Mr. Beer Deluxe Edition Home Microbrewery System
Posted on August 17th, 2012
Make your own premium beer at a fraction of the cost of store bought beer. Brew your own beer in 14 days (7 days to ferment and 7 days to carbonate), simple, fun, and inexpensive. Makes a case of premium beer. Includes a Mr. Beer Brew Keg with lid, West Coast Pale Ale beer mix, Booster Pack for flavor enhancement and alcohol boost, One-Step Cleanser to clean and disinfect brewing and bottling equipment, Mr. Beer Brewer's Guide inclusive of brewing tips, recipes, and the most frequently asked questions to get the most out of your Mr. Beer brewing system. Simple 4-step instructions.
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 17 x 10 inches ; 4 pounds
- Shipping Weight: 5 pounds
- Shipping: This item is also available for shipping to select countries outside the U.S.
- ASIN: B00005O68L
- Item model number: 20290.00
A good introduction to home brewing…
-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.
Homebrew for the beginner or the hobbyist
Great way to brew beer
The nice part about Mr. Beer is that the standard recipe process is very easy to do (read: very hard to screw up). This gives an inexperienced brewer like me the confidence to be imaginitive and creative, while keeping the chances of really messing up a batch pretty low. I’ve already done standard ales, honey wheat ale, and honey-apple ale. All taste very good, and the taste continues to improve!!
This is a MUST-have gift for any die-hard beer drinker!!
First Homebrew Experience?
Evaluating this on taste is purely subjective and highly biased on what you consider as good beer. The first batch is an Ale, not a lager like most americans prefer to drink. Most store bought beer is also over carbonated so it can sit on the shelf. If you have bad results, one of three things occurred; didn’t follow instructions/recomendations, malt/yeast product was old, or simply you don’t like the style of beer. Ale is fermented at warmer temperatures than lager so it will taste different.
If cheap plain beer is want you are after, this is not for you. You are better off going to the liquor store. If you want to try different styles and obsess over the process, ingredients and the taste, you will like this.
The thing I like the most is the 2 gallon batch size. Its not too big. – I don’t drink very often or a lot at any one time so w/ only 2 gallons I won’t have a lot drink before the next batch. Especially if its not my favorite type and since making it is half of the fun anyhow.
By trade, I am a Chemical Process Engineer so I am analytical, methodical and deliberate in every thing I do. If you are anything like me and you like beer made at micro breweries you will enjoy this product!
Great introduction to brewing beer
At first I was somewhat skeptical about whether this would work, and if it did, what quality the results would be. I’d been interested in homebrewing, but most kits were expensive and somewhat daunting. Mr. Beer makes it simple. I convinced my wife to get me one for Xmas, figuring I’d give it a shot. I followed their instructions, except I added a cup of honey to the wort while mixing it up, not to add flavor (though it may do this as well), but to boost the alcohol level from the standard 3.7% up to 4.6%. I let it ferment probably longer than necessary (almost 3 weeks), but with the added fermentable honey I wanted to give it a good chance to do its thing. I pulled a shot glass of the fermented but uncarbonated beer out of the keg to see if it was ready to bottle. Wow! It tasted like beer (I was expecting something else, so I was pleasantly surprised), and not bad beer either! Picked up some bottles and caps, but forgot to get a bottlecapper. In a hurry to bottle, I decided to go with 16.9 oz bottled water bottles. Sterilized them according to the instructions, added sugar (for additional fermentation to add carbonization), filled them up, capped them, and waited. After a day or so I noticed they were falling down. The bottoms were expanding due to the pressure inside, and were becoming round. Well, at least they were working…
After just over a week, I popped one bottle in the fridge overnight. Just opened it, and while I’m sure it’ll get better with more “conditioning time” in the fridge, it’s really great. A bit hoppy, but then it is a pale ale (not as hoppy as an IPA, but more than your usual lager). The honey gave it a nice smooth finish, and a decent kick in the alcohol. All in all, I’m extremely pleased with the results, and I’ll be trying both a Weisbier and an Irish Stout. I’ll probably move on to more sophisticated equipment somewhere down the line (already have that bottle capper on order), but Mr. Beer was a great start. It’s cheap enough, and the results are good enough, that I’d recommend it to anyone interested in homebrewing.
A Great Introduction to Home Brewing
The wonder of brewing beer at home is that it can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. I’ve brewed beer at home on a few occaisions, and the typical home brew process and equipment can be a bit intimidating to the neophyte. Sorry, but a plastic 5 gallon bucket full of wort does not inspire confidence. The beer snobs you find at most home brew shops only add to the difficulty of the process, and the books available on the subject seem to be writen with chemists and moonshiners in mind.
Mr. Beer takes the guess work out of the process, allowing the newbie home brewer to proceed with confidence. Brewing beer at home is as simple as preparing condensed soup.
But what if you want to experiment with fruit beers? Different kinds of hops? Different malt blends? Lager yeasts?
Never fear. Mr. Beer is marvelously flexible, allowing you to take your home brewing as far as you like, and the recipes and instructions included with the kit show you exactly how to do it. Mr. Beer also offers a wide variety of malts and hops, as well as both ale and lager yeasts premeasured for use with their kit.
The only real downside to Mr. Beer’s brew kit is that you are more or less restricted to using Mr. Beer malt extracts. Most malt extracts come in 3 lb cans, standard for a 5 gallon brew, but Mr. Beer uses a 2 lbs can. Measuring out the malt can be messy, and there’s really no way to preserve the left-overs. If you really want to broaden your beer horizons, you’ll eventually graduate to the more standard 5 gallon set up.
Bottom Line: Mr. Beer is the perfect way to find out if home brewing is something you’d like to do. There’s no significant financial investment in the equipment, and there’s lots of room to try different techniques explore different ingredients. Highly recommended.
Cheap, fun, makes good beer!
Cost effective and FUN
Oh yes, and support from the company is great by e-mail and phone. They understand the happier you are the more they sell.
As far as the air-lock goes that other have complained about… it works perfectly well. I don’t see how a “real” one would improve anything. I will complain about the spigot, it does not lock in place and you are resigned to holding it open while the entire 2 gallons comes out, and that takes a while.