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Old 09-30-2007, 12:29 AM   #1
andyp
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Default The Brew House kits- anyone used them?

Well, my first brew (a Cooper's Lager kit) is now chillin' in the secondary. I call this my "Aleger" since it's a Lager kit made with Cooper's Ale yeast. We'll see how it turns out. Went from 1.042 to 1.005 at racking, and tastes like flat, warm beer...so I consider that a good sign.

Next. I am just not ready (mostly time-wise) to do an extract brew on my own, so I've bought a second kit. It's a Red Ale from "The Brew House". It's a bit unique in that it is a big mylar bag with basically the whole sterilzed pre-made wort (add 2 gallons of water to it, pH correction salts, no sugar, no boil).
http://www.thebrewhouse.com/types/index.htm

Colour:Ruby red, copper
Bitterness: 18 IBU
O.G.: 1.050-1.052
Malts: Pale, crystal,Vienna and chocolate
Hops: Centennial-Bittering/Cascade-Aroma

I was thinking about boiling up some hops in those 8 litres to add some hoppiness to the brew (I really like IPAs). Is it cool to just throw some hops into the water, boil them for a while and then use that for the added 2 gallons? Will I get enough hop utilization in the plain water, or should I throw in some of the wort while I boil the hops?

Also, what might be a good hops strain to add if I can't get more Centennial? Goldings? More Cascade?

The kit comes with 15g of Cooper's yeast (oddly enough), so I've just saved my yeast cake from the first batch, and made a starter with it. I used corn sugar instead of DME (didn't have at the time)....good enough to get them going again?

Thanks!

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Old 09-30-2007, 06:03 AM   #2
FlyGuy
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When I first started brewing, I made a bunch of those Brewhouse Kits and really liked them. After I started doing extract and partial mashing, I realized that those kits are really easy to 'dress up' with extra ingredients.

I never made a Brew House kit I disliked, but my three favourites by far are the cream ale kit (very versatile base kit that you can add steeped grains and hops to -- I made a great brown ale from it), their IPA kit (again, steep some grains and boil with some hops, then dry hop and it makes a great IPA -- especially if you only use it for a 19L batch instead of 23L), and the Munich Dark Lager (makes a great American Brown with Safale US-05 or Nottingham yeast and some dry hopping, or a good porter).

If you want to add some hoppy flavour, I wouldn't boil up hops in plain water and add it. Instead, just dry hop in the secondary. If you want to increase the bitterness of the recipe, I would only do this if you are adding specialty grains or doing a partial mash. Those kits are actually pretty well balanced to begin with. But they are really fun to play with, and you can make fantastic beer with them. My brother-in-law has won a bunch of medals using those kits, and actually had a beer or two go to the NHC this year.

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Old 09-30-2007, 03:45 PM   #3
andyp
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Hey, that is very encouraging. Thanks for the tips. Considering that the LHBS is closed here today (Sunday) and I don't have any hops I think I will go ahead and dry hop later instead. Exactly the kind of reply I was hoping for.

Thanks FlyGuy.

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