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Coopers Dark Ale first time brewer

Discussion in 'Kits & Extracts' started by willbrewry, 14/8/15.

 

  1. willbrewry

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    Posted 14/8/15
    Hi Guys,

    Im a first time brewer and have bought a Coopers brew kit. Im currently brewing a 23L Coopers dark ale extract with 1kg Coopers brew enhancer, after 5 days i dry hoped it with Goldings hops. its been brewing now with the hops for 7 days now (total of 10 days from start).
    It has been fermenting around 15-20°C in the dark.

    Could you guys give some advice on the following?

    1: I have been told to bottle it this Sunday (total days fermenting 14), and some one else has said leave it another week Sunday (total days fermenting 21). What would be better?

    2: Im smelling a sweet sort of aroma from the fermenter. I have herd if it smells like vinegar its gone bad. What sort of scent should i be smelling?

    Thanks for your time guys.
     
  2. shacked

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    Posted 14/8/15
    Hey mate, congratulations on your first brew! Good choice too on the dark ale.

    Did you get a hydrometer with your fermenter and other gear? If not, you should get one; it will become your best mate.

    You should take a gravity reading at the start of fermentation and then again after a week or so. The gravity will drop as the yeast converts sugar to precious alcohol. Once fermentation is complete you'll get a consistent gravity reading and you'll be good to bottle or keg your brew. Just be aware that you'll need to estimate your final gravity and make sure your readings are close. Suggest you do a bit of googling for a video to show you the best way to do all this.

    14 days is usually enough but again it's all about the hydrometer reading. Some yeasts get the job done quicker than others.

    Some yeasts produce a lot of sulfur and smell like eggs or fart. Taste your hydrometer sample to get a better read on how your beer is traveling. There is also a thread on here with a bunch of photos of infections. Best way not to get an infection is to be super strict about cleaning and sanitizing.

    Get yourself a copy of ianh's epic kit and extract spreadsheet. It's unreal. It will help you put together recipes and give you some guidance on final gravity etc.
     
  3. Brewsta

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    Posted 16/8/15
    yeah that's good advice from Shacked Willbrewry….

    time in the fermenter is not a good indicator of fermentation completion, a stable final gravity is what you are after, especially if bottling into glass bottles.

    I'll often leave my brews for 3 weeks in the fermenter under temperature control, sometimes longer if i'm too lazy to keg them, but usually not longer than 5 weeks. By that time you would assume fermentation is complete but i always check the FG with a hydrometer before kegging.
     
  4. willbrewry

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    Posted 18/8/15
    Thanks for the advice.

    What's the disadvantages when brewing say a stout at 16c?
     
  5. gsouth82

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    Posted 19/8/15
    There's no disadvantages at 16c except it will take a little longer than if you fermented it slightly warmer at say 18-20c. Your hydrometer will let you know when it's finished.
    Different yeasts work at different temperatures and if you're just using the coopers yeast that comes with the tin then you're good for around 15-25c. I wouldn't push it to 25c though as most yeasts will give off unpleasant flavours at high temperatures and will die at too higher a temperature. Too cold doesn't matter, the yeast will go dormant until the temperature rises and wakes them back up.
    Hope that helps and good luck with your stout.
     
  6. shacked

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    Posted 19/8/15
    What sort of yeast are you using? I've got a stout on at the moment using a liquid English ale strain. It's on at 19C to 20C to get a little character out of the yeast.

    With the neutral American yeast strains (US05, WLP001 etc) I usually ferment them at 18C for until I get close to my final gravity, then up to 20C for a few days to get fermentation finished.
     
  7. willbrewry

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    Posted 20/8/15
    Where can I find this spreadsheet?
     
  8. willbrewry

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    Posted 20/8/15
    I was just reading that stouts should be up at 20C+. I haven't brewed one yet but would like to, I was just checking as I can only brew mine between 15C-18C as the room my fermenter in is around that temp.

    Cheers
     
  9. Brew Forky

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    Posted 20/8/15
  10. shacked

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    Posted 20/8/15
    It's not going to be the end of the world if it's done a little on the cold side. A dry yeast like Nottingham (aka Notto) might be a good choice because it works for most stouts and it's ok fermenting at those levels. Make sure your sanitation is sound, give your wort a good stir to incorporate oxygen before pitching and rehydrate your yeast (if you go with a dry yeast)
     
  11. willbrewry

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    Posted 20/8/15
    Cheers for your advice guys
     
  12. shacked

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    Posted 21/8/15
    Let us know how your dark ale goes mate
     
  13. willbrewry

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    Posted 22/8/15
    Iv just bottled it today. Ended up at 4.1%
    I have now started a american style iPad. But I think I may of messed the yeast up :( basically the yeast packet said it needed to be activated in 100ml of water at 30c-35c. I haven't got a thermometer so just went by touch on the temp. It was just warmer than the room temperature that is 23c. Also I stured it in the water, apparently that's a no no. Any advice bro
     
  14. shacked

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    Posted 22/8/15
    4.1% sounds a little bit light mate. What was your final gravity?

    It'll be fine. Grab a thermometer for next time!

    Also, worst case scenario you can always pitch more yeast.
     
  15. shacked

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    Posted 22/8/15
  16. willbrewry

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    Posted 22/8/15
    Start was 1038 and end was 1011
     
  17. willbrewry

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    Posted 23/8/15
    There doesn't look like my activity in my new brew in the first 12 hours. Do you have to allways activate yeast? The dark brew I did I only sprinkled it on top
     
  18. shacked

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    Posted 23/8/15
    Give it more time. Should be fine
     
  19. willbrewry

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    Posted 23/8/15
    Will do. Cheers mate
     
  20. Gigantorus

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    Posted 27/8/15
    Will,

    I've been brewing for a couple of years now. I started off doing the Kit & Kilo brews like you are (ie. using coopers cans and Brew enhancers etc.). I've since moved to Extract brewing, which I find I get a much better flavour of beer, as I can introduce additional flavours via steeping grains and hop additions etc.

    All of my brews are in the fermenter for a total of 2 weeks, as I'm a weekend brewer and I've never had a problem. I generally dry-hop on Day 8 or 9 (for the last 7 to 5 days of the 14 day period). And I'll bottle on day 14 or 15.

    If there is one thing I put a lot of effort into it would be sanitising everything that comes in contact with the brew. Can't emphasise this enough. Doing this poorly can kill all your time, effort and money.

    Happy brewing!

    Cheers,

    Pete
     
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