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Morty Brew
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Hi I received a Coopers home brew kit for Fathers Day and enjoyed the process of brewing this with my son, we followed the instructions and video to the letter, our beer tastes ok although with a slight aftertaste, sort of molasses however this is not my issue

When I pour the beer I manage to get a head with a bit of aggressive pouring but the head quickly disappears and the beer is quite flat

I checked and cleaned my glasses well (bi carb mix) but this has not helped

Does any one have any clues to revive this brew

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@Morty Brew What was your exact recipe? That will help us analyse your issue.  Did you leave the bottles long enough at 18 - 20 C after bottling so they would carb up properly and help with the head?

I find with some brews that are "less hoppy" this head retention thing is a big problem.  For example the Coopers recipe Pacific Summer Ale is a ripper and the head is still in the glass even after drinking the beer where as others I've done to the recipe are a bit on the dud side when it comes to head retention.  The Neon Haze is another recipe that holds good head without any additions or tweaking so try either of these next batch.

To rectify this problem in some of my batches I have altered the recipe by adding a cold overnight steep of any appropriate grains of about 200 g and this makes a huge difference.

@Bearded Burbler has put forth the idea of using liquid malt extracts instead of or in conjunction with using light dry malt and I have done both.  Some kit batches where done using all liquid malt and some were a combination of dry malt (just so I can boil up some hops at the right gravity) and included a can of liquid malt.  I cannot say if this makes a big difference just yet as most of these have been lager batches and I have not tried the later versions as yet.  Next couple of months and will have tried all my lager brews done this winter and will have a better view of this method then.

I have tried the steeped grain brews as against the plain Jane recipes and a big plus for the steeped grained beers from me.  In fact I reckon this should be almost mandatory in all recipes.

Don't give up, keep at it and it will come good.  I am thoroughly enjoying nearly every Coopers beer recipe I have brewed this year.  The Steam Beer was a bit disappointing and its definitely off the re-brew list.

Cheers - AL

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What did you use to prime your bottles? 2 carbonation drops?
I found my beers were a little less carbonated than I liked so I now use 1 carb drop PLUS 1 CSR sugar cube per 750ml bottle. This increases the priming sugar rate from 6 grams to about 8 grams. This increases carbonation. It doesn't necessarily improve head retention. 

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If you used the Brew enhancer which come with the kits, you won't get much head retention from those, they are higher ratio of dextrose. Using more dry malt will help, and ensuring all the other things as per advice above re carbonation.

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On 10/11/2020 at 6:52 PM, iBooz2 said:

I have tried the steeped grain brews as against the plain Jane recipes and a big plus for the steeped grained beers from me.  In fact I reckon this should be almost mandatory in all recipes.

Ha ha or just All-Grain-Up Boozer... put a bit of wheat malt in there as well and Bob's yer Unkel ha ha!!!

Edited by Bearded Burbler
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I have had some excellent results from doing a steep of Voyager Winter Wheat Malt grains for about 30 minutes @ around 70-80C in about 2L of water. Only used about 200g so it didn't really effect the taste either. I also added some extra hops but I've done that before and haven't noticed a significant difference. 

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8 hours ago, DonPolo said:

I have had some excellent results from doing a steep of Voyager Winter Wheat Malt grains for about 30 minutes @ around 70-80C in about 2L of water. Only used about 200g so it didn't really effect the taste either. I also added some extra hops but I've done that before and haven't noticed a significant difference. 

Voyager are good local aussie growers and Maltsters - nice one DP.

When you say not noticing sig difference - is that in hop addition?  Maybe you need to add more hops or find fresher product?  Also add the hops late after the major ferment hubble bubble is over (otherwise you will lose all the aromas out the brew - smells nice while going - but thence does not reach the keg/bottle/final vessel). 

How much have you been adding and what is your process?

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On 10/14/2020 at 8:36 PM, Bearded Burbler said:

Voyager are good local aussie growers and Maltsters - nice one DP.

When you say not noticing sig difference - is that in hop addition?  Maybe you need to add more hops or find fresher product?  Also add the hops late after the major ferment hubble bubble is over (otherwise you will lose all the aromas out the brew - smells nice while going - but thence does not reach the keg/bottle/final vessel). 

How much have you been adding and what is your process?

 I have tried different styles of addition with Cascade, Centennial and Galaxy, usually  adding all three to the one brew. I was also using 100% LDM as the addition to the Kits in each case.

The first hop additions I did were dry hopping after ferment. Then I did a few hop teas just before pitching the yeast. And the last ones I did were some short boils and/or additions at flameout. They all worked for flavour and aroma to differing degrees but of course the dry hopping was more subtle and disappeared after a few months. I think I like the short boils best because they  seem to impart a more long lasting flavour. But I didn't notice any improved head retention. The beers were carbonated but the heads all disappeared very quickly like the head from pouring a coke. In addition, I would say that they all lost their carbonation fairly quickly in the glass even though mine don't spend too much time in the glass!

In each case I only used about 10g of each hop (30g in total) because I was brewing in a craft fermenter, generally to 11L.

I would say that the addition of 100% LDM did nothing for the head retention in any of my brews. I got much better results from adding BE2 or BE3 perhaps because of he maltodextrin in them. I think I read somewhere that the effect of the wheat malt on head retention was largely due to extracting maltodextrin or a compound similar to it. I have no idea if this is correct, it is just something that I picked up on a website.

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1 minute ago, DonPolo said:

In each case I only used about 10g of each hop (30g in total) because I was brewing in a craft fermenter, generally to 11L.

I would say that the addition of 100% LDM did nothing for the head retention in any of my brews.

Hey there DP.

Is LDM Light Dry Malt?

Have you tried liquid malts... 

@Beerlust Lusty noted to me a while ago that he believed Wheat only helps in head retention if you already have other good malted grain outcomes already there.... I use wheat in everything I brew AG... believe it helps...  and you found Voyager Winter Wheat helpful - that is good. 

I think that things will improve the closer you get to All Grain... like doing Partials... Also not that it is a must as I did AG bottles for a good while with great results... but there may be some assistance with kegging...

I would - if you can practically - financially etc - get more grain into your brews... and consider mashing milled fresh malt at 68 for half an hour - or 64 - Read Palmer for more inf - or potentially using crystal malt steeps - as here mashing has taken place in the grain... 

I am no expert but a lot of Brewers on this site seem to be v happy with partials - PM @Pale Man just did a partial IPA courtesy of @James Lao JL and seems very happy with it - over on the Wadjadringgkin thread bit further down than the below posting... could adapt that recipe to your fermenter size and give it a run?

 

 

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31 minutes ago, Bearded Burbler said:

@Beerlust Lusty noted to me a while ago that he believed Wheat only helps in head retention if you already have other good malted grain outcomes already there....

I've stated I believe wheat malt helps with head development, not with retention. They are two different things.

Wheat malt has a higher protein level than barley malt.

Close though. 😉

Cheers,

Lusty.

Edited by Beerlust
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2 minutes ago, Beerlust said:

I've stated I believe wheat malt helps with head development, not with retention. They are two different things.

Thanks for that clarification Lusty mate - good call - luvyerwork....  always keen for some continuous improvement 😁 

@DonPolo DP - better direction there from me man Beerlust ; ) 

But it all certainly culminates in one thing - and that is better drinking experience of the beer resulting ; )

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Bulk primed my latest brew in the primary FV.  Had a taste of the beer after a 2 week secondary ferment in the bottles at about 16 degrees C  and the first one was well carbonated. Opened a second and it was almost flat, small amount of CO2 but almost completely flat. That had me concerned so I opened another and this one was somewhere in between.

Is it possible that I've placed the bottles in the fridge before they had a chance to fully carbonate? I suspect the lids are not in play as there was a slight hiss release sound from all three bottles.

Anyone got any clues? Could it be that I've not stirred the sugar enough in the FV when I bulk primed? Any help muchly appreciated

Edited by Mickep
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30 minutes ago, Mickep said:

Bulk primed my latest brew in the primary FV.  Had a taste of the beer after a 2 week secondary ferment in the bottles at about 16 degrees C  and the first one was well carbonated. Opened a second and it was almost flat, small amount of CO2 but almost completely flat. That had me concerned so I opened another and this one was somewhere in between.

Is it possible that I've placed the bottles in the fridge before they had a chance to fully carbonate? I suspect the lids are not in play as there was a slight hiss release sound from all three bottles.

Anyone got any clues? Could it be that I've not stirred the sugar enough in the FV when I bulk primed? Any help muchly appreciated

I only bulk prime as fiddling with lollies or a sugar scoop is annoying. I use between 170 and 180g dextrose for a 21l batch to get it to approx. 2.7vols. The sugar solution is carefully poured into the FV and gently stirred as to not disturb the trub. In most cases, the bottles are carbonated within 5 days at room temp, in winter it takes a little longer. I do sample from usually a week in the bottle onwards and besides the occasional dud, I don't seem to have any problems. When there is a dud, it's usually the lid not being tight enough, although I think I have the odd top not working. I'm going to replace them bit by bit with new tops.

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3 minutes ago, Aussiekraut said:
46 minutes ago, Mickep said:

Bulk primed my latest brew in the primary FV.  Had a taste of the beer after a 2 week secondary ferment in the bottles at about 16 degrees C  and the first one was well carbonated. Opened a second and it was almost flat, small amount of CO2 but almost completely flat. That had me concerned so I opened another and this one was somewhere in between.

Is it possible that I've placed the bottles in the fridge before they had a chance to fully carbonate? I suspect the lids are not in play as there was a slight hiss release sound from all three bottles.

Anyone got any clues? Could it be that I've not stirred the sugar enough in the FV when I bulk primed? Any help muchly appreciated

I only bulk prime as fiddling with lollies or a sugar scoop is annoying. I use between 170 and 180g dextrose for a 21l batch to get it to approx. 2.7vols. The sugar solution is carefully poured into the FV and gently stirred as to not disturb the trub. In most cases, the bottles are carbonated within 5 days at room temp, in winter it takes a little longer. I do sample from usually a week in the bottle onwards and besides the occasional dud, I don't seem to have any problems. When there is a dud, it's usually the lid not being tight enough, although I think I have the odd top not working. I'm going to replace them bit by bit with new tops.

Thanks AussieKraut, I've been priming the lagers at 9g/l.  On the spread sheet this estimates that I'm getting approx. 3.0 vols. When Bulk priming I've premixed the correct amount of sugar with a small amount of water to dissolve the sugar and then added that to the primary FV and stirred gently so as not to disturb the trub or aerate the beer.

Maybe I placed some of the bottles in the fridge before they'd fully carbonated. They condition in the garage where it's possible the temp has been cooler than it should've been. 

I've ditched the caps which were on the suspect bottles. I'm pretty certain all the caps were on really tight.

Thanks for your feedback mate.

 

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21 minutes ago, Mickep said:

Maybe I placed some of the bottles in the fridge before they'd fully carbonated. They condition in the garage where it's possible the temp has been cooler than it should've been. 

I've ditched the caps which were on the suspect bottles. I'm pretty certain all the caps were on really tight.

Something to try is remove the plastic collar left behind the first time the cap is used. It apparently can prevent a proper seal sometimes. Side cutters work well for doing it.

Look for any nicks or imperfections around the rim of the bottle - anything there can prevent a proper seal. Also take care not to get sugar on the rim when priming, for the same reason.

Over winter while I was still doing bottle I put an old electric blanket in the cupboard with an STC-1000 temperature controller to keep the temps up - the bottles need to be at ferment temp or above to allow the carb process to happen. I kept the cupboard at 20° and it worked well. Before I did that I found I still had soft bottles at 4 weeks - once I kicked up the temp they all hardened up in a week or so.

Before I moved to kegs I was bulk priming - MUCH less time consuming than measuring into each bottle. But I did it to a 2nd FV. A hose long enough to curl a bit in the bottom of the receiving FV, to swirl the beers as it gows in, then bottle from the 2nd FV. Has added benefit of leaving the trub behind in the first one and doesn't risk stirring it up to make sure all the sugar solution gets mixed in by priming in the original FV.

Edited by Journeyman
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42 minutes ago, Journeyman said:
1 hour ago, Mickep said:

Maybe I placed some of the bottles in the fridge before they'd fully carbonated. They condition in the garage where it's possible the temp has been cooler than it should've been. 

I've ditched the caps which were on the suspect bottles. I'm pretty certain all the caps were on really tight.

Something to try is remove the plastic collar left behind the first time the cap is used. It apparently can prevent a proper seal sometimes. Side cutters work well for doing it.

Look for any nicks or imperfections around the rim of the bottle - anything there can prevent a proper seal. Also take care not to get sugar on the rim when priming, for the same reason.

Over winter while I was still doing bottle I put an old electric blanket in the cupboard with an STC-1000 temperature controller to keep the temps up - the bottles need to be at ferment temp or above to allow the carb process to happen. I kept the cupboard at 20° and it worked well. Before I did that I found I still had soft bottles at 4 weeks - once I kicked up the temp they all hardened up in a week or so.

Before I moved to kegs I was bulk priming - MUCH less time consuming than measuring into each bottle. But I did it to a 2nd FV. A hose long enough to curl a bit in the bottom of the receiving FV, to swirl the beers as it gows in, then bottle from the 2nd FV. Has added benefit of leaving the trub behind in the first one and doesn't risk stirring it up to make sure all the sugar solution gets mixed in by priming in the original FV.

Thanks JM,

I seem to have a decent gap between the lid collars and the bottle top, so not sure if that's in play but thanks for the heads up. I bulk prime so no issue with sugars around the rim of the bottle. I'm doing lagers so do they need to be stored (conditioned) at 18 degrees c? Or are they okay at cooler temps being a lager?

Last brew I did was bulk primed in the primary FV and had no issues. It's noteworthy that the first bottled I tried was fully carbed. I've tried a third and it was not carbed at the same level as Bottle 1.

Thanks for your feedback mate much appreciated

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5 minutes ago, Mickep said:

I'm doing lagers so do they need to be stored (conditioned) at 18 degrees c? Or are they okay at cooler temps being a lager?

I haven't done a lager but from reading around, they also should be carbed at around 18° or so for a couple of weeks before lagering at the lower temps.

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39 minutes ago, Journeyman said:
46 minutes ago, Mickep said:

I'm doing lagers so do they need to be stored (conditioned) at 18 degrees c? Or are they okay at cooler temps being a lager?

I haven't done a lager but from reading around, they also should be carbed at around 18° or so for a couple of weeks before lagering at the lower temps.

Yeah I thought so. Cheers. Maybe it's just been too cold for the bottles to do their thing. Maybe I compounded that problem with putting a few in the fridge before they'd finished carbing up.

Looking at my notes I put these suspect beers in the fridge at 10-11 days...Thanks again for your feedback.

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On 10/26/2020 at 9:25 AM, Mickep said:
On 10/26/2020 at 9:11 AM, Aussiekraut said:
On 10/26/2020 at 8:27 AM, Mickep said:

Bulk primed my latest brew in the primary FV.  Had a taste of the beer after a 2 week secondary ferment in the bottles at about 16 degrees C  and the first one was well carbonated. Opened a second and it was almost flat, small amount of CO2 but almost completely flat. That had me concerned so I opened another and this one was somewhere in between.

Is it possible that I've placed the bottles in the fridge before they had a chance to fully carbonate? I suspect the lids are not in play as there was a slight hiss release sound from all three bottles.

Anyone got any clues? Could it be that I've not stirred the sugar enough in the FV when I bulk primed? Any help muchly appreciated

I only bulk prime as fiddling with lollies or a sugar scoop is annoying. I use between 170 and 180g dextrose for a 21l batch to get it to approx. 2.7vols. The sugar solution is carefully poured into the FV and gently stirred as to not disturb the trub. In most cases, the bottles are carbonated within 5 days at room temp, in winter it takes a little longer. I do sample from usually a week in the bottle onwards and besides the occasional dud, I don't seem to have any problems. When there is a dud, it's usually the lid not being tight enough, although I think I have the odd top not working. I'm going to replace them bit by bit with new tops.

Thanks AussieKraut, I've been priming the lagers at 9g/l.  On the spread sheet this estimates that I'm getting approx. 3.0 vols. When Bulk priming I've premixed the correct amount of sugar with a small amount of water to dissolve the sugar and then added that to the primary FV and stirred gently so as not to disturb the trub or aerate the beer.

Maybe I placed some of the bottles in the fridge before they'd fully carbonated. They condition in the garage where it's possible the temp has been cooler than it should've been. 

I've ditched the caps which were on the suspect bottles. I'm pretty certain all the caps were on really tight.

Thanks for your feedback mate.

Just as an update to this and again many thanks for all who have chipped in with some advice.

I went back over the process for this brew and I think I may have caused the problem with the Carbonation. I bottled the brew at 1 degree c and then because I'd run out of cardboard boxes I stored the bottles in an Esky. 4 days in I was able to shift them to the cardboard boxes. I think I may made them stall as they sat in the Esky most likely in a very cool state.

Even when they were placed in the cardboard boxes the ambient temp was coolish (around 14-16 degrees) Week 4 and they are fully carbed now as the weather in Melbourne has warmed up. Cracked a few now and not a dud. Phew! Cheers Guys and Gals. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 10/11/2020 at 7:44 PM, MUZZY said:

What did you use to prime your bottles? 2 carbonation drops?
I found my beers were a little less carbonated than I liked so I now use 1 carb drop PLUS 1 CSR sugar cube per 750ml bottle. This increases the priming sugar rate from 6 grams to about 8 grams. This increases carbonation. It doesn't necessarily improve head retention. 

After opening several bottles of lagers that where conditioned for about 2 months then lagered for several months at 2 C, I am convinced that 2 x Coopers carb drops in a 740 ml PET bottle is a dud.

1 x carb drop plus 1 x CSR white sugar cube is better but still not the answer for mine.  My lagers where all cold crashed for a week minimum before bottling and maybe they need just a little more life as in bottling when more yeast are active and not most dropped out.  The beers are super clear though without any fininings so happy with that part.

The bottles done with 2 carb drops opened now after 6 months are basically flat and with little life, these are over several bottles and different basic recipes.  Head is there with an aggressive pour but fades before too long.  Even when using clean Headmaster glasses the fizz and the head dies very quickly, gone before finishing that glass and nil lacing, looks like a urine sample if left for 10".  The PET bottles done using the Muzzy method are better but still need more IMO, maybe two CSR white sugar cubes to get some life in the glass (would not try with glass bottles) but next batch of PET's will be done using 2 cubes.  That being said, my lagers next year will probably be all kegged and very few bottled due to this outcome.  My guess is all the Coopers test recipes beers done and sampled by Coopers would have been kegged so they will have little idea as to the beers coming out of their PET bottles.

I don't have the "life" problem with kegged beers as I am more in control of the carbonation here.  Head is another matter to be addressed by the recipe.

@Bearded Burbler suggestion that liquid malts will make a difference with the body an his tip is a positive for me but having now 40 odd recent batches of K&K behind me and tried most, I am of the opinion that the liquid malt extract improves the basic kit over just dry malt extract by about 5 to 10 %, 15 % if I am being generous so a step in the right direction but not a solution. 

Batches done with Hefe wheat malt are another 10 % up on that again as far as head development and retention goes so yes another step in the right direction.  So now 20 % odd up on the standard recipe and where we all need to be to enjoy our brewing efforts and beers.

Recent brews done also with an overnight cold steep of CaraFoam/Carapils around 200 - 250 gm in say 2 - 3 litres seem better again and if they are also dry hopped then the head and glass activity seems to be just about where you would want it.  So give this a go to see if it brings the desired results for your recipes / beers.

So in summary, my experience and opinion only:

When bottling with PET's and you want some life or activity in the glass you need more sugars, say 2 x CSR cubes of white sugar or equivalent measures by those spoon jiggers ( if you cold crash your batches as long as I do).

Head and head retention you need everything on your side, liquid malts over dry and also Hefe wheat malt addition included plus a 200 - 250 gm cold steep of Carafoam/Carapils and dry hop if you can.

Just my thoughts on a better K&K beer experience.

Cheers - AL

 

 

Edited by iBooz2
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7 minutes ago, iBooz2 said:

After opening several bottles of lagers that where conditioned for about 2 months then lagered for several months at 2 C, I am convinced that 2 x Coopers carb drops in a 740 ml PET bottle is a dud.

In theory the carb drops should work, they are just solid sugar. But I was under whelmed as well, they provided a very low level of carbing. I switched to sugar and a bottle doser and the results were very different. I bulk prime in the FV now and this makes it even easier at bottling time, and I can tweak the levels for summer and winter beers.

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15 minutes ago, Lab Cat said:

In theory the carb drops should work, they are just solid sugar. But I was under whelmed as well, they provided a very low level of carbing. I switched to sugar and a bottle doser and the results were very different. I bulk prime in the FV now and this makes it even easier at bottling time, and I can tweak the levels for summer and winter beers.

That is a good tip Lab Cat re summer and winter beers, will look into the vols of CO2 for each style and try to match better.  Somewhere I did a sugar comparison (just a simple weight table) of the sugars I had at hand and the measurements via those sugar doser jiggers so will post it when I find it.  Maybe a good starting point.

Cheers - AL

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