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Pimping a Coopers Kit with a Partial Mash


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#1 Bribie G

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 01:56 PM

A lot of kit brewers post about improving their kit brews with additives and "tweaking" to get away from the perceived "home brew taste".

I've just been presented with a tin of Coopers Australian Pale Ale and a kilo of Coopers Brew Enhancer 2. I also have a batch of Coopers Bottled Ale yeast in the fridge - "recultured".

 

Ideal opportunity to do a keg filler. If you do something along the same lines you will end up with a basic knowledge of mashing and can easily proceed to all grain brewing if you like the idea.

Most of the equipment listed below is general purpose household stuff. You would have a thermometer and probably a stockpot anyway.

 

 

Equipment:

 

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  • Esky
  • Here I use a Decor Brand 8.5L food storer that I normally keep my brewing salts in.
  • Paint strainer bag also sold as hop bag by many LHBS, mine came from Craftbrewer, about $8.
  • Spoon
  • Stockpot. Mine's the excellent Aldi 10.5L one with the glass lid and thick base

 

You will also need a heat source. I have a wee cooktop, your stove is fine. Camp gas stove excellent as well. Electric kettle etc to provide hot water.

 

Ingredients:

 

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  • Tin
  • BE2
  • kilo of milled pale malt (your supplier will supply milled)
  • yeast - there's plenty of info on the forum about growing Coopers Yeast out of the bottle dregs.
  • 10g hops, Pride of Ringwood here

 

This recipe should give a beer around 5.4% ABV with the yeast esters and hop character you find in Coopers Sparkling Ale.

 

Method:

 

Brewmate (free software)    .is useful for calculating temperatures and volumes.

 

 

  • In the esky provide a water bath at 70 degrees that will come up the sides of the inner container.
  •  
  • Line the inner container with the fabric bag and pour in hot water to provide 6.8L water at 70
  • Quickly but carefully mix in the milled grain, which will yield a bit over 8L of mash at 67
  • Put lid on as well as you can and lower into esky, careful not to flood the grain
  • Fit esky lid and walk away for an hour

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The grain will now mash itself to yield fermentable sugars and dextrins etc.

The water bath temperature isn't too high, it won't actually do much to the mash except insulate it quite nicely and will itself cool down a fair bit during the mash.

 

Back later with the second half.


Edited by Bribie G, 02 June 2013 - 04:15 PM.


#2 Bribie G

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:00 PM

At the end of the hour, remove the inner container and hoist the bag, letting it drain with light squeezing, back into your mini mash tun.

 

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This should yield around 7 L of wort which is a good fit for a smaller stockpot. To get a bit more goodness out of it you can put the bag back in the container and add a kettle of boiling water, stir it around and re hoist the bag.

 

Personally I wouldn't bother as you are looking to enhance the flavour and character of the kit - not so much a cost cutting exercise.

 

Bring the stockpot to the boil and boil for an hour. After 30 mins add 10g Pride of Ringwood pellets - I have gone cautious here, I don't really know how the stand alone Aussie PA turns out, we are looking just for that "POR" background you always get with the Coopers, not to bitter it to buggery.

 

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At the end of the boil, put a lid on the stockpot - clingwrap it if you like - and let it cool down for an hour.

 

Pour the wort into your sanitized fermenter along with the kit and BE2 and top up with tap water. In the case of a Coopers Pale Ale style, clarity isn't the no. 1 concern and I'd just tip it all in, but if you prefer you can try to isolate the trub at the bottom of the pot.

 

Pitch. Edit: Anything low to mid 20s will be ok for pitch as long as you are sure it's going to get below 20 within 12 hours. The first few hours the yeast is just waking up and breeding up. You need it to be below 20 when the actual fermentation commences. You can use the kit yeast but the Coopers recultured yeast from the bottle is highly recommended.

 

Edit: ferment below 20 degrees - should be ambient most areas at the moment. If you can keep it below 18 degrees you'll get those nice pear esters that you taste and smell in Coopers Sparkling.

 

 

Notes:

 

Kits with partial mashes are a good way of exploring spec grains and what they do. For example you could do the above brew with some darker malts included such as Caraaroma or use some wheat malt as well - the variations are endless.

 

Today I've worked within rough guidelines but haven't stressed about exact temperature issues, efficiency or other fine details. Partials are good for learning the ropes without stressing about getting everything spot on.

 

Rather than use the Brew Enhancer you can go up to two or three kilos of grain malt if you can find a big enough container.

 

Hey guess what, You might as well just go the whole hog now and do AG brewing :beerbang:

 

I'll get it pitched this evening and will report in a few weeks on the outcome - I'll keg it and do a few bottles as well.


Edited by Bribie G, 02 June 2013 - 04:12 PM.


#3 treefiddy

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 03:37 PM

Looks like a good guide, there's nothing wrong with a kit can.

 

How long would you say this process took Bribie? Less than or equal to your normal BIAB day? 

Was the process a little less involved so you could manage other things also?



#4 Bribie G

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:04 PM

Probably a lot less than a full BIAB day as there was far quicker temperature ramping and less cleaning up - but of course the mashing and boiling times are pretty much the same. Also no faffing around with multiple hop additions, kettle finings etc so really apart from a burst of activity at the beginning, the hoist and the end I just set the timer for a couple of periods and even got out to the shops.



#5 TidalPete

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:07 PM

I only wish I'd had the opportunity to have a forum like this & tutorials like this when I first started doing partials by trial & error. Brewing life would have been so much easier. :P

A well-constructed tutorial for the noob. Well done again Bribie. :super:  

My only criticism is there's no actual pitching temp advice. 

 

there's nothing wrong with a kit can.

 

If that's what you're happy with then good luck to you but my advice to you is to move onwards & upwards. You won't regret it.

BIAB will not be the end of your brewing odyssey but merely small step on the road to Beer Nirvana.



#6 Bribie G

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:13 PM

Edited



#7 treefiddy

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 04:21 PM

I have a 3V system but did kits and bits for a year (no partials like this though) before having a few go's at BIAB.

 

The scope of beer styles that can be good with kits is a little limited, but a good APA is not hard to achieve.

 

To each his own though, just I never had much trouble making a decent kit beer.

If beginners are happy with Coopers Sparkling or hoppy APA's, stouts etc then there is no reason to recommend them BIAB.



#8 squirt in the turns

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 01:08 PM

To get a bit more goodness out of it you can put the bag back in the container and add a kettle of boiling water, stir it around and re hoist the bag.


I'm nitpicking as it is probably inconsequential with such a small quantity of liquid and grain, and you advise not to bother with this step anyway, but just to help the noobs start off with the right practices: it's not a good idea to sparge with boiling water. Aim for 80°C to avoid extracting astringent tannins.

#9 Bribie G

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 03:00 PM

The thing about sparging and tannins is more about the pH and less about the temperature (hence Decoction mashes don't suffer from tannin extraction) so a batch sparge with stirring shouldn't harm, but I guess that if you decided to get smart and pour kettles of boiling water through the grain in the suspended bag to do a sort of mid-air sparge then you could start washing undesirable things out of the grain.

 

Probably best to be on the safe side and use very hot but not boiling kettle.



#10 slcmorro

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 01:54 PM

How's this one travelling, Bribie G? :) 



#11 Bribie G

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 02:12 PM

Oh telepathic dude, I just kegged it off five minutes before you posted :lol:

 

It's very good indeed, in fact mate and myself are drinking the extra couple of litres right out of primary.

 

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There's a slight "isohop" type bitterness but I don't know what the raw kit would taste like. Mate reckons it doesn't taste unpleasantly bitter to him - more like an old time beer he used to drink. However no perceivable "kit" twang in the malt portion, very smooth indeed,  and those POR and the Coopers yeast have done their trick. And it's still cloudy and flat and warm.

 

BTW no real need to use a mini biab, I originally used a large $4 kitchen wire flour strainer from a two dollar shop to strain the grain into the stockpot then do a sparge with an electric jug, but a wee BIAB is more handle-able.

 

I'd really recommend doing this to step up from kits for anyone who needs "training wheels". When I did my very first AG I kept thinking "hey this is easy, I know this". :)



#12 Tropical_Brews

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Posted 16 June 2013 - 05:26 PM

As a kits and bits man I may try this as I don't have a vessel big enough for BIAB. The only good can kits I have done are toucans.



#13 monsterhopmonster

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Posted 17 June 2013 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for the instructions Bribie.

 

I have been a kit brewer for years but lately have been reading up on the science of AG and DIY gear to support it but am balking at the cost to setup and the gear that I may potentially use only once or twice.

 

Your guide is a great, low impact way for me to dip my toes in the water.

 

thanks :)



#14 bum

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Posted 20 June 2013 - 08:12 AM

Don't forget about this sticky thread to compliment Bribie's guide.

 

http://aussiehomebre...l-mash-starter/

 

Not just the OP but there's some great points made throughout the thread.



#15 slcmorro

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 02:12 PM

Just a question re: boiling.

It's ok to boil the wort you've extracted from the grains, as you've only got sugars and not unwanted stuff out of it during the mashing process yeah? If the grains were being boiled, then you'd get the unwanted nasties right?

I think I skipped the boiling step when I steeped spec grains as a preliminary to doing an extract because I thought I'd 'ruin' the sugars.



#16 manticle

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:24 PM

Boil wort unless making a berliner weiss

Don't boil grains unless decoction mashing.

#17 slcmorro

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 03:48 PM

So.... boil wort! Thanks :) 



#18 B.C.

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 11:08 AM

Having stumbled across this recently, I've been inspired to try it. I'll be doing a cooper's sparkling tin, cooper's wheat malt tin, and kilo of 2 row. Maybe what's left of a bag of medium crystal.

Be interesting to see what it's like.



#19 reardo

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Posted 26 August 2013 - 02:31 PM

Great page guys. I have my missus 30th on in 3 weeks time and wanted to show off a little by having a neat tasting keg ready for all to try.

 

A question to the quote - "Rather than use the Brew Enhancer you can go up to two or three kilos of grain malt if you can find a big enough container." - what type of 2-3 kgs of grained malt would go well for replacing the brew enhanser? Would it be different types of malt or just stick to the one blend?



#20 B.C.

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 06:41 AM

Great page guys. I have my missus 30th on in 3 weeks time and wanted to show off a little by having a neat tasting keg ready for all to try.

 

A question to the quote - "Rather than use the Brew Enhancer you can go up to two or three kilos of grain malt if you can find a big enough container." - what type of 2-3 kgs of grained malt would go well for replacing the brew enhanser? Would it be different types of malt or just stick to the one blend?

 

I'd just go with base malt, pilsner, ales, etc. maybe something like marris otter if you want a little more character. You could also roll with a little crystal in there to pimp it up a little. If you're just looking to sub for the brew enhancer I'd just take your pick of base malts. Mind you I'd listen to pretty much anyone else, I've only played with all grain a couple of times.