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Everything posted by Beervis

  1. I might have a dodgy palate but I feel like all the spec grain additions I've done with kit brews have been good, but not an overly pronounced flavour so I'd probably not be conservative. 350gms? I'm lurking cos I'm keen to try that kit myself with some leftover Chinook hops, heard it would be a good match.
  2. I just did one for the wife (well husband but the same principle applies :P) which I think would work a treat for you. Aus pale ale' date=' 1kg LDM and Galaxy finishing hops. It's light, both in colour and bitterness, mild and with a pleasant fruity flavour. It's almost like a malty alcoholic lemonade [img']tongue[/img] I'm surprised at how nice it is for a basic kit although it's a bit pissweak for my tastes. My advice would be don't try too hard either, once they get a taste for hops you'll have to start hiding all your good brews! I say things like 'dark and sour' a lot to throw doubt into the works ;) On Stone and Wood, I've never tried to replicate that myself, but lots of the online brew stores sell recipe packs for that style - I would recommend looking at a few of those recipes and going from there.
  3. I might be wrong but I'm guessing if you wanted like, a really nice pale ale for example you'd probably have to dry hop it anyway, so it probably isn't that economical. I'm keen to give a FWK a try sometime too just to compare it, but I suppose it comes back to what you're ok with. Like a stout FWK - they're at the upper end of the price range (the kits I've looked at) and you'd have to age it for a while - seems like if I'm gonna do that may as well just buy a carton of Coopers Extra Stout, wouldn't cost that much more and someone else has done the hard work of chucking it under the stairs and waiting a couple months. I'm finding the pimped out kits I'm doing at the moment very nice (for the money) and a bit more entertaining than just pouring a big jug of wort into a slightly bigger jug :P
  4. Finding the Caribbean a bit hard going actually, turned out good, but it's so dang rich and sour it turns on me pretty quick. Think that's a style thing, and the weather's warming up so I put it down to that. Might age it another couple months and see how I like it then, or leave it for next winter ;)
  5. Was just looking at that recipe and thinking dagnabbit I'll need to go buy a bigger pot. Been thinking of giving some extract recipes a try, if I can find a way to stop complaints about hop boiling smell. Thinking earplugs or some form of bribery ;)
  6. Just checked my Cooper's hydrometers (I have 3) and they are all reading the same, .005 down. Can't believe I never thought to check that before! So that explains my problems. Well maybe it doesn't because I usually thought my FG's were reading too high, if I add on another .005 that's even worse! Hasn't affected the quality of the beers at all. Either the Cooper's recipes over-estimate the final alcohol content or I'm getting a bit of yeast cell death. I don't rehydrate so I suppose I might start giving that a try.
  7. I suppose it's hardly surprising, for the factors everyone has already mentioned, and really money's money, I wouldn't automatically stop buying them because they were swallowed up by the big players... But the thing that annoys me is Australia's craft beer scene is already behind the USA and NZ, and when you add into the mix the fact that the tax system is set up to favour low alcohol, low flavour beers (in terms of profitability) and in Qld at least the distribution setup is also crap, then those factors inevitably pull breweries back to bland product. Everytime small breweries sell up that puts us another step back. Everytime I go visit the rellies back home in Christchurch I'm blown away by the beer selections in the supermarket there, makes you wanna weep coming back here. You actually have to have a decent look to find a low carb no flavour pisswater there, whereas here you're wading through mountains of that to find the one IPA . Don't think that will change in a hurry, since any changes to the way things run here would have the appearance of encouraging beer consumption, and all the health nuts would be up in arms.
  8. I might be missing something but I've never had a brew that didn't show visible signs of ferment. Even the really basic kit + BE1 has some kind of krausen. Some of mine don't reach the target FG but they have foamed up, died down after a few days and more a few days after that, then I leave it for another week, haven't had any issues. The couple of times that didn't happen, I started worrying but was able to fix it before I lost the brew. Are you using enough yeast? Is the fermenter somewhere too cold? Is the yeast old or having been kept at room temp for ages?
  9. I had nice results with the Bewitched amber, I think the light malt pouch and a bunch of cascade. I think you could make something tasty and full bodied with that. Haven't tried the long play but I've heard it's the best one of those kits. I wouldn't add dextrose to one of the craft brew kits, if you can afford it you're better off using one of the craft pouches or failing that go get some LDM from woollies or something. I'm no expert but it seems to me that Coopers only use dex to add alcohol to brews that are already intensely flavoured and with lots of hops. If you use it in more regular kit brews, especially without hops, it will probably ruin the taste. Although I did do a kit IPA with half dex/half LDM and it was quite nice after 2 months ageing. Found myself wishing I'd added hops though.
  10. I find the easy to drink brews never seem to last long, probably because I'm more likely to get assistance with those :P the brews that require more commitment, like stouts and porters last for ages. Months even, I'm not a big drinker anymore so they don't get troubled during the week. So far I've only been using PET - don't have the room or the cash for kegs and haven't got around to switching to glass, but anecdotally I'd say PET isn't ideal, I sometimes get uneven carbonation across the same batch, using drops. Also get the odd flat/dud bottle. Not a huge deal but the only thing I could put that down to is the seal/thread on the bottles not being particularly great. Made a batch of a cascade amber ale (school of hops recipe) which lasted a while and I thought it only got better and better. Maybe it didn't get left that long (comparatively) or maybe I just can't taste dry hops. Makes me wonder if it's even worth dry hopping kits and bits recipes, if it's going in PET at the end.
  11. You're right, once you are at the point of putting the yeast in it probably doesn't matter, but - with kits + bits you already know roughly what the OG should be right? Not much that can go wrong except for infection or stalled ferment. With AG brews you've got to check to make sure you've put the recipe together right - I thought. If the OG is off, then that would be a way to tell if you've done something wrong earlier in the piece. But I suppose you would check for that as you go along. Anyhow I'm gonna try to get a new hydrometer, every new brew I put down I get more curious about what the finished alcohol content is. I have a suspicion that most of the high % kit recipes don't quite make it to the stated level, so I might need to start re-hydrating the yeast. So much to learn...
  12. Thanks Otto, I had a hunch that might be a good solution - I've made a bunch of beers with the APA and finishing hops, all of them have been fine, but I felt like for a hop tea the APA might lack body on its own. Woollies is doing a clearance sale so I should be able to pick up a Bootmaker there.
  13. Hey hey, looking for some inspiration. Got 60gms of Chinook as a bonus with a brew supplies order a while back, looking for some advice on a kits + bits that would use them well. Thinking of keeping it to around 5%, wondering which of the kits would compliment the flavour? Cheers
  14. You're asking all the right questions! Definitely the brew fridge for fermenting is the number 1 thing I would recommend. I made a bunch of beers before I got one and they were all average to shit, and since then I haven't made one I really didn't like. Also refrigerating yeast that you're not ready to use, sounds dumb but I didn't pick up on that one for a while. And I agree there's no such thing as a bad beer! Only issues I've had is with a milk stout I didn't love and which gives me indigestion, and the Caribbean Porter recipe from Coopers, really nice drop but it's hard going and definitely NOT sessionable. Paul
  15. The Bewitched Amber Ale was also my first beer in the craft kit after a long absence from brewing. I had the same reaction to it, although I waited 2 weeks for carbonation and left it in the fermenter for 2 weeks prior. Don't expect it to get a lot better with age, it's nasty and that be that. However, if you use that kit to do the School of Hops Cascade recipe, or something similar, it transforms into a very nice beer! I think I credit the Bewitched with making me realise kits can be pretty good if you do it properly. If I had room for another brew fridge I'd cellar beer in one too - get nervous here in Brisbane with the extremely hot summer days, don't really know if it makes a difference once they're bottled but I feel like it might. I know everyone would disagree with me but I generally don't check the FG anymore unless I'm brewing a beer I'm unfamiliar with or with a recipe I made up myself. I'm only brewing kits + additions using recipes that are quite predictable to someone with a bit of experience, and I feel like separating the beers into lowish/middleish and 'egad!' alcohol levels is sufficient for my purposes. I just go off a visual inspection and so far I've only had one stalled brew, gave it a couple days to see if I made a mistake - then bunged in more yeast and left it for an extra week than normal, and it turned out fine. If I was brewing extract or all grain I definitely would because there are so many more factors to consider. That brings me to a question, part of the reason I don't usually bother with the hydrometer is I haven't had much luck getting accurate readings with the Coopers kit one, it just seems to bob around and change quickly and have a mind of its own. The FG's are always higher than they should be even with extra yeast and long first ferment times (like over 2 weeks). I think it might be the hydrometer. Are there any easier ways to measure alcohol content? I feel like there must be some chemist-y solution that's easier and more accurate and doesn't waste so much beer.
  16. I've tried a few of the commercial ones and I've enjoyed all of them. A superior beer for sure. Up there with the Extra Stout for best Coopers beer award ;)
  17. I'm cracking open the first Caribbean today, the tastes at FG were great, so I'm hoping to be impressed. Anyone enjoying it yet? Got all the other recent kits too. The Bock in Black, for a kit beer with no hop or grain additions, is really damn nice. So strong it's a bit psychedelic. Wouldn't be drinking multiple pints of that. Mudlust is nice too, although a couple times I'm sure I could detect a faint hint of kit twang under the tasty grainy notes. I guess with the ROTM's I've been hoping to prove that it's possible to make a decent kit beer with an interesting recipe and some additions, and so far so good.
  18. I find dark beers - like stout and the cooper's dark ale are pretty easy to do well for a novice brewer (like me!), but you'd want to make sure you let it age for at least a month. People will say that's young for a stout but as a general rule I find the cooper's K+K taste a bit cheap and nasty before that point but quite fine after. I'm drinking a dark ale made with BE3 at the moment at about 2 and a half months and it's fine, quite nice. I can definitely taste the lack of better ingredients, like I find I'm wishing it had more malt in it, but it's still totally drinkable. I've tried some home brew wine made from flowers at a country show once and it was really good, so I share your faith that you might be able to come up with something decent with those ancient recipes. Will be a lot different to what we're used to now, from what I remember from the recipe book I was reading, brewed beer-like beverages from the pre-Tudor era were quite flat, sweet, syrupy and not really anything like modern beer. The ancient Druidic stuff, I wouldn't be surprised if that was more like a light herbal spirit than a beer. I'd be prepared for not a lot of forward flavours that we're used to now.
  19. Thanks PB2! Good to know. Personally I'll drink a dark beer in the heat doesn't bother me in the slightest. I should have this one ready to go just as it starts warming up.
  20. Just thought of something - this Bock in Black is the first time I've used a lager yeast. I've got temp control but I have no idea how long to cellar the bottles for. Any ideas?
  21. My Mudlust and Macho Macchiato are about ready to try.. Interesting to see how they go, this is my first foray into ROTM's, thought it would be an easy way to experiment a bit without splashing out for a whole bunch of stuff I don't know what to do with. I did the cascade hops craft one from a couple months back and that was quite nice - but if anyone from your LHBS ever tells you to chuck the hops in loose mate she'll be right, give them a slap. Seriously bad idea, ended up like that orange juice you buy with the floaty bits in it. The salvageable bottles were great but the hop flavour wasn't even, on account of the loose dry hop I think. Bit grassy as well. I was puzzled by the Caribbean porter thing as well. Isn't it hot there like all the time? I've never heard the words 'Caribbean' and 'porter' used together once, ever. I'm gonna put that one down next week though and it looks nice. Maybe it'd be a bit more Jamaican if I dry hopped with a roughly chopped bag of ... something else
  22. My dad used to brew in the 70's and I inherited all his old books. He mostly made wines and spirits but he had a bunch of info about beers too, infact most of those old brew books covered theory and practice for both wine and beer. If you're interested in brewing historical beers I'd recommend having a look for some old UK brew books from the 70's they are packed full of interesting recipes for beers/meads/ciders/ other stuff I've never heard of. When I say 'historical' I think they'd probably go back to the medieval era rather than ancient Viking stuff but it would give you an idea and some recipes that would be easy to follow for modern methods. I'm with Otto and Christina I can't imagine any truly ancient brewed drinks would be that tasty, but they might be fun for experimenting. I think at some point when I've got time I might investigate some of the nastier looking wine recipes in there for a laugh. Parsley wine sounded interesting. Probably absolutely terrible :P Most of those recipes are like a tonne of (fresh ingredient) followed by a tonne of table sugar.
  23. All the good stuff Scottie. I'm listening to All my Exes Live in Texas ;)
  24. Beervis

    Six Days

    Good on you Scottie! I've found it a bit hard too after getting back into brewing, there's just so much beer here that I practically can't walk around the house without tripping over it. Not putting it in the fridge unless I know I'm having a couple that night seems to help. Got a rule now, 2 tallies max, and I try to keep it to 2 nights a week, unless I'm on holidays. If you exercise in the morning, then you have a good reason not to drink the night before too. Cheers!
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