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Turning A Coopers Larger Into A Drinkable Beer

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kaitai

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Hey guys. Going to go get me a coopers micro-brew kit this week. I'm intending to brew a esb fresh wort at some stage, but firstly I may was well use the coopers larger can that comes with the micro-brew kit.

Any suggestions on how to turn this first brew into a drinkable one and not a dissapointment :chug:


Cheers and thanks in advance for the ideas.
 

Dunkel_Boy

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I'd probably chuck one of those sugar mixes in (half maltodexrin, half LDME), use a good yeast, and expect to drink it in about 12 weeks.
Watch those fermenters too, they don't seal that well.
If you can keep the temp in the low 20s, it shouldn't taste too funky, but I think the main aim is to not get it infected so you can analyse what you've done and move on from there... plus wouldn't want to ruin one of those ESB fresh wort kits.
It's been about 3 or 4 years since my first Coopers kit, try their yeast, or if you want a stronger, clearer yeast, go Munton's Gold (I really like that stuff :D).
Best of luck.
 

sluggerdog

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Depends what you haven't tried before.

If only new to it all, I would suggest:

- Coopers Lager Kit
- 1.5kg Morgans Unhopped Extra Pale Malt
- 12 grams of Hallertau Hops (finishing hops are easist for first time)
- 1 Packet of safALE yeast unless you have a fermenting fridge then I would go for the safLAGER yeast (Even better again liquid)
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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The Coopers Lager is a great kit for building on. It is nice clean light malt extract hopped to a mere 21IBU (not very bitter)

You can therefore steep some light crystal malt, dissolve some dried extract in water then bring that to a boil and add some bittering, flavoring and aroma hops. 750g extract cut with 250g sugar (sucrose will do) will add body to the beer without making it gluggy. If you make 250g of the extract wheat malt extract you will have great head retention.

If you can tell us exactly what kind of beer you want to make we can help with more exact recipe ideas.

Jovial Monk
PS: ditch the packet of yeast from under the lid and but some Safale yeast
 

kaitai

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Yeah, half the point of using the larger kit first is that it will be a god test, and if I stuff it up, it won't be so bad.

Would you recommend perhaps some cascade finishing hops or something along those lines?

Interesting to hear what you say about the coopers fermentor, perhaps not sealing well. I'd only read good things about them in the past so I'll have to keep that one in mind. Any other fermentor/kits to recommend?

I still remember brewing with the old man when I was in my teens. His fermentors were empty, bulk detergent containers and we used to use plain white sugar for fermentation........no wonder it tasted so bad :D

Anothe quick question. What do most of you guys, who aren't kegging, use for bottles? I know the coopers kit comes with PET bottles, but they won't last long. I like the idea of using a grolsch type swing top bottle. Also heard that carlton crown bottles are good? Though I'd hate to have to drink crownies to obtain them ;)

Thanks again


Cheers
 

pint of lager

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For a lager, stick with hallertau or saaz for your first brew.

When you want an American pale ale, then go for cascade.

Regarding the fermenter sealing, check some of the earlier threads. You really want to keep bugs and dust out.

Long term, kegging is the way to go. Only one big bottle to wash up.

Short term, plastic is ok. PET bottles, protect from the light, drink within six months.

There is heaps of info in the forums on these topics, lots to keep a new brewer off the streets about bottles, brewing, recipes etc.

Keep it clean, keep it cool, use the best ingredients, keep reading, keep drinking.
 

kaitai

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Jovial_Monk said:
If you can tell us exactly what kind of beer you want to make we can help with more exact recipe ideas.

Jovial Monk
PS: ditch the packet of yeast from under the lid and but some Safale yeast
[post="45421"][/post]​

This one is going to be pure expermentation. Though I have brewed years ago, I'm only starting to get back into it. I've never racked or bulked primed before, so I will do so with this first one.

I'm a pale/dark/brown ale man myself, but will drink most things.......expect that tooheys new crap.
 

sosman

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Actually the ESB kits are a bit larger.
 

kaitai

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pint of lager said:
You are brewing a lager, not a larger.
[post="45427"][/post]​

heh, I have had one or three of ye old coopers sparkling this evening. Though yes, my spelling doth suck.
 

Dunkel_Boy

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I gotta say go with what Sluggerdog said, that's a nice combination, but be careful with contamination with the dry hopping.
The Coopers fermenters, they do the job and they are a nice volume, and when the seals are new the taps work well, I still think they have nothing on screw-in stuff and good quality o-rings... I've had leaks in the Coopers fermenters before, never had one in my new screw fermenters.

Don't know that I agree with boiling up the can... you might get too much caramelisation and conflicting hops flavours, unless you know what hops goes in the can, and the steeping will overly complicate the first brew... plenty of time for that later! :D Safale S-04, I used to swear by the stuff, it is good but I personally think Muntons Gold kills it, and will get much closer to that lager neutrality... but each to their own I guess.

So, I reckon Coopers can + 1.5kg extra pale Muntons and dry hop with Halletau, but make it 20-30g, 12g usually isn't enough for me. Yeast... up to you between Safale and Muntons Gold, I guess it's personal preference.
 

Dunkel_Boy

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Sosman, I was under the impression the ESB fresh worts were 19L, then I spontaneously picked one up on the weekend and the sucker was only 15L... maybe they are shortchanging us up here?
Crown Lager bottles are ok, but they are hard to fill with the label blocking the fill point... then again so are the James Squire ones that I often use, same label problem, much better beer.
Or, you can usually buy a carton of crown seal/pop-top tallies from your local HBS for around $10 a carton, but you have to clean them. They are hard to beat, if you get decent ones.
Or, if you like to bottle halfway through fermentation (like some of my mates), use Chimay bottles... I reckon those things still wouldn't explode.
Bulk priming is very very good and very easy, if you do it properly.
Do it on a weight basis, not volume, and find a calculator, like the one at http://hbd.org/recipator
Just make sure you don't breathe on your beer, stir it REALLY well and leave it for 30-60 minutes for it to settle. After that, you'll be laughing.
 

redbeard

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kaitai said:
Hey guys. Going to go get me a coopers micro-brew kit this week. I'm intending to brew a esb fresh wort at some stage, but firstly I may was well use the coopers larger can that comes with the micro-brew kit.

Any suggestions on how to turn this first brew into a drinkable one and not a dissapointment :chug:


Cheers and thanks in advance for the ideas.
[post="45412"][/post]​
i would go for a dextrose/malt combination (coopers) instead of sugar. since you've brewed before, id not try too many variations / hops etc but just do a basic get one going / feel comfortable type brew. coopers kits are above average, so usally not too many disappointments. are you using bottles or pet ?

im not sure how useful hops are without a fermentor fridge / cold conditioning. esb worts are spose to be easy & good quality but dont try to to hard to run before u can walk :)

regards
 

kaitai

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Cool. At this stage I am thinking
the coopers lager
1.5kg light malt extract
12g cascade finishing hops (maybe)
some corn syrup (maybe)
A decent dried yeast.

1 week primary
1 week racked to secondry

I did think about cc'ing it as well for the practice, but may not bother. Not sure if I will prime with dextrose or malt as yet. If using malt do you use the same weight as dextrose? ie 180 grams of dextrose would be 180 grams of malt? Or do you need to use a higher ratio of malt?

redbeard: Am going to just use the PET bottles that come with the kit for the first brew. But I am keen on the flip-top, grolsch style bottles. They seem like a good way to go and the rubber seals are easy enough to obtain.

Cple more questions. Would you rack into your secondry, do you run the hose through the grommet on the lid of it? Or do you just have the lid off all together and run the tube directly into the fermentor? This seems like a likely point to introduce infection.

Even though the kit is coopers lager, I am guessing becase I am fermenting at around 20 degrees, that the result is not actually a lager? What would it be? An ale? Or will it also depend on the yeast I use?

What's the best way to keep it at 20 degrees? I was thinking of putting it in my esky and pooring water into the esky to see how cool that would get it.


Have I asked enough questions yet? ;)

Thanks again for the advice.


Cheers
 

Dunkel_Boy

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Whether or not it's a lager depends on the yeast, but if you ferment a lager yeast at 20C, it won't taste much like a lager. A good practice for pale ales (and German alt/kosch) is using a clean, neutral ale yeast and fermenting at low temps (18-22C). This prevents off flavours from coming in. These beers are usually cold-conditioned for a little while too, to clean them up even more. This may be an option for you...
With priming, DME is definitely not the same weight as dextrose/corn sugar, as DME is about half as fermentable.
Look at http://hbd.org/recipator in the carbonation calculator, you'll find all you need.
Racking to secondary, the yanks are adamant that siphoning is the only way and plastic fermenters are the devil, but what I do, and what works every time, is just draining from the tap/spigot in the fermenter... works every time, and if you pick up a bit of yeast it doesn't matter.
A week is a bit short, you should make it more like 2-3 weeks, but a week would be ok if you're putting it in the fridge, for example, or if you just want it to finish fermentation.

Edit: I think the yeast you get in the Coopers kits is an ale yeast anyway. Stay away from lagers unless you have a temperature controlled fridge... I won't scare you with what you have to do, too much information to take in, it's not as simple as keeping them colder. :D
Anyway, off to work.
 

sluggerdog

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kaitai said:
Cool. At this stage I am thinking
the coopers lager
1.5kg light malt extract
12g cascade finishing hops (maybe)
some corn syrup (maybe)
A decent dried yeast.

1 week primary
1 week racked to secondry
Sounds good to me, as your using an ale yeast you are making an ale (kit name does not mean much)

I would leave out the corn syrup and maybe if you want increase the cascade hops a bit. (15-20)

Also maybe use extra pale LME instead of light LME (LME = LIQUID MALT EXTRACT) but this is up to you.

Let us know how you go with it all by reporting it on: www.hbkitreviews.com ;) ;)
 
J

Jovial_Monk

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Coopers call it a lager, but supply an ale yeast with it. . .they got to call it something!

if you like the darker beers, why not buy 200g crushed chocolate malt, cold steep that than strain the wort off, boil or at least simmer the wort for 15 mins, adding cascade pellets in the last 5 mins

JM
 

Backlane Brewery

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At the risk of stating the obvious...why not just splash out and spend $12.00 on a different kit, more to your taste?
 

sluggerdog

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^ if you have the kit you may as well use it.

No point wasting it
 

kaitai

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Dunkel_Boy said:
Stay away from lagers unless you have a temperature controlled fridge... I won't scare you with what you have to do, too much information to take in, it's not as simple as keeping them colder. :D
Anyway, off to work.
[post="45486"][/post]​

heh. Yeah, I've seen the process to produce a lager, a bit beyond me at the moment ;-).

If the yeast and fermenting temp. actually determines the beer type, then what is actually the difference btw say a coopers lager kit and a coopers draft kit? If you used the same yeast and fermenting kits in either of these kits, would the end results being the similar?

i'll have to grab a 2nd fermentor for the racking. I don't want to use another coopers for this, as being 30l, it has a lot of head space in it with a 23l brew.

An option for me might be to buy a coopers micro-brew kit and an esb start kit. that way i get a fresh wort as well to try next, and also gives me spare equipment and a 15l container to use for smaller 11.5l brews. Could brew a maltshovel in it.

Cheers
 
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