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Old 05-26-2005, 02:44 AM   #1
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Default Altering a kit

I am new to the game (5 brews) and have been using True Brew kits (brother sells them). I have started dry hopping them in a carboy, what else can I do to make better beer with the kits? I am not unhappy with the results so far, some brewing friends have praised them as well. It just that I would like to bump them up a little as I get more experience. Thanks MPW

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Old 05-26-2005, 03:06 AM   #2
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I haven't used many True Brew kits so I'm not sure if this applies. If these kits do not use specialty grains (grains which you steep in ~155f water for 30-45 minutes), this is something you could do in addition to the kit. Carapils dextrin malt grains would be one such grain which you could steep to increase the body of your beer. There are other steeping grains you could use to add flavors and colors to your beer.
Do these kits use liquid yeasts or dry yeasts? Dry would be quite an upgrade for you.
Also, read up on primary and secondary fermenting times on other posts on this site. If you are brewing these kits per instruction, you are probably drinking your beer within a few weeks of brewing. Give your beer more time in both fermenting and bottle conditioning to improve the quality.

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Old 05-26-2005, 03:50 AM   #3
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Some of the kits contain grain some not, pale ales, continental dark, IPA, all have grains, others don't. I have steeped at 155 deg, never seem to have time to let it age before use. Have secondary fermented with a some of the priming sugar boiled and thrown in for some reason (I just figured it would ferment again and get co2 in the carboy for contamination protection). I have added cascade hops in the secondary phase to get increased hop notes on the nose, almost too much but as it gets a little older in the keg (cornys in a fridge outside) it gets better. I am getting more kegs (have 3 going to 5) so they can sit carbonated in the basement for a time before I "have" to get into them. Thanks for the response. MPW

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Old 05-26-2005, 11:35 AM   #4
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I have brewed about a dozen true brew kits. I like them. (sorry, guys, it's just my thing). Not that I wouldn't want to stray from them, but I like them. I have altered just about every one that I make. Mostly, I will add about 2 lbs of honey to the brew. I have also done some with wyeast smack packs. Dry hopped in secondary, used different hops then what comes with the "kit" i.e. cascade instead of halertau. My last batch I added a pound of dry malt extract. They have all turned out great.

cheers, dave

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Old 05-26-2005, 04:48 PM   #5
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Not familiar with these kits, but I would suggest that if they come with dry yeast, buy some liquid yeast and substitute it for the dry. Either Wyeast or White Labs (my personal favorite) yeasts will really change the profile of the beer, depending on what strain you choose.

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Old 06-06-2005, 09:16 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rhoobarb
Not familiar with these kits, but I would suggest that if they come with dry yeast, buy some liquid yeast and substitute it for the dry. Either Wyeast or White Labs (my personal favorite) yeasts will really change the profile of the beer, depending on what strain you choose.
I'm not familiar with these kits either but I brew kits and I haven't had trouble with them except that I use fresh dry yeast re-hydrated and proofed before pitching to wort. Also I now use DME instead of high malt glucose to boost my kits.
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Old 06-08-2005, 12:14 AM   #7
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Using more/less IBUs or different hops can make a pretty big difference in the final beer with only a small change to the kit.

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Old 06-19-2005, 01:36 AM   #8
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Default Altering a kit

Haven't really done any "kits" (ie. hoped tins). I have been doing extract/grain recipies with White Labs yeasts, mostly from Midwest Supplies, since I started about a year and a half ago. (I did do a few "experiments" that I came up with on my own though) As for adding things, honey will add more alcohol and even more flavor the later you add it to the boil. Hops amd fruit will add aroma snd flavor if you add it to the secondary. Just keep experimenting.

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Old 06-19-2005, 01:36 AM   #9
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Default Altering a kit

Haven't really done any "kits" (ie. hoped tins). I have been doing extract/grain recipies with White Labs yeasts, mostly from Midwest Supplies, since I started about a year and a half ago. (I did do a few "experiments" that I came up with on my own though) As for adding things, honey will add more alcohol and even more flavor the later you add it to the boil. Hops amd fruit will add aroma snd flavor if you add it to the secondary. Just keep experimenting.

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Old 06-23-2005, 02:43 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cbotrice
Have secondary fermented with a some of the priming sugar boiled and thrown in for some reason (I just figured it would ferment again and get co2 in the carboy for contamination protection).
I'd stop doing that, unless you're just after more alcohol content. The sugar won't add any kind of flavor....plus, you won't have enough to prime it with. End result sounds to me like some strong, flat stuff!

Also, the alcohol content of your beer, once in secondary, should be enough to ward off potential contamination. Secondary fermentaion is mainly for letting the stuff settle out of your beer, and to let it mature a little bit.
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