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Disappointing First Attempt

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RoBBo71

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Hi All,

I'm a newb to home brew and a first time poster . . . first attempt is a Coopers Australian lager kit.

SIT REP: I bought the Coopers DIY Kit and brewed my first batch following the instructions to the letter.
OG about 1.042 - Primary Ferment 7 days @ 20 celcius - FG about 1.012.
Transferred to 500ml bottles and primed with a single carbonation drop per bottle.
Conditioned for 3 weeks @ 20 celcius.

RESULT: Under carbonated and lacking flavour.

QUESTIONS: Is this batch likely to improve with further conditioning?

What can I do when brewing subsequent batches to ramp up body and flavour?

Any recommendations regarding quality kits that you know work?
Are the 2 can kits that don't require additional sugar any better that the single can kits that do?

I guess this home brew lark isn't as easy as I figured, buut then nothing worthwhile ever is!

Hats off to any and all who have made it work, any advise would be greatly appreciated.
 

mosto

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Hi Robbo,

Mate I'm by no means an expert (I'm only up to my 7th batch), but I've followed a similar path to you so thought I might be able to help. I started with the Coopers DIY kit and the Lager kit was also my first attempt.

With the under carbonation, one carb drop per 500ml would explain it. The recommendation is 1 per stubbie (375ml) or two per longneck (750ml). 500ml would need one and a half-ish which is obviously not easy to do. I would either be moving to longnecks or use dextrose to carb the bottles. I think the rate is 8g per litre so 4g per 500ml, but don't quote me on that, some others on here will know for sure.

With the lacking flavour, I just think that particular mix that comes with the DIY kit does lack flavour. I'm assuming you got (and used) the Coopers Brew Enhancer 1 in the kit. This is 600g of dextrose and 400g of maltodextrin, which will ferment nicely, but IMO doesn't add much flavour. With some advice from this site, I now use very little dextrose, 250g max. I use various malt extracts which, I find, greatly improve the flavour. Even the Brew Enhancer 2 is a better option as it has some light malt extract added.

Another good tip I got from this site is to move away from the kit yeasts. There's nothing wrong with them, there's just better ones out there. I've been using US-05 for Ale type brews and am quiet happy with it. I used WB-06 based on advice from this site and LHBS in a Wheat beer I'm currently conditioning. And, now I've got my temp controlled fermenting fridge up and running, I'm planning on doing a Carlton Draught type of brew using S-23 lager yeast.

As for kits, I've mainly been using the Coopers kits as they are readily available at Coles. My closest HB shop is about an hour away and I can only get there every 2-3 weeks. I did use a Wal's Wheat kit for my wheat beer but it is still a week or two off being ready.

There is a sticky thread at the top of the kits and extracts forum where you can download ianh's spreadsheet which is very useful for playing around with different ingredients.

Finally, I'll give the recipe for my best tasting brew to date. It's very simple but came out quiet tasty.

1 tin Coopers Canadian Blonde
500g Dry Amber Malt Extract
500g Honey
US-05 yeast

Hopefully I've shed a little light on things for you, but there will be others with much more experince than me that will offer advice as well.

Happy brewing!
 

crd0902

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Mosto pretty well hid every nail on the head well done haha. I've been doing plain Ol coopers kits for about 5-6 yrs now flat out and suits me fine but defiantly need to buy light dry malt or liquid malt it definitely makes a difference. Also don't think it will get too much more carbonation even if ya leave it. The taste may get a bit better after another couple weeks. When you brew lagers the temp needs to be kept around 12-15 degrees and ales need to be kept about 18-19 degrees. That's why a lot of people buy temp control fridges. And better yeast will definitely make a difference. Try an Australian pale ale kit with a kilo of light dry malt and safale us-05 yeast is a nice basic kit. Welcome and good luck

Chris
 

crd0902

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Also once you get a bit more confident you can start buying some extra hops to add a bit extra. That's where I'm at now just started adding hops to some brews.
 

hoppy2B

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+1 With the hops.

Try adding about 50 grams of hops to your kit. Don't boil the hops, just put them into a pot of boiling water and cover with the lid and turn off the heat. When cool add to the fermentor. This will give you hop flavour as apposed to bitterness.
I would recommend using ordinary white sugar for priming. That way you can add exactly the right amount to each bottle.
US05 is a good clean tasting yeast. I wouldn't recommend a lager yeast unless you have temp control.
There are other things you can do to add flavour like using brown sugar and steeping crystal malt grain to add sweetness but these will also darken your beer. If you are after a lager style stick with hop additions for the time being and get to know a few different hops and what they taste like. Cheers.
 

crd0902

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Make sure you keep a record of everything you do while you brew it how long what temp how much water what it tastes like. Even down to the fuk up when ya accidentally drop the tin in the fermenter cause later on down the track you won't remember when you need to and could save some headaches later.
 

hoppy2B

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not if you use a light crystal malt it wont.
Interesting point. I've been making my own wheat malt of late and not kilning it, but rather simply placing in the freezer when the desired stage of germination has been achieved. Later I thaw it and add a small amount of water and place in blender.
You'd be surprised how much colour I get from what is essentially a 'green' malt.
The original poster should be aware that using 2 tins instead of 1 will increase bitterness as well as adding more colour to the brew.
 

redunderthebed

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My first attempt wasn't awesome either don't stress mate keep asking questions here keep experimenting and refining your process and find what works for you and you'll make some awesome beer.

I've being a k&k brewer for 2 years ive only had 2 or 3 batches that didnt work out but i figured out where i went wrong and changed my methods accordingly and none of it was bad enough to not drink it. :)
 

pete6

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seconded for the kit and extract spreadsheet. very very helpful :)

i was the same as the OP 12 months ago. Coopers brewing gear and the coopers lager that comes with it was on special in Coles - figured i'd try it - for the same cost of a carton what could go wrong!

I too was pretty uninspired by the first beer. Kind of lacking in every department. But it all got drank! I read a lot, moved up to the Coopers 'select' kits, tried a few other brands, (ESB, Blackrock etc) moved away from the coopers 'brewblends' and into malt extracts, and onto the premium yeasts, and recently started playing around with more and more hop additions. The beers get better and better! , In fact, the first real noticeable difference in the quality of my beers started when I stopped following the instructions on the kits and listened to what i heard on here!!

Read around on here.. It seems to be where most of my knowledge comes from - That and Palmers 'How to Brew' book
 

RoBBo71

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WOW . . .

What a great response, thanks to everyone who replied.

You've renewed my enthusiasm and given me plenty to think about.

Cheers.
 

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