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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Coopers Dark Ale beer kit--fermentables other than sugar?
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:53 PM   #1
mrjeffrey
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Default Coopers Dark Ale beer kit--fermentables other than sugar?

Hi,

Brand new here. I bought the full Coopers home kit for my first time just to make it as straightforward as possible. I followed the instructions to the letter and everything seems to be going fine. The first day I worried because I didn't see much action in the airlock, but I tightened everything up and it bubbled like crazy for a few days. I'll be bottling soon.

Anyway, I have a can of Coopers Dark Ale (hopped malt concentrate), and they recommend their own brewing sugar as the fermentable. But Papazian (Joy of Homebrewing, latest edition) writes, "You will always make a far superior brew by eliminating and substituting or minimizing the amount of any refined sugar." (page 18--In previous paragraph he says sugar is not recommended.) Perhaps I'm relying too much on this, but I'd like to use something other than sugar. So I'm looking for suggestions, and since I'm such a novice, the exact amount of whatever I should use to go with that can to make a 22 liter batch--and where I can get it. And should I just use their carbonation drops (which I would have to buy) or is their something cheaper or better I can put in the bottles? I know this story is told here a million times, but I need it laid out for me.

This thread was quite inspiring, but I wasn't able to get practical, specific advice from it for my specific case. I just want the best chance of not screwing up the beer. Also don't want the alcohol content to suffer.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/coop...condary-75563/

And if I can be allowed another question. My current batch has hovered around 20 degrees C in the warmest place in my cold house, but it does get as low as 62 F inside at night (I had blankets around the fermenter). Is there any temperature considerations for this ale?

Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm a big fan of beer--and of this site, too--and I'm lucky enough to live in an area that appreciates it (Jersey, not far from Philly). Sorry for such a long first post and so many questions.

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:06 PM   #2
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I'd add 2-3lbs of DME instead of using brewing sugar (which I think is dextrose/corn sugar). Or you can go the route of some sort of mixture of DME + dextrose. I think AHS has some sort of pack that they sell with the prehopped extract kits that is something like 1lb DME + 1lb dextrose + 4oz malto-something-or-other. The last time I used a Coopers prehopped kit I used the AHS pack with it and it turned out waaaaaaay better than using brewing sugar. However, I think if I were to ever use a prehopped kit again I'd just use 3lbs of DME with it.

As for carbing? If you have a bottling bucket then I'd really suggest using dextrose/corn sugar for carbing. For 22 liters I found that 7/8cup works best. Priming sugar is far superior (IMO) to using the Coopers carb tabs. However, if you don't have a bottling bucket the carb tabs will work out just fine.


Temp? Coopers yeast works best around 20-21C (right around 68-70F). If you dig deep enough on the aussie website you'll find that. I am not sure how 62F will work with Coopers yeast. It might be a little low. Though I bet wont hurt things. The worst part might be the temp swing itself. Do you best to keep the temp as constant as possible...and then don't worry. The yeast know their stuff. They do one thing in life with regards to beer and they do it well.

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Old 01-24-2009, 05:56 PM   #3
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Thanks. Follow up (dumb) question. The primary (only) fermenter that came with the kit has a tap on the bottom. So it's bottled from there. In that case, is it OK to stir the priming sugar into the mix before bottling? Or is it an option to put small amounts of the priming sugar in each bottle?

Maybe it's just best to move away from the start-up kit and get more sophisticated equipment...

Thanks again.

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Old 01-24-2009, 06:06 PM   #4
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If you put priming sugar in the primary you're going to have to stir. If you stir you will definitely kick up the sediment and sludge at the bottom and you don't want that. You can put priming sugar into each bottle before filling them but you need to be pretty good with the measurement for each bottle. It can be done but I've heard its tough.

FYI...your coopers fermentor is a fantastic fermentor (or at least I assume thats what you have). I wouldn't trade mine for any other kind. Blows away my bucket fermentor. So you don't have to move away from it as much as you're better off adding to it. Find a nearby LHBS (or order online) and get yourself a bottling bucket. Should be easy to find for less than $15. Also pick up a plastic tube/hose which you'll attach from the fermentor's spigot when you rack to the bottling bucket. So when you brew your next batch you can just put some priming sugar solution in the bottling bucket and rack the beer to the bucket and you're ready to bottle. You'll be a lot happier in the end.

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Old 01-24-2009, 06:14 PM   #5
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This is a great multipart article on improving kit beer's like coopers.

Improving Your Kit

It's from the Craftbrewer Radio site...the article is a companion to.

Quote:

April#2,2007

The guys get “Down and Dirty” for the Kit and Kilo brewer with the simplist yet method of making a kit beer that tastes great. They also taste the underpitched beer experiment, and follow up on a brewers problem with under-atttenuation. Our beer superhero tries to save the love of his life - and Wonder-Mole, while we look into a beer belly experiment. More on how to say beer words, drink driving, beer laws and a quiz question will fill out the program, with a typical Aussie beer tale sung at the end.

Click to listen;
http://radio.craftbrewer.org/shows/April2-07.mp3
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Old 01-25-2009, 01:26 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjeffrey View Post
Thanks. Follow up (dumb) question. The primary (only) fermenter that came with the kit has a tap on the bottom. So it's bottled from there. In that case, is it OK to stir the priming sugar into the mix before bottling? Or is it an option to put small amounts of the priming sugar in each bottle?
You didn't get carbonation drops with your Cooper's kit? Cooper's way of circumventing the bottling bucket is by selling bags of dextrose that has been shaped into hard little drops that look like cough drops. You put them right in your bottles.
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Old 01-25-2009, 03:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrjeffrey View Post
Hi,

Brand new here. I bought the full Coopers home kit for my first time just to make it as straightforward as possible. I followed the instructions to the letter and everything seems to be going fine. The first day I worried because I didn't see much action in the airlock, but I tightened everything up and it bubbled like crazy for a few days. I'll be bottling soon.

Anyway, I have a can of Coopers Dark Ale (hopped malt concentrate), and they recommend their own brewing sugar as the fermentable. But Papazian (Joy of Homebrewing, latest edition) writes, "You will always make a far superior brew by eliminating and substituting or minimizing the amount of any refined sugar." (page 18--In previous paragraph he says sugar is not recommended.) Perhaps I'm relying too much on this, but I'd like to use something other than sugar. So I'm looking for suggestions, and since I'm such a novice, the exact amount of whatever I should use to go with that can to make a 22 liter batch--and where I can get it. And should I just use their carbonation drops (which I would have to buy) or is their something cheaper or better I can put in the bottles? I know this story is told here a million times, but I need it laid out for me.

This thread was quite inspiring, but I wasn't able to get practical, specific advice from it for my specific case. I just want the best chance of not screwing up the beer. Also don't want the alcohol content to suffer.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/coop...condary-75563/

And if I can be allowed another question. My current batch has hovered around 20 degrees C in the warmest place in my cold house, but it does get as low as 62 F inside at night (I had blankets around the fermenter). Is there any temperature considerations for this ale?

Any advice would be much appreciated. I'm a big fan of beer--and of this site, too--and I'm lucky enough to live in an area that appreciates it (Jersey, not far from Philly). Sorry for such a long first post and so many questions.
Coopers Rep here. The Dark Ale beer kit does remarkably well with brewing sugar. We have numerous fans who swear by it. When made following the intructions it tastes similar to the Dark Ale produced in the brewery Coopers Brewery Pale Ale, Sparkling Ale, Premium Beers and Stouts. While I respect Charlie Papazian for his success in writing a book, it does not mean that he has all the answers when it comes to making beer. He mentions to boil all beer kits when that is absolutely the wrong thing to do. I would make the beer kit following the instructions the first time. Allow for adequate time to age in the bottle. Then see whether it is something you want to do again. If you don't try it the way the brewery intended you will never know whether it was good or not.

The Coopers carbonation drops are for convenience. They do a great job and are easy. You can measure out dextrose for each bottle instead or batch prime in a bottling bucket with 3/4 cup corn sugar. Everytime you rack your beer into another vessel, however, increases the risk of infection.

Try to keep your fermentation temperature as constant as possible. 62 F will probably be okay but you will have to wait longer before bottling.

Cheers!!
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:53 AM   #8
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Mr Jeffrey, I have brewed around 15 batches so far and the Coopers carbonation drops never worked, granted I drink my beer in usually 7 to 10 days. Storing longer would probably help. Every batch I have made are all Coopers malted hopped extract cans. if find IPA the best as its way more hopped than the others. I use 1 cup of corn sugar to my 23 litres and the head is better than those expensive drops.
I use Coopers hooped malt extract, 500grams or 1.1 lb Dry malt extract and 500 grams of corn sugar. I even used regular sugar once and there wasnt much of a difference to me personally.
I keep my beer in the primary for 6 days and its always fermented out completly. Before botteling I siphon to the carboy to leave the sediment in the primary. I wash out again the primary fermentor with hot water and then add my priming sugar. I siphon back the beer into it and its done.
I have gas heat which comes up through the floor through vents. I position my primary within an inch of it and its normally 26 degrees C. I keep my heat on at night so my beer is fermented usually in 5 days to be honest.
Good luck Mr Jeffrey

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Old 01-25-2009, 06:01 AM   #9
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OH i forgot Mr jeffrey, I keep my beer in our bedroom (best heated vent) which my wife gets very, VERY annoyed with. She doesnt drink and hates the smell of beer lol (its true). So if your married and wanna keep your marraige I would store my beer somewhere else, anywhere else lol

Cheers

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Old 01-25-2009, 05:37 PM   #10
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Thanks, everybody. I did get the Coopers drops and will use them with the first batch (the lager that comes with the kit), but I only got the dark ale concentrate and was asking for alternatives. I have never been to Australia, and have unfortunately never had the pleasure of drinking Coopers beer, so I'm not trying to recreate their beer (though the kit is great). In general, we're organically minded, so we stay away from sugar in other foods (don't put it in coffee, bake with minimal amounts), so that's why I was wondering about the sugar in the brewing process. I'm not very good at chemistry, so for all I know, whether you use DME or some sort of sugar, the yeast turns it into the same thing (?). Anyway, I'm not against sugar if that produces the best result. I was just looking to try something a little different with the next batch. (I had half convinced myself to use DME per eves' suggestion, then move it--rack it, sorry--to the bottling bucket with priming sugar. For third batch I was considering trying a secondary fermentation as well.)

colm98--My wife doesn't much like the smell of beer either. For now, it's in the kitchen, but I'll move the operation to the basement when it gets warmer.

Thanks, again, guys. It's a great education.

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