Starter Kit Brewing Results – Mr. Beer
We initially tasted our first batch of Czech Pilsner from Mr. Beer after it had aged in the bottles in the fridge for only a week or so. It was mostly flat and had a light, slightly citrusy taste. We did not expect it to build any additional carbonation as the cold temp of the fridge would stall any remaining fermentation in the bottle, but we did hope the citrus flavor would mellow a bit and were excited to see if there were any changes after about three weeks.
After aging a few weeks, it seemed there was a slightly richer flavor that was a bit less citrusy, and a little more yeasty, but it was still flat and pretty lifeless. I’m not prepared to call it a complete failure because it does not taste terrible. It’s definitely drinkable, but tastes more like a rich cider than a Czech Pilsner. Still, I’m looking forward to trying the exact same flavor again to see if we can get it to come out better. The only thing I can think that might make a difference is to keep the brew at a bit higher temperature. The “little brown keg” was kept in a dark location that was at the cooler end of the recommended range. Mr. Beer recommends 68-76 degrees during the fermentation process and ours was kept between 68-70 degrees.
I should note that the first batch was an “extract only” brew because the original kit I bought did not come with what Mr. Beer calls a “booster pack.” The replacement order did come with these “booster packs” which are basically sugar intended to raise the alcohol level of the brew. I fouled up this step because I stirred the hopped malt extract into the hot water before realizing I was supposed to dissolve the booster pack into cold water before bringing it to a boil then adding the hopped malt extract. Instead, having already dissolved the extract into the hot water, I had no choice except to stir the booster pack into the hot dissolved extract. Having done that I noticed the booster pack sugars formed giant gooey clumps, so I heated the mixture and stirred until the clumps dissolved.
Another mistake I made was to sprinkle the yeast onto the top of the mixture after adding it to cold water in the fermenter, but before topping the mixture up to the full mark. Adding the yeast is supposed to be the last step and it should NOT be stirred in, however topping up the water in the fermenter probably mixed some of it in. Clearly, I was not really paying close attention, but this will be a good test of just how “idiot proof” the Mr. Beer system really is.