Brewmaster Part II

When we last saw our heroine she had left her glass jug full of beer in a dark corner to ferment, and ferment it did.  I checked on my beer several times over the two weeks it was fermenting, each time half expecting for something dramatic to have happen.  It did not.  It foamed at the top, then the foam dissipated.  One day it would seem to be darker in color, the next it would look lighter.  I had no idea what it was supposed to look like at this stage in the process, so when my friend Matt showed up and said it was “looking good,” I was relieved.  With him, Matt brought two bottling contraptions that would help me get my beer ready for mass consumption.

We transferred the beer from the glass jug into a plastic bucket with a spicket using a long piece of tubing. Then we added one of the most important ingredients: priming sugar.  This is what carbonates the beer once the bottle top is sealed shut. We added it to the nearly five gallons of beer we had brewed and started bottling.

Bottling contraption

I have to say, bottling is my favorite part of brewing, maybe it’s because it is the most active part of the process.  One by one we sterilized the new empty bottles I purchased (some people use empty bottles after they have drunk their store-bought beer, but because it was my first, and perhaps only batch, I wanted the bottles to be neat and free of label residue from their former life) and filled them up with my brew.  I then used a red bottler to seal the bottle top on. Using the bottler took a little bit of effort, but not enough to tire from (even when bottling two cases of beer). I got a huge sense of satisfaction with every “THWAMP” the red contraption made.

After we filled 50 bottles, the moment of truth had come… I was finally going to taste my I.P.A.  I was infinitely nervous about this.  What if I had over hopped my wort and it was too bitter?  What if the yeast didn’t get enough sugar and it had no bubbles?  I had talked a big game and invited dozens of people over to try my beer, what if it was disgusting? I took a slow sip…mind you, I am not a huge I.P.A. drinker, so I wasn’t exactly sure what it was supposed to taste like, but you know what?  It tasted like beer, and that was enough for me!  Matt, who does drink I.P.A.’s, said that it was good, it was at that point I breathed a huge sigh of relief.  At the very, very least I won’t poison anyone.

I am super excited to share my brew with my friends, I will report back after the mass taste-test!

Why yes, that is a custom koozie!

One thought on “Brewmaster Part II

  1. Review by P-Town Cracker for Rating: So finally gtneitg 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.

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