

At the same time as I purchased the Mr Beer Ultimate Kit, I also purchased the Archer’s Select Hard Cider Kit.  I had no idea how a hard cider would turn out, so I opted for the medium kit, as opposed to the big-dog kit like I purchased for the Mr. Beer Beer kit.  In hindsight, I regret not getting the Ultimate kit.  For the money it’s a heck of a lot more brewing!  The individual batches are about $20, apiece, and somehow it’s just easier for me to spend more on a big kit than drop $20 for a 2 gallon batch of beer….

This cool kit includes the materials to brew 2 batches of cider.  The first is a traditional cider, and the second is a more interesting cider with additional fruit.  The base kit is the same as the Archer’s Orchard kit, but for about $20 more you get a second batch to brew, a Brew-o meter, sugar measure, and funnel.  I guess I should mention that the Archer’s Orchard kit (the basic kit) includes a Fermenter, a Traditional Cider Refill, 2 Pint Glasses, 8 Bottles with Caps, 8 Labels, & Instructions.

I will update the blog as I brew each batch of cider.  If everything turns out well, I think I’ll end up buying the Ultimate kit later on.  The 6 batches included with the kit just about make up for the price, and I have a feeling it’ll be nice to keep cider on hand for the non-beer drinkers.   I guess we’ll see!

**Note that I may have things pictured that don’t come with the kit.  My beer and cider kits came packaged together, and I think some of these items may have been for the beer kit.  Easy solution, just buy both like I did!**

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Mr. Beer Brewmaster’s Ultimate Beer Kit

Up to this point, I have brewed from a bunch of Brewer’s Best kits and one Coopers kit. I have a friend who got started brewing from Mr. Beer offers a collection of beer making kits, supplies, and merchandise. Mr. Beer offers a collection of beer making kits, supplies, and merchandise. Mr. Beer kits, and I was curious to know how the process differs between the two. I decided to dive right in and purchase the biggest Mr. Beer kit you can get, the “Ultimate Beer Kit“. This big dog kit comes with supplies to brew 8 batches of beer, plus some additional goodies, which I’ll go over, too.

First off, the Ultimate kit comes with supplies to make 8 batches of beer. The cool thing is that these kits vary from the very basic Mr. Beer kits, to their premium kits. You get a nice mixture of what Mr. Beer has to offer. The kits included (premium) American Devil IPA, Witty Monk Witbier, Pilothouse Pilsner, (deluxe) Linebacker Doppel Bock, Classic American Blonde, (standard) Cowboy Lager, Whispering Wheat Weizenbier, and Octoberfest Vienna Lager. I’ll write about each of these brews as I have them complete.

The Ultimate kit comes with a bunch of the standard Mr. Beer brewing things, too. The basic kit is the same as their Brewmaster’s Select kit, which includes 1 Fermenter with Lid & Tap Assembly, 2 Premium Refills, 8 Reusable Plastic 1-Liter Bottles w/ Caps 8 Labels with MR.BEER® Logo, 2 Pint Glasses with MR.BEER® Logo, 1 Baseball Cap with MR.BEER® Logo, 1 T-shirt with MR.BEER® Logo 1 Brew-o-meter (thermometer), 1 Sugar Measure, 1 Brewer’s Guide, 1 Easy to Follow 4 Step Brewing Instructions. Much of this is cool, but not so necessary… especially the baseball cap… It’s not all fluff, though. The sugar measure is very handy, and makes individual bottle priming a snap. It’s also really nice to have the 1 Liter plastic bottles. It was skeptical at first, but 1L is a GREAT amount for brewing, and the Mr. Beer batches fit perfect in a case of 8 of them.

The additional items that make this the Ultimate kit include 1 Premium Refill, 2 Deluxe Refills, 3 Standard Refills, 1 Deluxe Bottling System, 1 Hop Scale, 1 Funnel w/Strainer, 1 Adj. Measuring Spoon. The additional refills are the value in this kit, and they force you to branch out and try some styles you might not purchase on your own. The bottling system is handy, but I have yet to use the scale, funnel, or spoon. They look fancy, though… for what that’s worth.

Really excited to try out everything this kit has to offer. I’ve been slow to brew the last couple of months, and should have several Mr. Beer updates coming very soon! I also purchased a Hard Cider kit, which I’ll share soon.

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