I think a lot of people are in the same boat I am in. It’s a good boat! We have a democratically-elected leader and good snacks. The boat I am in is this: I’ve been brewing for about three years (almost). I now brew 5-gallon all-grain batches of pretty good beer. I am by no means an expert. I have received praise from casual and hard-core beer people that my beer is damn good. I had to screw it up a few times to get good beer, but nonetheless, I brew beer that tastes good and gets you drunk. A part of being in this cool boat with the tasty snacks is that you have to have started brewing after getting a Mr.Beer kit for Christmas.
Are we in the same boat? Cool! Have some snacks!
I like Mr. Beer. It’s what got me started. It’s how I learned about the brewing process. Over time, the passengers who share the boat with me probably started replacing Mr. Beer equipment with other, more-advanced equipment. My ship-mates and I started learning how to do things like mashing, sparging and testing gravity. We experimented with different adjuncts and different hops combinations. When we went to the local beer store and told the clerk we were looking for Mr. Beer stuff like refills and Mr. Beer fermenter thermometers, the beer store guy gave us a look like we were common gutter trash. He may have even closed his eyelids partially and looked slightly upward as he said, “We don’t sell Mr. Beer at this store.” He may have even rolled his eyes as he strode back to the office to look at his BJCP certificate and to smell his own farts.
What’s with all the hatred over Mr. Beer? So it’s not the best beer in the world. So it’s the Honda Civic of beers. So it only makes 2 gallons at a time. So what? Mr. Beer was the catalyst that got some of the best home-brewers in the country started in this fantastic hobby of ours. Let’s not be turds to the people in my boat. This boat has a lot of passengers. Don’t we want them to come to the island? Enough with metaphors, let’s talk technical.
That Mr. Beer equipment has been sitting in my basement unused for a while now. Here’s four really good ideas for what to do with that stuff.
- Give it to an interested friend. Have your friend come over and brew a batch together. Have a few cold ones, listen to some Led Zeppelin and hopefully open a whole new world to your buddy. Give your pal some pointers. Teach as you go. Eventually, your friend will get more interested and will start doing what you did. (replacing equipment over time with more advanced equipment)
- Use the Mr. Beer fermenter to make small-batch all-grain brews. Couldn’t you use an extra fermenter? The damn thing works pretty well. Small-batch brewing is pretty fun and easy. What took you 5 hours for an all-grain 5-gallon batch takes about two and a half for a 2-gallon batch. You can even use regular pots and pans you have in your kitchen instead of that big ‘ol kettle you use for 5-gallon batches.
- Use the Fermenter to make sun-tea or iced tea. It’s got a spigot. Just put some saran wrap under the lid to close the airlock. Now you have a handy-dandy drink container.
- Use those Mr. Beer bottles to test your carbonation. It’s a good idea to always fill one plastic bottle for each batch. You can squeeze the plastic bottle to check for hardness, indicating that your bottle-carbonation process is completed. The Mr. Beer bottles work great for this.
If you have more ideas for uses of that old Mr. Beer kit, let me know! Reply to this comment and let’s share! Cheers!