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A Return to Kits


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#21 Coldspace

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Posted 07 January 2017 - 01:57 PM

I've got mates who I've setup with keg systems and only do kits. Some of the Morgans kits especially the lager receipes turn out really good.

On their brew days I go over as they are still learning , let em mix it all up to the Morgans or coopers receipe , I usually take a big yeast starter of 34/70 or s189 for the lagers for them, or us05 or coopers recultured for the ales , mix, O2 , pitch and run at either 13 degrees or 19 depending, they brew away, fine cc and keg up,
Turn out excellent,

It's funny when they phone me up and say they have mates over who can not beleave the beers are "homebrew" and say comments like these are better than some of the craft breweries are putting out.

I have to agree, some of the craft breweries I've tried lately are about average in quality.

That's why we learn this hobby... To make better beer :)

Good luck, it will turn out great.

#22 Quokka42

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 09:53 PM

The challenge of AG is great, as is the sense of achievement, but after you have been doing it a while you should have built up the skills, knowledge and technique that you don't really need to unless you plan going commercial. It's like cooking - you do everything from scratch until you reach chef level and can use "cheats" to produce the mass food in the restaurant. You still need to know the basics if you want to win stars or do a TV show, though - but no-one is going to pick it on a taste test if you are good.

 

My Mainstay recipe is based on a coopers kit, DME, crystal malt and usually pellet hops (unless I can get fresh) - and more people rave about it than my partial and full mash, and a lot of my friends are POMEs, some legit members of CAMRA!



#23 Aussie Mick

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Posted 23 January 2017 - 11:56 PM

I'm sure many members would be very interested to hear more about your mainstay recipe Quokka.

I tend to agree with your theory. I set up and ran a restaurant all from a passion for a certain style of food, and had 18 months of great success, then the novelty wore off..........big time. I sold the business and now I cook for family and friends once again, and enjoy it.

I am an ex Camra member of. 😊

Edited by Aussie Mick, 23 January 2017 - 11:58 PM.


#24 Beefy

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Posted 24 January 2017 - 05:41 AM

Jumping back into the homebrew fray after a long absence, it seems to me that a LOT has changed for the better over the past few years:

1) Kits have improved. The new top-end Coopers kits have a lot more fresh hop character. The Amber Ale and English Bitter are both particularly good.

2) The products available to us have improved. Better sanitation with products like StarSan, new dry and liquid yeast strains, and improved availability of specialty grain and new-world hops can give kit and extract brews a lot more of that all-grain 'freshness'.

3) Kits'n'bits recipes have improved. The English Bitter based Porter is *so* incredibly good.

 

Back in the day, I always considered jumping up to all-grain because I thought I was missing something with kits - not any more. If someone can't turn a kit into a really great beer, I don't think that they are a particularly good brewer.



#25 cliffo

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Posted 27 January 2017 - 03:20 PM

An update.

 

Kegged a week ago, put on tap last night and I'm halfway through the first glass now.

 

First thoughts are that my AG beers are noticeably superior but all in all for the minimal effort involved this isn't a bad beer.

 

I don't think I'll do any K&K on a regular basis but this tastes way better than the K&K beers I remember doing all those years ago.

 

I put it down to temp control, good yeast and better sanitation methods.



#26 jackgym

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Posted 30 January 2017 - 11:30 AM

Jumping back into the homebrew fray after a long absence, it seems to me that a LOT has changed for the better over the past few years:

1) Kits have improved. The new top-end Coopers kits have a lot more fresh hop character. The Amber Ale and English Bitter are both particularly good.

2) The products available to us have improved. Better sanitation with products like StarSan, new dry and liquid yeast strains, and improved availability of specialty grain and new-world hops can give kit and extract brews a lot more of that all-grain 'freshness'.

3) Kits'n'bits recipes have improved. The English Bitter based Porter is *so* incredibly good.

 

Back in the day, I always considered jumping up to all-grain because I thought I was missing something with kits - not any more. If someone can't turn a kit into a really great beer, I don't think that they are a particularly good brewer.

I wholeheartedly agree, Beefy.

I've brewed nothing but kits and just adding extra hops (either boiled or dry, or both) for different recipes and all have been excellent beers.

In fact, when I'm forced to drink at the Club the beer is thin and tastes like crap. 



#27 professional_drunk

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 08:15 AM

I've been doing AG for years and life has recently got in the way and I needed a way to fill the keg. I brewed up a coopers pilsner + a tin of coopers light extract and was quite pleasantly surprised by how well it turned out. Doesn't have the twang I remember when I tried kits many years ago. Definitely not as good as my all grain brews. The malt flavour seems off like could be not fresh. Not sure how to describe it. But if you balance the hit to quality vs how little effort I put into it, I think it was worth it. Will definitely look to do more kits when life gets busy.



#28 laxation

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Posted 12 April 2017 - 09:42 AM

Thanks Cliffo, I'm a plumber and buy them from Reece at $44 plus GST. Now I know I am not being ripped off.

Anyone thinking of trying a kitv as an experiment, I can highly recommend the Hop Slam USA recipe on the Coopers site. Hands down the best brew I have produced to date.

http://store.coopers...ex/view/id/124/

I made a few changes. I used .5 kg LDM and .5 kg dried wheat malt, then 30g each of Cascade, Amarillo and Centannial. It was tasting very bitter at casking stage, 2 days later it had blossomed into one of the best beers I have tasted in this hemisphere

The Black Rock Golden Ale will be getting kegged up today or tomorrow and it tastes very promising too.

Only just found this thread now... but a while back I bought 3x those Thomas Coopers IPA tins from Dans when they were on sale ($15 for the kit and a box of malt - should have bought more!)

 

One brew I screwed up and got an infection. Second brew was the best beer I've ever brewed by a long way. This was just with the tin, tin yeast, 1kg malt and 500g dex and then bottled.

Have just finished fermenting the 3rd tin and it went into the keg yesterday. Really looking forward to trying one off tap!

 

Anyway my point is... I think this might just be a really nice tin of beer.

 

I'm keen to try the hop slam for sure


Edited by laxation, 12 April 2017 - 09:42 AM.


#29 laxation

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:28 AM

I made a few changes. I used .5 kg LDM and .5 kg dried wheat malt, then 30g each of Cascade, Amarillo and Centannial. It was tasting very bitter at casking stage, 2 days later it had blossomed into one of the best beers I have tasted in this hemisphere

 

Keen to try this. When did you add the hops?



#30 Aussie Mick

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:23 PM

Hi Laxation

I just checked my notes and unfortunately, I didn't write down when I added the hops.

I can only presume that I dry hopped them on about day 4 of fermentation...... but maybe I boiled some up with the LDM......sorry, not much help I know.

I have actually just now racked off another of these. This time I used

1x Brew IPA
1 kg LDM
2x sachet of Coopers yeast (its all I had at the time)

I then dry hopped about 15 gms of each hops (same three) on day 4, and I have transferred the hops into the secondary (racking) fermenter.

It is tasting pretty good

#31 jackgym

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 03:47 PM

You'll be surprised how much better it'll be using good practices!

It'll still have the kit taste, but it'll be drinkable

What's the kit taste?



#32 PaulG79

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:27 AM

On 'that kit taste'... I just got back into brewing after a year or so off, thought I didn't have the room at my new place but got tired of paying through the nose for drinkable beer.  $100 for a carton of Newstead IPA was the point where I thought 'not any more'

 

Anyhow, I'm starting to wonder if 'that kit taste' needs to be re-branded as 'that Coopers taste'.  I've been reading through all the forum posts on kit taste and twang and K+K being shit and thinking back on all the brews I've done in the past, the only ones I remember having 'that kit taste' were high ferment temp from before I got my fridge, and anything Coopers.  It was a while ago now so my memory might be hazy but the first couple brews I tried after I inherited my kit from a friend's brother didn't have any of those issues and they weren't Coopers.

 

Recently I put down a Craft Series Bewitched amber ale, first brew for a long time.  Temp control and sanitation are fine.  Haven't let it mature as much as I should, but the tester beers have all had that initial smack of homebrew followed by too much sweetness in the flavour profile.  But the more of it I drink and the more I think about it, seems to me it's not kit twang.  It's something to do with that signature Coopers flavour that comes through in most of their beers, a kind of malty sweetness with a sharp bitterness over the top.  Coopers green - best place to taste the bitterness - Coopers Mild - the malty sweet flavour.  

 

Starting to think maybe I just don't like Coopers beer as much as I thought I did.  Only thing I haven't tried yet is switching to US-05 yeast, I'm hoping this might help those flavours to blend a bit better or failing that at least dry out the sweetness a bit.  Got a few cans left, and if that doesn't work I'm switching to those Mangrove Jack craft pouches.  

 

Have to say, none of the kits I've brewed have been particularly fantastic, but that's not the same as 'that kit taste' it seems to me.



#33 grott

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 09:16 AM

Welcome PaulG79.
IMO I find that Coopers is quite drinkable compared to the general commercial crap brews on pub taps or compared to $100 cartons you mention. I do find that improvements can be made to a Coopers tin by - not using enhancer packs or glucose and light liquid malt instead, fermenting for 14 days at 18 to 20 degrees, 4 weeks min bottled or 2 weeks after carbonation in a keg.
They say a change of yeast further improves but I'm happy with what's under the lid. Also I only brew the Coopers International or Thomas Coopers series as the basic brews are fairly weak for my liking.
Cheers

Edited by grott, 11 May 2017 - 09:17 AM.


#34 earle

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 09:30 AM

Pretty sure that the Bewitched Amber Ale is made by coopers - just labelled as Mr Beer.



#35 PaulG79

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 10:18 AM

Thanks Grott  :) yeah I should've mentioned, I know Bewitched is Coopers, I got the craft kit because I thought my fridge was too small for my old tubs but realised after a while that the economy isn't very good... so i bashed the fridge around a bit and now the big fermenter fits  :P

 

Also, I don't mind the taste.  I'd go so far as to say I like it, apart from that home brew smell I get opening the first one (of the night).  It's strong too and has a much better flavour than Ruby Tuesday [swill]  It's more that, after a while, it just tastes like coopers?  Doesn't matter what kit it is, after a couple of tallies all I can taste is Coopers - might just be me.  I wonder if their proprietary yeast strains create that 'Coopers taste'?

 

I always ferment for 2 weeks at the temp you mention, although I've never tried the liquid extracts, just the dried stuff.  I feel like the yeast must have something to do with the way my beers finish too.  I was reading a US homebrew site (can't remember which one) where an expert guy was saying most home brewers massively under pitch their beers.  I think there might be something in that, since the beer I've had the most consistent success with was the Lawnmower Lager recipe, and I think that's because it's so simple the yeast doesn't have to do much.  I've tried a few other styles using the kit yeast and they just don't ferment out properly.  Even after months of cellaring the old Coopers IPA tasted like it had honey in it.

 

Next step: try the yeast, if that doesn't work, I'll give the liquid extracts a go.  Bummer you can't get them at Big W



#36 grott

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 10:38 AM

Join the Coopers site and you'll find you get discount on all Cooper's products. If you can bulk buy you can have free delivery each month ( notification sent if you register you email address) for purchases over $80 or sometimes $100. It's worth it for the discount, selection of products and delivery to the door.

#37 PaulG79

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 10:56 AM

Thanks mate, that sounds like a plan.  I've got a few experiments I'm gonna do, basically looking for a simple kit I can have going in the background all the time before I get more into experimenting with grains and stuff.  I don't care if it's the 'instant coffee' of beer.  If I'm paying $10 for a carton I'll take it  :P

 

I did have a question for the experienced K+K brewers out there, does anyone else get that home brew smell and sometimes taste?  I'm trying to narrow this down - it's not off cidery flavours, it's not high temp flavours, it's not infection, it's not old can taste.  But it's still there.  It's that 'I know this is homebrew' smell/taste.  If it's a fact of life for non-AG brewers I'm ok with that, but I'm keen to hear other ppl's experiences, just so I'm not endlessly experimenting with something I'm not going to get results on.  Maybe it is old can taste, that's probably something I'm not sure of.  I know all the others back to front, haha.  But then what counts as an old can?

 

cheers

 

edit: there's a tonne of info on here about this already, seems like there's a consensus, barring any weird and wonderful tricks people might have


Edited by PaulG79, 11 May 2017 - 11:16 AM.


#38 damoninja

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 11:24 AM

Nothing wrong with throwing together a kit for whatever reason you might have. 

 

I usually brew all grain when I need beer and have time. 

 

If I need beer and have no time, it's a kit. The last one I did I needed for a camping trip with 2 weeks to brew/ferment/carb so a kit it was and it turned out to be brilliant, so much so I wouldn't even bother brewing an AG version. 



#39 mtb

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 11:27 AM

does anyone else get that home brew smell and sometimes taste?

 

I've heard plenty of speculation that it was due to the can/bag leaching its own flavours into its contents. Mangrove Jacks pouches never leached such flavours in my experience, but then, I only spent a few months on kits before going AG so I might've just gotten lucky.



#40 grott

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 11:43 AM

I believe it's the maltodextrin (corn syrup) in Coopers enhancer packs or other made up boosters for tin products that give that "tang" effect, sort of tinny feel. I don't get it with malts so I'm happy with that.