Mr. Beer 3-Beer Mix Variety Pack
OK, right up front, I confess I am a tyro, a beginning home brewer of the most elementary class. Sure, I’ve made one batch of experimental “Georgie Porgy” molasses small beer from scratch using a fermenting “keg” I made from odds n ends (“Kitty Litter Beer”–*heh*) that turned out to be more than just drinkable, but the other four batches I’ve made to date (well, the other four drinkable batches–I did make another experimental batch I ruined, but more about that later) have all been from Mr. Beer kits.
A word about the Mr. Beer mini-micro-brewery. I’ve read comments on several lists that diss the Mr. Beer kits and the brews they output. I can unequivocally state that the naysayers were full of crap. Every single kit batch I’ve sampled has been up to the standards of some of the best micro-brews I’ve bought from the package store, and better than most, frankly.
The key? RTFM! That’s ab-so-de-lute-ly THE key. Read the directions and follow them to the letter. Seriously. Oh, I did a few things (like actually measure the temperatures of the water, the wort, etc.) that weren’t included, but only to check myself against the temps mentioned in the directions. I guess the Mr. Beer folks thought an adult would be making the stuff and so left out the simple things like that.
My failure batch? Not a Mr. Beer kit batch, an “experimental” variation on the molasses beer recipe I had previously made. What did I do to screw things up?
1. I opened the fermenter to check on floating floculant (since that fermenter’s opaque).
2. I let the airlock go dry.
Yep. Introduced something nasty that spoiled the batch. My fault. And it wasn’t a kit batch and not in the Mr. Beer keg, so no connection to the kit at all.
So, of the four different (kit) brews I have made to date, which turned out best, has been my fav?
The one I had last. *heh* Really, all of them have been excellent. But as a point of comparison, Son & Heir is quite fond of Grolsch lager. One batch (the third) was “Octoberfest’s Vienna Lager” (a Mr. Beer not-quite-lager beer, using an ordinary ale yeast, not a lager yeast). Son & Heir pronounced it better than the Grolsch, and I agree. It’s a deeper amber, is fuller flavored with a much more flowery hops presence. Very, very nice.
Of course, I have NOT used the minimum “one week in the fermenter, one week in the bottles” instruction set but allowed each of the brews adequate (maybe ten days) time in the fermenter and about the same time (or more) in the bottles before refrigeration. It’s allowed for in the kit instructions, but I imagine most folks are as impatient as I am but don’t have the impulse control I have been trying to develop, and so take the shortest time in fermenting and bottle conditioning the instructions allow. If that. *heh*
All-in-all, the Mr. Beer kit has been a very good intro to brewing. I will continue to use it–and the ready made beer ingredient kits–even as I branch out and make more “from scratch” beers.