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Taking The Plunge.. First Brew

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sluggerdog

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Hey All,
I have taken the plunge and went out and bought my first kit. I got the coopers microbrewery kit for the ease of everything including the bottles that came with the kit.

Now I am ready to make up my first batch, my thoughts/ingredients are as follows:

1 Can Coopers Canadian Blonde
1 kg of dextrose
15-30 Gms of Saaz Hops (How Much?)

I am on a budget and seeing it is my first brew, I do not want to it to get too difficult however I am looking for very light drinking, summer beer for BBQ's and the such.

I would like to try and get results similar to a Becks or something crisp and tasting like a pilsner..

Does anyone have any suggestions or comments on my selected ingredients?

Thankyou
 

Snow

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Hi Sluggerdog. Good to have another Brisbane brewer on the forum!

For your first brew, I suggest replacing the dextrose with a kilo of dry malt extract (DME). Boil the DME in about 4L water for 10-15 mins. When you turn the heat off, chuck in about 20g Saaz hop pellets, dissolve the kit in, then put a lid on the pot and cool the wort in a sink-full of cold water before you add it to the fermenter. Another tip - instead of using the coopers yeast that comes with the kit, buy a packet of Safale and use that. It should be fresher and hopefully your brewshop has been storing it in the right conditions. Or if you want an outstanding beer, get some liquid yeast (Wyeast or Whitelabs) and use that. If you get the liquid yeast, you can make a starter and split it into different batches to reuse later, which will save you heaps of money and make your yeast last longer. Just do a search on the web for "yeast starter" or check out the relevant section in www.howtobrew.com

Good luck and let us know how it goes for you!

Cheers - Snow.
 

Hoops

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I would chuck the yeast and use a pack of SAFALE. Simple, no extra work.
Hoops
 

Gough

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Sluggerdog,

Welcome to the forum. I agree with the others, especially using the malt extract and changing the yeast. What I would add is to try and brew as cool as is practical if you want a 'crisper' brew. The hotter you brew, the 'fruitier' it will generally be. If you are using the Coopers kit yeast or the safale then try and keep it below 22 - 18-20 is best if you can manage it. Don't sweat it too much if you can't - it is all good from here ;)

Good luck with your first brew,

Shawn.
 

johnno

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Hi and welcome to brewing Sluggerdog,
It can be a bit daunting doing your first brew but I,m of the opinion that if you have purchased a Coopers kit then just do that to start with so you can get the feel of whats happening.
Just try and keep the temperature down to under 24C.
After you have used the ingredients that came with the kit maybe look at using something different with the following brews.
I'm not knocking what the other AHB'ers have posted in the previous posts. Its the best advice that they have given you.
Just that I only started brewing about 18 months ago and I remember it being a whole new world. (I think the Mrs accused me of being more interested in the fermenting brew than in her being preggers with the third).
WIth me once the first brew was over I had so much more confidence. Try and read as much of the forums here as just about everything is covered. Stick with it and you cant go wrong.
cheers
 

sluggerdog

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Thanks for all your replies, the more tips I can get the better off I will be...

I will still think about it all for a bit before I make the decision on what to do with my first brew however I do have one question...

The Micro-Brewery came with a can of Coopers larger, I originally said I would get a Coopers Canadian Blonde however I would like to know your thoughts on the differance between the 2 cans.

I will be using the SAAZ but I am not too sure about:
- DME or Dextrose
- Coopers Yeast or Liquid Yeast or SAFALE (I'm thinking this.. ATM)

My aim is to get a crisp refreshing beer, so my other question is will the use of Dextrose make it crisper or the use of DME..?

EDIT: One Last thing - carbonated drops, good? bad? or ugly? and if they are no good am I able to use the supplied brewing sugar that came with the kit somehow?

Thanks!
SD
 

Batz

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I am with Johonno here 100%

Do the kit and get a feel for it , then try adding a few different things , how can you tell your improving on the kit if you have not even brewed one?

You have many many brew in front of you , and the coopers kit will be better than megga swill

Welcome.. and soon you'll be telling us a thing or two

:chug: :chug: :chug:
 

jgriffin

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If you use the Dextrose, you will probably find that the beer ends up tasting thin and watery. Thus the comments to use DME. If you want, you can use half / half, or buy a "body brew" from the brewshop.

But i would definately use the safale, and keep the temp low. Best things you can do for your first brew.

As for the drops, a lot of people (myself included) find that it makes the beer too fizzy, like coke or schwepps etc. Most people here tend to bulk prime, but without a second fermentor it may not be possible for you.

I reckon first ever brew, do the safale, do the drops. Then you can see what we mean about lack of body, and the fizzyness. Then you can compare by doing another brew with DME, the ease of bulk priming etc.
 

GMK

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Dont use the Drops - crap - just prime with castor sugar - one teaspoon for the brown PET bottles.

Newbie Tips:

1/ Dont cut the can lid entirely off - leave a centimeter so that you can open the lid 180 degrees - this way the can will rest between the base and the lid at ao approx 30 degree angle when supported by the rim of the fermenter - hope this makes sense.
This allows you to empty the can contents - hands free and leave there while it drains into the fermeter.

2/ when filling the PET bottles - squeeze the sides until the beer is level with the rim - then screw the cap on with the sides still squeezed.

Hope this helps


3/ get a second fermenter as soon as u can - needed for racking and dry hopping.
 

sluggerdog

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Batz and Johnno

I get ya guys
Baby Steps - You've got to learn to crawl before you can walk

To be Honest, this will be my third brew (I did 2 about 3 years ago - Turned out no good at all, no care was given either) Now I am ready to give it ago again but still I want to start low and work my way up.

From the information I have got from you guys I will decide to go with the following:

Ingredients:

- Coopers Larger Can (Came with the KIT)
- 1 kg Dextrose
- 1 Packet of SAFALE
- 20g Saaz hop pellets

Instructions:
- I will follow as close to as possible the video/booklet that came with the box
- Using the Saaz I will put them in some boiling water in a cup and disolve them then chuck them into the mix.
- Try to keep it as simple as possible for this first time then move onto bigger and better things.
- Also I will use the carbonated drops, I have them here, I should use them up, then I can see what the fizz is all about.

Thanks for all the information guys, I will keep you up-to-date on the progress of the batch (Will start this by the weekend)
 

Stratis

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Sluggerdog - a tip for the safale. Try to ferment it at about 18-21C if you can. Safale is a great yeast fermented at lower temps - but can produce *heaps* of esters (fruity by products) and fusels (undesirable alcohol molecules) at higher temps.
 

Snow

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Stratis is spot on. It isn't very cold in Brisbane these days, so I suggest you freeze four 2 or 3L softdrink/orange juice bottles filled with water and put 2 of these on/next to your fermenter, draped in a wet towel, to keep the temp down. replace with the other 2 morning and night. This is especially important during the first 3 days of fermentation, as this is when the brew produces the most heat and also the most by-products you don't want.

Cheers - Snow.
 

sluggerdog

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Snow said:
Stratis is spot on. It isn't very cold in Brisbane these days, so I suggest you freeze four 2 or 3L softdrink/orange juice bottles filled with water and put 2 of these on/next to your fermenter, draped in a wet towel, to keep the temp down. replace with the other 2 morning and night. This is especially important during the first 3 days of fermentation, as this is when the brew produces the most heat and also the most by-products you don't want.

Cheers - Snow.
Thanks for the tip, I will get onto this now, it was one thing I was wondering about just because of the heat in QLD


CHEERS
SD :D
 

JasonY

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Another thing you may want to try is prime some bottles with caster sugar, that way you can compare the carb drop and sugar straight away. You should then give the leftover ones to the kids for lollies :p
 

sluggerdog

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JasonY said:
Another thing you may want to try is prime some bottles with caster sugar, that way you can compare the carb drop and sugar straight away. You should then give the leftover ones to the kids for lollies :p
Good Idea, I will do that...


one teaspoon each for the brown PET bottles? correct?

What is the measures for tallies or stubbies?

Thanx
 

Snow

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I find that one exactly level teaspoon of white sugar per 750ml tallie is perfect for the type of beer you're making. Exactly half for a stubby.

- Snow.
 

sluggerdog

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I just went down the the local HB store to collect the things needed for my brew tomorrow, when I got there I asked for the saaz hops and I got asked, pellets or finishing.. I grabbed the pellets as from memory of earlier talk today that is what I needed however it got me thinking..

what is the differance between finishing hops and hop pellets

(and did I get the right choice..)

Thanks
 

morry

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Dont know what finishing hops are, but pellets are fine. Ive used them in a few of my latest brews. Let us know how you go.
 

jaytee

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The finishing hops will be the teabag thingy of hops - best avoided
 

sluggerdog

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jaytee said:
The finishing hops will be the teabag thingy of hops - best avoided
Cool, thanks for that.

SO to disolve the pellets can I just leave them in a cup of boiling water for a while or do I have to put them in a pot of boiling water or some otherway?
 

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