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Ray03

First brew switch?

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Hi all! I’ve just pulled the trigger on my first brew kit and I’m pumped to get started! After a little advice about my first brew.. Is it recommended to stick to the original contents of the kit for my first attempt, just to get my head around it? Reason being I usually drink IPAs and the like, and have heard “mixed reviews” about the flavour of the standard kit. Don’t get me wrong! It’ll get drunk anyway! But if it’s just as easy to use another flavour I might save the lager for another day. Cheers!

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Lot of new brewers lately!

I would definitely recommend the Coopers Pale over the lager in the kit. It will make a much nicer beer. You can use everything else that came with the lager, just swap the tins out.

The lager comes with an ale yeast, so you can brew it without brewing at lager temps. But it makes a bland beer.

I'd also recommend 1kg dry malt, or BE3, instead of the supplied BE1. I find BE1 makes a thin beer.

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I think make the kit but get some hops to add to it. It can be as simple as steeping the hops in 60° water for 20 minutes, let it cool and then add it to the FV before it starts fermenting - or do it later if you wish. See if you can find out what hops are used with your favourite IPA's and get some of that. 25g of it in a tea would be enough to give you some of the flavour you are going to want in your beer.

Agree with @Lab Cat about the dry malt (LDME) addition but might as well use the brew enhancer that came with the kit as well. If you don't have other yeast, rehydrate the kit yeast in 200ml warm (~25°) water for half an hour, stirring occasionally to make a creamy yeast 'soup' to add.

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Posted (edited)

For your first time out, make the kit as directed, just to use up the bloody BE1, but I would dry hop it, to kick it up a notch. When yeast activity dies away in the fermenter, usually around day 4, add 25-30gm of dry hop pellets. Use any one you like the description of, and that smells good to you. Best to contain the hops in something. After two or three days, fish them out with some sanitized tongs. Dry hopping after fermentation leads to more flavour and aroma than making a tea and adding it before fermentation; you get more bang for your buck, so to speak.

The kit yeast is designed to work with Coopers Brew Enhancers, none of which contains more than 500gm of DME. If you use more malt than that, say 1.5kg of LME, you should use more yeast. A pack of third party yeast is a little larger (10-11.5gm) than a pack of kit yeast (7gm) and is usually good for brews up to 1.050. There are free calculators online that will tell you how many grams of yeast you need for any given gravity. 

@Journeyman I see you recommend rehydrating the yeast. I did that faithfully for years. Coopers has never recommended it, and over the years I saw Mangrove Jack, and then Fermentis, stop saying you had to, so I started dry pitching (sprinkling). I saw no difference so I stopped rehydrating. I think Lallemand is the only manufacturer that still recommends it, but there are loads of brewers who dry pitch Lallemand yeast with success. The only time I would still consider rehydrating was if I had a stuck fermentation. Mind you, I have never had a stuck brew. 

Cheers,

Christina.

Edited by ChristinaS1
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What have I got myself into?! Ha! Thank you guys and gals for all your advice. I’ll definitely need to familiarise myself with some of the lingo and abbreviations! I’m lucky that I’ve got a home brew shop close by so I can source some things from there. Got a bit of a weird vibe when I first went in, so it’d be nice to know what I’m looking for when I go in next time. I’ll definitely check out that online calculator too. I’m assuming the kit I’ve ordered (the Coopers one from this site) has everything to make that specific brew.. would there be much else I need if I wanted to brew something different? Looks like I’ll need some dry malt and BE2 or 3 anyway? I’m not trying to get ahead of myself, and appreciate your suggestions of making the kit first.. but to be honest I’m not a massive drinker and just concerned that the lager would go to waste while I could be using the bottles for something that family and friends would enjoy a little more. I’m blown away by everyone’s quick responses though! Thanks again! This will be a great place to come for info!

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6 hours ago, ChristinaS1 said:

I see you recommend rehydrating the yeast. I did that faithfully for years. Coopers has never recommended it, and over the years I saw Mangrove Jack, and then Fermentis, stop saying you had to, so I started dry pitching (sprinkling). I saw no difference so I stopped rehydrating

And yet my brews are highly active in the time frame most other brewers are just starting to see activity. Admittedly I don't just rehydrate, but actually start a brew by adding sugars to the yeast solution.

I have noticed a difference also from when I used raw sugar to start the ferment in the yeast container to using LDME - it SEEMS like LDME would be a better solution (pun intended 😄 ) but in my experience the raw sugar gives an actual Kraussen in the yeast container while the LDME just gives froth - at least in the time frames I am willing to wait.

So I will be going back to using raw sugar for my vitality starters and expect to continue to see >1 cm foam within 2 hours and fully formed Kraussen in <10 hours in my FV's.

Personally I don't really see much point in ONLY rehydrating - that's going to happen in the FV in exactly the same time frame as it takes in the yeast container, but creating the starter means the yeast if fired up and reproducing when it gets pitched and has a far larger number of cells to start in the new environment. I think THAT'S why my brews are so quick off the mark.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Ray03 said:

but to be honest I’m not a massive drinker and just concerned that the lager would go to waste while I could be using the bottles for something that family and friends would enjoy a little more

You can just get some hops and add it to the kit and make a very presentable brew to enjoy. That was why I thought if you find out what hops are used in the beers you enjoy you might make something similar. Mention them here - there's sure to be someone on here who has experience in those beers and can advise on which hops will suit.

As for the extra info presented, think of it as stuff you can search on later as your skills develop. 😄 The Lager kit and some hops will definitely give you a drinkable beer.

Edited by Journeyman

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1 hour ago, Ray03 said:

What have I got myself into?! Ha! Thank you guys and gals for all your advice. I’ll definitely need to familiarise myself with some of the lingo and abbreviations! 

I'd keep it simple to start with. Hop additions and hydrating yeast ARE easy, but for a first brew, there are so many things to think about and want to get right - they're an unnecessary distraction IMO. I've only ever sprinkled the yeast on the wort and many people do. The only advantage of re hydrating is it gets going quicker. It doesn't matter, it's still going to take the same time to brew.

There's nothing wrong in brewing a few beers without any flavour additions first, and getting familiar and comfortable with the process. Then, you have a good idea of what those kits do, and can add things that make differences you're going to like.

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On 5/23/2020 at 12:47 PM, Ray03 said:

Hi all! I’ve just pulled the trigger on my first brew kit and I’m pumped to get started! After a little advice about my first brew.. Is it recommended to stick to the original contents of the kit for my first attempt, just to get my head around it? Reason being I usually drink IPAs and the like, and have heard “mixed reviews” about the flavour of the standard kit. Don’t get me wrong! It’ll get drunk anyway! But if it’s just as easy to use another flavour I might save the lager for another day. Cheers!

Welcome to the group and the bottomless pit of home brewing. A very rewarding hobby, if you are willing to climb down the rabbit hole ever so deep 🙂 

There are a lot of things I could suggest you do and a lot has been said. I recommend you take the things on board, since this is a very good place to learn the combined knowledge is incredible and you will always find somebody, who has the answer to your question.

But for the moment, I'd suggest you start at the beginning. We all mean well with our suggestions but we tend to forget how we started. Go for the recipe as it is. See how your beer turns out, see what needs improving. Learn from your mistakes, ask questions and take it from there. In order to make good beer, you need to know what bad beer tastes like. Just don't let poor results discourage you. If you're serious about making beer, you can achieve some awesome results. Go for it.

 

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34 minutes ago, Aussiekraut said:

We all mean well with our suggestions but we tend to forget how we started

😄 I began with Real Ale, LDME, BE3 Simcoe and EKG, then heated my 1st brew to 36° for a few hours and (thanks to advice on here) recovered and made a pretty decent first brew. Then a toucan with cascade and simcoe. 😄 So I might be forgiven (?) for suggesting a steep learning curve compared to others. 😄

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2 hours ago, Journeyman said:

😄 I began with Real Ale, LDME, BE3 Simcoe and EKG, then heated my 1st brew to 36° for a few hours and (thanks to advice on here) recovered and made a pretty decent first brew. Then a toucan with cascade and simcoe. 😄 So I might be forgiven (?) for suggesting a steep learning curve compared to others. 😄

Yes you dived in at the deep end. I do remember it well.  I recall a post about the diastatic potential of grain or some such thing very very early in your brewing.  That is why I would give very short odds on you becoming an all grain brewer sooner rather than later.   You thirst for both knowledge and beer making is so very limited with cans as bases.  You seriously have the time now that you no longer bottle. 

 

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, MartyG1525230263 said:

Yes you dived in at the deep end. I do remember it well.  I recall a post about the diastatic potential of grain or some such thing very very early in your brewing.  That is why I would give very short odds on you becoming an all grain brewer sooner rather than later.   You thirst for both knowledge and beer making is so very limited with cans as bases.  You seriously have the time now that you no longer bottle. 

I swear you must have shares in robobrew or grainfather or something. 😄

You may have forgotten my innate laziness. 😄 

Edited by Journeyman

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3 minutes ago, Journeyman said:

I swear you must have shares in robobrew or grainfather or something

No it is more like a parent who knows their child is gay and is just waiting for the coming out.  You are an all grain brewer is a kit and kilo body if I ever saw one.  

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, Journeyman said:

And yet my brews are highly active in the time frame most other brewers are just starting to see activity. Admittedly I don't just rehydrate, but actually start a brew by adding sugars to the yeast solution.

I have noticed a difference also from when I used raw sugar to start the ferment in the yeast container to using LDME - it SEEMS like LDME would be a better solution (pun intended 😄 ) but in my experience the raw sugar gives an actual Kraussen in the yeast container while the LDME just gives froth - at least in the time frames I am willing to wait.

So I will be going back to using raw sugar for my vitality starters and expect to continue to see >1 cm foam within 2 hours and fully formed Kraussen in <10 hours in my FV's.

Personally I don't really see much point in ONLY rehydrating - that's going to happen in the FV in exactly the same time frame as it takes in the yeast container, but creating the starter means the yeast if fired up and reproducing when it gets pitched and has a far larger number of cells to start in the new environment. I think THAT'S why my brews are so quick off the mark.

You may be onto something. Coopers actually recommend a solution of 60gm sugar in 600gm of water when culturing their commercial yeast, from the dregs of a six pack of Coopers Ale. 

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+culture+Coopers+yeast+from+a+bottle&rlz=1C5CHFA_enCA774CA774&oq=how+to+culture+Coopers+yeast+from+a+bottle&aqs=chrome..69i57.13575j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_NdLKXp_hFqqvytMP6MqwsAU26

I read somewhere, might have been on the Lallemand website, that dry yeast manufactures use a molasses based solution to culture their yeast. I found that so interesting I remembered it, because it ran counter to what I had read in various places that DME should be used.

I suppose the reason for the advice to use malt is because, "it is known that high levels of glucose and fructose in a wort (e.g. >15–20%) will inhibit the fermentation of maltose." https://byo.com/article/sweetness-brewing-sugars-how-to-use-them/

Perhaps you don't run into problems because you are still under 15-20%?

Cheers,

Christina.

Edited by ChristinaS1

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4 hours ago, ChristinaS1 said:

You may be onto something. Coopers actually recommend a solution of 60gm sugar in 600gm of water when culturing their commercial yeast, from the dregs of a six pack of Coopers Ale. 

https://www.google.com/search?q=how+to+culture+Coopers+yeast+from+a+bottle&rlz=1C5CHFA_enCA774CA774&oq=how+to+culture+Coopers+yeast+from+a+bottle&aqs=chrome..69i57.13575j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#kpvalbx=_NdLKXp_hFqqvytMP6MqwsAU26

I read somewhere, might have been on the Lallemand website, that dry yeast manufactures use a molasses based solution to culture their yeast. I found that so interesting I remembered it, because it ran counter to what I had read in various places that DME should be used.

I suppose the reason for the advice to use malt is because, "it is known that high levels of glucose and fructose in a wort (e.g. >15–20%) will inhibit the fermentation of maltose." https://byo.com/article/sweetness-brewing-sugars-how-to-use-them/

Perhaps you don't run into problems because you are still under 15-20%?

Cheers,

Christina.

What I think I recalled was advice to use LDME to mimic the environment into which you pitch. So I tried it - my results indicate it's not an advantage and slows things a little. The LDME version seems to still be quicker than what others are experiencing.

I'm not sure how I would go about working out the percentage of sugars in the yeast starter - prior to trying the 100g/litre LDME I was using maybe 100g in 3 litres? I think originally it was like 3 tablespoons in maybe 500 ml - that was pre-starters when I added a packet of yeast in a plastic container with sugar at something over 25° and waited for it to 'rise' 😄 

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