Frequently Asked Questions
You got a question, we have an answer! Below is our extensive list of FAQs. We tried to think of every possible question that we could think of so your brewing process can go smoothly. If you wish to jump to a certain section just click on the links below and it will take you down to the start of the section. If you don't see your question answered in this list just click here to contact us and we would be glad to help you.
Brewing and Fermentation
Bottling and Conditioning
1. How do I log into my account?
Choose the "My Account" button in the upper right corner of our website. Please fill out your account information using the e-mail registered to your account. Click "login" when you are finished.
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2. How do I use my Gift Card?
You may use your gift card for any order made on www.mrbeer.com, www.mrcider.com, and www.mrrootbeer.com. You may add the gift certificates to your account for future use, or you may apply them directly to an order as part of the checkout process. If you have any questions or need help using your gift card please call us at 800-852-4263.
3. How do I apply my coupon code?
In order to redeem a coupon code first browse our site to find the items, you wish to buy and add them to your Shopping Cart. On the Shopping Cart page enter the Coupon Code in the "Discount Codes" box found in the lower-left side of the screen. If your order does not meet the requirements of the coupon, it will not be applied to your order.
4. What is your return policy?
Before deciding to return an item, please contact a customer service representative to discuss other possible resolutions to your situation. If you do decide to return an item, Mr. Beer will issue a refund for the purchase price less a 20% restocking fee. Mr. Beer will not refund the original shipping charges or the return shipping costs. Products must be returned in sell-able condition. To ensure this, it may be necessary to repackage the order at your cost. Damaged, defective or missing items: If you receive an item that is damaged or defective please retain the box and packaging material your order came in and notify Mr. Beer within five (5) days of receiving your order. We will make every reasonable effort to resolve the situation to your satisfaction. In most cases, a replacement item will be sent out immediately. Return exceptions: Mr. Beer will not accept the return of any items after thirty (30) days and does not refund any shipping charges incurred on the initial order or for the return of an item. Product warranties: Mr. Beer guarantees all products to be free from defects in materials and workmanship at the time of purchase. If you find any product to be defective please contact us and we will work with you to resolve the issue. In order to protect the integrity of Mr.Beer products and ensure our customers receive authentic, fresh, and quality products, warranties are void on any items purchased through an unauthorized source (e.g. eBay.com, Craigslist.com, flea market, garage sales, etc.)
7. Will I be charged sales tax?
Mr. Beer is required to charge sales tax on all orders originating in either Arizona or Wisconsin. Orders placed from any other location will not be charged sales tax.
8. Can I change or cancel my order?
You may change or cancel your order anytime prior to processing. In order to do so, you will need to contact one of our friendly customer service agents. Give us a call (toll-free) at 1-800-852-4263, or Contact Us. We will do everything we can to accommodate your request, but keep in mind that we process orders as quickly as possible to ensure timely delivery.
9. When will my order arrive?
To find out the status of an order you've already placed, simply click here to log in to the Mr. Beer Store, then click to view your current order. If you placed your order as a "Guest Shopper" or are having trouble logging in, contact a Mr. Beer associate for assistance. For more detailed information about our shipping policy, click here.
10. How do I track my order?
To find out the status of an order you've already placed, simply click here to log in to the Mr. Beer Store, then click to view your current order. If you placed your order as a "Guest Shopper" or are having trouble logging in, contact a Mr. Beer associate for assistance.
10. Does the shipping box say "Mr.Beer" on it?
All orders ship in a plain brown box, with no logos displayed on the outside, and the shipping label indicates "Coopers DIY, LLC" as the return address.
HME: Hopped malt extract
LME: Liquid malt extract
LBK: Little brown keg
DME: Dry malt extract
ABV: Alcohol by volume
IBU: International bitterness units (how bitter are hops making the beer)
Ale yeast: A species of brewing yeast suited for a warmer range of fermentation temperatures (60’s+)
Lager yeast: A species of brewing yeast suited for a colder range of fermentation temperatures (typically below 60)
Standard Refill: A refill that comes with boosters
Deluxe Refill: A refill that comes with two packets of LME
Priming: Adding fermentable sugar to your packaging vessel for the natural creation of C02
Booster: 100% powdered corn solids meant to mimic the carbohydrate profile of Dry light malt, that does not contribute to flavor, but boosts alcohol content.
Conditioning: to carbonate and mature a beer
Gravity: The amount of fermentable and non-fermentable carbohydrates in your wort or beer
OG: The amount of fermentable and non-fermentable carbohydrates in your wort prior to fermentation
FG: The amount of fermentable and non-fermentable carbohydrates remaining in your wort, after fermentation.
Hydrometer: Instrument used to measure the gravity of the liquid, in this case, wort and beer.
Green beer: Beer that has not yet been conditioned or matured and has flavors associated with being immature.
Ester: Fruity flavors produced by yeast during fermentation
Off flavor: A flavor characterized as off means it falls outside style or quality guidelines for the specific type of beer.
Dry hopping: To add hops to fermenting beer.
Aerating: To introduce oxygen to the wort, usually by vigorous stirring.
1. Why is sanitation important?
To put it simply, the answer is control. It is easy to not realize how many wild spores and bacteria, exist in our everyday environments. When you allow these wild organisms to infiltrate your brew, you lose control of the outcome. Sanitize, sanitize, SANITIZE!
2. What is the difference between sanitization, sterilization, and cleaning?
Sterilization is the process of killing ALL living organisms on a surface, (think surgical instruments that are autoclaved) while sanitization is the reduction or impairment of invasive, and or harmful pathogens, usually up to 99%. Cleaning is the act of removing unwanted substances, such as infective agents, dirt, and other contaminants from an item or environment. It is normally done as the first step for preventing cross-contamination. When you are prepping your brewing equipment, you will be cleaning and sanitizing.
3. What is Starsan, and why should I use it?
Star san is a product made by 5 Star, which is used widely throughout the commercial brewing and food production industry. STAR SAN is a blend of phosphoric acid and dodecylbenzenesulfonic acid. This synergistic blend provides a unique killing system that is unaffected by excessive organic soils. STAR SAN is also a self-foaming sanitizer. Star san is particularly good for adding to a spray bottle because it remains active even when diluted into water, for many weeks. You can use it to quickly sanitize just about anything you use in your brewing process. When used at the recommended dilution rate, Star san is not toxic to you and your beer. Star san can cause skin and eye irritation, so handle with care and make sure to read the manufacture warnings.
4. What is no-rinse cleanser, and do I really not have to wash it off?
No-Rinse cleanser is a food-safe blend of Sodium Percarbonate, Sodium Carbonate, and Disodium Metasilicate. This blend works by using active oxygen to kill bacteria and leaves a film on the surface, which makes the environment uninhabitable for infectious pathogens. You really don’t have to wash it off! No-rinse is safe when diluted properly.
5. How long does no-rinse last in solution?
Once you wet no-rinse cleanser, it becomes active. After a few hours, that activity reduces as the germ-fighting ingredients are lost to the atmosphere. Ideally, no-rinse should be used right away once it is mixed with water. When no rinse is in its dry powder form, it lasts almost indefinitely.
6. Help! I don’t have any brewing sanitizers; what on earth do I use?
If you find yourself in this position, there are a few alternatives that you can turn to. A very thorough wash with fragrance-free dish soap (such as 7th generation or Dapple), followed by a thorough rinse is your first step. Once you are ready to sanitize, you can use hydrogen peroxide (at least 1%), Oxy-clean Free, OR if you have neither, bleach can be used. If using bleach, use 2-3 tablespoons in a gallon of water and RINSE VERY WELL UNTIL YOU CAN NO LONGER SMELL CHLORINE.
7. Is it ok to fill a bottle/ LBK that has just been sanitized?
YES! In fact, it is ideal to use your equipment as soon after you sanitize it as possible.
8. Do I need to clean the spigot after I take a sample?
YES. Not cleaning your spigot between samples can invite pathogens to grow inside your spigot and potentially infect your beer. The spigot can be sprayed out with star san, or dipped in a shot glass with no-rinse cleanser or high proof grain alcohol.
9. Can I put my LBK in the dishwasher?
We do not recommend putting your LBK or any plastic equipment in the dishwasher.
Brewing and Fermentation Questions
1. Can I boil my extract can?
We do not advise boiling the hopped malt extract in the can because it contains isomerized hops. This means that the hops in the can have already been exposed to a certain amount of heat to achieve the style-specific bitterness. If you boil it further, you risk over-isomerizing those hops which can lead to an overly bitter and or medicine like, flavor result.
2. Can I boil LME’s?
YES! Unlike the HME cans, LME soft packs contain no hops. They are 100% pure malt, so they can be boiled without creating off-flavors.
3. Why do we add booster to cool water, and not to hot/boiling water?
Here at Mr. Beer, we are constantly testing and finding better ways to use our products. Over the years, we have found that Booster dissolves more easily in cool to warm water, much more quickly. When added to boiling water, it tends to seize up and become difficult to stir.
4. What does it mean to steep grains?
Steeping, in the Mr. Beer context, allows you to impart the flavors of whole, milled grain to your brew without having to perform a full mash process. During the steeping phase, you will soak the grain in hot water for 30 minutes at a temperature between 155-160. This brings out flavors, sugars, proteins, and enzymes that will enhance the quality and flavor of your beer.
5. Can I use tap water?
Water is one of the primary components of beer. Water and its chemistry play an important role in a beers flavor and even the health of your brewing yeast. Tap water can be used, however, most water treatment facilities use chlorine to make the water potable and safe to drink…. Chlorine is the enemy of beer and can bond with low molecular malts to create Chlorophenols. These flavors translate in beer as medicine or band-aids, not very pleasant. Tap water can also be very hard. This means it has a high concentration of calcium carbonate. There are certain famous water profiles, that are very hard such as the famous Burton water; known for producing Pale ales however, in many cases tap water is even harder. For these reasons, we recommend using bottled spring/ drinking water.
6. Can I use distilled water?
Distilled water is void of mineral content, which makes it great for building a custom water profile on, but not so great for brewing with untreated without additional minerals. Fortunately, your brew can contains added minerals which does help if you are forced to use distilled water, for one reason or another. Still, skip the distilled water if you can.
7. Does the water that I use in my keg to dilute my wort HAVE to be cold?
In a word no, but here is why we advise that you DO use chilled water: when you remove your initial wort from the heat, it is easily over 200 degrees. In the words of a certain famous person, that’s hot. Your yeast is very sensitive to temperature and can be damaged or even die from being exposed to a wort that is too warm/hot. Some customers choose to use room temperature water, and let their wort cool down for a few hours before pitching… There is nothing particularly wrong with doing this, but it can open you up to infection, as delaying your pitch gives opportunities for infectious pathogens to take over. Topping up with COLD water, allows you to add your yeast much more quickly without harming it with excessive heat. Using cold water in your keg, prior to adding the hot wort, also protects your fermenter from thermal shock.
8. Do I have to place my can and LME’s in hot water before I use them?
No, you do not but it makes the extracts much easier to get out of the packaging since the extract flows better when it is warm.
9. What brewing instructions should I use?
Here at Mr. Beer, we keep the most recent and up to date instructions on the website, at the purchase point for the product itself. On each product page, you will see 3 tabs: Details, Instructions, and Reviews. Details will tell you what items your product will include, as well as what you will need to provide on your own. The Instructions tab provides you with a directive for the preparation of your product.
10. At what wort temperature should I pitch my yeast?
In most cases, it is ideal to pitch between about 67-75 degrees.
11. I ordered and am ready to brew my recipe, but I just got a box with refill cans and random ingredients, what is this?
That IS your recipe. Our recipes use our extract cans, and LME’s as bases for all new beers. For example, if you purchase the Horses Ass recipe, you will receive a can of Classic American Light and some hops, and the instructions will advise you on how to turn that into the desired recipe.
12. What is the difference between a refill and a recipe?
Recipes use refill components such as extract cans, LME’s and Booster, combined with additional ingredients and techniques to create a whole new beer.
13. What is the difference between standard, deluxe, and craft refills?”
Standard refills come with Boosters which are composed of corn solids. Booster's primary purpose is to raise the alcohol volume of your brew can and do not contribute additional flavor.
Deluxe refills come with the same cans, but instead of Boosters, they come with LME soft packs (liquid malt extract), that raises your ABV, increases body and mouthfeel, improves foam retention and increases the flavor.
Craft refills are larger brew cans, they do not come with Boosters or additional LME because of this. A craft refill will reach about 5% ABV without any additional boosters or malt being added.
14. My recipe comes with a hops sack to boil my hops in, do I need to remove this before adding everything to the LBK for fermentation?
Unless otherwise specified in your recipe instructions, the hop sack can be removed or left in. If you choose to retain your hopsack throughout fermentation, it is advisable to remove the sack with clean hands or sanitized tongs, before dumping to avoid a big and messy splash. It can be placed inside the keg after this if you wish to leave it in.
15. Why am I boiling the hops in my recipe, what does that do?
The bitterness that hops contribute to beer comes from the heating of a chemical called “humulone”. When humulone is heated it converts to “Iso-humulone” and this is what we as humans perceive as bitter. Without exposure to heat, those hops do not lend their bitterness but do provide their flavor.
16. When I steep grain, why do I have to hold the temperature? What happens if it gets too hot?
Grains hulls, especially the darker kilned malts, have the potential to produce something called tannins. Think over-steeped, black tea, and the acrid flavor that it can have. There can be a very fine line between positive flavor contributions and negative contributions, so watch that steep temperature closely!
17. I have an old can of brewing extract can I still use it?
That is a common question, with a multi-faceted answer. The extract inside your brew can, stays very stable for a couple of years beyond the expiration date. What does not last beyond the expiration date is the yeast packet in the lid. In theory, the yeast can be replaced, and the can brewed, however, it’s important to remember the old extract is darker, less hoppy, and maltier tasting. If your extract can is older than 3 years, it may be a good idea to get a whole new, fresh refill.
18. My extract can is dented, is it safe to use?
If the integrity of the seal has not been compromised, it is safe to brew dented cans.
19. Where are my brewing instructions found?
We keep our most recent, up to date directives on our website. Brewing directions can be found at the purchase point for a product, under the instructions tab, in between the details and reviews tabs. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us.
20. I found brewing instructions on the label of my can, but they seem incomplete, what gives?
There are indeed standardized brewing instructions on each extract can. These are a baseline for the can alone, and do not consider things like Boosters, LME’s, or any other additional fermentables. For this reason, follow the direction on the website.
21. Can I use more than one gold packet of yeast in a refill, will it make my beer better?
Yes! You can use up to 3 gold packets of yeast for a refill. A larger more viable pitch will increase the success potential of your brew. More yeast means more efficient fermentation and better clean-up of off-flavors.
22. My recipe came with a different packet of yeast, but there’s a packet under the lid of the can, do I use both?
Many of our recipes, have you using a different yeast than what comes standard with the brew can. This does matter because yeast is vital to creating the flavor profile of a specific style of beer. If your recipe calls for using a different yeast, do not use the gold packet in the lid. Throw that extra packet in the fridge
23. I ordered a recipe, with grains, hops, and yeast…. But I have to wait some time until I brew, what’s the best way to keep my ingredients fresh?
When you receive grains from Mr. Beer, they will come cracked/milled. This means the outer hull has been fractured and the sugars and starches inside the hull are exposed. Grain even cracked, holds up well, but can become stale after a prolonged period. If you are keeping cracked grains longer than 60 days, it is a good idea to vacuum seal them and store them in the fridge. If you do refrigerate your grains, having the packaging be air-free, and airtight is critically important.
Yeast that is not going to be used right away, should ideally be refrigerated. If you refrigerate your yeast, make sure to let the packet come back to room temp, before adding it to your wort.
Hops can be stored in an airtight container, in the freezer. This helps to preserve the delicate flavors and aromas held in their essential oils.
REMEMBER: Oxygen, moisture, and heat are usually the enemies of raw beer ingredients.
24. Do I have to use a hop sack to boil my hops?
The short answer is no, but if you are using a high ratio of hops in your boil then it can make life a little easier at bottling time, to have them in a sack.
25. I want to make my beer stronger, but don’t have any Booster. Is there anything in my kitchen I can use?
Yes, but remember anything you add, can alter the flavor and the body of your finished product and may require you to use extra yeast. Clear corn syrup can be a fast and easy addition to your wort, that will bump up your gravity. 8 oz of corn syrup by weight will increase your ABV a little over 1%. We do not recommend exceeding this amount with one gold packet of yeast. Raising the sugar content in your wort, can contribute to thinning of the body, and a drier finish. Extra sugar can also cause cider flavors, using up to 3 gold packets of yeast, which can help prevent this. Honey and corn sugar can also be used with the same precautions.
26. Should I tie my grain and hops sacks tightly, so they’re in a ball when I add them?
No. You want your hops and grain to float freely within the sack. If they are too tight in there, they won’t be able to fully infuse your brew with their properties.
27. What on earth is Booster, and what does it do?
Booster is made from corn syrup solids and is ideally suited for use as a brewing adjunct. It provides a full and balanced range of both fermentable and unfermentable sugars that are designed to mimic the carbohydrate profile of all-malt wort, consisting of 8% glucose, 56% maltose, 16% maltotriose, and 20% dextrins. This means booster will increase your alcohol volume without thinning out the body of your beer or changing the flavor.
28. How long should I ferment my beer?
If you are brewing a Mr. Beer refill, you will ferment for approximately 10-14 days. In previous brewing directives, we have advised 3 weeks, in the past. Through extensive product testing, we have found that if temperatures between 68-72 degrees, your fermentation process completes in 2 weeks. With recipes, on the other hand, fermentation times can be varied due to higher starting gravities. If your recipe requires a longer brewing time, that information will be indicated in the directions.
29. Why shouldn’t I leave my beer in the fermenter for 3 weeks, instead of 2? Won’t it get better the longer I leave it?
It is a common misconception that leaving your beer in the fermenter for an extra week, beyond the initial fermentation will make it better the opposite is true. When your yeast is reproducing, and rapidly eating the available sugars in the wort, it is producing C02. This CO2 veraciously races to the top of the fermenter and pushes itself out through the notches in the rim of the LBK mouth. This action creates a force known as positive pressure. Positive pressure is like a protective field that keeps out oxygen. Oxygen is the nemesis of fermented beer. After 2 weeks, your yeast has eaten all the available food and it is no longer creating CO2, so this barrier is lost. An extra 7 days of oxygen exposure can have devastating effects on your beer flavor!
30. It’s been a few hours since I added my yeast, nothing is happening… is my batch ruined?
Yeast is a living organism that has a process. When you add your dry yeast to the wort, the yeast has a period where it is adapting to its environment. This phase is called the LAG phase. It can take 24 hours or more to transition to LOG which means the yeast begins to copy itself and consume the available sugars in the wort. This transitional process can take longer if your wort is very cool or below the optimal temperatures.
31. What about an airlock? How is the C02 leaving the LBK?
Your LBK has been specially designed to allow C02 to vent out, even when the lid is screwed down. You can observe these vents in the mouth of the LBK. They appear as small cutouts in the plastic. No physical airlock needed!
32. Can I open the lid of my beer to check on it?
You should avoid opening the lid of your fermenter, during fermentation UNLESS you are making an addition such as hops or additional adjuncts.
33. During fermentation, my beer is super cloudy, is that normal?
YES! During fermentation, your yeast is creating lots of turbulence! This action is kicking up all kinds of things! As the yeast begins to slow down, and fermentation nears completion, the solution will begin to clear as more of the solids are precipitated.
34. what’s all this white sediment collecting on the bottom, it is normal?
That’s Trub! If you have a layer of it, that means your beer is fermenting, and it’s a good thing! Trub is created by the yeast, as a byproduct of fermentation. Leave it on the bottom of the LBK, don’t be tempted to stir it!
35. I am 4 days in, and my beer isn’t creating foam on top anymore and it does not look like anything is happening.
The foam you say is something called Krausen. This is created during the most active part of fermentation and begins to subside after that point. It’s easy to assume nothing is happening, but it is! It is just happening to a degree where you can no longer see it through the brown plastic. Have faith!
36. Do I need to take actual gravity readings?
With the majority of Mr. Beer product’s, gravity readings are not required. We recommend using the elapsed fermentation time and taste, to determine when fermentation is complete. This is especially true when you are just making a refill. With recipes, especially the higher gravity ones, taking gravity readings can be helpful and informative. If you do plan to take hydrometer readings, try to limit them to 2-3 per batch, as multiple readings can create quite a dent in your total yield.
37. I want to take readings, but I want to use a refractometer instead of a hydrometer. Any reason I shouldn’t?
Refractometers are great, but they are not very accurate especially for determining actual gravity during and after fermentation. Though you should not rely on the actual numbers it can tell you if your beer has stopped fermenting because the numbers, stop reducing. A refractometer will never correlate with your desired FG accurately, but it can let you know if changes in gravity associated with fermentation are still occurring. Refractometer readings are most accurate for determining the gravity of your wort, prior to the addition of your yeast.
38. I have some hops I want to add during fermentation, can I do that? How?
This is called Dry hopping and brewers both professional and home alike, use this technique regularly. We generally advise our brewers to dry hop around day 7 of fermentation. Adding those hops later in the fermentation process helps maintain the flavors and aromas of the hops. If hops are added during the more active stages of fermentation, the vigorous production of C02 can drive away those finer flavors and in some cases, the hops fall subject to something called biotransformation which can change the flavors and aromas of your added hops. Sometimes for the better, and sometimes for the worse. After you add the dry hop, in most situations those hops will remain in the fermenter for the duration of the fermentation process.
39. At what point during fermentation should I sample my beer?
In most cases, you can sample your brewing beer starting on about day, 10.
40. How should I conduct the process of taking a taste sample?
Taking a sample of your beer is an important part of determining whether your beer has completed fermentation. Tasting samples can easily be drawn directly from the spigot, but it should be cleaned both before and after the sample. This can be done by spraying up inside the spigot with no-rinse or Starsan. Alternatively, you can fill a shot glass with either solution or even high proof grain alcohol and dip the spigot into it. It is also a good idea to pull an ounce and discard, and then taste the second sample. This will prevent you from tasting the trub that has settled in the spigot.
41. Do I need to use a hop sack, for dry hopping?
No. Using a hopsack for the dry hop process is completely optional in most cases. If you are adding large quantities of hops, using a sack can help prevent you from having a clogged spigot, but this can also be prevented through cold crashing. (See more about cold crashing below in the bottling section)
42. What temperature should I ferment my beer at?
At Mr. Beer, our standardized brewing test temperature is 70 degrees. The ideal temperature range for our Cooper’s yeast (packet in the lid) is between 68-70 degrees. If you are making a recipe that has a yeast other than the Cooper’s yeast, we will generally include temperature directives for that yeast if they vary from the normal range. The good news is, most ale yeast strains will ferment happily between 68-70, with a few exceptions.
43. I tested my beer today, it’s not sweet but it has a strong apple flavor, what is causing this?
What you are tasting is essentially a stress chemical from the yeast. When you are a yeast cell, stress can come from multiple causes. In most cases, this stress is caused by either temperature swings, temperatures being too high or too low, and or yeast pitch viability and vitality. When a brewer pitches dry yeast over wort, that pitch loses some of its viability. When you have a 5-gram packet of yeast, because of this loss (can be anywhere from 30-50%) your actual viability can be much less. When you have fewer yeast cells doing more work, this is stressful. That stress is often exacerbated by temperature issues, creating ideal conditions for the ample production of this apple flavor. This flavor can be reduced during conditioning; however, the best course of action is to prevent it from the start. If the stringent temperature is beyond your reach, the fix is simple, just use more yeast! For our refills, upping your pitch to 2-3 gold Cooper’s yeast packets will buy you some extra insurance. Make sure that when you pitch any yeast, your wort is not too hot or too cold. The more you focus on setting up a good environment for your yeast from the start, the healthier it will be throughout the entirety of the process. If you are getting off-flavors with other types of yeast (not Cooper’s), you may need to examine the environmental factors that your yeast is subject to determine what is making it unhappy.
44. My beer smells like buttered popcorn, why?
To put it simply, this aroma/taste is caused by a pesky chemical compound called Diacetyl. How Diacetyl gets into your beer to the point you can taste it, is a little more complicated. There are basically two primary ways you end up with diacetyl in your beer, either through slow or inefficient expression and intracellular reduction of naturally occurring diacetyl precursors or by a bacterial infection. Let us talk about the first cause: If your cell has leaked the precursor to Diacetyl, acetolactate and it is not given the time or adequate conditions to absorb, and reduce it there are a couple of things you can do. Raising the temperature of your brew about 2-3 degrees for two days during the last bit of fermentation or during conditioning, can help to dramatically reduce this compound in your beer. The second cause for Diacetyl in your beer is a bacterial infection. The reduction of Diacetyl, in this case, must start with prevention and good sanitation.
45. My beer seems to have a lot of extra flavors, even when I use a bigger pitch of yeast. What do I do?
The issue could be your temperatures, either too low or too high. If your temperatures are usually below 68 degrees, try bringing them up to a range between 68-70 degrees. If you are fermenting higher than 70, try bringing the temperature down to a range of 68-70 degrees.
46. Can I add fruit to my beer? How?
In most cases, yes you can add fruit to your beer. How you add it and when depends on the fruit, the beer, and the desired outcome. Fruit can be added during the boil, but we prefer to add the majority of fruits after high krausen has passed completely, usually day “7”, but it can be earlier or later depending on the beer. Fruit added during fermentation needs to be free of infectious bacteria and beer spoilage organisms like wild yeast. Commercial canned and pasteurized fruit is generally safe to add directly to your beer. Flash frozen, commercially sold fruit is also usually considered safe, as well. Fresh fruit should be cooked, blanched, or soaked in vodka. 1 lb. of fruit per 2-gallon batch of beer is generally a good starting point for adding most fruits to your beer. More or less can be used based on the desired outcome. Make sure to sanitize your blender if you use one to puree your fruit additions.
47. Can I add herbs and spices to my beer?
Yes, you can! Like fruit, herbs and spices can be added both in the boil and during fermentation. Most herbs and spices, if added in the boil will need to be added toward the end, so they are not overexposed to high heat. In most cases, spices do well added later in fermentation, as well. We recommend adding spices to a small jar and covering them with high proof alcohol, just enough to submerge them. Leave them to soak for at least 24 hours, and then add them on day 7.
48. It’s day 10 and my beer is no longer sweet, can I bottle it now?
Yes, if your beer is no longer sweet, and has no outstanding off flavors, you can bottle it.
49. What gravity should my beer finish at?
That depends on the beer you are making. Refills, for the most part, will finish between 1.012 and 1.015. You can find stats for each product at the purchase point on the website.
50. Can I add flavorings to my beer?
In a simple answer, yes. You do need to make sure that if you are adding flavoring, that it is water-based and meant for brewing as an application.
51. How do I decide how much flavoring to add to my beer?
Flavoring quantities are extremely preferential. An easy way to figure out what you like is to purchase a commercial beer that is the same style as the beer you plan to brew, then add small amounts to glass, to see what you enjoy per serving. This can help you decide what to use for the whole batch.
52. My brew seems to have stalled out, what do I do?
If you TRULY have a stall, meaning your gravity has stopped dropping mid fermentation, with no changes for over 24 hours, check your temperature. You may be fermenting too cold. Also, check that there are no molds growing on the surface of the beer. If you still are having no changes, try adding another dose of yeast.
53. Should I stir my beer while it ferments?
Do not stir the beer while it ferments.
54. Why do some of the recipes have longer fermentation times?
Some of our recipes contain a lot of sugar for the yeast to ferment. In very HIGH ABV beers, fermentation can be variable and extended.
55. I have putrid fuzz and bubbles on top of my beer, is this infection?
If your beer has a raft of mold looking growth on it, chances are you have an infection. This is not to be confused with krausen foam, which is not an infection. Infected batches can sometimes be saved, but you do not want to bottle bad tasting beer, so that is most important when deciding if the batch should be discarded, or if it can be kept.
56. I cleaned and sanitized really, really well and I still got an infection. What happened?
Bacteria and wild yeast float through our air and live on the surfaces in the places we occupy daily. Sometimes its nothing you did wrong, but instead an unfortunate event. Fortunately, these types of passive infections are uncommon. If you are getting repeated infections, it may be that your equipment has been inoculated with a spoilage organism and should probably be replaced. If replacement is not an option, a diluted bleach wash with 1 cap full of bleach per 1 gallon of water, left to soak for 1 hour before rinsing very well until chlorine can no longer be smelled. This will usually knock out most pathogens so that you can successfully brew in the future. Be VERY careful not scratch your brew equipment. Scratches can harbor microscopic bacteria and shorten the life of your brewing equipment.
57. Besides taking a gravity reading, how do I know my beer is done?
When you sample your beer from the LBK, unless you have added non-fermentable sweeteners or lactose sugar, it should not taste sweet. Fully fermented beer should taste like room temperature flat beer. Keep in mind, if you bottle beer that is not fully fermented, you run the risk of having a bottle bomb.
58. Are Mr.Beer Products Kosher?
Yes! Please find all of our certifications below:
Bottling and Conditioning
1. How much no-rinse cleanser and water do I need to sanitize my bottles?
Dilute half a packet to 1 gallon of water.
2. Can I use a bottle brush on my PET bottles?
If you wish to use a bottle brush, make sure you use one that has sponges instead of bristles. Bristled brushes can cause scratches that harbor bacteria.
3. After I sanitize my bottles, do they need to be dry before I fill them?
No. As soon as the bottles have been sanitized, and the excess is drained out, you can fill the bottles without letting them dry completely.
4. Can I use a dishwasher to clean my PET bottles?
PET bottles will melt in the dishwasher.
5. Do I have to use carb drops to carbonate my beer?
No. Carbonation drops are extremely convenient, but they are not required to carbonate your beer. Instead, you can prime each bottle with table sugar using the priming sugar chart found here.
6. My beer is still really cloudy, should I wait?
If your beer has not been fermenting longer than 21 days, and is still cloudy but is no longer sweet, proceed to bottling. In most cases, beers will fully ferment in 14 days at 70 degrees.
7. My beer is done, but it has a lot of floating sediment. How do I clear it up?
At Mr. Beer, we have found the best and simplest way to clean sediment out of a beer is to employ a method called cold crashing. As it applies to our products and recipes, cold crashing means that you place the fermenter inside of your refrigerator for 24-48 hours. This causes any debris still in suspension to precipitate down to the bottom of the fermenting vessel and compact tightly together. After the solution has fully cleared, you can proceed directly to bottling, while the beer is still cold. Its also a good idea to prop the spigot end of the fermenter, up in order to prevent sediment from falling into the spigot.
8. How do I prevent my spigot from getting clogged during bottling?
See Answer above, these techniques can also prevent clogged spigots.
9. What should I add to the bottle first, carb drops/sugar or beer?
We think it works best if you add your sugar or carb drops before you fill your bottle with beer.
10. Do I need a bottling wand to fill my bottles from the LBK?
No. You can bottle beer from your LBK without the use of the bottling wand. However, botting wands are helpful for minimizing oxygen pickup while filling.
11. Can I condition my beer naturally in a metal keg?
Yes, if you have a method to dispense your beer, you can condition your beer in a metal keg.
12. Can I carbonate my beer in the Little brown keg?
No, beer cannot be carbonated in the LBK.
13. How far from the top should I fill my bottles?
Typically, about 1 inch from where the mouth of the bottle meets the neck.
14. Are the black plastic caps on my PET bottles reusable?
YES. Your black plastic caps are re-usable.
16. Do the collar on the black plastic cap have anything to do with the bottles integrity?
No. The collars are tamper-evident, but they do not affect the integrity of the seal.
17. Why should I not over-prime my bottles?
Adding too much sugar to your bottles can cause gushing and, in some cases, exploding of bottles.
18. How long should my beer condition?
The minimum conditioning time is usually about 3 weeks. Some beers may benefit from longer conditioning times
19. Will my beer carbonate/condition in the refrigerator?
No. The yeast in your beer will become inactive when the beer is refrigerated.
20. At what temperature should I condition my bottles?
Usually, between 72-75. Lower temps can be used, but the beer may take longer to carbonate/condition.
21. My beer is darker than expected, is that normal?
Extract based beers are always darker than their all-grain counterparts. Beer can become even darker if it becomes over oxidized as well. Therefore, it is important not to leave your beer in the fermenter beyond the completion of fermentation.
22. Can I prime my bottles with anything besides table sugar and carb drops?
YES! Things like honey, certain types of candy, and other fermentable sugars can be used to prime your bottles.
23. Can I bottle my beer in glass instead of plastic?
Yes, you certainly can.
24. Is bottling in a glass better than bottling in plastic?
Both glass and plastic can be great options for packaging. If you are planning to cellar your bottles for longer than 6 months, it is not a bad idea to bottle in glass.
25. Can I reuse twist-off glass bottles to condition my beer in?
No. Twist-off caps do not seal properly for natural conditioning.
26. Can I condition/carbonate in glass growlers?
Typically, no. Glass growlers often do not seal adequately for this, and the glass is usually too thin.
27. Can I reuse glass bottles from beers I think that use pry-off crown caps?
Yes! If the bottles can be used with whatever capper you own, you can use them.
28. Can I add flavorings to my bottles?
Yes. Many customers like to add a shot of espresso to each bottle for a stout, or flavoring syrup. Just make sure if whatever you add contains sugar, that you are working that into your priming sugar totals.
29. Do I need a special device to cap glass bottles?
Yes. You will need either a butterfly capper or a bench-style capper to install crown caps.
30. Should my PET bottles get firm during the conditioning phase?
Yes. As C02 is produced in the bottle, the bottle will become firm.
31. Why do I need to refrigerate my bottles for 24-48 hours prior to drinking?
C02 (carbonation), will only absorb fully into a cold fluid.
32. If I bottle in glass, how do I check if my beer is carbonating?
If you want to monitor carbonation on a batch of glass bottles, try filling one plastic bottle, this can act as a control for the whole batch.
33. How long can I keep my beer in the bottle?
There’s really no hard and fast rule for this as it is dependent on the individual beer. However, beer bottled in plastic should be consumed within 6 months.
34. It’s been 3 weeks and my beer didn’t carbonate, what happened?
The most common reason this may happen is temperature. Make sure you are conditioning warm enough, and that your bottles are sealing properly.
35. My beer gushes when I open it, what causes that?
Gushing can be caused by over priming or priming over-under fermented beer. Gushing can also be caused by infection from microscopic organisms.
36. My beer tastes a bit appley what do I do?
Try allowing the bottles to condition longer.
37. Can I do anything with the trub leftover in the LBK?
Yes! There are lots of recipes online for repurposing beer yeast trub in cooking! Check out our recipe here.
38. Can I cook with batches I do not want to drink?
Yes, cooking is a great way to use a beer that you do not wish to drink.
Hard Cider Questions
1. Can I brew beer in my cider keg (or cider in my beer keg)?
Yes, you can brew beer in your cider keg, and cider in your beer keg. If you brew beer in your cider keg, be extra sure to keep your fermenter away from direct sunlight, as exposure to U.V. light can cause 'skunky' off-flavors in your beer. Don't worry though, cider is unaffected by light.
2. Can I use Booster™ in my cider?
Yes, you can use a pouch of Booster™ as a substitute for 1 1/2 cups of sugar in any recipe. Because it is slightly less fermentable than regular sugar, your cider brewed with Booster™ will be just a little bit sweeter (with slightly less alcohol) than if you used regular table sugar.
3. Can I use regular apple juice to make my cider?
Some apple juices make excellent cider, others not so much. Do so at your own risk. If you want to try, be sure to use pasteurized, preservative-free juice (all natural is best). Keep in mind that cider brewed from pure juice will have more or less alcohol by volume than Mr. Beer cider.
4. Is the cider gluten-free?
5. How long will the cider last?
It depends on how strong you make it. Generally, it will keep for about 6 months. Stronger ciders will keep a little longer.
6. Can I make a pear (or other fruit) cider?
Flavoring your cider with other fruit is fun and easy. Use whole or pureed fruit, and be sure that it doesn't contain preservatives or artificial sweeteners. Canned fruit is usually best, since it has been pasteurized. Raw or fresh fruit is not recommended, as there are wild yeast and bacteria in the flesh that may cause your cider to spoil.
7. My cider is still cloudy after 2 weeks. Can I bottle it now?
Taste the cider. If it is tart and dry (like dry white wine) it is ready to bottle. It will clear up in the bottle, once you put it in the fridge. If your cider is still sweet, allow it to ferment for another week before tasting it again.
8. Do I have to bottle my cider, or can I just drink it out of the keg?
Even if you want to drink uncarbonated cider, we recommend bottling it. If the cider sits on the sediment for too long (more than about 4 weeks), it will begin to pick up off flavors.
9. Can I use fresh fruit in my cider?
We don't recommend using fresh fruit to flavor your cider, since the flesh of fresh fruit contains bacteria and wild yeast that may cause your cider to spoil.
10. Is there a cider yeast that works at lower temperatures?
There is not another cider brewing yeast available, but you may want to try an ale yeast strain (such as the dry brewing yeast or liquid ale yeast). These yeast strains will work at slightly lower temperatures, and will produce a cider that is a bit sweeter, with less fruity flavor than cider yeast strain. We don't recommend using a lager yeast strain for cider.
Root Beer Questions
1. What's the yeast for?
Yeast eats the sugar in the root beer and makes carbon dioxide. The carbon dioxide then gets trapped inside the root beer and gives it its "bubbly" personality. If you did not use yeast, your root beer would be flat.
2. Are my bottles going to burst?
The specially designed safety caps were created to prevent the root beer bottles from bursting. When the bottles build up too much pressure, the caps open just enough to bleed off the excess gas. However, if you ever see a bottle begin to bulge, ask an adult to slowly open the bottle to release the pressure.
3. Some bottles have become firm, others have not. What's up?
First, too much sanitizer residue left in your bottles may kill some yeast, making carbonation very slow or impossible. Follow the cleaning instructions carefully and make sure that the bottles are completely empty before filling them with root beer. Second, an uneven distribution of yeast in the root beer mixture may be the cause. This means that one bottle may not have enough yeast to carbonate. Make sure the root beer ingredients are mixed very well and do not let the mixture settle before adding it to the bottles.
4. Why does the time it takes to carbonate the root beer vary?
The root beer will begin to carbonate sooner if the root beer is warmer than 95°F, and later if the root beer is cooler. Also, the air temperature during carbonation will affect the speed at which the bottles become firm. Root beer will carbonate faster in a warm environment and slower in a cooler environment.
5. Why does My Root Beer taste "strange?"
There are two things that may have caused your root beer to have off flavors. If you did not carefully clean all your utensils with the cleanser, you may have a build-up of bacteria, which can cause all kinds of funky flavors to form in your root beer. Make sure you clean everything very well with the included cleanser. Next, if you do not refrigerate your root beer soon enough, the yeast will eat too much of the sugar and cause the root beer to taste bad. Make sure to refrigerate your bottles as soon as they become firm.
6. Why isn't my Root Beer very foamy?
Store-bought root beer is force carbonated and has chemical additives to produce the foam. Mr.Rootbeer® is more traditional, in that it is naturally carbonated and contains no chemical additives. Mr.Rootbeer's recipe produces less foam and bubbles but gives a much smoother, creamier tasting root beer.
7. What happens if I don't refrigerate my Root Beer at the right time?
Refrigerating at the correct time is the most important step in the root beer making process. In short, refrigerating too soon will give you a flat but good tasting root beer, but refrigerating too late will give you bad tasting root beer or bursting bottles!
8. What is that at the bottom of my root beer bottle?
It is inactive yeast, and may be noticeable in every bottle. This is a normal byproduct of the carbonation process, and is perfectly harmless to drink.
9. Am I supposed to have extra yeast?
Yes, you will have leftover yeast when you are finished making all of your root beer. The yeast can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 30 days. Fold and tape package shut.
10. Does my root beer contain alcohol, caffeine and/or gluten?
Yeast produces a small amount of alcohol as a byproduct of the carbonation process. When the Mr.Rootbeer™ instructions are followed, very little alcohol is created and it cannot be tasted.
Your root beer is naturally caffeine- and gluten-free.