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Old 12-08-2008, 04:26 AM   #1
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Default In praise of coopers yeast

After brewing with coopers due to the yeast I wanted not being available (and coopers being cheap), I must say I believe this yeast to be under-appreciated on this board. The ale I made, which is an o.g. 1.050 English type pale with Fuggles hops, is simply tremendous -- I pitched a 7g packet into a 3gal batch (without re-hydrating), fermented a week in a water bath at 67 and then let the primary sit for a month at 52 in my basement to clear (you can read a newspaper through a pint of this red-amber bottle-conditioned beauty). I primed using DME and let it sit "21 days at 70 degrees," and the head shows up perfectly and sticks around for a couple minutes, leaving a delicate lace on the glass as the brew is gulped away (people only sip this beer once). The yeast character is a bit fruity and has a very pleasant, barely spicy aftertaste but is clean enough and compliments the malt and the hops very nicely. Everybody who tries the beer compliments me and most ask for more. The brew is great on it's own but also goes great with... everything I've ever eaten with it. I will brew another batch soon!

It's only one batch, but... regarding all of those "I can't get (blank) should I use the coopers or (blank)" questions, I say coopers is some great stuff and don't by shy with it! I'd say it would be appropriate in examples of almost any ale style of UK origin (pale, mild, amber, brown, porter, stout) where some contribution to the flavor from the yeast is desired. It would also probably make a phenomenal wheat or rye beer for summertime heat (American wheat style).

Note: if you DON'T want your beer to have some yeast character, skip the coopers and go with US-05 and ferment between 60 and 65 degrees, it will come out nice and clean for you (I've heard Nottingham also works well for this).

Anyways, the main point of this is:

STOP THINKING OF COOPERS AS JUST "BACK-UP" YEAST, IT'S REALLY GOOD!

*edit - discussion on this forum obligates me to note that coopers might not be appropriate for all styles or personal tastes. Give it a try in an experimental batch if you really want to know what it contributes, and as always be conscious of the fermentation temperature because as with most yeasts, fermented warm vs fermented cold is probably notably different.

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Old 12-08-2008, 02:08 PM   #2
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Cooper's is a good yeast. You touched precisely on when and where. It's like Munton's regular yeast, it has its niche.

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Old 12-08-2008, 02:50 PM   #3
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My father swears by Cooper's yeast. I picked up a couple packs already to try in my next batch.

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Old 12-08-2008, 03:20 PM   #4
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Cooper's is a fairly vigorous yeast. The main thing I noticed with it is around 68 it seems to produce copious amounts of diacetyl, which can be good in some styles.

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Old 12-08-2008, 04:08 PM   #5
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Coopers ferments very well, but IMO gets fairly "dirty" from 68* and above.

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Old 12-08-2008, 05:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zoebisch01 View Post
Cooper's is a fairly vigorous yeast. The main thing I noticed with it is around 68 it seems to produce copious amounts of diacetyl, which can be good in some styles.
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Coopers ferments very well, but IMO gets fairly "dirty" from 68* and above.
Well I had it ferment at about 67 or 68. I don't know if diacetyl is part of what I am tasting or not but I know it's good.

I also don't know if "dirty" is a word I would apply to it, although I suppose that would depend on your definition of "clean;" like I said it came out different from a US-05 or lager yeast.

I think "dirty" has negative connotations, and might be misapplied in situations where yeast is contributing a character that some people might like in some styles and others might not want in other styles. But to each his own, and really the only way we can find out what different yeast will do to our brew at different temperatures is to experiment -- reading and talking is one thing but it is not TASTING.

To the art and science of brewing!
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:47 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goplayoutside View Post
I don't know if diacetyl is part of what I am tasting or not but I know it's good.
Diacetyl can come across as buttery or toffee like.

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Originally Posted by goplayoutside View Post
I think "dirty" has negative connotations, and might be misapplied in situations where yeast is contributing a character that some people might like in some styles and others might not want in other styles. But to each his own, and really the only way we can find out what different yeast will do to our brew at different temperatures is to experiment -- reading and talking is one thing but it is not TASTING.
By "dirty" meaning throwing quite a few esters that may or may not be wanted in the finished beer. Letting the fermentation go too warm and it gives what I think of as off flavors. I also found it to be prone to a more headache producing alcohol at temperatures lower than other available dry yeasts.

YMMV.
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Old 12-08-2008, 05:52 PM   #8
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I'm not a fan just because I also feels it's dirty at slightly higher temps, and I've always had very low flocculation with it.

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Old 12-08-2008, 06:07 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmb View Post
Diacetyl can come across as buttery or toffee like.

By "dirty" meaning throwing quite a few esters that may or may not be wanted in the finished beer. Letting the fermentation go too warm and it gives what I think of as off flavors. I also found it to be prone to a more headache producing alcohol at temperatures lower than other available dry yeasts.

YMMV.
Sounds like we are in agreement on it providing its own character that some will sometimes want and others may not. Never heard that about the headaches though - I have not noticed anything but again ymmv.

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I'm not a fan just because I also feels it's dirty at slightly higher temps, and I've always had very low flocculation with it.
It's entirely possible that it's doesn't flocculate so well and I didn't notice it. I have had some really nice clear beers using all sorts of yeasts lately and I think it's because they clear really well in my basement (about 52 degrees). I leave the fermenter there for the last two or three weeks of the primary, then bottle and condition for a few weeks at 70 before returning the bottles to the basement to clear. I have noticed that you need to pour carefully to avoid disturbing the yeast in the coopers bottles so it's probably the case that coopers is not an examplary flocculator.

Well I will be keeping coopers, with its pros and cons, in mind as a potentially good option for certain beer styles along with all the other yeasts I sometimes use. Of course we all brew what we want how we want, so thanks to the folks who have had bad experiences for making others aware of the product's potential shortcomings.

Oh and i will try to remember to post when my next batch comes out to let people know if I can get consistent results.
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Old 12-08-2008, 06:10 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goplayoutside View Post
Sounds like we are in agreement on it providing its own character that some will sometimes want and others may not. Never heard that about the headaches though - I have not noticed anything but again ymmv.



It's entirely possible that it's doesn't flocculate so well and I didn't notice it. I have had some really nice clear beers using all sorts of yeasts lately and I think it's because they clear really well in my basement (about 52 degrees). I leave the fermenter there for the last two or three weeks of the primary, then bottle and condition for a few weeks at 70 before returning the bottles to the basement to clear. I have noticed that you need to pour carefully to avoid disturbing the yeast in the coopers bottles so it's probably the case that coopers is not an examplary flocculator.

Well I will be keeping coopers, with its pros and cons, in mind as a potentially good option for certain beer styles along with all the other yeasts I sometimes use. Of course we all brew what we want how we want, so thanks to the folks who have had bad experiences for making others aware of the product's potential shortcomings.
I keg everything and most things get a month of cold conditioning before going on tap. And coopers and munton's are the only yeast I've had problems with clearing. Aside from something this isn't supposed to floc. I even had a witbeer yeast clear better than muntons.
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