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First brew is settling for a couple of days prior to bottling so I thought I'd plan for what goes in the next brew.

I have:
2 x Coopers Draught cans (old BBD Sep 10 for 1 and Oct 19 for other))
1 x Coopers Dark Ale can (new)
1 x Brew Enhancer #3
bag of sugar (think it's just table sugar but it's very fine)
Brown sugar

I'd like to make a stronger than normal drinkable beer. I figure I will need new yeast for the Draught cans and plan to get LDM 500gm

Currently I am thinking...

Plan 1:

2 x Draught, BE3, 250 gm brown sugar, 250 gm normal sugar - hopefully counter the bitterness mentioned from combining 2 cans? 

Plan 2:

1 x Dark Ale, BE3, LDM - unsure about brown sugar for this - it SOUNDS like it would add a nice flavour, but...?

Thoughts please?

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Dark ale, 1kg LDM and 500g brown sugar. That will get you up around 6%. 2kg of fermentables is a lot and white sugar only adds alcohol and nothing else.

If you're using more than 1kg of fermentables, you'll need more yeast. Kit yeast and another - like Nottingham.

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Hi Journeyman. Welcome to brewing. I have read your posts, and find myself exhausted! Your really have jumped in the deep end haven’t you? May I gently suggest a change of approach? Start slowly, learn the basics, get a few simple recipes done before experimenting too much. That way you will give yourself a better chance of success, and will be inspired to carry on. Ensure your gear is clean and sanitised. I would then take your Dark Ale and your BE3 ,nothing more,mix according to instructions on the can, get the temperature as near to 20 as you can, and pitch the kit yeast,Find a spot where the temperature will be as stable as possible, wrap a towel or blanket around the fermenter ,and watch the magic happen. Try to keep it around 18-20 degrees. Why are you aiming for a higher Abv? It won’t taste any better, and you won’t be able to drink as much of it.Save the LDME for your next brew, and use the brown sugar to bake a cake. Good luck!

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😄 Well I don't mean to exhaust you. Sorry about that. Maybe a nice calming beverage? 😄 

As a carer I'm not exactly flush so I'd like to get to my goal with as few 'average' brews as possible. I figure the more I can learn by picking brains the sooner I'll know how to brew a full-bodied IPA like Fixation - my all-time favourite tap beer.

I'm not a fan of low alcohol beers and it's not my intention to deliberately brew something I can drink for hours - I'd like a nice strong beer in the evening that gives a good glow from a long neck. So I'm interested in how to boost the ABV a bit as well as how to get flavours I like.

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Well, I like brown sugar in my dark beers... Cake? meh, unless there's beer in it.

Good advice - walk before running. Get your processes right with simple brews and make drinkable beer. If you do too much too early,  you have too many variables to ponder if stuff goes wrong.

I did a number of brews before attempting to mix things up - like make up recipes, hop additions and grain steeping. A couple of my own attempts to create a recipe were crap. Coopers recipe page is best for that, then when you know your preferences better, you can tweak them.

 

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LOL this IS me being simple. If I simply did a brew for each of the things I've thought about as I've been reading an learning I'd likely be 30 brews down before I got around to trying stuff out. That's why I ask.

e.g. the idea of the 2 cans was to trial the effects of extra sugar against bitterness. The LME plus BE3 was to see if maybe I could approach the kind of head I've had from Caffreys - an ale with head and mouth feel similar to the Guinness one.

But I shall take the advice and back away and return when I've tried more things - can't go exhausting the sages I need to learn from. 😄

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1 hour ago, Journeyman said:

I'd like a nice strong beer in the evening that gives a good glow from a long neck. So I'm interested in how to boost the ABV a bit as well as how to get flavours I like.

Well, if in doubt, you can always add an extra kilo of dextrose into the FV in order to get the ABV levels up. That's probably the easiest way. But you might want the beer to not only taste of alcohol but also have some substance to it. There are some interesting high RPM brews in the recipe section, which have both, high ABV and flavour and body. Use Shamus' spreadsheet and sort by ABV level. I'm looking at Tsar's Tar as one of my next brews and have recently bottled a Big Beasty Wine. It still needs to mature a lot but it isn't bad at all. You can taste it is strong but I'm hoping it will mellow out a little as it ages. By xmas it should be good. These beers will give you what you want and are a good exercise to figure out which ingredients have which impact on the beer. I know it all takes time as brewing is a fairly slow process but a nice yummy beer is worth all the wait 🍻

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36 minutes ago, Journeyman said:

LOL this IS me being simple. If I simply did a brew for each of the things I've thought about as I've been reading an learning I'd likely be 30 brews down before I got around to trying stuff out. That's why I ask.

e.g. the idea of the 2 cans was to trial the effects of extra sugar against bitterness. The LME plus BE3 was to see if maybe I could approach the kind of head I've had from Caffreys - an ale with head and mouth feel similar to the Guinness one.

But I shall take the advice and back away and return when I've tried more things - can't go exhausting the sages I need to learn from. 😄

My exhaustion has abated, the calming beverage you recommended has worked its magic. It was a Nut Brown Ale, a slight variation of the Dark Ale from the Cooper’s recipe page. It is scrumptious!  It’s abv would be just shy of 5%. The head would certainly please you- fine and generous enough to rival the Irish ones you mention. Theirs, by the way,is partly due to the use of nitrogen instead of Co2. Anyway, with good ingredients,good brewing practices and patience you will achieve your aims, Cheers.

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15 minutes ago, Aussiekraut said:

...some interesting high RPM brews in the recipe section...

RPM? I've been able to work out most of the acronyms but that one is a puzzle.

Nut Brown Ale even SOUNDS delicious!

I had to figure out how to properly view the spreadsheet - after 25+ years of supporting Windows I moved my arse over to Linux the moment I was no longer required to bolster that abomination. 😄 But there can be some interesting 'gotchas' when dealing with the MS program outputs. 

Latest is I'm trying to find out what difference the various yeasts make to the process.

I'll have to do some searching - I saw a reference to getting a 'Guinness-type' head in one of the sites I was looking at - I did know about the nitro side of it from time as a barman, but thanks for the reminder. 😄 I had forgotten it.

 

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RPM as in revolutions per minute, as in high powered. Normal people would say high ABV. Kinda the opposite of "unleaded" beer 🙂 

Yeah, I'm still supporting Windows but am doing it from a Mac. Numbers on the Mac can't handle the spread sheet either but I'm using an online version of Excel and that does the trick. Works with the "Ian H" spreadsheet as well, with the exception of the recipe functions. It only sees the buttons but doesn't do macros by the look of it. 

The "Ian H" spreadsheet might also help you figuring out a few things. It knows most (all) of the Coopers kits and a fair few others, as well as several liquid malt blends etc. Just put in what you are planning on adding and it will do all the maths giving you all the ABV, IBU, EBC, estimated SG etc. A very handy tool.

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@Journeyman interesting reading however, i notice you have the misapprehension that table sugar will add sweetness which it will not do. It is 100% fermentable and will only add to the ABV.  Most of us avoid it and to some degree dextrose as well as they do nothing for body and head. However table sugar is great for secondary fermentation.  In the context of increasing your ABV all you need to do is increase the sugars used. So use 1kg or more of LDM or the Brew enhancer and extra LDM or some of use syrups like golden syrup which would work a treat with the dark beers.  

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@Journeyman The Dark Ale tin and BE3 make a great beer but won't give you the higher ABV you seek. I think it finishes around 4.5% in the bottle.
You could try reducing the batch to 20 or 21 litres instead of 23. I think this will help with higher ABV and increase body. Some of the more experienced heads on here could confirm or deny this for me, I'm sure. However, reducing your batch gives you less bevvies, of course.

Edited by MUZZY
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I found version 4.1 of the spreadsheet - should keep me up at nights trying to work through it all.

Anyone familiar with the spreadsheet... 

Hops section - I'm assuming these are boiled to get the liquid rather than put into the FV dry? 

Grains/Adj - I'd assume these are steeped or maybe boiled? Or do they go into the FV in a bag as is?

Bulk Prime section, choices bulk prime Yes, 20°,Vols - 2.2, Bottle it says 107 g Dextrose. Is this added to the FV before bottling because I would imagine that much in a bottle would make hand grenades. 😄 I'm presuming Bulk Prime is a replacement for a couple of carb drops per bottle?

Thanks for any assistance. 😄 Or just point me somewhere to go learn for myself. 😄 

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3 minutes ago, Journeyman said:

Bulk Prime section, choices bulk prime Yes, 20°,Vols - 2.2, Bottle it says 107 g Dextrose. Is this added to the FV before bottling because I would imagine that much in a bottle would make hand grenades. 😄 I'm presuming Bulk Prime is a replacement for a couple of carb drops per bottle?

 

Bulk priming generally involves putting dissolved sugar in a second FV and transferring your brew into it, usually via a siphon tube to reduce the chances of oxygen spoiling the brew. Because you use sugar instead of carb drops it's a cheaper way to prime. It also ensures all bottles are primed at the same rate by eliminating inaccurate teaspoon measures if priming each bottle individually with sugar.
This is your journey, man, (see what I did there?) but personally I prefer to prime each bottle with carb drops and/or sugar cubes to reduce the oxygen risks and the need to clean a second FV.

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25 minutes ago, MUZZY said:

This is your journey, man, (see what I did there?)

All those comedians out of work and you're looking for a job... 😄

Thanks, thought it might be that - would you normally bottle straight away from the 2nd FV or is it for secondary fermenting? 

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19 minutes ago, Journeyman said:

All those comedians out of work and you're looking for a job... 😄

Thanks, thought it might be that - would you normally bottle straight away from the 2nd FV or is it for secondary fermenting? 

Yes, bottle straight from second FV. It's basically just a mixing bowl to ensure even distribution of the priming sugar solution and the trub (sediment layer) gets left in the first FV. Secondary ferment takes place in the bottle.

Edited by MUZZY
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@Journeyman as others have mentioned and I'd concur, take baby steps. I'm only 2 years into this and I still K&K brew and add some hops in some brews. I'm still very much a novice, imo. I tried pimping up one of my early brews with some extra dextrose. Not for any particular reason but I just had some lying around. It boosted the ABV but I didn't really enjoy the flavour, sort of like wine due to the high alcohol. After that not so glorious effort, I thought to myself, "Coopers have been making beer for over a century and here's me, Mr Novice Homebrewer, trying to improve their gear. Yeah, nah!"

I basically just stick to the recipes most of the time. It's usually good beer.

Edited by MUZZY
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In my usual and inimitable fashion, I probably talk bigger steps that I will actually take. The things I am asking are to get an idea of what goes on, how different things affect the final product and ideas I have had from the reading I have been doing. I learn funny - kinda dumping in all kinds of info until I have enough that somehow then gets sorted into knowledge I can use. 

That might be why @Worts and all found me 'exhausting' - there's no real structure to putting the info in so it looks like I'm bouncing all around the place.

Chances are good the next brew will be the Dark Ale with BE3 and some brown sugar. But if I can get my head around the flavours of the hops and some decent yeast, I might dive into the 2 x Draught option and see what I can do with over-age cans. They came free and I kinda view them as an experiment I don't mind messing up. 

Fixation beer has Amarillo, Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe - what I don't know is which, if any of those are dry hops versus boiled, so I will be looking around to find out what each method gets differently from a particular variety of hops. If I can find that sort of info, I will go with the Dark Ale and use the single Draughts for experiments towards a Fixation style beer.

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