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Eltham, Victoria
Hi all,

New poster, who is getting back into it after a few years. On a recent trip to NYC I was amazed at the quality of beers at places like http://www.heartlandbrewery.com/ on 42St, in particular some excellent stouts and ales. I also discovered off the shelf delights from http://brooklynbrewery.com/verify and the excellent http://www.samueladams.com/ lager.

So, I got my brand new Coopers Kit and set off. The first effort was the Super Stout kit which exceeded my expectations by a long way. It sits along side, quality wise my now default store purchase of Coopers Best Extra. I get the 750ml bootles by the dozen and keep the bottles for my brews.

Second effort Coopers Ale fermented at 20C, Safale S04 yeast, racked to second vessel after 7 days. Bottled after 14 days using 2 x carbonation drops. Result after 3 weeks as I couldn't resist a taste was not that great. Very little carbonation and a sweet aftertaste. It may improve over time.

Third effort was a James Squire Amber Ale, same yeast as above, same temp, same racking timescales and a taste test after 2 weeks was as above not that great and not what I would have expected from a $50 plus kit. Maybe table sugar priming would produce more body, character?

Fourth effort just bottled was an English Bitter, same as above but this time primed with table sugar and only 3 days down.

Fifth effort in secondary fermenter now is an Redwood Amber Ale that will probably get into a keg as I am over the bottling process already.

My question after all that is, does the beer quality greatly improve over time, or am I being overly ambitious as to what homebrew quality can be?


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Hi Mall,
Firstly, dont stick to hard and fast rules, like rack at 7 days. In fact I never rack ales off primary anymore. You need good reason to rack to a secondary and there arent that many! Lagers mainly that are going to sit on the yeast cake for EXTENDED periods may benefit from racking.
By racking to a secondary after 7 days, then bottling after 14, you might be doing your yeast a dis-service.
Let your hydrometer tell you when your beer is happy to be bottled.
What a lot of us here do, as an ALE ferment schedule is:
Ferment at 18-20C until final gravity is achieved. Couple of days stable readings, then crash chill for a few more days. Then bottle or keg.
There are pages and pages of discussion regarding crash chilling, time it should take, degrees per day etc.

BUT I stress, let your yeast do its job. 7 days normally is enough, but its not a rule. Also, make sure you have enough yeast! Something else for you to read and learn about about. 7g of coopers yeast is underpitching usually.
The priming sugar wont change things, and yes, let those bottles sit for a bit longer. Again, there are no rules about how long it takes to condition in the bottle. You just need to try one every few days after a couple of weeks to check.

If I ever bottle, what I like to do, is bottle one in a PET bottle. When that is hard, the batch should be done.

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