Thursday, December 27, 2012

Your first homebrew

What is clean, flavorless, Very attractive and suffers from considerable Chill Haze?

That’s Right!! Mr. Beer Light American Beer!

As promised, I cracked into one of the Mr. Beer products on Christmas day... Toward the end of the day.

This is the beer that you’ve been following along with for just under 14 days now.

The brew is beautiful, minus the chill haze. In the bottle it is as clear as a bottle of water, but in the chill chest, it takes on a haze that I don’t even want to get into. Just call it Chill Haze and don’t worry about it!

Somewhat under carbonated, because It’s a rushed bottle, the brew actually did better than I expected!
There is plenty of carb for a drinkable, although not premium example. Another week will cure that issue!

The nose is tinny and smells mostly of canned extract with very little to no hop aroma.

The mouthfeel is of soda water, very thin and bubbly. Strange, as I’d eliminated the expectation of carbonation in my mind because the head fell IMMEDIATELY. (As expected for a brew with this light of a body!)

There is quite literally no flavor, but a bit of a tinny extract twang in the finish. Perhaps a touch of malt and an industrial hop extract flavor, but basically, this is like the vodka of beer. It’s NOTHING!

Overall, I detect a bit of a cider note that I suspect is from the table sugar that we used to prime... That is to say the sugar we fed the yeast to eat to create carbonation in the bottle.

Now I must admit my bias. This is likely my least favorite beer style. I don’t usually care for a Pilsner, nor a Light American Lager, nor a Cream Ale or a Kolsch... Well, maybe a Kolsch if it’s proper, but usually I go for more flavor and body.

This beer is easily more palatable than Bud Light to me, (Maybe NOT to you) but not quite as quafable as a Coors Light.  There are no real imperfections that I can point at, except those known to be attributed to my tap water, and we have beer in less than a month! I would call that success!

I went into this Mr. Beer kit expecting to have a complete drain pour, so perhaps low expectations have contributed to my overall impression, but I’m not at all dissatisfied with the results here.

Is this the best brew I could expect... Certainly NOT! Is it bad? Just as certainly NOT! I believe that anyone that tried this as their first batch of homebrew should be proud as hell of it, and share it with their head held high.

Can we do better with the same amount of effort? OH Hell Yes! And I’m going to show you how!
Stay tuned to and we will take this thing through it’s paces! You will eventually LOVE what we make... But it’s going to take a batch or two!

There are only 3 things I can see that could go wrong with this kit.

1. You don’t ferment at a proper temperature. If it’s summer time or your SWMBO has the heater cranked up, funny flavors ALWAYS come from too warm of a fermentation!

2. Not being diligent with your sanitizer! Remember that you are creating the perfect environment for bacteria! Kill it before it kills your beer!

3.Priming sugar. Too much and you’ve got gushers at best, bottle bombs at worst. Too little and your beer will be flat! Measure and be sure that it’s correct!

Stick around, we will make something damn fine in this little keg yet!


Follow along. Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4


Malweth said...

Sounds like it came out pretty well! The cidery notes are most likely not from priming sugar (unless perhaps it was cider flavored sugar). Here's a thread that discusses this:
essentially, there's not enough in priming sugar to give this flavor. Most likely it's acetaldehyde from incomplete post-fermentation (when the yeast cleans up the byproducts). I assume you meant 14 days total including in the bottle; 7 days fermentation is very short. It may clean up more in-bottle, but it's usually better to let it clean up in bulk. Keeping it in the same vessel (no secondary vessel) is fine for up to 1-2 months and for small beers, 1 month is about the perfect amount of time.

(Note that the thread I linked to does discuss Mr. Beer, though not always in glowing terms ;)

Charles Hoffman said...

Thanks for the link Malweth. I tend to agree that such a small amount would impact flavor too much, but if there were no impact on flavor, there would be no sense in using alternative priming sugars, malt, honey, corn sugar or kräusen.
The easy thing to do is attribute the funny flavor to a can of extract that's been on a department store shelf for god only knows how long?
Either way, we can do better!

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