quality posts: 12
I've been homebrewing for about five years now and decided to skip the Mr. Beer for a good basic kit. For awhile I've always had two batches going, but now I do seasonals (about a batch for summer, winter, spring, and fall). I also have a batch of mead going, but I'm not sure why you would want to tie up this system for a year with mead.
Anyway, I like brewing because I can experiment and make clones of my favorite microbrews. My friend has a Mr. Beer kit and the beer is always lower quality compared to us that actually homebrew. I'm not a beer snob (like some people I know), but I compare the Mr. Beer quality to PBR over having say a Whitetail Wheat from my favorite microbrewery. If you are happy with PBR then Mr. Beer might be the kit for you.
I don't know how expensive the kits are, but I spend on average $45-$65 on a batch of beer that yields 5 gallons. If they are anywhere near that price you are better off in the long run getting an actual homebrew kit since Mr. Beer only makes 2 gallons. Also the re-sale value on homebrew equipment (if you decide you hate the hobby) is much higher then Mr. Beer. I see Mr. Beer being sold at yard sales for $5 whereas I sold my beginner kit about three months ago for about $20 less then I paid for it originally ($80 for primary fermenter, 5-gallon stock pot, Better Bottle carboy, bottle capper, hydrometer, and I threw in a couple boxes of bottles since I don't need eight cases anymore).
Oh and one other thing...do people REALLY need a kit like this to make rootbeer? I do that all the time to, but I just throw the sugar, yeast, extract, and water into some 2-liter, 1-liter, and 20 oz. plastic bottles, then let them sit at room temperature in a dark cupboard until they are done (about 4-5 days). It is always fizzy and tastes really good. Plus our brew store sells different kinds of rootbeer and sarsaparilla extracts. I just wouldn't tie up any of my homebrew supplies for something as simple as rootbeer. Hard cider I make the same way (minus the extract).
Signatures are harshing my mellow.
quality posts: 5
meep116 wrote:Has anyone used this to make hard cider?
As for the container itself, you would have no problem. The yeast would be next to useless if you were looking for a traditional cider. Something closer to wine in dryness would not be accomplished by using the VERY basic and bland ale yeast that is provided. I have made almost all of my cider using Champagne yeast, which allows for a much cleaner fermentation without the residual sugar.
But if you like a sweet, somewhat beerish, cider then this ale yeast might be OKAY. Again, this dried yeast is very basic and pretty much only creates alcohol out of sugar with no personality at all.
As a homebrewer, I would not hesitate to pass on this and just throw the $20 into a decent starter kit. You could be up and running on 5 gallon batches for about $80.
It's great to be a Florida Gator!