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Home Brewing & Wine Making
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Mr. Beer Premium Edition Home Microbrewery System
|Average Customer Rating:
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Average Customer Review:
( 153 customer reviews )
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354 of 361 found the following review helpful:
A good introduction to home brewing...Sep 01, 2007
I received the Mr. Beer kit for Xmas, and it's a good system overall. It serves as a very good introduction to home brewing, but it does have some downsides as well.
-The system is about as easy as it could be.
-The instructions are clear and simple.
-The fermenting tank is small (2 gallons), meaning that you don't have to wait around for a long time to taste the final product. With your more normal 5 gallon kits, you have to bottle a LOT of beer, and wait a bit longer for fermentation.
-There's dozens of mixes available on their homepage, and they offer a lot of quality products at reasonable prices. Join their club to avoid the expensive shipping charges.
Not so good bits:
-The fermenter is almost too simple. A proper airlock design would make it more foolproof as to tell when fermenting is complete, as well as avoiding contamination of the beer.
-The included mixes, while of good quality, produce a rather poor beer by comparison to what it is possible to make with the kit. Their website has a lot better product than what they include in the kit, and this gives some people bad impressions of the kit itself. The fault is not with the kit, but with the very basic starter beer in the package. The separate mixes they sell in stores are not much better, being all very basic brews. They're not bad, but they're not great either. Mediocre at best.
-Sterilization (which is possibly the most important part of home brewing) is difficult because the fermenter is not dishwasher safe. A higher quality plastic that could stand high temperatures would be a better overall choice for the fermenting keg, since automatic dishwashers are a great way to sterilize your equipment easily.
My suggestions on how to use this kit correctly:
-Go to their website and pick up some of the more advanced receipes instead of using the mixes as given initially. If you've used those included mixes, don't be disappointed overall, it's that the mixes are very basic. Using the better receipes and the better ingredients, you can make quite incredible brews.
-Keep the fermenter in an enclosed dark space during the fermenting process. I recommend a large cooler. This avoids contamination of the product as well as keeping it at a steady temparature.
-Be very, very careful to sterilize completely. The OneStep cleanser they include is very good, but you do have to use it properly. Read the instructions and be sure that everything gets cleaned extremely well.
-No matter what the instructions say, bottle conditioning takes longer than a week. Really. Wait 2 weeks, preferably 4, before you crack the first bottle. The beer only gets better the longer you let it mature in the bottles.
-Go easy on the sugar. Too much sugar in the bottles and they will explode, or taste like cider.
If you use the kit as intended and with a careful eye for cleanliness, then you can produce some excellent quality brews in a very short time. But follow those instructions precisely. Anything less will result in poor quality brews.
After using it for over a year, I have some more things to add:
- DO NOT OVERTIGHTEN THE LID. The lid must allow the gases produced MUST escape. This is especially true with their higher alcohol mixes and stouts. If you overtighten, the end result will be spilled beer and a ruined keg. I brewed a dopplebock using the keg, and overtightened it. Result: The keg overpressurized and almost burst. Some foam came out of the top of the keg, and spilled into my cooler. The residue, once it dried, provided food for.. well.. not so nice creatures. The keg was naturally unusable afterwards. However, this was my own fault, and a new keg only cost me $10 through the Mr. Beer website, so it was not a total loss. And the beer (since it was not contaminated due to the pressure differential, I bottled it anyway) turned out to be absolutely spectacular. So whatever you do, don't tighten it too much. A little hand pressure for tightening is enough.
- Again, go easy on the sugar when bottling! Somebody told me that they had one of the plastic bottles burst on them and the remainder tasted like cider. This is the result of excessive sugar in the bottling process. I highly recommend you get the sugar measure that they sell, if you are bottling in the 12oz, 22oz, or 1 liter sizes. The sugar measure is very easy to use and exact in nature. Takes out the measurements and guesswork.
- Finally, I do not recommend normal bottles with a capper. These are difficult to use and contrary to popular belief, do not produce better beer. The screw top bottles are simplest because they hold the pressure in properly and are trivially simple to use. Alternatively, Mr. Beer sells 16 oz "Grolsch style" bottles on their site, which are the rubber grommeted wired cappers, and they work very well. If you must bottle with glass, get those. Or go find similarly capped bottles of beer and use those bottles (after dishwashing, of course). Glass is much easier to sterilize because it's disahwasher safe. Just take the rubber caps off first.
63 of 66 found the following review helpful:
Makes an awesome brewJun 12, 2008
By P-Town Cracker
So finally getting around to reviewing this thing. A quick rundown: Mr. Beer is basically a stripped down method of home brewing. While "real" home brewing is not brain surgery by any means, Mr Beer takes a lot of the legwork and time out of the equation. There is no boiling or steeping needed, no need to prepare airlocks, no need to rack the beer to a secondary fermenter, etc. Its extremely "dumbed down", for lack of a better term. But don't let that deter you!
The MAIN thing to first timers: Do NOT judge this kit by the initial creation!!!!!! I cannot stress this enough! The kit will come with a can of hopped malt extract, usually the West Coast Pale Ale or the Canadian Draft and a package of "Booster", which is basically corn sugar. These base ingredients, when used properly, will provide a PASSABLE beer. But honestly, it's just a way for you to learn how to do it. A bottle of budweiser will likely taste much better. If you persevere, go to the Mr. Beer website and order some of the other (and better) ingredients. Instead of using the booster, its highly recommended to go with a Unhopped Malt Extract. Used in conjunction with one of the hopped cans, these all malt recipes can make some EXCELLENT beers. MUCH better than what is commonly available on the store shelves. You can even get creative and add some of your own touches, such as coriander, cinnamon, orange peel, etc. Also using finishing hops is a great way to add some good aroma and flavor to the final product. I recently brewed up an Octoberfest that blew my friends away. They thought that I had used my "real" homebrewing rig to make it, so I strung them along for a while and finally told them it came from Mr Beer. A real beer kit is excellent and something Mr Beer users may want to graduate to, but I can tell you that this kit here brews some beer on par and sometimes exceeding what I have done with the real deal, and I have made some killer brews the "real" way.
All said, this is a great product. It does suffer some design flaws, such as the lack of a traditional airlock and limited capacity. Making brews with a high amount of fermentables, such as any fruit ale recipes, can be a pain as the notched vents can become clogged during the initial stage. I had a close call where the plastic keg swelled almost to the point of explosion. The woman would have loved that! Also, there is a certain joy to "real" brewing that is missing with Mr. Beer, such as doing a long boil of the wort with different hop varieties. With this kit, its just boiling the water and then removing the heat to add the premixed malts. Simple, makes a unbelievable beer at times, but some of the "fun" is sacrificed. As with all brewing, SANITATION is key! And good water. This is a great buy and I highly recommend this kit to any beer lover. Easy and can put just about any store bought beer to shame.
69 of 74 found the following review helpful:
Gotta Agree with the OthersSep 03, 2006
By Lemuel Bannen
Okay, so this cuts a bunch of corners from traditional beer brewing. That's the appeal! This makes home brewing so easy, that if true home brewers didn't turn their noses up, something would be wrong.
I'm a busy guy with two kids and a self-owned business. There's little time in my life for hobbies. Having a kit like this allows me to brew beer at home with only about 1/2 hour per session committed.
The fun part is that the ingredients are so varied that you can literally mix and match with endless combinations of flavors, bodies, alcohol contents, etc. It's not a true "just add water" system as I've heard suggested. If it were, the fun would be gone. You do have to put together a recipe (many of which are available online to get you started) and go for it.
Beer brewing for the time impaired person with other responsibilities. It's lot's of fun and the beer is darned good too.
31 of 31 found the following review helpful:
GREAT BASIC BREWMar 30, 2010
My wife purchased the premium edition system for Christmas 09. (I know... pretty cool wife!) After letting the unit sit for a month, I decided to embark on my very first micro brewing journey. After reading the little book that came with it, I felt somewhat convinced that I may have a partial chance at this. Sterilization! Yes, as you have read a hundred freakin times... STERILIZE EVERYTHING! I did the counters, the sink, the utensils', Mr. Beer keg & even myself... (It only hurt for a week... just how serious are you about your beer?) Tried to sterilize the dog, but he ran away... oh well, just one more reason to drink.
The directions on the little pamphlet are by far the best. Condensed and to the point for this basic brew. I added the 4 cups of water to my pot, slowly stirred in the booster and brought it to a boil. After removing it from the heat you add the can of HME (hops & malted extract) which looks like something that should go right into the compost pile. I filled my Mr. Beer keg with about 4 qts of cold water to prevent it from melting onto my countertop as I pour in the boiling liquid. Continue to fill it to the 8.5 qrt mark with water... stir, pitch in the yeast from the little packet under the lid of the ALPO (I mean HME) and let it sit for 5 min. Stir again, cap it and let it sit for about 10 days. It should be out of direct sun and in a spot that has a stable temp. I found the perfect spot, upstairs; kind of in the middle of the house we have some cabinets that had a whole bunch of family photos on top. I found that by moving half of the photos into a drawer, I had Plenty of room for my fermenting keg! It kinda went over like a fart in a divers helmet... well, I mean... there is a slight smell that comes out of the keg....kinda like a brewery... you know what I mean.
So, after 10 days or so, I got the plastic bottles and caps, sterilized them and added the tablespoon of sugar to each one... yup, plain ol' table sugar. I really thought this was odd, but hey I'm still "green" when it comes to being a master brewer. (Or so I'm told) OK, so I fill each bottle up to the bottom of the neck with my beer, cap it and shake ever so gently. (The bottle, not me. I'm not that excited yet) Now, here's where I blew it, I read somewhere in the bigger booklet something about cold conditioning.... in the fridge.... a month....... DONT do that. The bottles have to sit at room temp for another 10+ days before they go in the icebox.
So, after blindly letting the beer sit in the fridge for 2 weeks, with wide eyes (and a gentle shake) I popped open my first beer. Now, I expected to hear the great whisp of pressurized air shoot past the seal as I opened it (like grandpa as he gets out of the re-cliner), but it was more along the range of a faint little mouse fart. Perplexed, curious and thirsty, I poured the beer into a glass anyway, held it up and partook in this marvel I had created. Just about a second later, my body rejected the nasty sugary swill I tried to pour in. Come to find out......
1. I really need to read the directions better
2. The bottles need to sit at room temp for at least 2 weeks before the fridge so the yeast can dine on the sugar and produce gas. (Just like the directions say)
After taking them out of the fridge and letting them sit for 10 days, they actually pressurized properly.
After all of that... in spite of the biggest hurdle in this process... (Me) the beer actually came out pretty good.
Actually, it came out really good. I am now on my 4th batch and have the process down to 35-45 minutes for the initial brew and about 5-10 bottling. The rest of the time in-between is spent convincing my wife the fermenting keg really looks good up on the cabinet, and looking for my dog.
Pros: VERY easy for first time brewing
Very inexpensive compared to the more serious kits out there.
Great beer that you made yourself!
Cons: Cheap plastic unit. (But hey you didn't buy a Ferrari to learn how to drive...did you?)
17 of 18 found the following review helpful:
I Am A Chemist... And My Kitchen Is My LabAug 29, 2005
I made my first batch of beer in three weeks. It wasn't so great (a little flat), but tweaking the recipies is the fun part. I'm moving onto more expansive brewing efforts, but if it weren't for my practice with Mr. Brew, I probably wouldn't have had the motivation to try something a little more difficult.
Mr. Brew is fun. And the beer is good enough to secure bragging rights, even if the first batch or two doesn't come out quite right. It's probably my favorite thing in a long, long time.
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