Thinking about starting to brew

Discussion in 'Beer & Ale' started by wilson, Dec 1, 2007.

  1. wilson

    wilson Meat Mopper

    Hi All,
    I have been toying with the idea of starting to brew my own beer partly from reading DJ Debbie's (AKA Mom) web pages on home brewing, this site and after having to shelling out $35.00 for a case of my favorite Hefeweizen [​IMG].

    I was wondering if any of you started with the Mr. Beer system? if so how did you like it?? Before I jump in whole hog, I'd like to get an idea of where to start.
    Please somebody twist my arm. [​IMG]
    Thanks in advance.
  2. bbq bubba

    bbq bubba Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    What a coincidence, i was just thinking about drinking again.............[​IMG]
    I have the same kit and haven't used mine either, would be interested in hearing opinions on this.
  3. wilson

    wilson Meat Mopper

    That is funny, I was having another beer while writing the original post [​IMG]
  4. rip

    rip Smoking Fanatic

    I saw a thing on TV about the Mr. Beer deal, they weren't to happy with it. They said it was just mixing packets and letting it sit.
  5. homebrew & bbq

    homebrew & bbq Smoking Fanatic

    I can't give you any info on the Mr. Beer kit. I just use a plastic bucket to brew in. My wife bought a starter's kit from a brewing supply store for Christmas a couple of years ago. I think it was a little over $100.

    It had everything necessary to make the first batch... an amber Mexican beer. Everything I've brewed so far (about 6 batches) has been a kit. They include malt extracts which are thick and syrupy. The last one also used some specialty grains.

    It's really pretty simple to brew up a kit. The instructions are included and the biggest concern is sanitation. If you have done home canning you can brew beer.

    I know there are members who know a lot more about than I do, but I hope this is helpful.
  6. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    I have 6 Mr beer kegs great for small batches. Get a 5 gallon kit and use half. Good way to get alot of different brews in the fridge fast! I don't care for MR Beer mixes but the kegs are a nice size. two will fit in a rubbermaid box, line it with brown paper and it will fit almost anywhere.

    This time of year the kegs are like $15 on their site.

    PS I have links on my site for good suppliers.
  7. wilson

    wilson Meat Mopper

    Hey Mom,
    Thanks for the reply. I don't drink a lot of beer and the five gallon starter kits just looked to big. I saw the Mr. Beer only made 2.5 gallons and that would be the perfect size for me, also the price looks right for starting out home brewing with out spending a ton of bucks. I read a bunch of sites that said the same thing you did, they liked brewing/fermenting in the Mr. Beer they just weren't excited about using the Booster.... most said to use the DME or another malt extract.
    If it's good enough for you I know that it must work.............You haven't steered me wrong yet. I can always count on your advice.
  8. deejaydebi

    deejaydebi Smoking Guru

    Hon if you can wait a few weeks I just got a call from my sister ... I just inherited another keg IN the box. Not sure what it is yet but I'll send it to you - if you want it. I'll sterialize it first of course but you can order some supplies as soon as I figure out what it is. Some guy just quit brewing that works with my bro-in-law.
  9. wilson

    wilson Meat Mopper

    What Can I say but THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!!!!!Your the Best!!!!!! Let me know when you get it and I'll PM you with my address.
  10. Hi all,

    I know I'm a bit late on this one, but my two cents would be to NOT use the Mr. Beer kits! I've been brewing for ten years, and one of my brewing buddies (award winning brewer) tried one of these as an experiment. He made two batches... one following the Mr. Beer directions to the letter, and one using his years of experience to guide him... He could NOT get a decent beer to come out of that thing!!!

    My fear, for anyone who starts with the Mr. Beer route, is that you'll taste what comes out of it and think homebrew is disgusting, and then drop the hobby altogether. My two cents is to commit 100 bucks or so to a true homebrew starter kit and go with a malt extract brew kit to start with. I think you'll find that 5 gallons isn't as much as it seems, and the effort that goes into 2.5 is exactly the same as 5, so why not get more out of it? Also, there are no kits that are sold for 2.5 gallons, so you would always be attempting to split a recipe.

    PM me if you want more of my hot air on the subject... [​IMG]
  11. I have A mr beer kit and I diddnt like any of the mr beer mixes myself been wanting to find me another recipie. good luck with yours.
  12. payson

    payson Meat Mopper

    Excellent advice here. Shell out a bit more $ for a starter set-up from one of the reputable homebrew suppliers. Northern Brewer, MoreBeer, etc... It's money well spent and you'll be pleased with the results.
  13. redbrinkman1955

    redbrinkman1955 Smoking Fanatic

    My wife got me a Mr beer kit for my B-day and I dont drink it a lot just think the process is neat. I gave it a try and for the money it was pretty good I made a Canadian Draft See pic below. I agree with you its not for everyone and if you are into brewing find a good home brew shop near you and they will help you on your journey. HERE is a good forum to look at check it out and make up your own mind
    Good luck and Good Brewing
  14. wilson

    wilson Meat Mopper

    Hey Red,
    Sorry I didn't see the post earlier. I've been a little busy.
    Thanks for the link to mrbeerfans, I am a member of that site, bet ya can't guess what my handle is [​IMG]

    As you know from my posts over there I did get the Mr. Beer, and I am well on my way with my first brew. I made the changes suggested. Next time I will use DME or UME in stead of the booster. I did add a cup of honey to mine to add body and lift the alcohol % . It's been fermenting like mad. It needs to go another 8 or 9 days before it's ready to bottle and condition.
  15. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Me and a bud used to brew alot. And we just kinda quit after awhile. I recieved as a gift one of those brew kit thingys. And it was just OK. About a month ago while cleaning the basement I tossed it.
  16. smok'n steve

    smok'n steve Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Real Deal on beer here in Maine. Its much lighter than home brew and i think a lot cheaper. It's the Cadillac of beer up heer. $12.99 for a 30 pack.

    Its called Natural Light...Great for beer can chicken or other highend recipes!

    Alcohol:4.2 %
    Protein: 0.7 grams
    Carbohydrates:3.2 grams
  17. big e

    big e Fire Starter


    Skip the Mr Beer and go whole hog. My wife and I brew often and the whole process is easy. Not rocket science. Hell, If I can do it...

    You don't have to start out with hops and barely and all that stuff. Real nice beers can be had from using the ready to use stuff in the cans.

    I would suggest that you look for equipment on Craigs list or Ebay. Buy, the fermentation container and your bottling bucket locally and get capper and the rest online. That will cut down on shipping. Besides that you really don't want a used fermentation vessel. You can ruin a batch just by not having it clean. Look for those folks that got into brewing and didn't like it. There is where you will find the deals.

    Also search out your local brewers supply. They will have a ton of great advice.

    BIG E
  18. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic


    You're EXACTLY what I need right now as I'm getting a brew kit of my choice for Xmas. I want to do it right, while not breaking the bank of the person giving it to me. I also want to minimize the additional clutter.

    As far as I remember from my brother's old arrangement, I need:
    a brew kettle
    a fermenting vessel

    I see stuff about secondary fermentation. Do I need two fermenters, one primary and one secondary? Or can I manage with one fermenting vessel?

    And I'd guess that the initial boil can be done in any sufficiently large pot.

    As always around here, I appreciate the wisdom everyone shares.
  19. bigtrain74

    bigtrain74 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Please oh please do not use that Mr. Beer home brewing system!!!

    I personally think this is a waste of money. You can go down and buy pre made wort and put that into your 5-10 gallon bucket and ferment the beer that way! It comes out so much better then Mr. Beer.

    When I got mine I was so disappointed at what came out for me.
  20. jbraas

    jbraas Fire Starter

    I would also vote staying away from Mr. Beer. I personally have not used it, but have been told by others they did not like what it made.

    I have been homebrewing off and on for 10 years or so. I am by no means an expert though. I try to keep it relatively simple. I did switch over to All Grain Brewing a few years ago.

    Coyote-1 - Definately get a nice sized brew kettle. Assuming 5 gallon batches (most recipies and kits do this ammount) and if you are doing it inside on the stove, I would say something that can hold at least 2.5 gallons with a fair bit of head space. This is also assuming you are doing extract brewing which really is a good way to start and can make some really great beer. You would basically boil the 2.5 gallons and when done pour it into your fermentor and add 2.5 more gallons of water or enough to get a total of 5 gallons.

    For fermentors you can go either plastic or glass. I curently have glass carboy's, but plastic is good and less $$ to get started.

    I typically try to use a secondary fermentor, and also think the are a good thing to do especially if you are bottling. If nothing else it helps clear the beer a little more.

    Some other things to consider:
    • Bottles, caps, and a capper (if bottling)
    • Sanitizer (as someone else mentioned this is REALLY important) - I use Idophor (can be purchased from a homebrew supply place.
    • Thermometer
    • Hydrometer - allows you to take readings to tell when fermentation is done and calculate the alcohol content
    • A beer kit if you want to go that route - includes all the ingredients to make a certain type of beer and usually instructions
    • A couple books to consider - "The New Complete Joy of Homebrewing" by Charlie Papazian (sort of the godfather of homebrewing) and/or "How to Brew"by John Palmer
    Hope that helps some. If I think of anything that I missed I will let you know. The nice thing is that you can start more simple and add on. I did that - my fist bit of equipment was a gift from my wife. Over the years I would ask for new things to "grow" at Christmas time (glass carboys, wort chiller, turkey fryer to brew in the garage, etc.)

    If you do not have a local homebrew supply store Northern Brewer is a great place I have used. You can order online and have things delivered.

    Good luck!

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