Coopers European Lager Kit

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Heinrich

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This is my third go at home brewing, so I'm still near the bottom of the famous learning curve. This time I'm on day 3 of fermentation using the complete Coopers kit having used the supplied yeast and Brew Enhancer II. So, having to ferment at room temp like I am...around 76 to 78 F, should I be concerned about possible off-flavors? I'm getting the impression after spending some time on this forum that I can maybe decrease that possibility by letting the wort remain in the fermenter to condition for a week or so after fermentation completes which I'll confirm via multiple hydrometer readings. I guess that's my plan right now...give it some time to clean up before bottling. Then, how long should the bottles remain at room temp before refrigerating, or is that even recommended until the beer has been in the bottle much longer? I'm just trying to figure out what my strategy ought to be since I probably should have done this one a few months ago!
 

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Conditioning improves the beer in many ways, but doesn't reduce fusel alcohols and esters produced by a too-high temperature fermentation.

I think Cooper's kits are prehopped kits, that come with ale yeast? If you've got a lager yeast, it should be fermented at 50 degrees but I think most of the Cooper's kits I'm familiar with come with ale yeast. Their ale yeast is supposed to be more forgiving of high temperatures than some other strains, but I'm personally not a fan of them.

I'd get it in a cooler place ASAP. If your room temperature is 78 degrees, the fermenting beer can be as much as 10-12 degrees higher. I'd do my best to keep it under 70 degrees by using a water bath, a basement floor, etc, whatever it takes to keep it cooler.
 

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Can you do a swamp cooler in an Igloo "Cube" cooler? That worked for me until I got my "beer spa" (refrigerated Coke box) and Johnson controller.
 
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Heinrich

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I went with the Coopers and this particular one because I'm a big Heineken fan and I had to give it a try even if it's pushing the envelope at these temps. I think you must be right about Coopers yeast being more forgiving of higher temps; supposedly I'm still within the range if the instructions can be believed, though even they say the optimal fermentation temp is 21C or about 70F. So, do you think I still should be thinking about cooling the wort or is it wishful thinking to expect this to turn out ok without doing so?
 
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Heinrich

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Thanks for the input. I don't have a dedicated fridge or cooler I can use at this point, but sounds like that's what I need. If the internal temp of the wort is that much higher than ambient room temp why doesn't my fermenter feel warm? Seems like that much of a differential would be noticeable? I get that Lagers need cooler temps, but maybe the yeast supplied isn't that particular since this isn't a "true" lager. I'd love to put this into a dedicated fridge set to 55 degrees, but that's just not an option.
 

unionrdr

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Goto cooper's.com.au,look under how to brew,then lagers. It gives all the info you'll need. It uses lager yeast,& is a bit more involved to produce successfully. Start ferment at 24C,then down to 15C after 12-24 hours,etc. This one ideally takes a while.
 
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Heinrich

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....that Coopers provides more information about this on their website than on the instruction insert provided with the product. Nowhere is that bit about cooling down to 15 deg C after 24 hours. Looks like I would have missed that window of opportunity even if I'd been set up for it. I'm checking out the temperature controller concept which seems like the way to go for serious attempts at lager, but for the time being think I should be able to cobble together some sort of swamp cooler per the earlier suggestion. I'm just wondering if too much fermentation time has already elapsed....day 4 is well beyond that 24 hour timeframe....Thanks for the steer to Coopers website.
 

unionrdr

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You're welcome. I'm on there frequently,used their free label maker once as well. I still think it's early enough to correct things,& the swamp cooler is a good idea for those of us that are forced to go ghetto rig. Nothing wrong with that. Or,as "Roady" said,"everything works if ya let it".
 
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Heinrich

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As of this morning I'm at the 5 day mark on fermentation. Per the instructions, this was a good time to take a reading, so I've done that with the following result: OG was 1.032 As of a few minutes ago it's 1.006.

I did get the swamp cooler set up yesterday and so the wort had all last night to cool a bit. Everything appears to be ok....light golden color, amazingly clear with just a bit of cloudiness, some indication of carbonation (tiny rising air bubbles in the hydrometer tube), and smells and tastes fine. It does remind me of Heineken and at this point I'm thinking if it were colder and carbonated I'd have no trouble drinking it. I was worried about the fermentation temp, but maybe this is going to work out ok anyway!

So, would you think fermentation is nearly done at this point? I know I need to take another reading in a day or so...given the current reading, would tomorrow be ok or should I go another day?

Per the instructions, given a static hydrometer reading, I'd be good to bottle any time, but from some of the postings I've read, most of you would wait a bit...like maybe a week or two. If I did this wouldn't I need to keep it cool up until thre point I bottle? If I had an option to let it stay in the fermenter at 50 degrees during that week or two, would that be a good thing or not?

I'm still trying to get a handle on the concept of when fermentation stops and conditioning begins and appropriate temperatures for each phase.
 

unionrdr

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I'd say,if you can keep it at 50F for another week at least,it'll be good. I'm no expert on lagering,but those that are talk about dyecityle rests,& such. Lagering is a time consuming thing. But,again,if it's looking/tasting good now,you could verify the FG in a day or two. Then bottle. The upscale cooper's lager kits could be a little more forgiving in this regard.
 
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Heinrich

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unionrdr: Thanks again for your response. It's been awhile since I last tried this, but as I recall, most of the cloudiness settles out or goes away in time after bottling. So, if I go ahead and bottle in the next day or two shouldn't it clean up and get clear in a couple of months or so?
 

unionrdr

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I leave my ales in primary for three weeks to reach FG & clear to a slight haze. Then rack to a bottling bucket & prime/bottle. Even thought the beer is only slightly hazy,that's plenty to carbonate/age the brew. 3 weeks,maybe 4,is the minimum time for conditioning at cool room temps (66-70F).
 

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Just for your reference. The last page of the Coopers Intl Series instructions has an addendum for Brewing Notes for European Lager. The yeast supplied is a true lager strain. It mentions preferred brewing temperatures. I'm a fan of following the Coopers instructions as Coopers has been making bottled conditioned beers since 1865.
 
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Heinrich

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I have referred to those special instructions several times, which is why I was a bit concerned about the house being 6 or 8 degrees warmer than optimal. Being so new to this I wasn't sure if that was going to be a big problem and at this point I'm optimistic it won't be. Hopefully there's a difference between a bit too warm and way too warm on fermentation. Part of the reason I went with this particular brew is that it sounded like it could handle higher temps...so I guess I'll know for sure in about 3 months. Taking all of the comments and suggestions, which I really appreciate, into account I think I'm going to put this in the bottles today or tomorrow and hope for the best! Thanks everybody for helping me work through this first brew attempt in...geez...come to think of it...maybe 10years.
 

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