For many of the people that enjoy beer brewing, this hobby has become an obsession. They have elaborate beer brewing equipment set ups and regularly brew either partial mash or all grain recipes. However, they had to start somewhere, and for many, it was a Mr. Beer brewing machine.
Unfortunately, many brewing snobs look down on the Mr. Beer brewing machine. However, you have to start somewhere, and Mr. Beer is a great way to get into this hobby. You can make better beer using beer brewing equipment and more elaborate brewing methods. However, you can also make some good beers with a Mr. Beer, and many brewers continue brewing using it. These beer brewing machines offer convenience and simplicity, and for people that are short on time or space, it allows them to enjoy a hobby that they may not otherwise get to try.
Mr. Beer is also a great introduction to the world of home brewing. It allows someone to get in cheap and see if this is a hobby that they will enjoy and stick with. If not, then you are not out too much money, and you don’t have a lot of home brewing equipment that you won’t use lying around. If you get hooked into beer brewing, then you can take the plunge and buy more elaborate set ups. Either way, you can pass along your Mr. Beer to someone else and see if they enjoy beer brewing.
While Mr. Beer has its limitations, you can actually make some very good brews with it. Here are some suggestions on ways to improve your results using a Mr. Beer brewing machine. The first recommendation is using better ingredients than what first come with the kit. The starter ingredients aren’t the best quality, and aren’t designed to make great beer. Rather, the point is to make something drinkable and teach you the very basics of home brewing.
The website has refill mixes available at reasonable prices, and these are better products than the initial ingredients. However, to make even better beer, skip these refills and look for recipes for Mr. Beer. These are available at the website, as well as at many beer brewing forums. As opposed to using the booster that comes with the ingredient kits, try substituting unhopped extract. Using all extract (and no booster) for a batch of beer will produce better results.
Additionally, one of the knocks on Mr. Beer is that many of the beers made result in a cidery taste. The booster has a lot to do with this result. Ignore the instructions to use table sugar. DO NOT use table sugar! You can make good beer, but not with table sugar. Instead, substitute corn sugar, also known as dextrose. You can find this at the LHBS or online. You could also get more malt extract, or use two cans of extract and skip the sugar altogether. Generally speaking, more malt makes better beer.
It seems much of the blame for negative reviews has more to do with the ingredients used as opposed to the Mr. Beer brewing machine itself. Remember the saying, quality in, quality out! Remember not to judge the Mr. Beer on the ingredients you get with it when you first purchase it. The first ingredient kit that comes with it will have prehopped extract and the booster. Your first beer will hopefully be drinkable, but won’t be a very good beer. Just keep in mind that you are first and foremost learning the process, so the first batch is the test run.
After that, purchase some unhopped extract to replace the booster. This combined with another can of malt (hopped or unhopped) can make some very tasty beers. Another tip is to join their club on the website, this will allow you to order ingredients and avoid the costs of shipping. Other suggestions for improving your beers is to find a dark place to ferment your beer, such as a closet. A great place is to use a cooler, and this can help to maintain the proper temperature as well.
The instructions included should also be taken with a grain of salt. Rather than following them to a t, it is better to follow good beer brewing advice. For instance, when it comes time to carbonate the beer, instead of adding sugar to each bottle, add up the total amount of sugar needed, then boil a cup of water and add all of the sugar to it and completely dissolve. Boil for 15 minutes. Let the sugar solution cool down for awhile, and then add to your Mr. Beer and stir gently, but thoroughly. Fill your sanitized bottles and cap.
No matter what the instructions say, bottle conditioning tales more than a week. For that matter, it will only make your beer better to let it ferment for an additional week or two. It doesn’t take just two weeks to make decent beer. You can drink it in two weeks, but your beer will be so much better with the additional time. The two weeks is a clever marketing ploy. They know you want beer and you want it as soon as possible. If they told you it took 4-6 weeks to make beer, they wouldn’t sell as many kits. Don’t drink your beer before the magic is finished, you will wind up drinking flat, cidery beer. Wait at least 2 weeks, and preferably 4, before cracking that first bottle. The beer only gets better the longer you let it mature in the bottles.
Also be careful not to overtighten the lid of your Mr. Beer brewing machine. The lid has to allow gasses produced to escape. This is especially true for beers with higher alcohol levels. If you overtighten, you could wind up with spilled beer and a ruined keg. Another good tip is to purchase the sugar measure they offer if you will be using the 12oz, 22oz, or 1 liter bottles. The sugar measure is very easy to use and provides the correct, exact measurement.
Finally, the best tip is to do a Google search. There are numerous beer brewing forums out there in cyberland that have entire threads dedicated to the world of Mr. Beer. You can learn some more great tips, as well as recipes, to really enhance your beer brewing experience and the resulting beers using a Mr Beer brewing machine.