Improving kits

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
Hi fairly new to brewing 6 months or so in and looking to improve my kits not by adding more ingredients but generally improving my techniques to clean up the taste a bit I have a calibrated ispindel and temp controlled brew chamber I brew mainly wilco kits with beer enhancer or bulldog brew kits.
I generally follow the kit instructions and brew at 20c for 7 to 10days or untill gravity is stable for 2 or 3 days then add gelatine cold crash for 3 or 4 days keg and slightly force carbonate before bottling to krups torps and finishing carbing in the torps and continuing to refrigerate for a few more days.

Would I gain anything from rehydrating my yeast before pitching?
Could i benefit from increasing my fermenting temp after a couple of days in in?
Would any of these techniques help clean up the taste a little?. Any. Input welcome thanks.
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
6,841
Reaction score
3,069
Location
Taft
Hey there Tooter.

No

Keep your temps controlled for main part of fermentation. Usually 3-4 days , then can let it rise to room temp .

What do you mean clean up the taste? Whatever does your beer taste like?

If you bottle try leaving your beer sit in the fv longer , it helps drop stuff out and clean up. That limits the sediment in your bottle.

When you cold crash are you adding a couple psi to your fv to combat suckback? You don't want to introduce O2 more then you have to .

I'm not sure what krups torps are. Are you batch priming or bottle priming?
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
Hi thank for the reply. Yes clean up the taste I think it tastes ok but I have nothing to compare it to other than shop brought beer. I think it has a slight homebrew taste to it though. I batch prime in a keg then force carb to slightly carbonate then put it in 2l Torp bottles that fit in to a krups beer machine that i serve from. I try and limit 02 by not opening the fermenting chamber only once to add the gelatine before cold crashing.
Should I leave my cold crash longer than 3 tor days?
What is suck back not familiar with that term.
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
This is a Torp bottle and krups beer machine
1652402146695.png
 

Jag75

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 24, 2018
Messages
6,841
Reaction score
3,069
Location
Taft
Hi thank for the reply. Yes clean up the taste I think it tastes ok but I have nothing to compare it to other than shop brought beer. I think it has a slight homebrew taste to it though. I batch prime in a keg then force carb to slightly carbonate then put it in 2l Torp bottles that fit in to a krups beer machine that i serve from. I try and limit 02 by not opening the fermenting chamber only once to add the gelatine before cold crashing.
Should I leave my cold crash longer than 3 tor days?
What is suck back not familiar with that term.

Sometimes beer can taste "green" if you drink early on . When I brew at home I leave the beer in my fv for 3 weeks . A beer that's 7 to 10 days could have that young taste .

It could also be just the kits themselves flavor wise . I started out brewing extract kits that were decent but I noticed a difference in all grain brewing .

Another issue could be your water. When using extract try and use RO or distilled water.

As for cold crashing 3 days should sufficient depending on how fast your temp drops . If it takes almost one day to get into the 30's F you might go 4 to 5 days.

When you drop the temp in a fv the pressure change causes air to be sucked in your fv because the fv contracts. Some people attach co2 filled balloons on the air lock . The best way is to put some + pressure to the fv. About 2 psi .

I don't cold crash at home even though I'm set up to do it . I just keg and chill .

I'm still not exactly sure of your process . You said you batch prime in the keg , then force carb .

Batch priming is adding a calculated amount of sugar to your beer , allowing it to fully mix and then sealing it to get a desired co2 volume.

Are you adding sugar to your keg , and then hooking it up to co2 ?
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
Hi I think maybe I'm getting overly eager to drink it it's usually around the 3week mark when I have my first beer maybe a bit soon?.

When I say 3 to 4 days cold crash that's when it's got down to 2c so that should be ok.

Ah so suckback should be something to be aware of when I start dropping the temp to cold crash easy enough to add a bit of co2 I try that thanks.

Ah sorry I misunderstood what batch priming was I force carbonate all the time unless I pressure ferment (only tied it once). But that's a different subject.

So on the subject of temps you wouldn't recomend raising them at anytime during ferment is there a big chance for making the whole batch bad if I do? Thanks.
 
Last edited:

RM-MN

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Nov 26, 2010
Messages
14,991
Reaction score
6,002
Location
Solway
So on the subject of temps you wouldn't recomend raising them at anytime during ferment is there a big chance for making the whole batch bad if I do? Thanks.
Your yeast has a preferred temperature range that, if kept within that range, limits the ester formation that give your beer the off flavor. That range is only important during the early part of the ferment when the yeast are feasting on the abundant sugars. As the ferment slows due to the lack of sugars, the temperature isn't nearly as important as there isn't the extra heating due to the yeast activity. I usually keep mine in the lower part of the preferred temperature range for about a week, then let it warm to let the yeast do the cleanup. I think the warmer temps help make the beer better, not worse.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
735
I brew mainly wilco kits with beer enhancer or bulldog brew kits.
No idea what those are. Likely we don't live in the same country.

All grain or extract? If all grain, then you might run the grain through a mill or old burr style coffee grinder and get it finer. Though if you do a traditional mash, you might need to be careful not to go too fine and also add more rice hulls.

Extract? I have no idea! Never made an extract brew.

Would I gain anything from rehydrating my yeast before pitching?
Unless your dry yeast is very very old or stored in terrible temperature conditions, then no you won't get much benefit rehydrating it, other than assuring yourself it's viable.

You don't even need to aerate your wort for dry yeast.

Could i benefit from increasing my fermenting temp after a couple of days in in?
Not just as some random act. You need to take into account the temp it started at, then temps during and until the point you think you want to raise the temp. As well, the optimal temps for the strain of yeast used. If your kits don't tell you what the strain of yeast is, then use it for pizza dough and get some yeast that you know what it is so your learning will include knowing what a particular yeast strain acts like and adds to your beer flavor and aroma notes.

Would any of these techniques help clean up the taste a little?
For me I think the longer a beer is left in the primary... up to a point, the cleaner the beer will be visually and cleaner the taste will also be. I don't cold crash or use gelatin. Time is what gets my beers clean. (I'm too lazy to want to mess with cold crashing)
Any. Input welcome thanks.
I'm just opinionated, not necessarily correct. But sometimes I learn something when others re-butt me with convincing arguments.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,589
Location
"North Coast" USA
No idea what those are.
I was curious enough to web search on "krups beer machine". Results contained some products matching what OP described. Unfortunatly, there was also a dearth of detailed information.

@Tooter : have your tried to find online communities that support this product? As an example, Coopers has a community for their kits that seems to be supported by both Coopers and people who enjoy brewing with Cooper kits.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,589
Location
"North Coast" USA
But sometimes I learn something when others re-butt me with convincing arguments.
Here's a 1st draft for your consideration ;)

If your kits don't tell you what the strain of yeast is, then use it for pizza dough and get some yeast that you know what it is so your learning will include knowing what a particular yeast strain acts like and adds to your beer flavor and aroma notes.
I'll recommend trusting the kit provide a strain of yeast that is appropriate for the style of beer being produced. Yes - even if it has a slightly opaque name (say 'English Ale Yeast') for the beer style (say 'Special bitter').

I'll also recommend either trusting the supply chain for fresh ingredients, or finding methods for detecting stale ingredients, before just randomly throwing away ingredients.
 

friarsmith

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
610
Reaction score
501
Location
Florida
Including ^^ I would say doing a full wort boil (if possible) vs mixing water in the fermenter w/ condensed wort will help.

Also dont add all the extract at the beginning of the boil. About half at the start and half in the last 10 mins to improve hops utilization and decrease carmelization/darkening in pale beers.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,589
Location
"North Coast" USA
With regard to extract, late additions, and color, there is this measurement from Basic Brewing Radio, back in Nov 2005:

Reporting back on this -in the Nov. 17, 2005 episode, Bob Hansen of Briess says, to paraphrase, you'll get about 0.75 to 1 degree Lovibond darkening after a 45-minute extract boil. With "reduced volume" brewing, the color darkening happens faster.

Timestamp 48:50: http://www.basicbrewing.com/radio/mp3/bbr11-17-05.mp3

Full volume boil. 45 minutes. 1° Lovibond.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
735
I'll recommend trusting the kit provide a strain of yeast that is appropriate for the style of beer being produced.
The kits I started with only gave a packet labeled with the word "yeast".

So I have no way to relate my experiences with that unknown yeast to any named strains of yeast. The kits for the most part made good to great tasting beer for me. But still, all my observations for yeast related behavior are pretty much useless since I've so far not used any yeast that seem to behave the same way. And kits that I brewed with US-05 did not produce quite the same behavior fermenting or flavor notes of the same kit brewed with the yeast only known as "yeast".
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
I was curious enough to web search on "krups beer machine". Results contained some products matching what OP described. Unfortunatly, there was also a dearth of detailed information.

@Tooter : have your tried to find online communities that support this product? As an example, Coopers has a community for their kits that seems to be supported by both Coopers and people who enjoy brewing with Cooper kits.
Hi yes there isn't a lot of info on them as they are primarily designed to discard the bottles when empty but they can be refiled and after a bit of messing and a few spillages I've found a way to refill them and a good method to force carbonate them. My original plan way to make a kegerator but just don't have the room and a fermenting chamber seemed to be more important.
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
Including ^^ I would say doing a full wort boil (if possible) vs mixing water in the fermenter w/ condensed wort will help.

Also dont add all the extract at the beginning of the boil. About half at the start and half in the last 10 mins to improve hops utilization and decrease carmelization/darkening in pale beers.
Hi are you saying to boil the extract of a kit rather than adding boiling water then topping with cold as per the instructions would say. Not seen that mentioned anywhere else.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,589
Location
"North Coast" USA
@Tooter : thanks for the addition information. If the kits include dry/liquid extract, do you know if that extract is 'hopped' or 'unhopped'? Almost all dry/liquid extract in the USA is unhopped.
 
Joined
Oct 6, 2017
Messages
3,684
Reaction score
2,589
Location
"North Coast" USA
looks like my '1st draft' was pretty good. ;)

I'll recommend trusting the kit provide a strain of yeast that is appropriate for the style of beer being produced
The kits I started with only gave a packet labeled with the word "yeast".
[...]
The kits for the most part made good to great tasting beer for me.
So trusting the kit ingredients resulted in a good to great tasting beer.

But still, all my observations for yeast related behavior are pretty much useless since I've so far not used any yeast that seem to behave the same way.
Agreed: knowing the specific strain of yeast is essential if one wants to understand brewing in more detail.

And, in the past, some 'brands' of kits had the details. But even then, eventually people who want to know the details move beyond kits.
 

friarsmith

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 29, 2016
Messages
610
Reaction score
501
Location
Florida
Hi are you saying to boil the extract of a kit rather than adding boiling water then topping with cold as per the instructions would say. Not seen that mentioned anywhere else.
Sorry for any confusion.

To clarify, if you are brewing a 5 gal batch it is generally better to boil from 6.5 or 7 down to your finished volume around 5gal (aka full wort boil) than to boil 2-3 gal of water/extract and top-up w/ a few gallons of water after the boil to dilute the condensed wort. If you have to do a condensed boil as your only option, then do so, but consider getting a larger kettle in the future. Full wort boils generally produce better tasting beer.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
735
So trusting the kit ingredients resulted in a good to great tasting beer.
Yes they did. My comment has nothing to do with trust.

It's all about notes and data collected from each brew. I have no idea what the yeast was, so none of the fermenting behavior of those brews or anything else yeast may have done for those brews can be used for much association with anything else.

It doesn't make brewing harder to know what strain the yeast is. While I do respect the makers right to feel it proprietary information, even though they were cloning another's recipe. It seems a useful thing to know.

That's why I'd suggest getting a known strain of yeast. I haven't found it hard to find the yeast used or suggested by the breweries that these kits were cloned from.

I wasn't telling the OP they couldn't use the yeast in the kit. So I'm not sure why you are so against even the suggestion.

Though the whole thing begs the other question, what were the malts and other fermentables used? Though apparently the OP is extract, so that's moot.
 

jtratcliff

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Feb 7, 2013
Messages
2,168
Reaction score
1,197
Location
Pasadena
Hi are you saying to boil the extract of a kit rather than adding boiling water then topping with cold as per the instructions would say. Not seen that mentioned anywhere else.

@Tooter : thanks for the addition information. If the kits include dry/liquid extract, do you know if that extract is 'hopped' or 'unhopped'? Almost all dry/liquid extract in the USA is unhopped.

I think this might be the key...

From the kit instructions, it sounds like maybe @Tooter is using pre-hopped extract kits...

You definitely don't want to boil those for an hour...


But you might want to try switching to un- hopped kits where you add your own hops at specified times. And boil for 45-60min. This will definitely be a step up from the pre-hopped kits.
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
I use a lot of these kits I know they are cheap not the best ingredients there not to bad and available locally the yeast is a 5g sachet so will upgrade that next time I brew 1 I presume it is hoped already as it has no additional hops with it.
1652517938656.png
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5

I also use a lot of these kits when on offer as they are expensive and are a premium kit they use a true varietal brewers yeast 10g sachet that I think I will rehydrate before my next brew they are hoped kits but provide extra hop teabag with all the kits I've used so far I also brew them at the lowest recommended temp 20c.
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
O would like to thank all for the input so far. You have give me plenty to think about before I start my next brew I'm going to make 1 or 2 small adjustments at a time to see if the difference is noticeable.
 
Joined
Feb 3, 2022
Messages
4
Reaction score
3
My original plan way to make a kegerator but just don't have the room and a fermenting chamber seemed to be more important.
I only have one chest freezer and decided having serving kegs is more important than a fermentation chamber. I use a cooler bag that I add frozen water bottles to drop the temp a few degrees during peak fermentation.

Unless you are adding hops I would not boil a no boil kit.

If you can try a kit that uses unhopped extract, steeping grains, and hop pellets. It might not be a problem with your process, it could be the kits.

There is plenty of good advice on here (and other forms), but the best way to improve your process is brew more.
 

hotbeer

Opinionated Newb
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 10, 2021
Messages
1,051
Reaction score
735
@hotbeer : Back in #8, you suggested ...


... and I offered a different opinion.
Yes you did offer an opinion, but you also did more than that, you skewed the meaning of of what I said and appeared to infer things I never intended to be made of what I'd said.

So I was trying to correct your misunderstanding of what I meant. Then you continued further down the path of your building on your misconstruing of what I said.
 

jtgoral

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 20, 2020
Messages
66
Reaction score
42
FWIW, people who brew regularly with DME/LME will often use a 30 min boil, 15 min boil, a zero min boil (e.g. Basic Brewing Radio's hop sampler approach).

One can boil for 45 - 60 min. One can also have a shorter brew day with a couple of recipe / process adjustments (link).
I use 15-20 min LME boiling and double amount of bittering hops. The beers are as good as my all grain BIABs.
 

Davedrinksbeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2017
Messages
101
Reaction score
66
I brew a lot of 5 gallon extract kits, I start the boil with 3 gallons of water and then top off after the boil with a 2.5 gallon jug of store bought spring water. I ice bath it to 90 degrees and then use the cold jug water to drop it to 65ish. I pitch dry yeast( 1 or 2 packs) and Shake the hell out of the bucket to get the oxygen mix in. I then put it in a tub of water with some ice in it to keep it fermenting in the 65 degree range. I leave it in there 3 weeks and then keg. If your beer is bland could just be the kits your buying. There’s different levels of goodness in different brands of kits, some are just cheap. Try going to a local brew store and get fresh grains and ingredients.
 

SFC Rudy

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Mar 28, 2007
Messages
173
Reaction score
130
Location
Junction City, KS
This hobby requires patience. If you're thirsty, go to the liquor store and get some beer in bottles you can refill.

Remember, every bottle you open before it is ready is a great beer you will not be able to enjoy later.
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
Yer think I might try a boil on my next batch. The only kits I have at the moment are all in one (no DME or added sugar) and have hops in the extract.
 
OP
OP
T

Tooter

Member
Joined
May 3, 2022
Messages
11
Reaction score
5
This hobby requires patience. If you're thirsty, go to the liquor store and get some beer in bottles you can refill.

Remember, every bottle you open before it is ready is a great beer you will not be able to enjoy later.
Yer good point think I'll leave it a bit longer in the fermenter. At least 2 weeks?
 

Davedrinksbeer

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 12, 2017
Messages
101
Reaction score
66
Yer think I might try a boil on my next batch. The only kits I have at the moment are all in one (no DME or added sugar) and have hops in the extract.

Yeah, those are pretty generic beer kits, low end. Go to Northernbrewer.com. They have very good beer kits. If you can’t order from them, they have the recipes right there online with the beer kit. They have specialty grains that require steeping, packages of hops that you add to the boil and LME and DME.
 

Latest posts

Top