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Old 12-21-2011, 03:10 PM   #1
rwithtf
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Default Coopers DIY Kit

So, I just got one of these for channukah yesterday and was very excited. Started it and it is now in my basement waiting to ferment. This was very simple and I didn't have to boil anything(other than the tap water I used) and it was great. I know i'm going to sacrifice taste and all that with the simplicity of it. But, now I would like to know what to do next. Where are some good online sites I can buy hops and all that and what do you guys recommend for a beginner. Thanks.

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Old 12-21-2011, 03:18 PM   #2
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Yeah, when I used a Coopers easy kit I got for Christmas last year, I did not like the taste of it at all. But the point of them is to get you hooked on the brewing.

First of all, do you have equipment for brewing?

If you do not, then I would recommend finding a local homebrew shop in your area and try to visit them. I've been very happy with the local guys I've dealt with as they are great teachers, and will get you all your equipment and get you started with your first extract recipe.

Otherwise, the option is to go to places like northernbrewer.com and, if you have equipment, buy a basic EXTRACT beer kit (which comes with all the grains, hops, yeast, and ingredients you need).

But again, if you need equipment, what worked best for me was to find a local homebrew shop. You can also find a wealth of information on here as well, and guys would be more than happy to tell you what you need to get started.

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Old 12-21-2011, 03:32 PM   #3
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Well i now have the ferment bucket/tap/bottler equipment. But, I do need to buy a big pot to boil the water. what else do you think i need.

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Old 12-21-2011, 04:10 PM   #4
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Someone will add to it if I'm missing something, but I use:

- Boil Pot (5 gal or higher - stainless steel)
- Stainless Steel spoon
- Mesh Bag (for steeping grains)
- Thermometer (for getting correct steeping temp)
- Hydrometer + Graduated cylinder (for taking SG and FG measurements)
- Blow off tube for bucket + small plastic container to hold blow off from the first couple days of fermenting


Im probably blanking on a couple things, so I know more people will chime in and say what else to use. But what i listed was things in addition to your equipment. I assume when you say bottler equipment you have the bottle wand, tubing, and capper.

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Old 12-22-2011, 12:16 AM   #5
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Well, there are those on the forum that do NOT like the Coopers kit.. possibly rightly so. I bought the DIY kit and really like the fermenter.. really like it. My first brew was the lager that is really an ale. How did it turn out? Well, it's beer. Could it be better? Yes. Sooner or later you might hear from "unionrdr" He has a lot of experience with the older kit.. but has worked out some processes to improve the kits.

What was wrong with my kit?? There was not enough fermantables IMO.. I would have used more DME or LME and I believe that would have added much more body and mouthfeel. I'd have added a bit more aroma and taste hops to compensate for the added DME/LME.. to help do some balancing.

What else to get?? If you continue to do partial boils such as with the kit.. you won't need a chiller.. However, I would start to accumulate craft type bottles and get a GOOD capper.. like a bench capper.. they are not expensive... they just need a bit of simple adjusting for different height bottles. The other MAIN thing is to get is a bottling bucket. You can make one from a good bucket and add a valve. You will need this unless you want to go the expense of using the carb drops. Plain sugar in water works very well and it's cheap.. so, you can pay for the bottling bucket easily. Revvy has a post about making a bottling bucket. Sooner or later you will probably want to go for a full boil.. or nearly so. I bought the turkey fryer with the 30 qt pot. It works very well. I believe it (the larger pot)has some advantages.. which you might decipher after reading a lot of posts. If you don't go with the turkey fryer.. you can buy a nice boiling kettle with a valve, etc.. maybe something like an 8-10 gal or larger size.

Other than that.. I'm not convinced, at this point, to go to all grain. I am exploring Brew In A Bag.. which is AG.. but.. using one bucket rather than the extra eqpt many/most use for AG. That will be a ways off for me.

Keep asking questions. But, know that you CAN make GOOD beer with these kits. A lot of people do. You might have to ask questions about the instructions you receive before brewing tho. Also, remember that the hydrometer is your friend.. not the instructions regarding bottling time. You can leave the beer in the fermenter without a problem for an added week or three before bottling. It allows the yeast to clean up it's by products and allows for good settling of the "stuff" suspended in the beer.

Good luck and....

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Old 12-22-2011, 07:36 AM   #6
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Thanks for the post. I'm definitely going to keep the bucket. I was getting a little nervous because i didn't see any signs of fermentation before I left for work. But, I just came home and alas, it is bubbling!. I understand that the simplicity is definitely going to come with some disadvantages. The next thing I'm going to buy is a 30 qt pot from amazon and a Chestnut Ale from Brooklyn Brew Company. I was planning on doing a cooling wort process. But, I am trying to wait for it to snow(Stupid jersey weather.) I'm loving this forum. So much help. I'm hoping to hear from "unionrdr" and by DME and LME you mean dextrose, right?

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Old 12-22-2011, 08:25 AM   #7
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i started w/ coopers kit last xmas as well. and now am doing mini mash kits. that coopers fermenter is really nice better than all those buckets.
my favorite site is Austin Homebrew Supply great selection and prices. Happy brewing. and remember be patient. that kit that comes w/ the coopers wasnt bad.. just dont follow coopers instructions. let sit for 3 weeks before bottling and than another 3 weeks in bottle will taste great.

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Old 12-22-2011, 08:35 AM   #8
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Oooh. I thought it was two weeks(depending on the SG) then 1 week for bottling. but, okay thank you for that. And thank you for the site.

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Old 12-22-2011, 12:30 PM   #9
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I find that the canned kits tend to make better brews than a lot of the popular weaker beers on the market (Budweiser, Miller, etc.).

One thing that will help improve the quality is time. The whole recommended 4-10 days for fermentation is going to be rushing it at some points. In fact, I have a Coopers Lager in a primary now that is still fermenting after 13 days.

Bottling time will help as well. 2 weeks is generally too soon. You will find that 3 weeks of conditioning in the bottle will improve the quality greatly.

You can also do more than simply following the directions, adding more fermentables, and giving more time. You can dry hop, use specialty grains, and add other ingredients (cocoa nibs, fruit, etc.) to change the overall taste and style.

Changing the yeast will also help make it a better beer. Consider picking up some liquid yeast of the style you are making.

Just my two cents.

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Old 12-22-2011, 02:52 PM   #10
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Adding the grains is done before fermentation right? Or would I be able to throw in, say a bag of cinnamon today. (36 hours in)

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