What did I buy and am I going to do this right?

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Adolf Clamwacker

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So me and my friends have been talking about home brewing for a while and I just discovered my LHBS. Picked up a starter kit with all the usual goodies, plus an extract kit. What I got for ingredients is a can of Coopers Brewmaster Selection Wheat and a can of Coopers Wheat LME. Basically the guy at the shop says to boil both those with 2.5 gallons of water for about 20-30 minutes then pour into the carboy with some cooled off boiled water. Does that sound right? Different sources say to boil anywhere between 15 to 90 minutes.

I have heard varying opinions on the yeast that comes with these kits, should I pick up something else or just roll with what came in the can? Do I use a starter? Should I just pick up something to drink from a brew pub then jump in head first and find out afterwards?

Thanks guys!
 

SRFeldman79

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i would get a wyeast or white labs yeast.
starter probably isnt necessary, as long as you get a wyeast smack pack if you go with wyeast.
i dont know if either of those cans of extract are hopped, but if not, id say a little hops would be nice, maybe tettnang(er) or saaz.
 

TheJadedDog

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Sounds like you got a Coopers no boil kit-in-a-can and some additional extract. No need to boil it for longer than the directions say since the only reason to boil is to kill off anything that would spoil the beer. You're yeast is probably of the dry variety so no need to make a starter.

In the future I'd recommend getting an extract+steeping grains+hops kit. These call for longer boil times (due to the hops) and make much better beer imo.
 

Revvy

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Welcome to our wonderful obsession!!! (I hope you realize that it's not just a hobby.)

Since this is your first attempt at brewing, I'd just follow the directions, and not add anything to it...and use the same yeast that came with it as long as the date on either the can or the yeast pack isn't out of date. Except I'd read up on rehydrating dried yeast...It's not difficult to do.

Use this to get the feel for the process of brewing. It'll make a fine beer.

Then read up on homebrewing...Read Papazian and palmer's books, and learn things here... And after you've brewed this one go get an extracts with grains kit, one that will contain all the extract, all the hops and yeasts that you need...

That beer will be better than your first. And except for a few mistakes down the pipe, each batch will taste better and better, as you learn and as you refine your brewing process...

Have fun
 
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Adolf Clamwacker

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Cool, the kit came with Papazian's book, so I've read the first few chapters of that. It came with a packet of what I'm assuming is dry yeast, but I didn't see a use by date on it. The can labeled Malt Concentrate (the brewmaster selection: wheat) says it is already hopped. I going to swing back by the LHBS and see what they have in the way of some of the sanitizers I've been reading about and will see what they carry for yeast and such.

And I realized after doing some math last night that if I wanted to completely cut out store bought beer that this is definitely going to become an obsession since I've going to have to buy a few more carboys and brew at least once a week!
 

malkore

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i'm not a fan of the cooper's kit. if the beer it creates isn't to your liking, don't let it be your reference point for all home brew.

good home brew is impossible to distinguish from commercial microbrew.
 

rabidgerbil

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+1 on kits not being all that great...

My first batch was from a kit, and if I had not jumped to extract + steeping grains after that, I probably would have quit after a second kit. The quality of the beer was just not worth the work involved.

That being said, extract + grains can create some fantastic beers, and I am about to jump to all grain, and I am looking forward to my beer being ever better than it has been.

As to books, get rid of the one that came with your kit. I have Papazians book, and, at least in my opinion, it is very out of date. Pick up John Palmers "How to Brew", it is a much better book. Then, if you want some good recipes, pick up "Brewing Classic Styles" by John Palmer and Jamil Zainascheff.

Last but not least, thing about getting yourself a subscription to Brew Your Own magazine. It is a fantastic source of information.
 

mrk305

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I wouldn't spend six or eight dollars on a liquid yeast for this one. Dry yeast like Nottingham for $1.00 will work fine. You can hydrate it first, by adding it to maybe 5 ounces of water in a glass when you start, and then stirring it in the water in maybe 30 minutes. You don't have to do that either, but it helps a little. Some of the directions in those extract kits say to add a pound of sugar. Don't. It will better without it, and you are using two cans of extract. Thats enough.
 

Finn

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You can preview Palmer's book at www.howtobrew.com -- basically, the whole thing is there -- and that's what got me going.

If it was me, I'd buy a pack of name-brand weiss yeast for a buck or two and have it on hand when you brew -- then proof the yeast that came with the kit by putting it in a glass with a half cuppa lukewarm water from the teakettle (meaning boiled and cooled). Give it 10 minutes to absorb water before feeding it a spoonful of your extract (it won't rehydrate as well if you put the syrup in with it right away). If you don't see at least a little foam in there 20 minutes later, it's dead, but you're prepared for that and you're not dead in the water (nothing worse than realizing you need some critical item NOW and your local brew supply is closed for the weekend). If it's alive, great! You saved a buck-thirty and the yeast you bought will be ready for your next batch!

I also would avoid the kits. They make good beer but there's no reason to settle for mere "good" beer if you're making your own. It's not much more of a pain to boil for an hour than it is for 20 minutes, and in exchange you get the flavor and smell of fresh hops for your brew, and complex malty flavors from steeping grains, all of which are super easy to add. And within a couple batches, you will probably find, as I did, that you have actually made the best beer you've ever tasted.

Brewing a decent beer is actually fairly easy. But it doesn't look very easy unless you're using a kit. The kits take a simple process and make it only slightly simpler -- but they make it look LOTS simpler, which encourages people to give it a try. Nothing wrong with that, I guess!
 
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