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I use kettle finings and time for clarity and nothing in particular to aid foam.

 

The clarity is great on the kit beers though' date=' Coopers do a great job on their kettle finings.

 

Cheers,

 

John[/quote']

 

Thanks John, what is kettle finings?

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Kettle finings are agents used near the end of a wort boil to coagulate and drop out proteins and other muck that you don't want in the fermenter. I use them in my all grain beers because I have to boil the entire volume of wort, but as John points out, Coopers have already done this for you when producing the kit at the brewery, so even if you do some small hop boils there's no need to be using kettle finings.

 

I only ever brewed one Coopers kit that gave me brilliant clarity, not sure why but most of the other ones I did had some degree of chill haze in them, as do most of my all grain batches now, but I take care of that during the cold crash. I don't add anything to the beer to promote head retention though, I try to influence it with ingredients and processes. I guess brewing kits you're limited in that regard because you don't have to do a mash.

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Update. Opened my second lot of 'Draft' fermented with the yeast cake from the previous brew. Same 12g Centennial and 12g Cascade but this time they were in a tea strainer not a tea bag.

 

This was at the 2 week mark after bottling and the bottles spent about 30 hours in the fridge.

 

Very fluffy, dense head that persisted for a very long time.

 

No sign of residual sweetness.

 

So, maybe I wasn't pitching enough yeast or something. If so I'm not sure how. The first brew was fermented with the whole kit yeast packet, rehydrated to the normal method with half the fermentables.

 

So I haven't enough knowledge to account for the difference in the head.

 

Only thing was that I don't think there were as strong hop aromas as last time.

 

Still a good drop though.

 

More hops next time?

 

At this point I'm still sticking to 1/2 Kit and 1/2 Kilo brews (halved for the 15L FV)

 

PS on another string there is mention of PET v glass. Bottled into both this time. At this time I'd have to say that the head from the PET lasted longer and was more dense than the bottle. Go figure.

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Kelsey was just wondering' date=' what about an opposite approach, i.e. use a whole can of say, Coopers Draft and use much less if no dry malt? Or does the can contribute mostly to the OG? Also are you thinking that the whole can will result in far too much bitterness?

 

I actually am on shaky ground here because I really don't understand the dynamics of the ingredients. I was guessing the fermentables like LDM contribute to the alcohol content and to some extent the body in comparison to just dextrose or sucrose. I also understand that the hop bitterness comes from the can ingredients which otherwise would have to be supplied by boiling hops. I guess the rest of the can is liquid malt extract. That's about it. I really don't understand why it is necessary to add the additional fermentables and why they just don't put more sugar/malt in the can (size of can?, price? personal taste?, sugars/malt can't dissolve in the liquid malt?).

 

I would have to say that the European lager and the real ale 'toucans' (to use your terminology) were actually quite good in a IPA sort of way. Mind you it could have been that my palate had just got used to something that others may find WAY too bitter. For example last night I opened a bottle of the lager. It actually was reasonably well carbonated, bitter and had some galaxy hop notes. Then I tried a bottle of Tui East India Pale Ale from New Zealand that is 4%. I wouldn't describe it as a classic IPA but after my earlier brew it tasted really bland.

 

Thanks very much for the detail on using the yeast deposit.

 

All part of the learning journey.

 

[/quote']

 

As a Kiwi, I'd have to say that Tui beer is a national embarrassment and not in any way representative of the amazing beers I've had in NZ. Swill for sure. Beer flavoured water that should go down the sink. I do find beers like that serve one useful purpose though, they make you stop and think 'hey! my kit swill ain't half bad'

 

You make an interesting point Don about the can size and additional fermentables. I agree with what Kelsey says as to the why, but it might interest you to know that there are a few companies out there who do produce kit beers with your idea as their model. Muntons and ESB both make I think 3kg brew cans and Mangrove Jack pouches are a bit over the size of Coopers, can't remember by how much. I remember reading a comment on another forum somewhere by an experienced homebrewer stating that he felt a toucan of some of the cheaper kits brings out the flavour and quality of the (presumably) intended original recipe better than making a K+K. In that case you'd need to brew it to atleast 23 litres though. I don't think these beers need to be dodgy homebrew, they're created using sound processes and recipes and if they're handled right produce nice beers.

 

 

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I get a better result and some "lacing" from glass bottles than pets' date=' but even so, I'm wondering whether the "2 carbonation drops per 750ml" is the right specification. Is that spec on the low side to reduce bottle bombs? Would a bigger "bubble" pump the head?

 

Can I go 2.5 lollies in a 750ml bottle with a view to better head pump during the drinking phase? Will this help? Or am I seeking Utopia, given most people drink stubbies and would not give a "fig" for head and that is the beer style we backyard beer mechanics brew nowadays?

 

Cheers,[/quote']

 

hey Worthog - and others, this will probably help expand the conversation. I hope!

 

I've found with my kit beers, by and large, the beers that retain head the best all had either spec grains - one good one was a dark beer kit with 100gms dark crystal (Mudlust craft recipe). Damn that was delicious. Or hops - I don't know if it matters whether flameout or dry hop. I generally don't dry hop anymore because the aroma doesn't last and it's easier to just chuck them in boil additions and flameout. I haven't noticed anything different about the quality of the brews doing this and I've seen other more experienced brewers than me arguing for this approach.

 

I wouldn't recommend commando hopping. It's messy and you get gushers. Fantastic head retention on that brew, only problem was the head retented for so long I had to pour it and go do something else for 10 mins and come back.

 

I've tried 3 lollies per 750ml - but only in PET - and my partner thought it was the best beer I've made to date. That was a wheat beer where the style is supposed to be quite carbed and I was a bit sick of how undercarbed my beers have been in general.

It was quite highly carbed closer to a commercial brew and had ok head retention for a while at least.

BUT... the second case of PETs that were under the stairs, kept carbonating while we enjoyed the first case and by the time I got to them, they were rock hard to the point where the plastic was malformed and they wouldn't stand up properly, and they were all gushers. I chilled them for a week and opened over the sink and they were fine, tasted good, however by that point the carb level had given the beer a slight tart flavour that I didn't love. I think I'll do it again but maybe chill the whole batch after conditioning so they don't keep carbing.

 

Champagne bottles are designed to handle a higher carbonation level than beer bottles, and you can cap them with a bench capper if you get the right bell fitting. I've read of brewers doing this who couldn't afford keg setups but wanted to carb their beers more highly. So that might be an option if you want to up the carb level without kegging.

 

Paul

 

 

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If anything the beer tastes sweeter after carbonation if that might be a clue.

 

Perhaps another clue is that the beer tastes a bit sweeter than I would have thought. This could mean that not all the sugar in the carbonation drops is fermenting. If this is the case' date=' I don't know why.

[/quote']

 

I had exactly the same result in a batch when my Safale S04 yeast stalled at FG 1013 rather than the expected 1008. The beer, bottled with 2 carbonation drops per Pet, was 'just' slightly carbonated and sweet to taste. In my case I believe the primary fermentation did not complete and with subsequent Cold Crash, no residual yeast in the bottle to help during carbonation.

 

Maybe your situation is the same for differing reasons, along the lines of Otto's idea.

 

This batch I referred to in above quote ended up great after 6 weeks in the bottle, sweetness gone, carbonation ok, taste good, head retention as expected - not that good. Initially I was debating whether to ditch this batch, but in the end I left it in the shed bottled where temps may have reached 28-29c for a few weeks before I tasted another one. End product was as good as any other similar batch.

 

What have I learned?

- That I don't have a clue about Safale S04 stalling.

- I will never dump another batch until I have given it time to 'self heal'.

 

Cheers,

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What have I learned?

- That I don't have a clue about Safale S04 stalling.

- I will never dump another batch until I have given it time to 'self heal'.

 

Cheers' date='[/quote']

 

What have I learned?

1. I don't have a clue period

2. Yes it appears that enthusiasm to taste at the Cooper's suggested two weeks is optimistic but misguided

3. Still worth plugging away just in case! happy

3 and a half: the beer (if not infected) is still better than a lot of the commercial stuff

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I think an OS series with a box of BE3 is still better than most of the commercial megaswill tongue

 

Definitely wait at least 5 weeks I reckon. Something more hoppy might be ok earlier but K+K's definitely don't drink them young.

 

Case in point, I'm drinking the Ruby Roo pale ale at the moment, it's got a Rooibos tea infusion - tasted like kit twang and was all round awful after 5 weeks, been a couple months now and it's quite nice! Glad I didn't chuck it.

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Cold crashing won't drop out enough yeast so that there is none left to carbonate the beer once bottled. I used to cold crash lagers for 5 weeks before bottling them and they all carbed up just fine.

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that's good to know, it's a question I'd been meaning to ask for a while. I suppose when you think about how much you can harvest from the yeast cake, it makes sense that a bit of cold wouldn't do enough to remove all the yeast.

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Indeed, even if you can't physically see any yeast cloudiness in the beer, there are still yeast cells floating around in it. The only way to really remove it completely is to either filter it, pasteurise it or both.

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The trade off is head retention and mouth-feel which I have been unsuccessfully trying to help with varying fermentables like Light Liquid Malt Extract.

Stick with the malt avenue. Dextrose & sugar ferment out completely & add nothing to flavour' date=' body or head retention &/or development. If the maltodextrin route isn't for you, then look into using grain steeps to add notable body to your beers. The crystal grains come in varying levels of sweetness & body adding levels. For less colour & sweetness, grains such as CaraPils, CaraFoam or CaraHell are what I'd recommend. You'll have to experiment a little to gauge how much of these grains is required to hit the targets you want, but it won't take long. [img']wink[/img]

I have finally cracked it for long term small bubble glass lacing head retention, thanks Lusty.

 

Just now starting to drink batches based on your advice regarding keeping FG over 1.010 and using steeped grains to provide the oils I need to retain head.

 

Using between 300-500g steeped at 65c for 30mins, with hops, then Kit, and Liquid Malt Extract then added, it is working great but I am running high ABV's due to the higher OG's.

 

I now need to produce a beer at between 3.5% and 3.8%ABV and still have the head retention and closer to a straw coloured beer.

 

I will try to design one on "IanH" spreadsheet using Coopers APA as the base. Does anyone have any starting point advice regarding LiquidME and grains that will ensure great head retention at those lower ABVs?

 

Cheers,

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I think you'll find it's hops that provide oils, grains provide proteins, sugars etc. tongue

 

My red ale always displays good head retention; it generally turns out around the 4% mark but that's in a keg, in bottles it's closer to 4.5%. The recipe is quite simple with 300g Caraaroma, 200g Carapils and 70g Black Patent added to the pale malt base. Perhaps you could try something along those lines with the APA kit using lighter grain and less LME to achieve a lower ABV beer.

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I think you'll find it's hops that provide oils' date=' grains provide proteins, sugars etc. [img']tongue[/img]

 

My red ale always displays good head retention; it generally turns out around the 4% mark but that's in a keg, in bottles it's closer to 4.5%. The recipe is quite simple with 300g Caraaroma, 200g Carapils and 70g Black Patent added to the pale malt base. Perhaps you could try something along those lines with the APA kit using lighter grain and less LME to achieve a lower ABV beer.

 

How does this sound;

APA Kit 1.7kg

LLME 200gms

CaraHell 800g, Light Crystal 60 200g

Cascade 20g @ 20mins. Cascade 20g Dry Hop.

Nottingham 11g rehydrated.

OG/FG: 1.033/1.008, 3.7%ABV

IBU 28, EBC 12.

 

Chance of long lasting, glass lacing, small bubble head retention?

 

Cheers,

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I struggle to see how a kit based beer with 1kg of Cara grains in it could possibly reach an FG of 1.008, because most of the sugars extracted from them are unfermentable. It sounds like a recipe for a very chewy beer. I'd increase the LME to 500g and drop the Carahell down to 200g, leave the rest as is. It'll still be midstrength. cool

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Yep, thanks Kelsey, will make the change. "IanH" still says 1.032/1.008 and yes, ABV 3.6% bottled. EBC goes from 12 to 9 which is good.

Will let you know in 2 months time if I have good head retention in mid strength beer.biggrin

 

Cheers,

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I've got a feeling Ian's spreadsheet has a few flaws in it like that. I could understand a beer with 1kg of cara grains that were mashed with a base malt being able to reach a relatively low FG, because the enzymes in the base malt do break down the sugars from the cara grains to some degree during the mash, but cara grains steeped on their own have no enzymes so the sugars extracted are pretty much all unfermentable and stay that way. Result being of course, a higher FG.

 

I don't think it will reach 1.008 even with the changes, but it at least won't be needing a knife and fork to get through it lol. I'd guess it will finish somewhere around 1.010-1.012.

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I've got some more evidence to add to this thread, for anyone who's following it and as a resource for new brewers.

 

I've got a tonne of old beers, 6+ months, all bottled in PET and I've been doing an audit.

 

Had an entire batch flat except for one, that was a Craft batch so only 11 tallies. This was the Bock in Black recipe :

https://store.coopers.com.au/recipes/index/view/id/152/

 

I drank a couple of them early and they were great but now they're all dead. I found one good one in there. The bottles were all new at the time of bottling, and head retention and carb levels were fine after 6 weeks.

So this is +1 for not aging in plastic.

 

I can't think of anything else that could've caused this, if it was about the high alcohol level then it theoretically shouldn't have been great after 6 weeks either.

Possibly beers made with lager yeast need to be aged in the fridge?

 

Had a couple other dead beers in there but that was random. Guessing dud bottles for those.

 

From now on I'm planning to only age beer in the Coopers glass tallies.

 

I also did a side by side test on several beers with a plastic picnic glass pulled straight from the pack and a normal beer glass I'd been using and putting in the dishwasher. Immediate difference in head retention, so definitely +1 for washing your beer glasses with sod perc or just hot water.

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Funnily enough I have even older beers aged in PET that are fine. Go figure.

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Hi Worthog.

I have finally cracked it for long term small bubble glass lacing head retention' date=' thanks Lusty.[/quote']

I'm happy this aspect is starting to head in the right direction for you. happy Excuse the pun! biggrin

Using between 300-500g steeped at 65c for 30mins' date=' with hops, then Kit, and Liquid Malt Extract then added, it is working great but I am running high ABV's due to the higher OG's.[/quote']

Use these grains in place of your base malts if you don't wish to increase ABV%. Starting your steep @ 70°C is a little better than @ 65°C, but that's me being really picky! tongue

I now need to produce a beer at between 3.5% and 3.8%ABV and still have the head retention and closer to a straw coloured beer...I will try to design one on "IanH" spreadsheet using Coopers APA as the base. Does anyone have any starting point advice regarding LiquidME and grains that will ensure great head retention at those lower ABVs?

Nelson's Light

 

It's the best beer I've ever tasted in this ABV% zone' date=' commercial or otherwise. The 'Throwback IPA' by Pirate Life gets very close, but I give the nod to PB2's recipe on this one. I learned more about beer structure by brewing this beer than I have from brewing any other recipe. Have brewed it quite a few times over the years as both I & my Dad love it! [img']cool[/img]

How does this sound;

APA Kit 1.7kg

LLME 200gms

CaraHell 800g' date=' Light Crystal 60 200g

Cascade 20g @ 20mins. Cascade 20g Dry Hop.

Nottingham 11g rehydrated.

OG/FG: 1.033/1.008, 3.7%ABV

IBU 28, EBC 12.[/quote']

I struggle to see how a kit based beer with 1kg of Cara grains in it could possibly reach an FG of 1.008' date=' because most of the sugars extracted from them are unfermentable.[/quote']

There is a sliding scale of fermentability when it comes to dextrin, crystal, & roasted malt grains. With each having differing degrees of released unfermentable & fermentable sugars/starches. As an example a grain such as CaraHell that is lightly kilned to around 25EBC is going to leave a lot less body & introduced flavour than a roasted grain such as Roasted Barley (approx. 1200EBC) at the same introduced weight. The fermentability of wort derived from CaraHell & Roasted Barley are significantly different. You're all smart people so I won't bother to tell you which has the higher fermentability as I'm sure you've figured that out already. wink

 

Obviously there is a trade off when selecting these grains to add body, mouthfeel, & head retention. The lighter grains obviously have a higher fermentability, thus you'd need a greater weight of them to influence body, mouthfeel, & head retention than that of heavier kilned & roasted grains that will leave a greater percentage of unfermentable sugars/starches behind in the wort. Just as important to consider is the level of caramelisation or roasted flavour introduced by these grains at certain weights.

 

If you're running 79% expected attenuation for Nottingham yeast in IanH's spreadsheet that is the number it will spit for your recipe Worthog. Nottingham is a beast so it wouldn't surprise me if it ate through that wort to that level, but I'd suggest somewhere between 1.010-12 is more likely with that ingredient base. wink

 

Don't be afraid to use some healthy levels of certain crystal malts in your brewing. I was using quite high levels early on when I joined the forum & was turning out some terrific hoppy beers despite advice & criticism from so-called experienced brewers here on the forum at the time that suggested my beer would end up overtly sweet. Admittedly I was hopping at pretty good levels at the time that balance out any overt sweetness, so I do accept there is definitely a line you can cross if you don't get your balances right where beer can end up this way.

 

I'm safe as houses though because I hop the @#$% out of everything! lol

 

I hope some of that helps.

 

Cheers,

 

Lusty.

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Back to the flat beer theme.

 

Opened a PET of 'Draft' last night made up to the normal recipe (can + kilo LDM) with a few dry hops. So about ABV 4.4% bottled. It's been in the bottle, stored at about 20-22 degrees since November. Then it was in the fridge for about 36 hours.

 

Top came off with a modest 'phisst' then poured very nicely with what looked like a nice thick head. Then oh oh, don't these bubbles look a bit big? Not as fizzy as say a coke head but similar.

 

Lots of quite large bubbles clinging to the inside of the glass and rising up through the beer. Quite a pleasant hop aroma but the head didn't last very long. Certainly very little lacing.

 

The bottle with its cap on went straight back in the fridge after the first pour

 

About 15 minutes later I poured the second half. Nada, no head very little carbonation. Little to none hop aroma.

 

Wasn't an unpleasant beverage but it didn't have the aesthetics that I'd prefer.

 

The glass was a 'Bitburger' glass soaked overnight in a hot perc solution and rinsed at least three times with clean water and air dried.

 

Seriously, I get a much better head from a megaswill bottle poured into any of my glasses including red wine glasses that have been through the dishwasher a thousand times.

 

Anyway looks like 'roll on wheat malt' is the next avenue of assault!

 

Any other ideas?

 

 

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Megaswill breweries put heading agents in their beers, that's the only reason they get a decent head and it often retains to the last sip.

 

You would expect better head retention and smaller bubbles from a kit and kilo of LDM though. Having said that sometimes if I haven't rinsed my glasses properly, the head hardly forms to begin with and then disappears in under a minute. I always rinse perc off in hot tap water, it removes it a lot quicker and easier than cold.

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Megaswill breweries put heading agents in their beers' date=' that's the only reason they get a decent head and it often retains to the last sip.

 

You would expect better head retention and smaller bubbles from a kit and kilo of LDM though. Having said that sometimes if I haven't rinsed my glasses properly, the head hardly forms to begin with and then disappears in under a minute. I always rinse perc off in hot tap water, it removes it a lot quicker and easier than cold.[/quote']

 

Thanks Kelsey,

 

I wish I could pinpoint it to the glasses but have done everything by the book including hot water rinse and air drying. This glass came out of a closed cupboard.

 

But it was also the contrast of the first half of the bottle and the second half. Is it usual that home brew beers lose their carbonation once the bottle is opened? There was no more than 15 minutes (and probably less than that) from the pouring of the first glass and next one.

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It doesn't sound like the glassware is the issue here, although bubbles clinging to the side of it can indicate a dirty glass. Most of the time I clean mine with just perc and water and they are nice and clean, but occasionally I'll wash them in detergent just to take care of any possible oil buildups or whatever. I always make sure I rinse it thoroughly when I do this too.

 

It certainly sounds awfully fast to be losing that much carbonation. I don't know why that would be happening. SWMBO had some sparkling wine around Xmas time; it was opened and left in the fridge opened, and still had a decent level of carbonation a few days later. I know beer isn't as highly carbonated but for it to be losing most of it in 15 minutes is very strange.

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It doesn't sound like the glassware is the issue here' date=' although bubbles clinging to the side of it can indicate a dirty glass. Most of the time I clean mine with just perc and water and they are nice and clean, but occasionally I'll wash them in detergent just to take care of any possible oil buildups or whatever. I always make sure I rinse it thoroughly when I do this too.

 

It certainly sounds awfully fast to be losing that much carbonation. I don't know why that would be happening. SWMBO had some sparkling wine around Xmas time; it was opened and left in the fridge opened, and still had a decent level of carbonation a few days later. I know beer isn't as highly carbonated but for it to be losing most of it in 15 minutes is very strange. [/quote']

 

Yes that is what I thought. I have had the same experience with sparkling wine - always amazed how long it lasts but as you say it isn't beer.

 

Just have to battle on a guess.

 

Like I said not unpleasant beverages just a bit like the "Pommy Beers" our fathers just used to make fun of. At least these ones are not warm and they don't taste like dishwater (yet) biggrin

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