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Sir_Robdog

Favourite coopers brews?

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Hi,

I am new to brewing and am looking to start my second batch of beer. My first batch was the original series lager which didn't taste that great. I typically drink European lagers such as peroni, becks or Heineken and Japanese beers such as kirrin or asahi. I was considering the European lager kit how would you all rate it? Is there any kits which resemble those Japanese beers? Also a bit of a long shot but I was wondering if anyone had an idea on how to adapt a kit to make something similar to Kozel Dark.

Cheers in advance,

Robim

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Hi Sir Robdog, and welcome to the forum. Do you happen to have a brew fridge? It is best to brew lagers in a brew fridge, or if you have a basement that is around 13C.

 

I don't know anything about Japanese lagers. Coopers has three kits that come with lager yeast. From least to most bitter they are the European Lager, Golden Crown Lager, and Pilsner. They come with 7gm of lager yeast, which isn't enough if you brew it at lager temperatures. Good idea to buy an extra pack of lager yeast, something like Fermentis Saflager 34/70, and rehydrate them together. You can either pitch the yeast at 22C and then cool it down as much as you can after that, preferably to 13C, or pitch it at 13C. If you pitch at 13C, then you'll need to make a starter with your rehydrated yeast. I am currently giving the Golden Crown lager a try for the first time. I've tried both of the other two and preferred the European Lager to the Pilsner.

 

The Australian Pale Ale kit is very similar to the European Lager kit. The main difference between them is that it comes with a blend of ale and lager yeast, which means you can brew it at a more easily attainable 18C and still get a very lager-like brew.

 

Cheers,

 

Christina.

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Thanks Christina, sadly I don't have a brew fridge as of yet. I brewed my last lager in my shed which maintained a temperature of about 18C for the daytime and 10C for the night so maybe a bit warm. Summer has just started so I might leave the next lager a few months until the temperatures become more suitable. Maybe an ale would be more suitable for roughly 25c daytime and 15c night time temperatures?

Cheers,

Robin

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The OS Lager contains an ale yeast so 18C would be perfect. Your temperature swings are far too big though. The fermentation temperature needs to be as stable as possible for best results. Yeast don't like wildly fluctuating temperatures.

 

I have been of the view for a while now that a true lager really needs a brew fridge to be able to be (easily) done properly. They can be done with more primitive methods, but it's a lot more of a faff around. The Japanese ones are usually done with a percentage of rice, which is how they get them so dry. I can't offer any more on those because I find them bland as hell and have never bothered to brew one.

 

I have no real opinion on the Euro lager kit because I brewed it back in the days before I knew anything about yeast or temp control. It didn't really turn out all that well as a result, nothing like a Euro lager to be honest. If it was done properly, the outcome may well have been different. I reckon a fair few newbies get into brewing to make something like those beers, but don't have the knowledge or the means to be able to do them properly, and end up disappointed with the results. They aren't difficult but they do require more attention to detail than ales, which those who don't brew understandably wouldn't be aware of.

 

Nowadays I brew a fair few lagers, usually Czech pilsners. Personally I think 13C is a bit on the warm side and prefer to pitch and ferment at 10C initially before raising the temp near the end of the fermentation.

 

Lagers need a big yeast pitch as Christina has touched on. Way more than what the kits provide. Usually the yeast would be grown up to the required level in a mini unhopped wort called a yeast starter (but you can just buy more yeast if you prefer), the yeast is then pitched at the fermentation temp and the brew fermented there until near the end when it is raised up. It is then left up there until a few days after fermentation stops, before being dropped down to 0C or close to it, and left like this for anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months. If leaving it for long periods, it's best to rack the beer to another vessel. Dry yeast should always be re-hydrated to give it the best chance of survival upon being pitched into the wort.

 

Any other questions, feel free to ask cool

 

Cheers

 

Kelsey

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The OS Lager contains an ale yeast so 18C would be perfect. Your temperature swings are far too big though. The fermentation temperature needs to be as stable as possible for best results. Yeast don't like wildly fluctuating temperatures.

 

I'm not saying you're wrong...... but I'm genuinely curious as to how right you are! Just in the context of slowly moving ambient temperatures, vs the larger/faster temp swings that can be obtained in a brew fridge.

 

A fermenter full of wort has a fairly large thermal mass, and it takes a pretty long time to cool and heat significantly. From my own recent experience, I have programmed my thermostat and directed my airflow such that my basement moves from about 16.5°C to 20.5°C throughout a 24 hour 4-stage home/work/home/sleep cycle, for about 18°C mean temperature. The super-high-tech stick on thermometer doesn't budge through the whole fermentation, except for the slow ramp-up to 19-20°C as yeast activity starts, and slow ramp-down to 18°C as yeast activity stops.

 

I would be interested to know how this compares with a brew fridge where I would presume 'ambient' temps fall very rapidly to very low levels for very short periods of time. Temperature swings of the wort would theoretically be smaller but faster.

 

Popular opinion suggests the fridge option is far better - I'm just not sure I've seen specific evidence that says what magnitude or speed of temperature swings are 'bad'.

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Hi Beefy. Your question wasn't directed at me, but in my experience ambient temp brewing of ales in Canada during furnace season isn't too bad, especially if you have the thermal mass of a basement working for you....I am a bit surprised your beer stays at 18C once active fermentation is over. I would have expected it to eventually drop down to your night-time low and stay there. unsure

 

Temperature drops immediately after the active phase of fermentation is over are a bad thing, as it slows the clean up process. I think I read that in the yeast book written by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff. A brew fridge helps to keep the temp stable at that point...A lot of folks actually raise the temp a couple of degrees as active fermentation slows down, for at least a few days, to help the yeast finish up and clean up. I started doing this myself actually, a number of months ago, and I think my rate of over-carbed beers has dropped (I bottle).

 

Getting the beer to carbonate once bottled can be a problem, particularly if you use Coopers ale yeast (not warm enough). Back when I had a basement I had to move the beer to the main floor of the house for the carbonation period.

 

Need a brew fridge in the summer, especially in Australia, or stop brewing for the season.

 

Do houses have basements in Australia? I thought most of them were on stilts?

 

But without a brew fridge, you can't make lagers, at least not good ones.

 

Cheers,

 

Christina.

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Of course you can get faster and bigger temp swings in a brew fridge but most of the time people are setting it to something around 0.3-0.5C difference, not going all over the place with it. In other words, the fridge cools the brew to 18C, and when it rises to whatever the difference is, say 18.3C, the fridge kicks in again. The brews always stay between the set temperatures, unless the controller is changed. I don't know what the ambient temp in there is, but it doesn't matter - the brew temp is what matters.

 

This sort of thing is about as stable as you can get at home, and much better than relying on ambient temps, especially when they're changing by up to 10C or more between night and day. I'd expect the slow moving temps would probably see the brew temp move around a lot more. Because it's slow moving, the brew temp might well change closer in line with it. The other problem is that it always seem to be harder to warm it back up again than it is to cool it down, so once it drops too low, it's a real PITA.

 

At the end of the day the consensus is that stable fermentation temps are best for yeast performance and great tasting beer, and in my experience it certainly holds true. My beers improved a lot once I started using the fridge to control the ferment temp. cool

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Christina, most houses in Australia that I'm aware of anyway, don't have basements like you'd find over there. The stilts thing depends on where you are. In Queensland a lot of houses are (or were) built on stilts, although now they prefer building brick and tile shitboxes on concrete slabs, real clever in flood prone areas lol. Further south like NSW, Victoria, SA etc. they're not really on stilts; you find more of them built on the ground, or only a few feet off the ground. I haven't been to many houses down in those areas admittedly but the ones I have been to didn't have basements. It seems to be something that was never popular here.

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Most SA houses depending on the age of the area either 2' thick stone concert if its an old house. brick, fibroboard or some shitty prefabricated home. The only buildings that were old pubs or shops have basement/cellers or large multistory buildings.

 

Since the availability of electricity most houses are now not designed for the Australian climate. but they will be soon as power prices are going up. There are rumours of a 50% increase soon.

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Since the availability of electricity

 

In SA, only until the next big storm.

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Can, majorly off topic but what Constitutes good design for our climate and conditions?

 

My house (Sydney) was 1889. Weatherboard workers cottage. Not sure where it fill fit in!

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Depends on the location really. I can't speak for other places but up here in Queensland the best designs are weatherboard (or chamferboard), a tin roof, up on stilts with nothing or very little underneath it. The windows usually have hoods over them as well* and a nice big verandah either on one side or all around the house. The interiors were often designed to maximise airflow through the house as well. There were a lot of these built around 80-130/40 years ago, which came to be known as the "Queenslander" style.

 

The tin roof reflects the heat of the sun, the window hoods keep the sun (and rain) away from the windows, being up on stilts allows air flow under the house as well as protection for the living area from floodwaters. They were also built well. The interior design allows good air flow so you don't need to run air conditioners all the time. They really were the best for our climate.

 

Now it's all low set brick and tile rubbish that gets hot as hell, often has no airflow through the house, and if the area floods you're rooted because the whole house goes under. Cheaply built, rubbish designs... they really aren't suited to our climate at all. And on top of that, they're ugly as hell too. lol

 

*If the verandah goes around the whole house, the windows don't normally feature hoods as they are protected by the verandah anyway.

 

 

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What would you guys brew in warm ambient conditions? By warm I mean mid twenties in the daytime and mid-teens overnight.

Cheers,

Robin

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What would you guys brew in warm ambient conditions? By warm I mean mid twenties in the daytime and mid-teens overnight.

Cheers' date='

Robin[/quote']

 

Hi Sir Robdog. Big temperature swings like that aren't good for ambient brewing. You need an insulated chamber of some sort. Brew fridge comes to mind. wink

 

As a minimum, start out as cool as you can; pitch your yeast at around 18C (chill your diluting water in the fridge the night before). If you have a tub you aren't using, you can fill lit with water and put your FV in that. That increases the thermal mass, which helps keep the temp stable. Temp stability might be more important than the actual temp.

 

Coopers dry ale yeast handles warm temps better than most. They say Mauribrew 514 ale yeast can handle it too. Other than that you are looking at Saison yeast. Not everyone likes the phenolic flavour of them though; I know don't. sick

 

Cheers,

 

Christina.

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Just as a bit of trivia, bungalow and veranda are Indian designs and Hindi words that the British borrowed, and we used here as Otto observes - sensible stuff.

I only brew lager in a fridge or in winter, otherwise it's ales in summer in a cool, dark room (we have polished concrete floors and therefore significant thermal mass on our side) at fairly stable temps around 20°.

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An ideal place for your fermenter would be to sit it underneath a high-set Queenslander.

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