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Evil Ale fail ?


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Hi All



I've been initiated into the coopers world of brewing and completed my first lager kit

a few weeks ago (new DIY fermenter). The lager is tasting pretty good in this QLD heat

at the moment.


Well I sniffed around a bit to see a good brew to make next and settled for Coopers

Real Ale. However I may have messed it up with the ingredients on this.


I added the BE1 and 800mg liquid malt extract to boost the alcohol to ~5% , i reckon

it'll probably knockout some with the extra sweet/maltiness.


But the yeast to me is not looking healthy after 24hrs. Looks like clumps still floating

around in there and only a few bubbles on the top - no krausen happening at all.

last night aftr 8hrs or so I swirled it, but very little change this morning.


Details of the kit brew


1.7kg Coopers Real Ale


+800mg LME

+kit yeast (stamped 17909, possibly too old yeast ???)


Boiled LME in 2ltr water and mixed in FV with BE1.


Topped with cold water to 23ltr and temp reading

was at 24deg c.


So I just sprinkled the dry yeast on top (last brew I

mixed in and some yeast stuck to the spoon).


oh, the OG at 1053 before yeast added.


I have the FV in a 50ltr can cooler with ice packs

which keeps it at about 23-24 deg.


I guess I'm little worried about those yeast clumps floating around in there

without much fermenting happening. Looks a bit poorly. Have I killed it

or yeast gonna struggle on this ? Thanks guys



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The yeast is getting on, packaged on the 179th day of 2009, but it should be okay providing it hasn't been exposed to high temp's.


When buying beer kits, always go for the freshest on the on the shelf. [wink]


Don't be too concerned at this stage. Allow another 12hrs and see how things are progressing.

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I have found that 4 litres boiling water in first mix always gives the yeast/brew a good start - I've been told this is the most important thing of all in brewing; seems like good logic as once it starts it would rarely stop, but getting it started from where you are is now tricky.


I also give this 4 litres with sugars and wart a good 'whipping' to get the air into it - I was told yeast loves that, and it works.


The liquid malt and enhancer could have played havoc with the kickoff. Extra boiling water may have helped.

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Hey Muddy, yeah I don't know, I just know from experience, I tried extra boiling and all brews kicked off, whereas before it was like 20% fail. I'm a trial and error sort of guy, always analysing. I am also not afraid to ask dumb questions or raise seemingly dumb theories, even the dumbest ideas can spark people to think in other ways.


Who knows why? I don't measure temperature of the mix for a start. I guess you're saying if it's the right temperature to start with, it can't make a difference. I've noticed I get a bit of steam condensation on the inside of my cling film covering, maybe this is a good sign?


I am now wondering if it's important to match the temperature of the mix with the actaul temperature in the room you sit the FV? This would also effect things, like you got 24c in the barrel, but it's 16c outside, as opposed to 27c outside - I'm no scientist, but I think that would affect things.


I realy have no idea, I just know what works. And I've had my beer approved by the best of them [roll]

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Ah haha - walked into that one lol.


There are different types of 'best' I think - maybe I should have said 'qualified', but they are also 'best' drinking mates too [biggrin]


There's nothing I would love more than tasting each others brews - bring it on!

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hi andrewl9,

i'm a big fan of making a yeast starter. it really helps when using yeast which might be a bit too old. it will at least "proof" the yeast to see if it is still viable.


to make a starter:


boil 600ml water

dissolve 4 tbls of dextrose

cool in the frig for 1/2 hour

pour mixture into a sterile 1 L jar with a loose fitted lid

add the yeast


if the yeast is viable it should start frothing within a half hour. pitch it into your wort when it is really active. it can also be stored in the frig for a week or so.


there is probably more info on starters if you use the "search" at the bottom right of the page.


bottoms up!

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Hey Thanks Chaps


Well the krausen thing happened over night, I bumped the temp up alittle to 22deg as when I got home the temp strip indicated 18-16deg just incase the yeast decided to switch off. So far it seems better.


Just still learning this stuff - patience too.


Yes I should do the yeast better - would the

starter water temp be in the recommended 21-27deg before adding yeast (similar to the wort temp) ?


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Andrew - I personally rarely bother with a yeast starter and never rehydrate yeast as it generally isn't necessary.


If you are a beginner and just using kits I'd be more inclined to suggest you work on your basic brewing techniques and look at yeast starters down the track if you need them (I only use them when making very strong beers).


There is no point in overcomplicating things.

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muddy, if the yeast that you had to use was suspect would you not think it was wise to make a starter to proof the viablity rather than throwing it into your wort and waiting to see what happens? i know it is a little more complicated to make a starter but it is good to know how. when using a starter the fermenting process starts much quicker which in turn helps to make a better brew. in my humble estimate

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[rightful] Sorry - I usually put in the disclaimer "If you think the quality, age or viability of your yeast is suspect it is a good idea to rehydrate or make a starter"


I tend to use quality yeast and I take care of it so I rarely need a starter. As for starting fermentation quicker, the difference is neglible and for a 2 week fermentation a few hours for me is neither here nor there.


I agree it is a good process to know but just feel it is best to find your feet using the necessary steps rather than overcomplicating things.

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I agree with using the freshest ingredients possible. sometimes though, here in small town canada it is hard to get ingredients at all. one must be very resourceful.


i also agree that it is best to learn the basics first then more on from there. PB2 says it best with his beer triangle quote. one of the basic rules stated in the little instruction sheet under the can lid is that the wort is most vulerable to infection by wild yeast or bacteria during the minutes before the brewer's yeast begins it's process. so the quicker the fermentation process starts the better. i would say.


having said all that i often don't feel up to a challenge and just sprinkle the yeast dry on top. it seems to work fine.


bottoms up!

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andrewl9, yes the temp for a starter should be the same as recommended. also, give your jar a good shake to add O2 to the mixture before adding the yeast. before you pitch the starter into your wort give it one more shake to suspend the yeast then chuck it in. give the wort a final gentle stir and put the lid on. no peeking now! then... MAGIC... the wort changes to beer!

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Hey thanks Canadian.


I was just after guidance for the yeast re-hydration incase

if all I had was the older kit yeast and give it some life.


Plus I was tryin to remember the beers I had in Canada along time ago. Moosehead comes to mind, molson and Labatt. Think I'll make a Canadian Blonde next. All that thinkin is making me thirsty.


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my wife and i got to know each other over many a bottle o' moosehead. fond memories... labatt and molson are megabrew swill. there are always stacks of megabrew swill to avoid while finding that truly good beer. luckily there are lots of craft breweries out there these days.


i like the canadian blonde toucan. it's quite satisfying. if you are up to it try adding some cascade hops to your brew to spice things up.

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