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Ruddager

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I've just started my fourth brew using simple ingredients (Cooper's can plus "brew enhancer") and, when it's done, I'd quite like to know what the next step is. Hops?

If so ... what are they? What do they do? Where do you get them?

Most importantly though ... how do you add them?

I'm sure this stuff is second nature to a lot of you but it's all new to me, so please dumb it down as much as possible, cheers :)
 

tricache

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I'm kind of in the same boat...I've done my 5th brew (just using kits) and I'm thinking of dry hopping my next batch.

Search for Dry Hopping and you can get a heap of different results :)
 

mattyra

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Where to, that is a great question.

You can start with hops, they add bitterness and flavour to your beer. You can boil them for long times (60 min) with malt extract (not the pre hopped cans you buy) for more bitterness, shorter periods of times (around the 15 minute mark) for more flavour or you can chuck them into your fermenter without boiling them for aroma and a bit of flavour.

You can also start steeping grain and putting the juices into the beer to add different flavours (Boil the juice before you add it to the fermenter).

Also I ditched the brew enhancers and only use malt now.

Soon enough you will be full steam ahead with all grain.
 

GuyQLD

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Basically repeating what Mattyra said.

Brew one - Kit + kilo
Brew two - Kit + brew enhance and some hop tea.
Repeat x2.
Brew 5 - Hefewiezen off the coopers site (Seriously, if you want to start experimenting they have some great "easy" stuff for trying other things without making things too crazy)
Brew 6 - Boonies LCPA extract clone.
Brew 7 - All grain (I didn't say it.... really)

If you're looking for easy things to "enhance" things I'd say temp control, hops, better yeasts and try reducing your dextrose in replace of more malt are all easy ways of spicing up simple can brews.
 

cam89brewer

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It depends how large a step you want to take.

You could go straight to extract brewing and do a full 60 min boil which involves bittering, flavour and aroma additions and is fairly simple. ( I went from kits straight to extract )

or

You could simply add hops for flavour and aroma to your kits for a start and can improve the quality of your beer a fair bit as well adding speciality malts such as crystal , chocolate , roasted etc. which is no harder than adding hops and will also improve your beer greatly.
 

manticle

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I've just started my fourth brew using simple ingredients (Cooper's can plus "brew enhancer") and, when it's done, I'd quite like to know what the next step is. Hops?

If so ... what are they? What do they do? Where do you get them?

Most importantly though ... how do you add them?

I'm sure this stuff is second nature to a lot of you but it's all new to me, so please dumb it down as much as possible, cheers :)
Most beer is made from malted barley and bittered and flavoured with hops. Malt is extracted from the grains and is a sweet sugar. Bitterness complements/counteracts sweetness to stop beer being too sugary tasting. They also have a preservative/mild antibacterial effect.

Hops are the female flowers of a plant. They contain acids that change when boiled and contribute bittering to a malt based brew.

Your coopers kit is malt which has been extracted from barley, concentrated and had hops added to it during the extraction/reduction process. It has been bittered already.

Hops also add flavour and aroma to beer. The longer they are boiled (with limits) the more they add bitterness with shorter boils adding flavour and aroma.

You can add extra flavour to your coopers can by steeping a small amount of hops or boiling a small amount of your can with some extra water. 5-20 minute boil will probably add noticeable flavour. A steep in hot water, like making a tea is an easy way of working out what they will bring before you go nuts.

There are different varieties of hops, all with distinctive flavours. Some work well together (in combination). American hops give distinctive flavours to beers like sierra nevada or little creatures, UK hops give distinctive flavours to beers like Fullers ESB or Young's special london ale and Australian hops give distinctive flavour to beers like cooper's pale or Stone and Wood (different AU hops and different resultant flavours).

The flowers or cones are usually dried and are available sometimes as whole flowers but more often as plugs or pellets. Brigalow also make a product which is called a 'finishing hop tablet' but this product is not a good introduction into what hops do.

You can buy them from decent and semi decent home brew shops (and some shit ones) and they should have the varietal name on them and they should be stored in the fridge. If they are just on a shelf, find another HB shop. They should also be packaged in something opaque like foil as they are photo-sensitive. You should treat any you buy the same way - fridge or freezer, reduced oxygen/sealed and foil packaging.

If you wish to move away from kits and try extract brewing, you will need to look at bittering with hops as well as adding flavour hops (although bittering hops will add some flavour too).

Keep it simple - US hops for US beers, UK hops for UK beers, AU hops for AU beers and German/euro hops for Euro beers.

After that you can experiement when you know what they bring to the party. Some AU hops work in US beers as do many NZ hops, some euro hops work beautifully in UK beers (well one does) and some UK hops work well in euro beers, particularly Belgians.

Remember - bitterness, flavour and aroma. Long boil = bitterness, short boil = flavour, no boil/dry hop = aroma but there will always be crossover. Bittering still adds flavour, aroma hopping still adds flavour etc.

Some basic stuff in this wikipeadia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hops

When it starts making sense, post back and I can link you to some other info about hop varieties etc (or someone else will)
 

waggastew

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Manticle, that post should be made into a sticky! Great advice for first timers
 

seemax

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If you're prepared to do some boiling and have a big stock pot handy then google "extract brewing".

If you want to try another kit with hops... then something along these lines...

1xcoopers pale ale or mexican cervaza kit
1kg malt extract (dried) or brew enhancer 2 (500g malt / 500g dextrose)
boil 1L of water, add 100g of the malt (or enhancer) and dissolve
throw in 20g of hops (suggestion - cascade)
boil for 15mins
flame off, add another 20g hops, lid on wait 5mins

strain this into your fermentor and add your kit and water as per normal process

now one of key things for fermenting beer is temperature control ... simplistically ale yeasts @ 20C, lager yeasts @ 10C

kit yeast if you really have to, otherwise find some Fermentis US05 or Danstar Nottingham (try site sponsors or local shop)

these are ale yeasts which produce very neutral clean beers and ferment pretty quickly

good luck, if it all sounds too hard.... find someone local in your area to tag along to a brew day... once you've seen it in person you'll realise how simple it can be
 

Brewman_

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Wow!!! Good to see some honest good advice.

A lot of info for you Ruddager, nothing for me to add, all to you to sort it out!
Fear
 

petesbrew

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Great post Mant,

Keep it simple - US hops for US beers, UK hops for UK beers, AU hops for AU beers and German/euro hops for Euro beers.
+1 on this. Speaking from experience, the wrong hop in a beer can mess things up.
Here's an old hop substitution chart - There's a lot of new hops missing from this list, but it'll give you a good idea of what works with what.
All the best.
View attachment Hops_Substitution_Chart.doc
 

RobboMC

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Try the spreadsheet in kit and extracts might help

http://www.aussiehomebrewer.com/forum/inde...showtopic=29655

Step 1 - get this spreadsheet and have a fiddle around with adding different hops in different amounts with short and long boil times; and get yourself some 'kits n bits' recipes. It's amazing what you can do with a 5 litre pot from the kitchen and a bit of dry or liquid malt. Just remember to always have some malt in your hop boil, don't boil hops in plain water. Start off small with some hops and a 2 litre boil. Next time get 1/2kg of crystal grain and steep at 70 deg C for 30 min, then add that liquid to your boil. Once you smell the aroma of that first litre of true wort you will never look back.
 

jimmythehuman

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I am new at this too (brew #7), but extract isn't that much harder than Kit. Just have a go with a simple one...

My tip is to read through this forum and find a method and recipe to make an extract brew that makes sense to you, ask a few questions, drag up the old thread and have a crack :) I think spending some time learning to work the Ian's spreadsheet will help you link what people are talking about to your ingredients and the process.

I still get a piece of paper and write out the simple time marking for the boil from the spreadsheet because i find it a little bit clearer if i do that. So if i start the boil at 1pm and i have hops at 45 and 15 i would write down

1pm, Boil, .5kg DME (or whatever i used)

1.15 (add the 45min hops)

1.45 (add the 15min hops)

Etc

I have decided not to worry about getting my beer crystal clear, i figured this was a refinement I would focus on one i could regularly make awesome beer. I do have a spot for fermenting that is always 18 (at this time of year) so i guess if you dont have a good spot to ferment you might need to put more effort into temp control. I will have to when summer comes.
 

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