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First time stout kit - improvement tips?

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cremmerson

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Greetings all,

I'm new to the scene. This Thursday I will try my first brew (a Coopers Lager kit brewed at too high a temperature and bottled two weeks ago: the Noob Trainwreck Too Bitter) and will bottle a Coopers Pale kit next weekend. But my love is stout; in particular, Southwark Old Stout.

Any suggestions for simple additions to a stout kit (Morgan's Dockside Stout has been recommended by the LHBS) that might boost it along the way to becoming a Southwark? I know it won't get there, but I want to y to get that delicious mouthfeel - so perhaps two options: an easy one for a first timer moving beyond kit and kilo, and another suggestion for further down the track.

And thanks to all for some sensational posts with brilliant information. I know know most of the mistakes I made in the first batch...
 

peterlonz

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In fact stout is a great starting point for Extract kits.
My first & most important recommendation is:
Always use 2 x 1.7KG tins, one the hopped stout kit of choice, & the other can be either Dark LME or a different hopped stout kit chosen to blend with the first. Make up to 23 or 25 litres.
You might expect that 2 hopped kits might be unduly bitter but that has not been my experience.
If however you are not keen on well hopped stout, select the second 1.7Kg tin as just unhopped dark LME.

It's very difficult to specifically advise on for example Southwork Old Stout ( I had not even heard of it), or any other except perhaps the very well known Murphys or Guiness.

Some guides to which I am sure others can add:
Coopers stout is quite sharp & when doubled ( 2 x 1.7kg hopped kits) it is close to Guiness.
Most other stout kits are somewhat "milder".
 

Scottye

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As a more advanced option I would suggest starting with a non stout kit. Coopers Draught or Coopers English Bitter. I find that a full can of DME makes for a very black beer, starting with a lighter kit will give you more control.
I'd use a 1.5kg of Amber Malt Extract. Now for the fun part for Kits and Bits brewing, specialty grains. This is where you use your knowledge of Southwork Old Stout and start trying to clone, or even improve on, this beer.
Springing to mind are:
Choc Malt grain
Caramel Malt grain
Roasted Barley
These malted grains don't need mashing, you just steep them at 65oC strain out the grain and boil for 10 - 15 minutes.
There are obviously more, identify the flavour in your beer then research some specialty grains, for eg at Craft Brewer and work out a recipe.

But as a rough guide I'm guessing that 250g of Dark Crystal, 200g of Choc Malt, and 150g of Roasted Barley added to a Draught can and Amber Malt will make a Stout. Its just a matter of working out what flavors you need.
 

cremmerson

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Thanks for the responses - and in order of complexity, too!

I wasn't thinking of going the toucan route just yet, but may have just been swayed. (Peterlonz - Southwark is also called Swan, I believe; it's an Imperial or Export Stout with fuller mouth feel than Guinness or Coopers, and sweeter overtones... Mmmmm).

VonScott (love the avatar), thanks for the next step. I'm sure you'll appreciate my intentions - copy and paste to Evernote until I'm ready to try. So thank you.
 
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Southwark Stout.

People are still talking about the time they were forced drink Southwark Bitter up here during the beer strike in 1976/77.................... :icon_vomit:

I don't want to resurrect the dead.

Sorry, can't won't help.
 

cremmerson

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Seriously, do not confuse Bitter with the Stout! The bitter is a crime against nature. The stout is widely recognized as one of Australia's finest (according to the beer writer at News Ltd). Seriously, if you get the chance, please try it. It's rich, sweet, with a caramel delicious texture. SO much better than the thin bitterness of Coopers and the thin nothingness of Guinness.

Right. Will calm down now.
 
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Only joking.



One of the great things about home brewing is that you get to make heaps of different things. Many of them end up as accidents you make on your way to making something else. Some work and others are like................Southwark Bitter.

The only stout I've done so far is a Thomas Coopers 2 can. I can't tell you if it's anything like the one you like, but in my opinion it works really well.

I've just brewed it again recently and it's waiting for me, so I must go.
 

Adr_0

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Yeah, haven't tasted the Southward Stout either so can't give any guidance on that sorry. :(

I seem to remember doing exactly what Peterlonz suggested, i.e. 2 x exactly the same 1.7kg can. I seem to remember throwing another can of Morgans LME in there somewhere too.

Three things on top of this I would suggest:
- Steeping maybe 200-300g of grain at 70-75°C for 20-30min, then get up to boil and add your two cans for sterilisation;
- Throwing two packets of Danstar Windsor Ale yeast in once it's cool and in the fermenter; and
- Fermenting with a temp controlled fridge.

The first two are very doable but obviously the fridge depends on your setup.

As for your grain, take your pick. 250g of Carafa Special 1 and a tablespoon of roast barley would be delicious for e.g. I'm sure you get the picture. :)

Good luck, let us know how you go.

EDIT: Sorry, VonScott went into the detail well. I think there's a lot of latitude with steeping grains, and it may be better to stick to the normal mash temperatures of 65-70°C. All sorts of grains you can throw in, but stick to the caramels and the roasted ones.
 

petesbrew

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I freakin' love drinking and brewing stouts & porters.
A few suggestions.
The Coopers Toucan Stout/Dark ale mix is great. If you don't want to go down that road, at least use malt - not brew enhancer/sugar, that'll just make your stout taste thin.
Steeped roast barley works well, as does Fuggles, Goldings or Styrian Goldings hops.
Danstar Windsor is a great yeast for it.
All the best.
p.s. just finished bottling a smoked porter... too yum.
 

cremmerson

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Smoked porter... (distant happy look)

So two cans of Coopers Stout, but replace 1kg brew enhancer with 1kg Light Malt Extract? (Still getting used to the lingo).

I will try this first - and then branch out to include hops and other adventures.

A sincere thanks to all for the pointers. I wish I could do them all tonight and then magically ferment them within five minutes. Damnit. There's that patience thing again.

But thanks all. I will return here for all the excellent tips.
 

reimana

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I am in the process of getting ready to make a cream ale, but am going to use a can of amber malt extract. Also my first time doing this as I have been using dextrose \ enhancer till now.
 

petesbrew

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cremmerson said:
Smoked porter... (distant happy look)

So two cans of Coopers Stout, but replace 1kg brew enhancer with 1kg Light Malt Extract? (Still getting used to the lingo).

I will try this first - and then branch out to include hops and other adventures.

A sincere thanks to all for the pointers. I wish I could do them all tonight and then magically ferment them within five minutes. Damnit. There's that patience thing again.

But thanks all. I will return here for all the excellent tips.
No, I mean 2 kits, OR 1 kit and 1kg of malt. (unless you want it around the 7-8% mark).
As far as malt extract goes, I'd grab the Dark Malt Extract (either 1kg dried, or 1.5kg liquid, your choice)

Have a look through the toucan thread for the stout recipes, but I always liked the Stout/Dark Ale combination.
 

cremmerson

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petesbrew said:
No, I mean 2 kits, OR 1 kit and 1kg of malt. (unless you want it around the 7-8% mark).
Correction noted, thanks.

At the risk of imposing on your hospitality, does the choice of brand of DME make a difference to the final flavour or outcome?
 

Adr_0

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The Morgans stuff has been pretty good, but freshness is key. Try to avoid rust, layers of dust, faded labels etc. Just joking... you really just want the used by to be 2015 or 2016 or so if you can. Try to find a LHBS that turns over quite a bit.

DME should technically last longer, but I haven't had a lot of joy in the past with it. I use it all the time for yeast starters and have used it in the past if I'm short on efficiency but it all tastes pretty twangy to me. Nothing compared to old cans, but the fresh cans seem to pip it IMO.
 

Scottye

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cremmerson said:
Correction noted, thanks.

At the risk of imposing on your hospitality, does the choice of brand of DME make a difference to the final flavour or outcome?
Hey Cremmerson
I only use Coopers Light Malt and Amber Malt extract, it hits the spot so I haven't felt the need to try others. I did try a generic LME from the closest LHBS but it was like :icon_vomit: . I do however get LDM and specialty grains from my not so local LHBS in the centre of Hobart. I find that this LDM dissolves much better than the Coopers LDM.
 

cremmerson

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I'm yet to test my LHBS because I'm not quite sure of my knowledge yet. It would be like:

"Hi, could I have some condoms and loads of porn.... (Mutter mutter) and a pack of Safale US05 yeast please."

I'll give them a shot and if they fail, I'll buy you a beer when I make my way to Hobart. From Adelaide.
 

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