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My intro to homebrew: Mr. Beer

As I have said in previous posts, my homebrew experiences started with Mr. Beer. Two of my roommates came back to the apartment one day with a new toy to play with, a Mr. Beer kit. They got the deluxe one with the bottles and one kit of ingredients. Being college kids, it was great, we could pay $12 or so for a case of beer, about 2.5 gallons. They tore it open and began “brewing.”

I wasn’t involved in the process becasue I had to work that day, lucky me. I came home, the kitchen was a wreck, but the Mr. Beer container had soon to be beer in it. Two weeks later they bottled and a week after that, we were ready to drink.

Holy shit, the stuff was terrible. Either the sanitation was not followed or something just went wrong, in either case, I was turned off. They made a few other batches that were better, but still not great. Also note at this time my beer taste buds were young, so it could of actually been some good brew (but I don’t think it was).

They quickly grew tired of making the stuff as well, and our Mr. Beer kit sat in the apartment unused for a year or so. One day I was in a kitchen outlet store browsing all there is to browse at a kitchen outlet store. I soon came across the beer, wine, and cocktail aisle. There are a lot of fun toys out there for the savvy drinker. Anyway, one of the last things I came across was a Mr. Beer kit. By this time my beer taste buds were entering a more refined stage, and I thought it would be fun to try this all out again.

It set be back 40 bucks, but that was well worth it, since I was getting a case out of it and I had become accustom to paying $30 for a case. I got home, tore it open, read everything there was to read, and started my work. In short this is all a Mr. Beer kit has you do:

  • Sanitize everything (comes with sanitizer)
  • Put cold water into the fermentor
  • Bring measured amount of water to a boil
  • Put in Booster (basically its just sugar and it comes with the kit)
  • Put in your malt extract (comes with the kit)
  • Pour everything in the fermentor
  • Add yeast (comes with the kit)
  • Wait a few weeks and bottle

What is nice about the kit is that everything comes with it. If you buy the version I did, fermenter, bottles, and ingredients are all together.

Getting back to the beer, it turned out ok. Nothing like what I make now, but then I was pretty happy. My roommate and I began investing in more and more kits, trying to come up with as many different combinations as possible. We eventaully had four fermentors going at any one time (thats 10 gallons) and each one always had something different. We never did any repeat beers, mainly because there was too much out there to try and make.

I was unhappy with the lack of consistance in our “product.” Carbonation always was hit or miss, and, because of the design of the fermentor, there was always a ton of sediment in the bottles. I’m ok with a little bit, but this was excessive. I used my Mr. Beer for about a year or so, making 14 different types of beer, with marginal results. There were one or two good ones, but for the most part, they tasted the same. Something better had to be out there for homebrew, I just needed to make the jump and invest.

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