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Mr. Beer

So I’ve talked craft beer and home brew around the office. I have one co-worker whose been home brewing longer than me, but much less frequently. Other’s know good beer, but have no real interest in making their own; I’m fine with that.

This past week another co-worker announced that he finally started his first homebrew, and initially I was like, “Welcome, Brother!” then I found it was a Mr. Beer kit that his wife had given him something like two years ago. It had been a few days, and he says there’s nothing resembling a krausen forming. so I’m convinced he pitched expired, dead yeast. I started talking to him about fixing it. The response was basically, “[the wife] gave me the kit, so as long as she’s off my back about making it, I’m OK if it doesn’t turn out.”

So to my mind Mr Beer, which should be a good gateway to home brewing, is really bringing another person to conclude that home made beer = sh**ty beer. Anyone else think that Mr. Beer keeps more people away from home brewing than it brings in?

It might be a toss up.

You should be able to make some decent beer, but isn’t it a bit more costly?

They need to upgrade the yeast to better dry varieties.

And obviously, asking for a good outcome from a 2yr old kit is asking a lot.

If someone is interested in making their own beer, it should provide a good gateway to better products/processes. If someone is just doing it to pacify the gift giver, it won’t convert them.

A lot of people have used Mr. Beer as a gateway. Sounds like your buddy just isn’t interested in homebrewing. Hard for us to understand because of our passion for it, but this hobby just isn’t for everyone.

I’ve got a friend whose wife ordered a kit for him from another online HBS a couple years ago. I don’t think he’s used it yet, in spite of the fact that he’s loved all of my homebrewed beers and he even had a good time hanging out with me during a brew session one time.

[quote=“JMcK”]So I’ve talked craft beer and home brew around the office. I have one co-worker whose been home brewing longer than me, but much less frequently. Other’s know good beer, but have no real interest in making their own; I’m fine with that.

This past week another co-worker announced that he finally started his first homebrew, and initially I was like, “Welcome, Brother!” then I found it was a Mr. Beer kit that his wife had given him something like two years ago. It had been a few days, and he says there’s nothing resembling a krausen forming. so I’m convinced he pitched expired, dead yeast. I started talking to him about fixing it. The response was basically, “[the wife] gave me the kit, so as long as she’s off my back about making it, I’m OK if it doesn’t turn out.”

So to my mind Mr Beer, which should be a good gateway to home brewing, is really bringing another person to conclude that home made beer = sh**ty beer. Anyone else think that Mr. Beer keeps more people away from home brewing than it brings in?[/quote]

Yes i do! A coworker of mine (and his brother) both decided to homebrew with Mr. Beer. I tried to explain that it is “VERY” entry level & not to judge homebrew based on his results. He made one batch of Bohemiam pilsner(shake it up & ferment for 2 weeks @ room temp!). Said it tasted like crap, so of course, homebrew is no good! I just laugh at him along with others i’ve been sharing with! He quickly gave up brewing; now he’s on a health kick. Good for him! :lol:

I think its a flip of the coin.

I got in to home-brewing about 2 years ago with this exact scenario.
Wife bought a Mr.Beer at a discounted price… and I got around to it about 6 months later.
The beer turned out like rotten apple juice… :lol:

I to have a friend at work that is very experienced at home-brewing… he invited me to his place and had me sample his beer and wine… It was amazing!.. he gave a few hints and tips… and off I went.

Now I LOVE my home-brew! Still working on getting it just right… but my brewing tools and ‘stuff’ is growing exponentially… :shock: I spent another $70 bucks on it today… lol!

I think it is intimidating getting started… but with a good friend to coax you along and and interest in beer… you can get a few really addicted to this hobby… I know I love it… :cheers:

~silvercn

I think Mr. Beer is a functioning gateway.
Northern Brewer seems to have taken the hint, with their 1 gallon set up.

What is the shelf life of a Mr Brew kit? They must sit on the shelf for some time after they are produced before they are sold. Do they contain powdered yeast? I plan on long term storage of barley and grain as well as powdered yeast. What is the shelf life of canned malt extract? I have a can that is well over ten years old. Do you think I could make a drinkable beer from it? It may be worth the experiment.

These are questions that must be answered if we are going to survive the Zombie Apocolypse in any kind of style. Survival without beer is not really survival. Is It???

It was my gateway. My brother-in-law gave me a kit for Christmas several years ago. While I was pouring the extract into the kettle during brew day, my first thought was, “I wonder how extract is made”, and that led me to read How to Brew. Needless to say, after the Mr. Beer extract kits that came with the starter kit were used up, I jumped straight into all grain.

Looking back, Mr. Beer is a joke of a homebrew system, however I would not have become a homebrewer without it, so for me anyway it was a necessary first step into the hobby.

Mr. Beer is what got me into homebrewing. I only made 6 batches with the kits; they tasted fine but didn’t want to spend $20 for 2 gal of beer for the Mr Beer kits. So I began purchasing DME, hops, & specialty malts. 4 yrs later the obsession continues: Better Bottles, larger boil kettle, ball valves, AG, mash tun, fermentation chamber, grain mill, etc, etc. :lol:

Like so many of the rest of the guys here, I got started with a Mr. Beer kit also. My 13 year old got me one for Christmas 5 years ago. I made the worst beer I’ve ever tasted from it, but it did make me realize I could make beer. Been my hobby now for almost 6 years.

I did Mr Beer and like someone said it was the cost of those kits that drove me to NB. It wasnt horrid piss water…but for the cost i could purchase way better beer. Honestly I tried the 1 gal NB kits and while they tasted better…I think the brewing process is trickier. Mr Beer has the bottling bucket and fermentor all in 1!

I think it goes both ways to be honest. I almost bought a Mr. Beer kit than a friend told me about a home brew store, the Beer Nut Salt Lake City UT, I talked to a person their who was very knowledgeable as well as very passionate. So we got a starter kit made a Bohemian that was pretty bad, fermented to high the whole and countless other screw ups.

Anyway long story short, been 10 years haven’t looked back glad I ran into him. I talk about homebrew to anyone who listens and talk as many as I can away from Mr. Beer.

I have been brewing for a year now and my gate way into home brewing was watching BrewingTV. Me and one of my buddies have been talking about doing it while we were college and never got around to it. He got married last summer and moved away so I decided to check it out. It was episode 28 Back to Basics that gave me the confidence to give it a try. I bought the 5gal kit for my birthday, because I didn’t want someone to give me a Mr. Beer kit haha.

Honestly none of my friends have showed interest in wanting to start. They are enjoying having me to “supply” them beer. However, I would tell them to watch some of the BrewingTV episodes first and have them over on one of my brew days to see it in person what it’s all about, even though I have already switched to all grain.

From people I’ve talked to it’s about 50/50. Half the time it turns out OK, the other half it turns out terrible.

I agree that it’s a toss up. I received a MB Brewing Kit for Christmas this past year from my mother in law. At first I didn’t know what to expect but found that it was a nice way to venture into homebrewing. Having a job, a wife, and a son, it allowed me to dip my foot into the homebrewing pool. Since then I’ve ventured out but remain an extract brewer. It’s worked for me but I think your heart has to be into trying something new and doing some research.

My friend had been brewing Mr Beer kits for years. He loved it, but he also loved Busch beer…

After SWMBO got me into extract brewing (not kits) I tried to get him into extract brewing. I hadn’t realized that his 2-2.5 gal kits costed as much as what I could do for 5 gals. He wasn’t too interested, and claimed he didn’t have the time.

For his birthday I created a beginner kit for him with some buckets I had, and made him a honey wheat extract “kit” along with proper instructions. It may take him longer than it did to jack with those Mr Beer kits, but he’s all in.

I was never impressed with his doctored Mr Beer beers, and I tried one in my humble beginnings, which was one of the most terrible beers I’ve had, but I also recently bought 2 Mr Beer kits and a 3 pack refill from a garage sale. I ultimately just wanted the fermentors and the plastic bottles, but I tossed out the booster and yeast and used DME, extra hops, and my yeast. I don’t expect great beer, but I’m hoping they turn out good enough. I’ll find out in another 6 weeks or so…

I was a dedicated Yuengling/Miller Lite drinker. . .

I got started on a Mr Beer kit that my buddy had and was no longer using so he gave to me along with the kits he had left. My wife then got me a 4 pack for Christmas. Enter life. . . :lol: When I finally got to trying it one full year later, of course the yeast was bad and the beer turned out baaaaaaaaad. I was a bit disappointed. I then found the mrbeer website and browsed their kits and ordered a few new ones to give it another shot. I made 6 or 7 batches with it and was enjoying the process. I would say I ended up around 50% on MrBeer brews, some were utter crap, some were decent. The Shocktoberfest in particular was delicious and sold me 100% on homebrewing after my first sip.

My wife’s cousin brought some of his homebrew to Christmas this year and we struck up a conversation. He got a brewers best kit as a wedding present and encouraged me to look more into homebrewing. Through internet browsing/research, I found this site and got the deluxe 5 gallon starter kit. I have since continued to research and learn as much as I possibly can about this hobby and with my 4th extract kit arriving in the mail shortly (Denny’s Wry Smile), I am focusing on improving my process as I continue to try to convince the wife that All Grain is a reasonable goal long term. The mad scientist in me is just dying to experiment but I want to make sure I have a good handle on the basics before I really dive in to that. :stuck_out_tongue:

I have also been lucky enough to inherit some gear upgrades from my uncle (namely turkey fryer setup with a 40qt pot) who tried it once after he retired and decided it was too much work so I’ve now upgraded to full 5 gallon boils outside and have great plans for continuing to improve my setup as I go.

All in all, I would say that the NB beer kits are immensely better than the MrBeer kits, but without the MrBeer introduction to brewing, I may not have gotten hooked as easily in the first place and I would have continued to think that brewing was something I could never do by myself.

As an aside, the main thing that has significantly increased my appreciation for good beer is the Untappd app because I am now constantly in search of new beers to try and learn about. :slight_smile:

:cheers:
Rad

After those first two epic failures SWMBO looked online and found extract recipes for a brown and an IPA. Since then I had found hopville and began working on recipes by looking around at other’s published recipes to get an idea of what is good and needed.

I’d buy more mr beer kits if the deal is good. Same with any other kit. But I’m having too much fun figuring out what’s good and what’s just ok.

I have thought of buying certain kits though…

My first kit was also a Mr. Beer. About 16 years ago. Let’s just say it produced something similar to beer. That got me talking to a guy at work that homebrewed. He pointed me to a LHBS and gave me some hints on where to find every day stuff that could be used to brew and save a couple of buck doing it. Since then I have greatly surpassed him brewing and found out saving money brewing wasn’t happening after going from buckets, a 3 gallon pot on the stove and ice baths to 10 then 20 gallon RIMS.

Short answer. Yes I do think Mr. Beer is a gateway drug :lol:

I just started with a Mr. Beer kit I received this past Christmas. I actually thought the beer was pretty good, but the choices were pretty limited. I read several book about beer brewing and moved on from Mr. Beer to more complex kits almost right away. I also bought new fermentation equipment, but still small batches just because of space. I just made the White House Honey Ale (made 1/2 batch, 2.5 gal) and used the Mr. Beer fermenter as a bottling bucket.

For me, the Mr. Beer kit gave me the confidence to know that I could do it. If you do it right and use the kit right away, it can make good beer, but it is expensive for what you get compared to using Northern Brewer kits.

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