Author Topic: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?  (Read 4024 times)

Offline Bomber 22

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« on: April 21, 2016, 10:56:37 PM »
Hi.  Many thanks in advance for any help or tips.

I will be attempting to brew my first beer in the next couple of days.  I have a 2 gallon Mr. Beer Kit and bought some additional items via recommendations (to spruce up flavor and ABV) to add to the wort.

The item and additions...

LME 1.87 lbs. (Mr. Beer LME.  Coors light generic type.)
DME 1 lbs. (plain dark 60 ebc)
Hops - Fuggle Pellets (4.1 alpha, 2.7 Beta) (the brew shop recommended to use only half of this bag)
Yeast - Safale S-04

The Mr. Beer kit instructions essentially suggest to boil 4 cups of water, take the pot off of the stove and then add the LME. Stir and done.

I've read a bunch of different techniques on hops and DME.  Boil or steep.  Different timeframes for both.  Some ideas being that certain techniques are essentials and others being more about flavor, body, aroma, color and bitterness.  It all seems to vary.

My question is....what steps should I take with the LME, DME and hops.  How much boil time, if any?  Also, is 4 cups of water sufficient enough for the 1.87 lbs of LME and 1 lbs. of DME?  Bottom line, is there a basic protocol for this, as in, you must do this for this long with this much water no matter what.

Thank you.

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8600
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2016, 11:57:38 PM »
I may be missing something but with a 2 gallon batch you will need 2 gallons of water, plus the amount that will boil off (evaporate during the boil) and you'll want to boil the hops in the wort (mixture) long enough to get the flavor and bitterness out of them. I'd probably do a half hour boil starting with about 2.5-2.75 gallons. How much hops are in the bag? Id go about an ounce or two added once the boil starts. I'd also suggest stiring in the lme dme once the water is around 150º then keep an eye on it because it could boil over when the boil first starts, but it will calm down after that.

Chill it by putting the whole pot in ice water in the sink. Try to get it down to about 65-68º before you put it in the fermenter and add the yeast.

Have fun!

Offline Bomber 22

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2016, 12:15:31 AM »
Thanks for the response, klickitat jim.

Mr. Beer is a very rookie style beer making kit, I believe.  So, I think, the idea is to use additional water for the cold break instead of adding any additional steps or solutions in order to cool the temperature down before adding to the fermenter (for the sake of the fermenting container and for optimal yeast temps).

Basically, you add 4 liters of refrigerated water into the fermenter (plastic keg).  Then add the wort (that used 4 cups of water).  Then add more cold water until it reaches an 8.5 liter mark on the keg.

Thank you for the tip on adding the malts pre-boil.  Sounds like it's best to get everything incorporated well before boil to eliminate boil over?  I've read that LME needs to be stirred often to prevent bottom scorching and that DME needs to be stirred thoroughly in order to eliminate clumping.

One thing I'm concerned about is whether more water would be needed for 2.87lbs of malt extract.  I've never done this but it seems like it would be a very thick wort with only 4 cups of water.  I could be overthinking that though.

Hops.  It's a 1oz. bag of Fuggle hops.  I'm assuming they suggested to use only half a bag because the Mr. Beer LME is pre-hopped as it is.  So, the hop pellets would be to compensate the additional DME.  Or maybe it was suggested just for bitterness level.  I'm not quite sure.  I like stouts.  This won't be a true stout by any means but perhaps that was their aim in terms of a suggestion.  Not quite sure.

I may be missing something but with a 2 gallon batch you will need 2 gallons of water, plus the amount that will boil off (evaporate during the boil) and you'll want to boil the hops in the wort (mixture) long enough to get the flavor and bitterness out of them. I'd probably do a half hour boil starting with about 2.5-2.75 gallons. How much hops are in the bag? Id go about an ounce or two added once the boil starts. I'd also suggest stiring in the lme dme once the water is around 150º then keep an eye on it because it could boil over when the boil first starts, but it will calm down after that.

Chill it by putting the whole pot in ice water in the sink. Try to get it down to about 65-68º before you put it in the fermenter and add the yeast.

Have fun!

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8600
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2016, 12:19:40 AM »
Right on! I say go for it. The very worst that can happen is you have fun and learn something. Welcome to the hobby by the way!

Offline santoch

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 887
  • North Bend, WA
    • View Profile
    • WAHA
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2016, 12:40:35 AM »
Welcome-

Mr. Beer is the Crack Cocaine of homebrewing.  I started with a Mr. Beer kit for Christmas from my sister in law back in 2002.  My wife is still pissed off at her for creating a monster.
Many of us started on Mr. Beer kits before moving on.

1) What kind of prehopped kit is it?  They gave you Fuggles, so I'm guessing a Brown Ale or English Bitter?
2) Do they still use "Booster" or do they now go with all real extract?

If they tell you to use the Booster, just don't.  Get another can of pale unhopped extract and use that instead.  Or find a homebrew shop near you and pick up some dry malt extract.  You can measure that out to the exact weight you want.

I would also suggest you pre-boil the water you will top off with and cool it back down.  The reason is that straight tap water contains chlorine which causes chlorophenolic off flavors. Chlorophenols taste like chloraseptic or other medicines and are really nasty.  It doesn't take much chlorine for it to become pronounced.  Pre-boiling all of your water will drive off the chlorine.  If your water system uses chloramine, then your best bet is to go to your homebrew store and buy a small pack of Campden tablets.  1 aspirin-sized pill is enough to treat 20 gallons of water.  You only need to treat about 3 gallons, so break those tablets up into half then half again and add it to your water as you pre-boil it.  This will remove all chlorine or chloramine and you'll not have a problem.

You should rehydrate your yeast in plain (pre-boiled) water before pitching it into your wort.  Make sure to aerate the heck out of it before pitching.

Temperature is a very important thing.  You want to pitch into COOL wort, not hot wort.
The closer to 60F you can get it, the better.  You will get more oxygen dissolved into the wort and better yeast health, giving a better fermentation.   Pitching warm deprives the yeast of oxygen, depleting growth. The yeast are more prone to produce fruity esters when warm (and stressed by lack of cell count due to lack of oxygen).

Sanitation is key.  You need to sanitize all of your equipment and bottles very well to ensure that no microbes will take hold.  Anything that touches your beer after the cool-down MUST be sanitized.  And remember that if it's not clean, it can't be sanitized.

Ask if you have questions.  You are guaranteed to get a quick answer on this board.
Hope this helps-
Mt. Si Brewing Society
Washington Homebrewer's Association (WAHA)
BJCP GM2/Mead Judge

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6229
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2016, 12:43:13 AM »
The Mr Beer kits already have hops in the extract, and should have the right balance of bitterness. Any hops you're adding would be mainly for flavor. What I would do (and I have done something very similar with this same exact kit) is add the DME to 1/2 gallon of water (instead on only 4 cups) before you boil it. Add 1/2 oz of hops as it hits a boil, and boil for 5 minutes. Then add the LME to the hot wort you just boiled. Use 1 quart less cold water in the fermenter to make up for the extra quart you boiled.

Good luck! Should make for a tasty brew.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline blair.streit

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 516
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2016, 12:46:36 AM »
I would also suggest you pre-boil the water you will top off with and cool it back down.  The reason is that straight tap water contains chlorine which causes chlorophenolic off flavors. Chlorophenols taste like chloraseptic or other medicines and are really nasty.  It doesn't take much chlorine for it to become pronounced.  Pre-boiling all of your water will drive off the chlorine.  If your water system uses chloramine, then your best bet is to go to your homebrew store and buy a small pack of Campden tablets.  1 aspirin-sized pill is enough to treat 20 gallons of water.  You only need to treat about 3 gallons, so break those tablets up into half then half again and add it to your water as you pre-boil it.  This will remove all chlorine or chloramine and you'll not have a problem.
Great advice. Also consider just using some sort of bottled water for your first batch. Distilled would probably be fine since the kit consists of LME and DME and the minerals from the maltster's source water remain.

And take it slow and have fun. It's really easy to get hung up on a bunch of stuff. The more you learn the more there is to know. Just don't forget to have fun along the way -- that's what it's all about. Well, that and beer of course

Offline ethinson

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 487
  • Why is the beer always gone?
    • View Profile
    • River Pirate Brewing Co.
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #7 on: April 22, 2016, 06:21:05 PM »
I started with a Mr Beer as well.  I had completely forgotten about the partial boil and pouring into cold water in the jug.  I only made 2 batches "by the kit" before I started branching out. 

Like Klickitat Jim, I would highly recommend doing a full volume boil if you can, you'll just have to make sure to cool the wort before you add it since you can't pour it in hot. 

Although, I would make this suggestion.  For your very first batch I would just make it from the kit and not add anything extra.  If you're starting out with the Mr Beer "Light Lager" kit, which it sounds like (the one that comes with the original pack) and then you add more hops and more extract to it you're going to end up with something very different than what is intended and so it may be hard to tell how it turned out. 

The Mr Beer kits are pre calculated and pre hopped to get you 2 gallons of (in this case) 4% ABV and 17 IBU beer.  It's their version of Bud Light/Coors Light although it is a ale yeast and not lagered which the name is a little misleading but it's a clone recipe.  If you add dark grains and more hops you're going to boost your alcohol and IBU and change the color, which is fine, you'll end up with something like an American Amber, which in itself isn't a bad thing, but not what the kit is intended for, so who knows how it will turn out.

Before you know it, you'll be formulating recipes from scratch, using unhopped pale extract and specialty grains and hops and then at that point the sky is the limit!

It won't hurt to do the first couple, "by the book" and get your process down before you start going crazy.

Welcome to the hobby and happy brewing!
SE Portland - AKA Beervana
Captain and Chief Deck Swabber - River Pirate Brewing Co.
Certified BJCP Beer Judge
2015 Oregon Brew Crew Member of the Year

Offline blair.streit

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 516
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #8 on: April 22, 2016, 09:55:14 PM »
Judging by my first batch, I would've been better off taking a Mr Beer kit in a different direction. In my case i instead screwed up a perfectly good Belgian Tripel extract kit and learned what diacetyl and "higher alcohols" meant. Welcome aboard the S.S. Obsession. You're going to have a lot of fun!

Offline PORTERHAUS

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 387
  • NW Indiana
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2016, 01:43:45 AM »
I know we have all come a long way and have great suggestions for the OP...but it's his first batch. Following the MB process will get the job done.

I started with Mr Beer in 2009. It was a great way to get started. My suggestion is also to just keep it basic to the kit with your first batch(s). You are just learning the prcoess, as you go along you can do all kinds of things with your recipe and process to try things out. One thing I liked to do when I was brewing this way was use bottled distilled water. I didn't trust my tap water, so you could do the same. You can put the jugs in the fridge or freezer prior to use to help cool the wort down when it's done.

Try something simple like this:

Start with 1 gal of water in a pot, as it's warming but before coming to a boil add in the DME. Mix well, you can let it boil for a couple mins lower the flame and then add the LME, do the same and just before you turn off the flame add your Fuggles. Add however much you want, I would add at least half. Stir, turn of the flame...at this point you have a very concentrated wort.

In the meantime, you should have a sanized Mr Beer keg with 1 gal of COLD water in it. Sanitize a funnel and pour your wort into the fermenter. You may not even need a funnel. Top off with more cold water to the indicated markings. Hopefully by this time the wort is somewhere under 70*. Check the temperature of the wort in the fermenter and make sure it's under 70*. Something like mid 60's and you can sprinkle in your yeast, give it a few mins and then stir it in well and splash around for some areration. Keep the yeast out on the counter for a while before adding it to the wort so it's not cold from the fridge.

Remember to sanitize anything that touches the wort after the point of the boil in the pot. The fermenter, spoon, wisk, even sanitze the yeast packet...why not.

At this point the best thing you can do for your beer to come is keep the fermenter in a dark cool place. Fermentation creates heat so keeping the fermenter in an area with an AMBIENT temperature in the low 60's will help keep the fermentation under 70* Beyond all else you do, this will help make the best beer possible. After 3-4 days of fermentation, letting the temps rise is fine. You don't need to worry about it so much after the first 3-4 days.

You should see some foam on top of the wort and bubbles within 24 hrs. This means things are off to a good start. A little stick on thermometer strip is great for the MB kegs to monitor the fermentation temps...keeping a yeast like S-04 around 66 is perfect. S-04 is an English yeast but it's still neutral and clean, it will make a tasty beer. It gets to work fast and should clear up by the time you bottle it. Follow your instructions from there.

Edit* one more thing...adding the dark DME will take it away from being anything like Coors or whatever light beer kit the MB extract is. That along with Fuggles and the English yeast you will have sort of an English Ale on your hands.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2016, 01:51:56 AM by PORTERHAUS »

Offline crynski

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 43
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2016, 06:58:48 AM »
I am one of those people who tries to tweak a recipe right away (usually with poor results),  but I didn't with my first beer kits and I turned out good stuff (wasn't Mr beer but other brand kits) glad I did it that way to get the basic process.  If the kit isn't a style you like I suggest a kit that is for your first batch.  If the hybrid is bad you won't know if you did something wrong or if the ingredients you added just changed the profile so much and didn't mesh well with the original. 

Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk


Offline Bomber 22

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 27
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2016, 09:35:37 PM »
Thank you very much for all of the help, information and welcomes from santoch, erockrph, blair.streit, ethinson, PORTERHAUS, crynski and klickitat jim.

With the help, I finally went through my first brew process.  I tried the technique for adding the dark DME pre-boil, adding hops at boil and then adding LME at flameout.  I opted to boil for 20 minutes because I'm hoping to add some flavor to this beer.  As mentioned, the LME was a Coors Light generic type of thing (could not be further from my first choice in beer!).  I only bought it because the kit was on clearance price. 

I also took the advice to rehydrate the yeast.  This step proved that no matter how prepared you are (pre-planning and organizing and writing out each step for brewing), something will always screw up.  I think some of the sanitizing liquid seeped inside my cheapie grill thermometer and messed up the LCD screen.  I could not take the temperature of the water in order to rehydrate the yeast.  After some thought, I broke out the human thermometer and tested a few batches of 4 ounces of water in the microwave at different times to get the "right" temperature.  Then duplicated that with sanitized bowls and such.

After completion, I do have a few concerns but am hoping they are really nothing to worry about...

1.  I did not sanitize the pot.  From what I've read and via a post in this thread, I think the "boil" is good enough to steralize/sanitize.  Also scrubbed it several times before using it.

2.  Water temp for the yeast.  I watched a video by a company that looked to be rehydrating Safale-04 (the same 11 gram package as mine).  They suggested a temp between 95-105.  I estimate that my temp was about 100.  After, I completed everything, I was randomly searching on line and saw a page that showed the specs for that yeast with an 80 degree temp for rehydrating. 

3.  Because of the grill thermometer debacle, there was a 1 hour and 25 minute lag between putting the wort and bottled spring water into the keg fermenter and the time that I actually pitched the rehydrated yeast.  Supposedly, that might not be a bad thing if everything is sanitized properly.  Plus, I think that lag helped the temperature drop some. 

I'm storing the keg in the freezer portion of a non-working fridge and swapping out ice bottles to try and keep the temp down.  The temperature strip on the keg has been about the 61-64 range since it has been in there.

4.  I shook the keg to aerate it before I pitched the yeast.  The lid on the keg is designed with slight air gaps in order to act as an air lock.  So of course if you shake the keg with sanitizing liquid or wort, there will be some that collects in the lid grooves and leaks out.  Hopefully that won't be a problem.

All in all, it was fun.  I can't wait to taste the beer but I'm actually more excited to actually brew again once the keg is emptied.

Thanks again.




Offline santoch

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 887
  • North Bend, WA
    • View Profile
    • WAHA
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2016, 10:22:04 PM »
It sounds like everything will be fine
Congrats on your first batch!
Mt. Si Brewing Society
Washington Homebrewer's Association (WAHA)
BJCP GM2/Mead Judge

Offline crynski

  • Cellarman
  • **
  • Posts: 43
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2016, 02:06:16 PM »
It sounds like everything will be fine
Congrats on your first batch!
+1



Sent from my XT1254 using Tapatalk


Offline 69franx

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3125
  • Bloatarian Brewing League
    • View Profile
Re: First Timer. Mr. Beer + DME + Hops. Water and boil time?
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2016, 05:59:34 PM »
I think the attention to detail that your notes show will be very helpful on your journey in our hobby. Well done. Find the next kit (something you like) and have it ready to go when you are ready to brew again
Frank L.
Fermenting:
Conditioning:
In keg: Märzen
In Bottles:  
In the works: