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  1. #1
    & Double Naught Spy InternationalPlayboy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Home Beer Making

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    Christmas 2003, I got a Mr. Beer kit as a gift. I've had an interest in home brewing

    for decades but didn't have the room for all the equipment. With this kit, you use pre-mixed ingredients to make

    two gallons of beer. My first batch wasn't that great, due to either a lack of cleanliness (I accidentally messed

    up with the fermenter's lid) or old ingredients or both. But the other two batches I made last spring turned out

    well.

    You mix up the ingredients with water and let it set in the fermenter for about a week. In my

    experience though, it has taken two weeks for most batches. This is the stage where the alcohol is produced. You

    then transfer the beer to bottles that have a bit of table sugar in the bottom. This is the carbonation stage and

    takes at least another week before it's drinkable. It's a "live" beer, so there is yeast in the bottle, so you

    pour it into a glass, leaving a little bit of beer in the bottle to avoid pouring the sediment.

    Just sampled

    a beer I bottled last week, "Caribbean Lime Lager." The kit comes with recipes to include fruit in the mix and as I

    had accidentally ordered a mix I had made last spring, and the fact that I like lime with Coronas, I decided to try

    this one. In addition to the "Englishman's Nut Brown Ale" mix, the recipe also includes brown sugar, honey, and the

    zest and juice of two limes.

    Not bad! As it sits in the bottles longer it should get even better.

    I

    went on the Straight Dope Message Board last year in praise of this kit and got flamed by home beermakers saying

    that the kit was trash. But for my circumstances it's perfect.

    The beer is comprable to a microbrew and is

    actually an ale. I've only had a few swallows and am having trouble typing, the alcohol content is so strong. I

    have an Oatmeal Stout in the fermenter right now that I had hoped to bottle this weekend, but again the fermentation

    ws slow to start. I had hoped to get a Canadian style done before it got hot, but we've been in the 90s this

    weekend so I don't know if I'll get a chance to make it. Optimum fermentation temperature is about 68 to 74

    degress Farenheit. It can ferment at higher temps, but can produce chemicals that will cause headaches if it's too

    hot.

    Except for my first batch, I've been very happy with the brews I've produced. For anyone who has had

    in interest in brewing, I think this is a great way to start out.

  2. #2
    Full Member culturalblonde's Avatar
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    Sounds like fun. What is

    the alcohol content in one beer?

  3. #3
    Moderator belgareth's Avatar
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    As I remember it, the yeast

    dies at somewhere around 13-14% so that would be the max you could get. The same applies to wine making and is the

    reason for the upper limit of alcohol in wine or beer.
    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

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  4. #4
    & Double Naught Spy InternationalPlayboy's Avatar
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    According to the

    instruction manual:

    Tthe alcohol content of beer is determined by the total amount of malt extract,

    sugars and fruit in the wort. We call these components the fermentable materials. Pound for pound, not all

    fermentables produce an equivalent amound of alcohol, so adding up the amounts of each different type of fermentable

    is necessary for an estimate of strength. Other factors which may affect the final strength are the strain of the

    yeast, the yeast viability, and the temperature of fermentation. Hops do not affect strength.
    Wort is

    the mixture of hops, grain, etc. that you add to the fermenter for the yeast to convert into beer.

    They rate

    the strength in terms of percent alcohol per volume. The book says that American beers generally range 3.8% to 4.1%

    abv. German lagers are around 5% abv and strong ales can range from 6% to over 10% abv.

    In the back of the

    book, they give a chart with estimated strength, color and bitterness for the recipes they include. The chart shows

    that the beer I had last night, Caribbean Lime Lager, has an alcohol strength of about 3.8% The Englishman's Nut

    Brown Ale that this beer was based on has a strength of 3.6%. So the brown sugar, honey and lime increased the

    strength by about .2%.

    Other beers I have made so far are:

    Bewitched Red Ale at 3.6%. This one I used

    an unhopped malt extract instead of the "Booster" pack, whuch is dextrose and all natural maltodextrins. The booster

    is suppose to be better than regular sugar fir the fermenting process and comes standard in their mix combos. "An

    all malt beer will have a body and malt profile that cannot be achieved when significant amounts of sugar are used."

    I'm not sure of the alcohol content from using the malt extract. The percentage given is for the mix with the

    Booster, so my results were different.

    West Coast Pale Ale at 3.8%. This was the first beer I made and

    didn't turn out well. It had a cidery taste that was either due to a sanitizing error or old ingredients or

    both.

    I have a "Stickey Wicket Oatmeal Stout" in the fermenter right now. This one is billed as a "Brewmaster

    Select Brew Pack." I think it was developed after the book was printed and I can't find any alcohol data with it.

    I'm looking forward to trying this one. The liquid is so opaque it appears black in the fermenter. I also have a

    "High Country Canadian Draft" that I hope to make as my last batch this spring. That has an alcohol rating of

    3.8%

    Last night after making the initial post, I was looking at the Mr. Beer website and saw a recipe for

    their strongest beer ever. I can't find it this morning though.

    In addition to beer kits, they also sell

    hard cider and root beer kits. I don't know about cider, but I may get a root beer one sometime.

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