I have been holding off on posting this until the entire process was complete. Shortly before Christmas last year, The Redhead was pressuring me for gift suggestions. I had a difficult time coming up with ideas, primarily because I have everything I need, and I can just buy something if I need it. Anyway, I recalled that one of my brothers has brewed beer at home for years now, and he started with a Mr. Beer kit. So I told The Redhead I wanted a Mr. Beer kit and voilà, it was under the tree on Christmas morning.
As I read through the instructions and watched the step-by-step videos, I kept thinking to myself, “It can’t be this easy. Can I really brew decent beer in 2 weeks?” It was easy, and Mr. Beer has taken all the guess-work out of the process, but if you want good tasting beer it will take much longer than 2 weeks, start to finish. The kits have just about everything you need make two gallons of beer (you will, of course, have to supply your own water and utensils). You don’t even have to mess with hops or anything like that because it is already in the Hopped Malt Extract (HME) that comes in the kit. The Redhead purchased my kit at Sears, but Mr. Beer sells several different kits, refills, and accessories on their site. I recommend the Premium kit which comes with bottles. The Deluxe kit does not, so you will need to use your own but make sure they are capable of holding a carbonated beverage.
My kit came with Mr. Beer’s Classic American Light. They put different flavors in the kits so you could get something else. You can order just about any style of beer you can think of, including custom recipes, from the web site. The Redhead snapped lots pictures of the process as I went through it. I won’t bore you with all of them, but I think you can get the gist of things from this slide show:
I can say that my Mr. Beer experience was an unqualified success! We’re not talking about industrial light beer here, so don’t expect it to come pouring out of the bottle. The beer was very tasty, and it had a good amount of foam, at least for the first glass. The second glass did not have much foam at all. I also detected a slightly sweet taste, and I’m told that is from the granulated sugar. The fix is to let the beer carbonate longer. Also, you can use corn sugar instead of white sugar. The regular Classic American Light does not have a very high alcohol content (3.7% ABV), but you can easily increase that and Mr. Beer sells everything you need. The site also has a great forum section where you can get any question answered quickly. For my next batch, I’m planning to order the Mr. Beer Patriot Lager and see how that comes out. Although, you can use tap water, I recommend using bottled drinking water to prevent any unwanted flavor in your brew.
Mr. Beer says you can brew beer in 2 weeks, however that is the ABSOLUTE BARE MINIMUM time necessary and it is nowhere near ideal. Based on the experiences of just about everyone on the Mr. Beer forums, I let the beer ferment in the little brown keg (LBK) for 3 weeks, and carbonate in the bottles for 4 weeks. Then I chilled it in the refrigerator for 1 full week before drinking. I know the waiting is hard, but trust me, it is worth it!
Have you tried brewing your own beer with a Mr. Beer kit? Share your experience!