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My First Kit / Extract Home Brew

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robbiep

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Hi All,

I am new to brewing and have just taken the first step and purchased the Coopers DIY Home brew kit.

I have spoken to a few people personally and on various forums and a number of them have told me that your first home brew generally doesnt come out that great and is generally seen as a lesson on how to make beer.

A number of people also mentioned that the home brew beers that they have tasted generally all had that home brew taste, which i got the assumption wasnt a good thing (havent tasted a home brew before, so i wouldnt know).

Now that i have my Coopers DIY Home Brew Kit, with the Coopers Lager Extract (which comes with it), i would like to ensure that my first home brew has some sort of WOW factor. Ideally, i dont want to follow the thousands of people who bought the DIY Kit, but want to add something to it which will put a smile on my face.

Im totally new to brewing, so i dont know all the tips and tricks, but It might be something as simple as leaving the beer in the bottle for an extra month or adding some added flavour to it (honey, lemon, added malt or hops?)

As i mentioned, i would like my make my first home brew have some sort of WOW factor and not a below average beer which came from the process of learning to make beer. If i can make a GREAT first beer and LEARN and the same time, that would be the ideal situation.

The last thing i want it to be stuck with 20l of below average beer, which i dont look forward to drinking.

Look forward to hearing some of your tips for turning a normal extract beer (Coopers lager) into something that has a WOW factor.

Regards,
Robbie
 

carniebrew

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Throw out the kit yeast to start with, and use something like the US-05 yeast in its place. And learn how to use the "Kit & Extract Spreadsheet" in this forum to customise your brews as early as possible. Oh and find somewhere where you can ferment your beer at a constant temperature, somewhere between 18-20 degrees.

What does the recipe call for on the Coopers Lager can? You could try doing the can with a box of "Brew Enhancer 2" (a mix of light dried malt extract, dextrose and maltodextrin) and only filling the fermenter up to 17 litres. Sprinkle most of the US-05 on the top, close it up and ferment at around 18 degrees. You'll end up with a 4.8% ale that should be very drinkable for a first try.
 

m3taL

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Iv just put down my 4th brew

first two were Kit & BE2 with US-05 yeast, fermented at 20c, they are quite nice.... they get better the longer they are in the bottle...

the next two i done extracts with 60 min boils and Hop additions, they smell so good.....

Depends what you like to drink but trust me the first brew is a learning experiance.... need to get the sanitisation down pat, find somewhere to regulate temp for fermenting and leave it alone for 5 days before taking readings....
even after 4 brews i still have a few oh shit moments.... but its mainly my clumbsyness....

good luck
 

stux

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The most critical thing to avoid "that homebrew taste" is to have cool constant temperatures of about 18-20C (for most ale yeasts)

The way to do this when you're a bit into it is to find an old fridge (ebay, the street, etc) and hook it up with a temperature controller. (which you build for about 50$)

(look up STC-1000 on this forum)

The other problem with kits is "extract twang", you can minimize this by using the freshest kits.

Cooper's dry yeast is okay if it hasn't been treated badly

Probably the best/easiest way to make kits not taste like homebrew is to cover up the flaws with extra hopping or to make darker kits :)

So, look into dry hopping.

And when you're ready to go to the next next level, look into BIAB and all-grain, for the *real* craft beer taste
 

Blitzer

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Coopers Canadian & The Cerveza also apparently brew without the twang. The Canadian Kit with Cascade (Cascading Canadian) has been my best kit beer so far, quite tasty.
 

robbiep

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As my cellar sits at around 21-24 degrees, would US-05 yeast still be the best bet for my Coopers Lager kit?
 

carniebrew

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As my cellar sits at around 21-24 degrees, would US-05 yeast still be the best bet for my Coopers Lager kit?
Would US-05 improve the end result? Most likely. But without the ability to keep your temps down around 18, I personally wouldn't bother, just use the kit yeast. Then when you do a similar brew down the track use US-05 and see what you think.
 

tricache

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Kit yeast is fine for what ingredients you have in a basic kit but temp control is the big key, not just lower but not a lot or no fluctuation
 

J.T

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The first beer that I ever made had a huge wow factor; because 'I just made something that tastes like beer, it cost me bugger all and i have 21 Litres of it!!'

Since then I've grown a bit and looking back it probably wasn't all that flash, but at the time it was great.
 

tricache

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The first beer that I ever made had a huge wow factor; because 'I just made something that tastes like beer, it cost me bugger all and i have 21 Litres of it!!'

Since then I've grown a bit and looking back it probably wasn't all that flash, but at the time it was great.
I was exactly the same...wouldn't have classed it as good beer but beer none the less :lol:
 

joshld

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I've found that since I've started using malt instead of just dextrose,And the addition of hops my homebrew is a lot easier to drink!
Just experiment and see what works best for you!
 

dammag

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If you've got an ambient temp of 21 - 24 then maybe wet towels or a water bath will keep the fermenter at around 18 - 20 degrees.

I found when I was using these techniques that you have to have the fermenter down to your target temp right at the start so have plenty of cold water in the fridge to add to your brew. These methods will maintain temp better than reducing temp if you get what I mean? In the first days of fermentation when things are going flat out the fermentation produces a fair bit of heat so you need more help keeping the temp down for say the first 5 days. This is also the critical time for producing undesirable flavours so is when temp control is most important.


Damian
 

robbiep

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If thats the case, when you choose the day to start the fermentation process, you should preferably choose a day of the week which was be the coolest?
 

verysupple

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Maybe a little :icon_offtopic: but...

And when you're ready to go to the next next level, look into BIAB and all-grain, for the *real* craft beer taste
Pft, I'm so sick of reading that. Sure you get more variety of malts to choose from for mashing but you can make spectacular beers of almost any style with extract and specialty grains. Also, I haven't sufferend from "extract twang" since about my third batch (on my 23rd now), you just need to get your technique down and use fresh extract.
 

carniebrew

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You could grab one of these weather station jobbies, and use it around the house to find somewhere with the lowest temperatures, and lowest temp variations (closet, ensuite bathroom/shower...if it's not massively infested with GERMS :)) by leaving it in each room for a day or two at a time and checking the min/max, resetting in each room.
 

dammag

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I agree with verysupple and I know that carniebrew agrees, you can make great beer with extract.

There's no need to rush out and go AG but I think as your extract brews get more complex "in the search for perfection" that it could be "simpler" to go AG. That's where I am at at the moment. By the time I steep specialty grains, do mini mashes and do a boil for hopping I believe that AG would be easier.

Having said that, a good base kit, some spec grains, some nice hops and a good yeast makes a great beer.


Damian.
 

robbiep

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Hi guys,

I made my first extract beer, which is busy fermenting.

I used the Coopers Lager extract, but replaced the beer enhancer (sugars) with a Brewcraft German Lager enhancer and used US05 yeast.

My cellar has been sitting around 21 degs, but i have also been using a waterbath with ice and wet towels and have managed to keep the temperature at about 19-20 deg.

I will take a gravity reading after day 3 and will take readings every day until the gravity reading remains the sames (as per instructions).

Cheers,
Robbie
 

carniebrew

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You're in for a treat there Robbie...make sure you get back to us on the results.

Taking daily readings from day 3 might be a little early, personally i'd start around day 6. You use ~100ml each time you take a reading....but then being your first brew it'll be good to taste how it's going along the way.
 

FuzzyDropbear

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...

A number of people also mentioned that the home brew beers that they have tasted generally all had that 'home brew' taste, which i got the assumption wasn't a good thing (havent tasted a home brew before, so i wouldn't know).

...
I believe that the 'homebrew' taste may actually be a few different things depending on the person's taste. I've never had someone point out what 'extract twang' actually is, so I'm not sure what it tastes like. During my first few brews, a few of my mates (who had tasted homebrew before) pointed out a flavour which they described as a typical 'homebrew flavour', which I can taste but it's hard to describe. Had them around on the weekend to taste a simple Coopers kit and they were amazed that I was able to produce beer without this flavour. The only thing I'd done, was to buy a brew booster (or enhancer) which had less corn syrup in it. So if you can taste a 'homebrew flavour', you could try buying a different brew booster pack, or get some Malt Extract, etc. to sub in for the booster.

Good luck with it! By the sounds of it, you'll have a good drop there :icon_cheers:
 

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