Mr. Beer Home Brewery promises to be easy and fun, and certainly the kit I received for review lived up to that. First things first, I eagerly unpacked the contents of the large, friendly box containing the Mr. Beer Premium Edition Home Brewery in my kitchen. In the box I found the promised brew keg, the bottles, the sanitizing packet and the actual beer ingredients. Unfortunately, I didn’t find the instructions or the bottle stickers. I figure the instructions and stickers were simply lost or misplaced when either myself or Brant went through the box earlier. So if you’re like me an have misplaced your instructions don’t worry, a quick trip to the Mr. Beer website and I was easily able to find and print the instructions for my particular kit. [Edit: Watch the video of the Mr Beer kit unpacking]
First step is assembly and sanitizing. The only real assembly is putting the tap on the brew keg, and you’re ready to go. The sanitizing is really straightforward with an included sanitizing pack. Per the instructions: half now for your keg and tools, half later for the bottles- ten minutes soak in the sanitizer, pour it out, and you’re on to the next step. A couple of notes here- Make sure the spoon you’re going to be using fits easily in and out of the brew keg during the sanitizing process. Also being a health conscious individual, I had to wonder exactly what was in the no-rinse sanitizer. I just had an uneasy feeling knowing that without a rinse, some of that would be in my brew, without knowing what it was. Also, also, the brew keg itself is made of #3 PVC, which I tend to avoid as it is in one of the more questionably safe plastics. I emailed Mr. Beer and I’ll have an update when I receive a reply.*
* Mr. Beer returned my email, very friendly, very prompt, and I’ll pass along what they said here:
“The One Step Cleanser is a No Rinse product, so after you have resolved it in water and have soaked your keg, bottles and utensils, you can then pour out all the liquid and either let it air dry or go ahead and use. You actually should not consume the powder itself.
The keg is made with FDA approved PVC, which does not contain Melamine, Phthalates or the following heavy metals: Pb, Cd, Hg, CR(6. It is safe to ferment beer in it.”
On to the next step:
The instructions did not say whether tap water would suffice, or to use filtered water, but some research on my own suggest that you should never use distilled water for brewing beer, use filtered, or spring water. Since my local tap water is chlorinated, and I wanted a beer that tasted good- I opted for spring water, which set me back all of a buck-sixty at my local grocery store. (I retained one of the empty gallon jugs from the spring water for sanitizing bottles in the bottling step later down the road.)
The Brewing process was straightforward and easy. Dissolve the included booster, bring to a boil. Now, it will take some time to dissolve the booster into the water, so take your time. Remove from heat, and its on to the mix.
Time to add the Mix! Warm up the can in some hot water (I took off the label to keep it from getting gummy and falling into the mix.) and dump it into the booster solution, easy as that. Add the wort into the keg. Careful here, I accidentally spilled a bit, and it was a gooey mess on the side of the keg to clean.
Add the remainder of the spring water, stir, and you’re ready for the yeast. At this stage, the brew smells fantastic. A 5 minute timer, between a couple of quick stirs and I’m ready to put the brew keg in a nice quiet, dark place for 7-14 days to let my little yeast army do it’s thing.