Best Kit Beers I Have Had, Had No Temp Control.

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PistolPatch

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Not many people would start a topic with the above title but it is absolutely true for me and is something that has totally bewildered me.

The best kit beers I have tasted (and some of them are in the top ten of home-brewed beers I have tasted) have all been fermented way too high. I can even name the brewers - InCider, Damien44, Katie & LloydieP are 3 (slash) 4 that always spring instantly to mind. There is another brewer who lives a few streets up and he brewed a lager that I think was perfect. The brewers I have mentioned here, all brewed lagers with the exception of one who brewed a delightful pale ale.

I can easily brew a great all-grain beer but I have never brewed a kit beer I could drink.

And, I followed all the rules.

I now know that my palate is hugely suseptible to any acidic flavours and nothing will change a palate. For example, I went to someone's place the other day and couldn't drink for the entire 10 hours I was there as I found all the beers to be cidery/astringent. No one else noticed it (including professional brewers) and so I thought I was going insane. Luckily, the brewer had entered some of the beers in a comp and the judges noticed the same thing I did but I believe none of them found it as overpowering or as offensive as I did - it is just a misfortune of my palate.

What has always worried me though, is kit brewers persisting with kit beers when perhaps their palate is as sensitive in the cidery/acidic department as mine is.

You can keep blaming yourself for the undrinkable beer you produce and spend weeks improving your set-up such as fermenting with temperature control but you may never brew a good beer if your palate is like mine.

As far as I can see there are three possible solutions if your palate is in the same category...

a) Buy a Kit and Ferment it at About 28 Degrees - This temp is the minimum temp that the above excellent kit beers I have tasted were fermented at. They were all fermented in garages or sheds in summer heat in QLD and Perth. Go figure??? (I tried this once and got a drinkable beer but it had the banana taste! Maybe I should have gone higher - lol!)

B) Abandon Tins and Buy Fresh Wort Kits (FWK)- These will cost you almost double the tin but I have never had an undrinkable FWK. I think anyone who loves beer should start at this level. It is the safest and easiest (manually) level to brew beer. You actually should get a brilliant beer* from a FWK. If you don't, then you really need to look at your fermentation and santisation. It is almost impossible to stuff these up if you know the basics.

c) Brew All-Grain Beer - Have you done B) above? If not, go there and then if it suits, go all-grain.

The whole point of this long post is that if you are getting fed up brewing kit beer, can't drink the result and are doing everything right, you are probably not the problem. Brewing a great kit beer is very dependent on your supplier.

Don't do what I did and give the hobby away. Twice I did that. Instead, jump to option B) above and as soon as possible after that, look at temperature control.

Don't look at temp control, time or anything else to fix a kit beer that you find pretty much undrinkable. This rarely happens if you are doing the basics right and never happens if you aren't.

I hope the above is food for thought for some.

Spot!
Patch

* When I last drove from Sydney to Perth I stopped half-way and drank a FWK beer brewed by Frogman. One of the nicest beers I have had in my life. I even took a photo to preserve the memory!
 

SunDrifter

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Good food for thought there mate. I'm a little worried i might be in a similar position, palate wise. I've found that the more I put into kit beers the more dissapointed I am when they taste like.... well kit beers.

I've need to mature the two batches i have bottled up for about another month before they'll be drinkable, i guess i'll make more informed decision then.
 

jbowers

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Or you could just use extract with steeps/mashes...
 

QldKev

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Not many people would start a topic with the above title but it is absolutely true for me and is something that has totally bewildered me.

The best kit beers I have tasted (and some of them are in the top ten of home-brewed beers I have tasted) have all been fermented way too high. I can even name the brewers - InCider, Damien44, Katie & LloydieP are 3 (slash) 4 that always spring instantly to mind. There is another brewer who lives a few streets up and he brewed a lager that I think was perfect. The brewers I have mentioned here, all brewed lagers with the exception of one who brewed a delightful pale ale.

I can easily brew a great all-grain beer but I have never brewed a kit beer I could drink.

And, I followed all the rules.

I now know that my palate is hugely suseptible to any acidic flavours and nothing will change a palate. For example, I went to someone's place the other day and couldn't drink for the entire 10 hours I was there as I found all the beers to be cidery/astringent. No one else noticed it (including professional brewers) and so I thought I was going insane. Luckily, the brewer had entered some of the beers in a comp and the judges noticed the same thing I did but I believe none of them found it as overpowering or as offensive as I did - it is just a misfortune of my palate.

What has always worried me though, is kit brewers persisting with kit beers when perhaps their palate is as sensitive in the cidery/acidic department as mine is.

You can keep blaming yourself for the undrinkable beer you produce and spend weeks improving your set-up such as fermenting with temperature control but you may never brew a good beer if your palate is like mine.

As far as I can see there are three possible solutions if your palate is in the same category...

a) Buy a Kit and Ferment it at About 28 Degrees - This temp is the minimum temp that the above excellent kit beers I have tasted were fermented at. They were all fermented in garages or sheds in summer heat in QLD and Perth. Go figure??? (I tried this once and got a drinkable beer but it had the banana taste! Maybe I should have gone higher - lol!)

B) Abandon Tins and Buy Fresh Wort Kits (FWK)- These will cost you almost double the tin but I have never had an undrinkable FWK. I think anyone who loves beer should start at this level. It is the safest and easiest (manually) level to brew beer. You actually should get a brilliant beer* from a FWK. If you don't, then you really need to look at your fermentation and santisation. It is almost impossible to stuff these up if you know the basics.

c) Brew All-Grain Beer - Have you done B) above? If not, go there and then if it suits, go all-grain.

The whole point of this long post is that if you are getting fed up brewing kit beer, can't drink the result and are doing everything right, you are probably not the problem. Brewing a great kit beer is very dependent on your supplier.

Don't do what I did and give the hobby away. Twice I did that. Instead, jump to option B) above and as soon as possible after that, look at temperature control.

Don't look at temp control, time or anything else to fix a kit beer that you find pretty much undrinkable. This rarely happens if you are doing the basics right and never happens if you aren't.

I hope the above is food for thought for some.

Spot!
Patch

* When I last drove from Sydney to Perth I stopped half-way and drank a FWK beer brewed by Frogman. One of the nicest beers I have had in my life. I even took a photo to preserve the memory!

I think you've had a few too many beers Pat ;)

QldKev
 

staggalee

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Not many people would start a topic with the above title but it is absolutely true for me and is something that has totally bewildered me.

The best kit beers I have tasted (and some of them are in the top ten of home-brewed beers I have tasted) have all been fermented way too high.

a) Buy a Kit and Ferment it at About 28 Degrees - This temp is the minimum temp that the above excellent kit beers I have tasted were fermented at. They were all fermented in garages or sheds in summer heat in QLD and Perth. Go figure???!
How odd.

stagga.
 

Bribie G

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I don't think it's just the kit. I was running out of beer and recently knocked up an all extract with the finest of Coopers liquid malt extract, some carapils and US-05, and NZ hops. I fermented at 19, lagered for two weeks and the bloody thing still tastes like the bootleg that Dad used to crank out in the 1950s before there were even LHBS :(
 

booyablack

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This thread is giving me some relief since I'm fearing for my second batch of home brew that I plan to bottle this weekend.

I started the brew 3 weeks ago on a day that got up to 42degC! I couldn't cool my wort down less than 32degC and the Cooper's kit said that's it's better to pitch the yeast hot than wait for it to cool since any bacteria in the brew will have a head-start on the yeast otherwise.

It's a Cooper's Pale Ale copy. I've at least regained some confidence that it might be OK from reading this thread!

Cheers PistolPatch.



Booyablack
 

theMISSIONARY

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a) Buy a Kit and Ferment it at About 28 Degrees - This temp is the minimum temp that the above excellent kit beers I have tasted were fermented at. They were all fermented in garages or sheds in summer heat in QLD and Perth. Go figure??? (I tried this once and got a drinkable beer but it had the banana taste! Maybe I should have gone higher - lol!)

a Friend of mine Brews at high temperatures commonly :eek: 26deg there about's......and his lagers Ales Stouts all taste just fine B) got me stuffed

they seem slightly bitter compared to mine but after one or two.....well it doesn't seem to matter any more :lol:

I might have to try it :blink:
 

Nick JD

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I've found some people actually like fusels. That warming sensation.

I'd love to have a multiple temperature control system to ferment the same brew, split into say 5 smaller batches with the same yeast (say US05) at 18, 20, 24, 27 and 30 ... and see how many people could line them up in order of fermentation temperature.
 

Andrew Coleman

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I've found some people actually like fusels. That warming sensation.

I'd love to have a multiple temperature control system to ferment the same brew, split into say 5 smaller batches with the same yeast (say US05) at 18, 20, 24, 27 and 30 ... and see how many people could line them up in order of fermentation temperature.
Good thought, i always sucked at science in school, but the science behind beer always interests me imensely, and about the original topic i would have to agree that kits are often a tad tempremental, best to find best quality lme and do partial reali, how hard is it to add extra hops and some grain if you want.
 

boingk

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May well be something to do with a function of fermentation time, or the original condition of the yeast.

I've found my beers do best at around 18'C if I'm using a stock kit yeast, or 16-17'C if I'm using US-05. My father uses the kit yeasts and makes up strictly to directions (eg 'add BE2' or 'add 1.5kg light liquid malt'), then ferments at 21-22'C. The result? Brilliant kit beer thats fairly hard to fault.

Another thing I've found is that its crucial to get a fresh kit. Anything over 12 months old is average, and anything out of date will not make anything very nice at all. I prefer to get them under 3 months old if I can, up to six months otherwise.

Cheers - boingk
 

MitchDudarko

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I never thought of blaming my palate for just about every one of my kit beers turning out cidery/acidic. I was going to give homebrewing away until I tasted MintSauce's first AG batch. My old man ferments his coopers kits down in the shed, and with weather easily getting over 40C here in Kalgoorlie, I cant believe how nice his brews turn out. And he definately has a KISS approach. 1 can, 1kg of sugar, some water and yeast.
 

theMISSIONARY

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I never thought of blaming my palate for just about every one of my kit beers turning out cidery/acidic. I was going to give homebrewing away until I tasted MintSauce's first AG batch. My old man ferments his coopers kits down in the shed, and with weather easily getting over 40C here in Kalgoorlie, I cant believe how nice his brews turn out. And he definately has a KISS approach. 1 can, 1kg of sugar, some water and yeast.
Hahaha i did a west brew Munich lager there(Boulder) and it got to about 26deg.......i Farkin hated it but one of my other half's friends loved it took the lot and drank it :D

Funny people out there in Kal ;)
 

simon.sillitoe

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i always sucked at science in school, but the science behind beer always interests me imensely
+1

I was certainly intrigued when I first learned that in general, when it comes to fermentation temperature, lower = better.

Last year when I got into home brew, temperature control was the last thing on my mind. In the 40 degree heights of summer we had kits that were going along great -- and tasted fine to my (perhaps?) untrained palate.

Fast forward to when I joined AHB and you can imagine my surprise when suddenly I was being inundated with information that suggested low 20s as a maximum!

In year 11 Chemistry when we were learning fermentation, we fermented a glucose solution at 37 degrees. The mantra: Glucose -> Ethanol + Carbon Dioxide in the presence of yeast. There wasn't a single suggestion that anything else was produced, just that the reaction, like most reactions, proceeded more quickly at higher temperatures.

Now that I know other chemicals are in fact produced, I'm interested in why different amounts at different temperatures, not just that "they are". Unfortunately that information is proving much more difficult to source.
 

boingk

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What is the shelf life on a kit?
Kits have a use-by date stamped on the bottom of the tin, in most cases 2 years after canning From this you can infer with reasonable certainty how old the kit is. Hell, the Coopers 'Real Ale' tin I have next to the PC says it was made at 1:50pm on 25/09/09.

As per above, I'd peg a more stringent limit of 12 months with 6 months or under being most preferable. I usually buy from the LHBS or the supermarket, and often my final decision on kits is made by the use-by date. The one time I didn't check I got an out of date Sparkling Ale from the LHBS - to their credit they exchanged it for a 'fresh' one no questions asked.

Cheers - boingk
 

goomboogo

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This thread is giving me some relief since I'm fearing for my second batch of home brew that I plan to bottle this weekend.

I started the brew 3 weeks ago on a day that got up to 42degC! I couldn't cool my wort down less than 32degC and the Cooper's kit said that's it's better to pitch the yeast hot than wait for it to cool since any bacteria in the brew will have a head-start on the yeast otherwise.

It's a Cooper's Pale Ale copy. I've at least regained some confidence that it might be OK from reading this thread!

Cheers PistolPatch.



Booyablack
I don't want to sound pessimistic but don't get your hopes up too much. PP is well known for regurgitating this idea every now and again. Mysteriously, it's often after 10pm. Blanket statements regarding fermentation temperatures without any mention of the particular yeast strains may not be the best advice for brewers, new or otherwise.
 

dpadden

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Yeah I think this is a tad dangerous for some of the new brewers around to take on board....
 

boingk

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Well said, goomboogo. Which is especially why I countered the generalisations with this in my first post:

I've found my beers do best at around 18'C if I'm using a stock kit yeast, or 16-17'C if I'm using US-05. My father uses the kit yeasts and makes up strictly to directions (eg 'add BE2' or 'add 1.5kg light liquid malt'), then ferments at 21-22'C. The result? Brilliant kit beer thats fairly hard to fault.
For the record, beers that I've fermented over 20'C deteriorate exponentially as the fermentation temperature rises. One fermented at 21 (with US-05/S-04) may not be seriously flawed, but once its up to 24'C I've found an increase in perceived bitterness and an unwillingness to hold a decent head - at the very, very least. This diminishes once over 4 weeks old but is still very much perceptible, along with any other additional flaws that may be present.

Personally I'd be willing to try one of these high-fermented beers, but would be quite reluctant to try this method myself.

- boingk
 
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