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Old 10-31-2009, 03:49 AM   #1
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Default Adding Hops or Tea to Coopers Kits

Does anyone have a suggestion (advice) on how to add additional flavors (please refrain from to much sarcasm) using additional hops or tea? I have read a couple of threads regarding adding additional flavors to extract kits by adding more hops or even tea (assuming a very strong tea blend{not lipton}).

I freely admit that I am a newbie, only having started my second batch today (a dark ale), and I was looking for input on what are some very simple ways to add more character to an extract kit.

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Old 10-31-2009, 04:02 AM   #2
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It depends on what kind of flavor you're trying to add. I'd say you might be better off making a more complex extract kit than trying to guess at what the right combination of hops would be. You could also grab a recipe from here and do it from scratch.

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Old 10-31-2009, 11:03 PM   #3
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I've brewed 3 coopers kits so far, all different styles, and they all had a similar taste. Someone on HBT suggested that they use the same base extract for all their kits, then tweak each individual one to fit the style. I believe this to be true, because I've brewed a lager, wheat and a pilsner, and they all only slightly tasted different. The biggest taste difference was between using city tap water and spring water, but the flavor was very similar to the other two batches. So using flavoring spices, or dry hopping would definitely be a good idea. Or try their full kits. They use DME, along with dextrose, but it only changes the flavor a tad.

Except for dramatic style differences, like a Stout and an ale, I'd expect all Coopers kits to taste similar, so you'd be better off with some kind of flavoring that the kit doesn't come with. Luckily, this is the perfect place to find out how to do it. I've never done anything of that sort, so I'm sorry I can't help you out.

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Old 11-07-2009, 03:48 AM   #4
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Well I just put a prehopped Coopers Stout kit into the secondary. We decided to alter it a little and so far it has been great. Tasted it at beginning before primary and just as i transferred to secondary - can't wait for it to finish completely.

What I did to this kit - Again started with the Coopers prehopped Stout can.
I steeped some .5# of Black Patent and 1# chocolate malt - up to about 150 F and then for about 20 minutes at that temp - at that time pulled them and cold brewed them in another gallon of cool water to get more of the color and flavor out of the hot malt. At boil I put 1# of Extra Dark DME and 1# of belgian candi sugar.

After everything was mixed, I then poured the prehopped can into the fermenting bucket and poured my hot water in, and then I brought it to 5 gallons with cooler water (one gallon was the cold brewed water). Got the wort down to temp and mixed in my yeast packet (which sat in dme/water for 20 minutes to start it)

Within 24 hours this wort blew krausen through the airlock - then i switched it to a 6 foot blow off tube - and it continued to make it sound like i had a hot tub for a good day.

After a week moved it from primary to secondary - I had 4oz of Hersey cocoa already in secondary that was warmed up in 2 cups of coffee that was cold brewed for 24 hours prior.

Going to take a sample in a day/two and possibly add another 2oz of cocoa and 2 cups of coffee to let it sit another week before bottling.

will let you know what it is like when all is said and done... was a cheap experiment.

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Old 11-07-2009, 06:02 AM   #5
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Dry hop it.

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Old 11-07-2009, 01:33 PM   #6
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Difficult to make a recommendation without knowing the base kit. Pale Ale - dry hop, wheat - some fruit, Stout - a little coffee.

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Old 11-07-2009, 01:57 PM   #7
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I was thinking either a Stout or Dark Ale..

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Old 11-07-2009, 02:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hbhudy View Post
I was thinking either a Stout or Dark Ale..
What kind of "character" are you hoping to bring to it? A stout is usually roasty and dark. If you don't know what ingredients are already in it, adding things like hops probably won't be an improvement.

The canned kits are simple and easy to use. They are already balanced and have the hops in them. The one thing I'd suggest is to use dry malt extract instead of sugar if called for in the instructions. I wouldn't add hops or hops tea without knowing what those items would bring to the beer.

If you are wanting to tweak the canned kits, maybe it's time to move to an extract kit. Those kits have steeping grains, hops, extract, etc, so it's more "hands on" and more easy to tweak to your taste. You can adjust the bittering, for example, if you'd like. Just adding things to canned kits is not likely to give you good results, though.
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Old 11-07-2009, 03:14 PM   #9
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I'm stepping up to extract with steeped grains today. Got my starter going and planning on brewing early afternoon. Those coopers kits were a bit of a disappointment flavorwise, but I did learn a lot about brewing from them.I did 3 and they all tasted the same, all different styles. Maybe some steeping grains, dry hopping, or fruit extracts (for the wheat) would have helped a bit, but that underlying flavor they all had was what steered me toward different kits.

Northern Brewer kits show you an inventory sheet on the order page, and most come with steeping grains, so I'm trying the Winter Warmer today. Brewed a Belgian Quad from Williams which has been in secondary for a week. Was thinking of bottle conditioning it starting today, since I'll have my equipment out and running anyway. Some people say secondary is a waste of time, so maybe I'll bottle condition a case, and leave the rest in secondary to see the comparison. Definitely staying away from those coopers kits from now on though.

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Old 11-07-2009, 06:23 PM   #10
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Mikeysad.
Thanks for your advice. I am slowly working my way towards the more advanced 'fresh" ingrediant kits. At this point I going to tweak the extract kits and continue to move towards kits like northern brew, true brew, or the muntons kits.

Thanks

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