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Subject: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jan 8th, 2008
2:16 am
I say directions on copper's brewing sited about there kits being no boil. I know i should not have more than likely e-mailed them about it but i did. Read what was e-mail back.

This is the email:

Good Morning Shawn,

Thank you for your thoughts on brewing. You are correct, sanitation is very important in beermaking, and we emphasis this both in our instructions and in the DVD we provide with each Coopers Micro Brewery Kit.

This is why we recommend that brewers mix their beer concentrate and additional fermentables in water that is just off of a boil, then mix well before topping up with cold water. The temperature and time involved in adding and mixing will ensure that any micro-organisms that may have been picked up by the can opener are properly dealt with.

We definitely DO NOT recommend that anyone boil a Coopers beer concentrate kit, and frankly feel that those who do are doing a serious dis-service to the homebrewing community. I have been a homebrewer since 1982 (won the AHA Pac NW regional in 1993), wrote a book on brewing published by Simon & Schuster, owned one of the Pac NW's finest homebrew shops from 1991 until 2000, and have taught thousands how to brew. And I guarantee you that if you take all the ingredients for 5 gallons of beer, put it in 1.5 gallons of water, and boil it for an hour (as recommended by Charlie Papazian), then all your beers will come out darker than they should, and have a cloying sweetness to them (often erroneous described as being an "extract twang". This isn't opinion, it is fact. Boiling sugar causes carmelization of sugar. In this case, over-carmelization. Here is an article I wrote on the topic you may find interesting.

None of us brew in a laboratory environment. Sterilization is not possible. Sanitation is, and sanitation can be achieved in wort by contact with temperatures above 140'F for 10-15 minutes. This happens when brewers follow our directions. Coopers beer kits are the best selling kits in the world because they work, and our instructions work. People make beer they are happy with and continue to brew.

I appreciate your thoughts, and agree that there are circumstances where boiling malt extract is appropriate (you have a 7 gallon pot and start with 6 gallons of water and/or are working with lower quality malt extracts and aren't using a beer concentrate kit), however, when working with a Coopers Brewery Beer Concentrate kit, we never, ever recommend boiling.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
www.makebeer.net

-----Original Message-----
From: whatmeworry79@yahoo.com [mailto:whatmeworry79@yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, January 05, 2008 6:01 PM
To: info@makebeer.net
Subject: Contact from MakeBeer.net

You have received a message from Shawn McMillan (whatmeworry79@yahoo.com)

Comment:

I really think that you should tell people in your instructions pdf about how to boil brew. I know that some people no boil brew, but you will get a better beer if you boil. Also, a can opener tends to be the most dirty thing in a kitchen, many no boil beers get infected from a can opener. I think if your instructions told people about both methods and the pro and cons of each method you would have more first time brewers continue brewing.
I know my first brew turned out horrible because it was a no boil. It was five years before i brewed agian. Just my thoughts, take them or leave them.

This is the end of the e-mail:

Now tell me if i am wrong or if this guy is just blowing smoke. I was going to write an e-mail flaming him, but if he is right then i would look stupid. I dont think he is, but i need some facts and ammunition from brewers with better experince.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 8th, 2008
2:24 am
140 sounds low to me. I'd do some research on the temp required to insure all the bacterail is DEAD in the wort. See if he is right about the temps.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: mark6275
Jan 8th, 2008
2:26 am
I understand the point he is trying to make, but why wouldn't you boil it for at least a little. for sanitations sake. Besides, isn't it desireable to have a hot break to get the protiens to form and then settle out during the cold break. I just made an IPA with light extract and it turned out a great light tan color as it should have been. bottom line, there are many ways to brew. Just do what works. As for me, I'm going to boil my wort.

Mark
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jan 8th, 2008
2:33 am
well that is what i was going to point out to him in the e-mail. I must have pissed him off because he seemed a little snotty to me in the e-mail. He pointed out his accomplishment like it was suppose to make my point less valid. I dont know i am a little sick today, maybe he just caught me at the wrong time.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: bungle88
Jan 8th, 2008
2:35 am
is he referring to HOPPED extract? seems you'd have to boil a little while to get bitterness out your hops...
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jan 8th, 2008
2:40 am
I believe that the kit comes with hopped extract. But that was another point i was going to make, you cant get bitterness in the un-hopped extract without boiling the hops. The website is www.makebeer.net There should be a link to the pdf with the instructions on the same page as the infromation about the kit. Take a look. I think the instructions are vauge at best.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: John_Ferens
Jan 8th, 2008
3:01 am
Keeping in mind I've never used a Coopers kit but have brewed plenty of both extract and all-grain...

He spent some time on that e-mail, and that's worth something (he was not, as I read it, being rude but instead rather courteous). Providing that the extract is already hopped, and it must be if their directions tell you not to boil, then I don't see too much trouble with their procedure. Adding the extract to water "just off the boil" would mean dissolving it in already sanitized water. The extract itself is sanitary and vacuum sealed. Tap water is normally sanitary, or near so with the treatment it receives. So that leaves the equipment, which is easy enough to work with. Hot break is mostly done in the process of making the original wort from which the extract (or concentrate, as it is referred to here) is made. The biggest downside is the limits in adding specialty grains and flavor/aroma hops, but I can't say that I disagree with the essence of his letter - you will make beer.

John.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jan 8th, 2008
3:32 am
well, just dont forget the can opener. That would carry alot of bugs on it.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
Jan 8th, 2008
6:00 am
I'd trust their instructions unless you're seriously dissatisfied with the product. He probably gets e-mail like yours every week or more from people who are probably more rude than you were. He also probably knows how these exchanges typically go:

Person: "Hey shouldn't you boil..."
Him: "No."
Person: "But I read"
Him: "No, really. You don't need to boil our no boil kits"
Person: "Are you stupid, this is fundamental brewing. Don't you know anything?"
Him: "Yes. I did xyz"

So, he's just cutting to the chase. His e-mail sounds terse, but he's simply anticipating your questions.

He's right about the effects of partial boils etc. They probably formulate their no-boil kits with a specific purpose. They're not selling you no-boil All-Grain kits or something crazy. I've never used one (but I've tasted the beer from one and it wasn't bad) I'd guess that their hopped extracts are already isomerized and plenty bitter. This guy knows his product and probably knows a thing or two about brewing.

I've never bought one of their products and probably never will, so if you want to flame him, go ahead, it won't hurt my feelings. But keep in mind the product you've purchased and the market it's serving. I'd venture to say that if you had a bad batch of beer from his products and contacted him, he'd be happy to help you troubleshoot.

DO sanitize everything else in your process (you're 100% right about the can opener, it's nasty!) but your water + their extract should be fine.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: gillbates
Jan 8th, 2008
6:06 am
You can get a hot break without boiling the brew - it usually happens to me a few minutes before the actual rolling boil gets started.

I had always thought that you had to go to 160 for 10 to 15 minutes to kill the bacteria. But if you're getting to just "off boil", you've already exceeded both temperatures.

I stopped brewing extract-only brews because of the cloying, sweet brews they produced. However, I don't think caramelization is the cause. More likely, the extract maker is mashing at high temperatures to get the the highest yield possible from the grain, producing dextrins in the process. I boil 3 gallons, whether extract, partial mash, or all grain, so I would think that I would produce caramelization regardless of whether I was boiling all extract or all grain wort. But my all grain brews - even my partial mash brews - do not possess the cloying, sweet aftertaste that an all extract brew has. It's even worse with something like Munton's yeast, which doesn't finish off the heavier sugars as well as some other strains.

I've experimented with boiling for less than an hour - and I get a less bitter beer. It's possible, but you just don't get the hop utilization that you would otherwise.

If you follow the instructions, you'll get a beer that tastes like Coopers thinks it should. If you don't, you'll probably get a beer which tastes a little worse. If you just want to make beer, and like the taste of Coopers, it's not a bad option.

-- But --

If you want to brew a beer that tastes exactly the way you think it should, to your liking, you're probably going to give up the hopped extract kits, and start boiling for an hour like the rest of us.

I mean, I'm doing batch sparging in a modified zapap-style lauter tun here, and I get better beers than I could ever brew with a hopped kit or extract.

It's your beer.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Kaz
Jan 8th, 2008
6:29 am
140 for about 15 min is correct for pasturization, but like he said not sterilization. If you make mead you can do the same thing to avoid boiling and losing aromatics.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: rbj7747
Jan 8th, 2008
2:46 pm
Also, hot break isn't really the issue, because its already had a hot break when they made the extract.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jan 8th, 2008
3:03 pm
well, that is why i asked you guys first.
Thanks
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Rosace
Jan 8th, 2008
3:07 pm
Well, not always, from what I have read.....once the wort is made.. usually the wort is fed into a series of evaporator steps to concentrate it .... evaporation takes place under a vacuum in order that lower temperatures can be used
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DConn
Jan 8th, 2008
5:07 pm
The guy knows the kits they make. If they're hopped, especially with aroma hops, you don't want to boil. don't assume you know more than these guys who have been doing it a LOOOONNNG time.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Rex_Irae
Jan 8th, 2008
7:08 pm
I think 140 is a bit low.
As I remember it, there are whole families of bacteria that live between 140 & 160 that are particularly nasty.
And so, I believe it would be more appropriate to shoot for 170F.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: dpalm
Jan 8th, 2008
7:27 pm
I agree with the Coopers guy. Boiling isn't necessary for these pre-hopped kits. Just hot enough water to sanitize everything through pasteurization (I agree with Rex_Irae--170 deg F is technically a bit high but sounds like a good safe level to me.)

And I don't think that homebrewers shouldn't turn up their nose at these products. I still use them, especially the Ironmaster line-up. In 2007 I "graduated" to all-grain, 10 gallon batches, but I don't always have time to do that. A 4 lb. can of hopped extract, maybe 2 extra lbs. of DME, a late hop addition or some dry-hopping, and they really turn out great. (I find that the hop level is just about right with no additional bittering.) I have an Irish Red and an AmIPA on tap right now from these products and they're both very nice. You can get a batch in the fermenter in just about an hour.

It's better to brew than not to brew, I say, and I really try not to let the best become the enemy of the good. And the pre-hopped malt extract products I've tried are darned good.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: ASouth
Jan 9th, 2008
12:19 am
For what it's worth, I know the Coopers person who responded to you. He didn't lead you astray. And, kits are some of the best starting points for a solid beer out there. The people who make these kits are brewers working in a brewery with very nice brewing equipment. They will nail the target bitterness & flavor profile of what they're making. Whether or not you happen to like it is subjective. But, they also give the homebrewer an excellent base to work off of when going for a certain style. Some additional DME, some Steeping Grains, and some extra hops will all work to add character. Just steep and then boil your hops BEFORE you add the extract. Dissolve the extract and follow the instructions. Making a beer this way, it's about 2 hours from start to yeast pitching. Following the directions, it's about one hour.

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: FiberMan
Jan 9th, 2008
3:05 am
I have used Cooper's products before, and followed their instructions exactly, and the beer really is quite good. I made a "Cervesa" kit - it was supposed to be like Corona, but the kit came with the standard cooper's ale yeast. I used the supplied yeast, added 1lb light DME, 1 lb corn sugar, and 1/4 lb maltodextrin, and it turned out to be a pretty decent cream ale. I also have some bottles left of the Cooper's Irish Stout kit, directions followed exactly again, and it is great! Took me only about an hour to brew, including sanitation and clean up.

I agree with David - if you don't have much spare time but still want to brew, these pre-hopped kits provide easy-to-use, inoffensive beer recipes for busy brewers. I recently tried experimenting with the Cooper's Bavarian Lager kit - I am aiming to make an alt with it. I steeped some specialty grains, and boiled some extra hops for 20 minutes with some additional Munich LME to up the hop bitterness/flavor. Then, after a 20 minute boil, I added the Bavarian Lager kit, cooled it, and pitched two packets of Safale K-97. I'm also going to do their Czech Pilsner (with lager yeast) later this winter.

I am a high school choir director, and during the fall and winter, brewing time goes bye bye. These kits keep me going when time is tight. And honestly, being an extract brewer anyway, these beers sometimes turn out better than my other non-pre-hopped extract beers. There is less wort darkening, they do not have any of that "extract sweetness," and the beers are pretty true to the style they are trying to emulate. They are not always the most unique brews, since they are marketed to a very wide audience...but sometimes, when I want a cream ale or light lager, I get better results with these kits. Just MHO.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Kaz
Jan 9th, 2008
3:24 am
The pasteurization temp varies on the type of product and method. Below is some info.

http://www.micromatic.com/draft-keg-beer-edu/beer-pasteurization-cid-1753.html

http://www.geocities.com/~perkinshome/pasteurization.html
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 9th, 2008
7:31 pm
Good Day All,

Wow, its been a while since I've read this forum. I suppose it is a good thing that there are so many out there, I can't always keep up. Anyway, thought I'd pipe in.

First, Shawn, I sincerely apologize if my email to you came across snippy. That certainly was not my intent. One of the things I try to do when asked about our recommended procedures from someone who has indicated more than basic brewing knowledge is to establish my Bona Fides as more than just a shill for the Coopers Brewery.

To answer some of the questions raised in this forum....

Yes, Coopers Brewery Beer Concentrate kits are pre-hopped. The more specialized kits also have stylistically appropriate aromatic hops added to them (for example, the IPA kit has Styrian Goldings added). Boiling these kits will blow off the hop aromas the finished beer is supposed to have.

Regarding protein coagulation - some posters are correct, with most beer kits you will get additional protein coagulation by boiling the kit, and this will lead to a cleaner beer with more clarity. This is because most beer kits are produced by creating a wort, adding hop oil, then vacuum boiling it (at fairly low temps as indicated by a previous poster). Because the Coopers Brewery is first and foremost a brewery, they make their beer kits just like their beers, including boiling the wort/hops, prior to concentrating. So, boiling the kit is not necessary.

Regarding the well-known phenomenon of "extract twang" - if it was the use of malt extract that created this, then all malt extract beers would exhibit it to some degree...and they don't. It is not the use of malt extract per se that creates this. A previous poster indicated that he does 3 gallon boils with malt extract and does not get the twang. I generally do either 6 gallon boils, or no boil, so I can't speak from experience, but it is possible that 3 gallons provides enough dilution to prevent excessive carmelization. I do know, as do the lab guys at the brewery, that if you boil 6 pounds of malt extract in 1.5 gallons of water for 60 minutes, you create a lot of unfermentable sugar. And that, I believe is what creates the cloying sweetness in some extract based beers.

Regarding sanitation - I'm not a chemist. Mostly, I'm just an experienced homebrewer. I've walked the path from rank amateur to extreme hophead to triple-decocting lager-brewer and back to prefering mild ales made easily. I know what works, and our procedures work.

I hope this answers questions raised, and clears some mis-conceptions. I'm always available for any off-forum email conversation.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 9th, 2008
10:45 pm
Thanks for chiming in, Mark. It's nice to hear from some manufacturers.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 9th, 2008
11:51 pm
Mark, I've been cut deeply by reading the email. Perhaps a few coupons for free beer kits would heal my wounds?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
2:26 am
Oh sure...'cuz I can't see something like that getting out of control

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 10th, 2008
2:29 am
Oh no, not here.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
Jan 10th, 2008
4:19 am
Yeah Mark, I don't believe this whole no boil thing. An IPA, Stout and... Weizen kit would get me close to convinced.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
8:58 pm
Ok, I'll tell you what, I've got a couple of cases of Coopers Bitter beer concentrate beer kits that hit their "Best Before" date last month. Mind you, that's best before, not "expires on". And Coopers uses the shortest Best Before dates in the industry (2 years vs the typical 3 years..assuming there's any date at all on them). They are still perfectly good beer kits, and the Coopers yeast will still be good for another year easily. But I don't like selling kits that are past their "best before". The first 10 readers that email me their address, I'll send you a can, with the caveat that you agree to make the beer according to the instructions, no boil and using at least 100 grams of dextrose in the wort (the Coopers yeast that is included in this style of kit really likes dextrose to get rocking). Whatever else you use to get the gravity up to typical range (1.036-1.050) is up to you. I like to use a blend of dme and maltodextrine...but that's just me. After all is said and done (and drank), email me and let me know what you thought of the beer.

That's first 10. The 11th is out of luck.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 10th, 2008
9:05 pm
A post to find out what time I emailed Mark to get my free beer.


BREW HA HA....I think I'm under 10.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: natesampson
Jan 10th, 2008
9:06 pm
Am I blind, or is the email address missing??

Nice of you to do this, Mark.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 10th, 2008
9:14 pm
Mark, who are the lucky winners?

Gosh, its been 10 minutes. You'd think the contest would be over after 30 seconds.
How long does it take for Mark to tally and post the results.

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Malone
Jan 10th, 2008
9:23 pm
Does emailing www.makebeer.net count?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Jan 10th, 2008
9:41 pm
I don't see an email either, but if I can get in, I'd like to!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 10th, 2008
9:42 pm
I used the email window at http://www.makebeer.net/contact.asp

I hope that works.

edit:

What is keeping Mark???

Anybody get a noticed that they won a beer kit?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
10:07 pm
Oops, sorry about that.

mark@cascadiabrew.com or
mark@makebeer.net

6 down, 4 to go.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: brewsci
Jan 10th, 2008
10:09 pm
I hope I made it in time
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
10:11 pm
although I note that nobody is emailing an address where I can send it. This is a real live beer kit...not a virtual kit. I need a physical address.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
10:14 pm
And that's a wrap. Thanks for Playing! I'll send you an email in the next few minutes if you were one of the ten (including letting you know if I need your physical address). And I look forward to hearing how you made your beers, and how they came out.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: dpalm
Jan 10th, 2008
10:16 pm
I just presumed finding the right e-mail was an exercise for the reader, so I scanned the top part of the thread and found the 'info@morebeer.net' address. Sent to that at 3:04 pm. Oh well......
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 10th, 2008
10:18 pm
The anticipation is killing me.
I hope I'm not dash upon the shores of disappointment and picked apart by the crabs of disillusionment.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: brewsci
Jan 10th, 2008
10:20 pm
Like a kid waiting to open presents....

or those poor souls on Deal or No Deal...Did I pick the right email address?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
10:51 pm
A list of the lucky recipients of a can of Coopers Bitter beer concentrate kit:

Burp (notified via email)
Andy (same)
David P. (same)
Ethan (same)

the following emailed from the forum, so I don't have your email address to notify personally, but if you emailed me your physical address, I don't need it now. Count this as your notification.

N8
Malone
Shannon
brewsci
Ian
Sean

Don't forget, follow the directions, no-boil, additional fermentable as you prefer (although I recommend adding at least 100 grams of dextrose), let me know how it goes. If the forum is interested, in a couple of months when the beer is done, bottle conditioned, sampled and reported, I'll post everyone's impressions.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Jan 10th, 2008
10:57 pm
Awesome, thanks Mark!

Out of curiosity, only bottle condition or keg condition (no force carb) is okay too?

Not that I have my keg setup yet... :p

Thanks again!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 10th, 2008
11:29 pm
Shannon,

Oh no, there's no way I'd insist upon bottling if you don't have to! If you don't have a keg system yet, I'm sure many on this forum will agree when I say it is the best homebrewing purchase you can possibly make (besides buying Coopers beer kits, of course). So, by all means, keg it.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 11th, 2008
12:33 am
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG
OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG I WON OMG

THANK YOU

Where the hell is the UPS guy? Whats the tracking number? Has it shipped yet?

Really Mark, all joking aside. Thanks for the opportunity to try your kits. I started off with Mr. Beer, tried a few extract kits then moved on to all grain. It will be interesting to try the kit following the directions using the skills I have from all grain brewing. I look forward to tasting the results.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Ian
Jan 11th, 2008
12:37 am
Sweet! I won too! This is gonna be interesting, because all of my extract brews had a 'homebrew flavor' (not really a 'twang', but a 'something'). Maybe I was doing it wrong all along?

Thanks Mark! Very cool of you.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: FiberMan
Jan 11th, 2008
12:51 am
Dang! I wish I hadn't been at work all day! I would have DEFINITELY been all over free beer ingredients! Good luck you lucky winners! I can vouch for Cooper's Kits from personal experience...I've tried John Bull, Munton's, Moutmellick, and Cooper's kits, and Cooper's are by far the best, hands down...and I'm not just saying that in an effort to suck up and get a free beer kit! But just in case the sucking up worked, by e-mail address is ddklocke@hotmail.com...
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: natesampson
Jan 11th, 2008
1:09 am
Hey Mark,
I wasn't trying to play, I was just asking about the email for those that wanted to win big.

You can send mine to Fiberman since he was at work all day and would still like to receive a can.

Thanks again for offering up some goodies.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: dpalm
Jan 11th, 2008
3:53 am
Yes, thanks Mark. I'm having knee surgery next week, but after a bit of recovery I'll brew this thing up and review it here and on my blog. Best regards.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
Jan 11th, 2008
4:25 am
Gah, wish I had seen this posting in time. I jumped right into Extract + Steeping grains; woulda been interesting to try. Still, it's cool that you guys got some goodies.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 11th, 2008
4:42 am
To Simpledad,

N8 gave up his kit, and Fiberman is already getting one. Email me (mark@makebeer.net) your physical address and I'll forward one to you. Same conditions apply.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: jtrainer
Jan 11th, 2008
4:51 am
Dang I didn't win.... at least I now I have a new email for the pr0n sites.... Just Kidding!

Rob, Now here is a good reason to auto display the profile as it was entered but not made visible.... look for my new exciting thread TB 2.0 How we coming?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 11th, 2008
1:20 pm
Don't blame Rob, because you didn't win.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: mjarvis
Jan 13th, 2008
10:52 pm
This has been one of the best and most productive threads I think I've ever seen here on TB...

A guy has a question about some advice he is given, the advisor shows up and puts himself out there for what amounts to peer review, AND gives people the tools (for FREE) to judge not only what the man does for a living (working/selling for Cooper's), but to possibly question his bona fides...

Mark - I tend to be the class clown around here but if it means anything to you - you have my deep respect. So much so that I intend to go out and buy my own Cooper's kit just to try it out.

--/\/\--
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Jan 16th, 2008
12:52 pm
I received my package yesterday. I will happily brew per instructions (just add water!) as soon as I can get the time. Now I suddenly kind of don't want to go out of town this weekend to visit friends.

I guess it'll just have to wait another week or so. Doh!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Jan 16th, 2008
2:01 pm
I, too, received the kit yesterday. The instructions follow I will.
I'm thinking I will add some camden to the 5 gallons of water, let it sit then boil it the night before brew day. I'm really neverous about using tap water not boiled in any of my beers. I really like the bag of cough drops.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: bonjour
Jan 16th, 2008
3:38 pm
Mark,
This is the first time I've heard of kicking in some corn sugar to get a yeast started, 100gm is not much.

Where did this come from? I have seen other extract based kits contain a similar amount of dextrose that I ASSumed was for priming. Was I wrong?

Fred
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 16th, 2008
8:35 pm
Good Afternoon Fred,

No, you are not wrong. But yeast is a living organism, and as such mutates with time. This is why there are literally hundreds of different yeasts that can be used for fermentation, and they each exhibit slightly different characteristics. The Coopers Pure Brewers Yeast (gold foil package) was isolated at the Coopers Brewery back in the early 1970's. The brewers there have been working with this yeast for a long time, and so understand it as well as we might understand our own children. And they know that this particular strain has a bit of a sweet tooth. It likes a bit of dextrose to really get rocking at full potential. I personally believe this is especially important if fermentation is going to occur at a temp that is more typical for North America in the winter. Part of the reason that the Coopers Brewery recommends brewing temps in the mid-high 70's is that it rarely gets colder than that in South Australia (where the brewery is) at any time of year. I personally prefer to ferment this yeast at 68-72'f, but always add a bit of dextrose...I guess just so it feels more at home.

Regarding the carbonation drops that you all (or only some? I'm not sure) got. Well, my warehouse guys were obviously feeling very generous, because they were only supposed to send you the can! At any rate, I'll be interested in how you like working with them. If you all also got a package of Coopers Brewing Sugar, you don't need to add the additional dextrose. This package is a 90/10 blend of dextrose and maltodextrine. Use it if you wish, or add your own preferred additional fermentable. As I mentioned in a previous post, I like to add a blend of dextrose, maltodextrine and dme.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: CookiesAndMilkStout
Jan 16th, 2008
11:03 pm
Mark,

I second Matt J, this is a great thread especially since I myself started with Mr. Beer products.

I wanted to pick your brain about the carbonation drops. I had heard them called "infection drops" as there was no surefire way to sanitize them before addition to the bottled beer. I assume that they are made from sanitized (boiled) sugar so they should be fine right from the package, but what about ones you don't use that are in an opened and then resealed package? I used these drops in the past w/my Mr. Beer kits and ended up with infected beer, but could never pinpoint the reasons b/c of all the possible contributing factors: fermenting in essentially an open fermentor (there's no airlock of any kind), no use of a starter (sometimes the tiny package of yeast wouldn't start up for a week! yikes, plenty of time for basement nasties to take hold especially w/an "open" fermentation), and the use of only One-Step cleanser for sanitizer (they swear up and down that it's enough, but my personal XP begs to differ).

Anyway, hate to make you work during this entire thread, but I figured I'd finally get a straight answer on this while I have an opportunity!

Thanks,

Jay
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: halowords
Jan 17th, 2008
12:05 am
"the use of only One-Step cleanser for sanitizer (they swear up and down that it's enough . . .)"

It is. Brewing for over a decade and no infection that was not because of a mistake I could pinpoint that I made.

Great thread though, and it is great to get the other side of the story and get Matt's rationale for the reason the kits are the way they are.

-Cheers
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 17th, 2008
12:07 am
Good Afternoon Jay,

Coopers Carbonation Drops are essentially lemon drops, without the lemon flavoring added. They are made the same way as the candy, which involves cooking. They are packaged in a sterile environment (just like the yeast), so there is very limited risk of contamination issues prior to opening the package. After opening is of course a whole different matter. I do sanitize my hands prior to handling. My preferred sanitizer for this use is a phosphoric acid based sanitizer (I don't like the way sodium percarbonate sanitizers make my hands feel). I then load up my bottles and fill. As far as sanitation, I don't think that procedurally there is any more or less risk than when doing batch priming and filling of bottles. There is always risk with any of these methods. At the end of the day, unless I am kegging, I like the convenience of the carbonation drops. Oh yeah, I don't hold left over drops...I eat them (usually while bottling).

Now, mind you there are other products out there besides Coopers Carbonation Drops. Some of you may remember Prime Tabs. The guy that invented those used to be a customer at my shop in Seattle, and he was very technically oriented, and quite inventive. There is also a company in Canada that produces a very similar product to Prime Tabs. However, one of the issues I always had with pill based carbonation systems is how they are produced, and what binding agent is used. Because of how these are produced (pressure vs cooking), you don't get the same assurance of sanitation at the production point. At least I don't think you do.

And don't even get me started with Mr. Beer........

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
Jan 17th, 2008
4:02 am
Got my can today. I'll probably brew it this weekend.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: CookiesAndMilkStout
Jan 17th, 2008
5:35 pm
"And don't even get me started with Mr. Beer........"

Thanks, Mark, good info! Dave I, thanks for that info too. I always feel a little safer with StarSan, plus the OneStep made for some super slippery handling of glassware, but then again, I suppose StarSan does too.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 17th, 2008
7:18 pm
I wouldn't zing Mr Beer. It got me started and many other home brewers. It doesn't produce great beer, but I wished I had the market that they have.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 17th, 2008
8:02 pm
Me too.

My primary issue with Mr Beer is the confusion it causes by being a 2 gallon system, instead of the worldwide standard of 5-6 gallons (except for the Japanese. their standard is 2 gallons, but its a really small market). It is smart business for them...only their products conform in their system, but it does cause confusion, especially in the specialty stores.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: bonjour
Jan 17th, 2008
8:04 pm
Careful now, you are mighty close to stepping on my kegs, I mean toes.

If it wasn't for Mr. Beer I wouldn't be brewing today.
FRESH Mr. Beer ingreedients are as good as any plus/minus a little, I'm sure Mark could venture an opinion on better ingreedients, but. . . .

To brew quality and to style beer with Mr. Beer you do have to know what you are doing. A friend of mine just won a 2nd place for an IIPA brewed on his Mr. Beer system.

Fred
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TimO
Jan 17th, 2008
8:08 pm
Member in the club Fred?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: bonjour
Jan 17th, 2008
8:10 pm
Mark,

since you have brewed with Mr. Beer, How are the Coopers kits for brewing with that system. My thought would be 1 can Coopers in the keg (and your 100gms dextrose) and go.

your thoughts?

Fred
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: bonjour
Jan 17th, 2008
8:13 pm
Yes Tim, a club member
you can even here him on his podcast.
BTW the contest wasn't a COC, he lost to a guy that won a sword, a real sharp one.

Fred
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 17th, 2008
8:33 pm
Good Afternoon Tim,

Well, the issue is with the fermenter size, vs what is considered "standard". Outside of Mr Beer, all the pre-hopped beer kit producers (Coopers, Muntons, John Bull, BrewCraft, Ironmaster, Mountmellick etc) all make beer kits designed for 19-23 liters (5-6 US gallons). This is important especially with the IBUs and SRM of the kits. You can take one can of a Coopers beer kit and use it in a Mr Beer system, but the beer is going to be a lot darker, hoppier, bitter than the guys in the brewery intended it to be. If you are an experienced brewer who understands these things better than most, it may not be an issue.

However, believe it or not, most brewers in America (and especially in Canada) are not like those of us on this forum. They don't know an IPA from a URL. They drink bud, they like bud, bud is what they want to make. And with a Mr Beer system, that is hard to do with any kit but a Mr Beer kit. You can use a Muntons American Light beer kit with a Coopers Micro Brewery Kit, or just about any equipment kit sold in a specialty shop and make a reasonable facsimile of a light American lager.

I agree, Mr Beer is to be credited for getting a lot of people started brewing. I just wish they were doing it with something that is more universal (meaning of course with something that a person can use a Coopers Beer Kit with )

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 17th, 2008
9:35 pm
I've never brewed with a Coopers kit, but a 5 gallon starter kit might be a little intimidating to a beginner.

Mark, I'm a little surprised that someone, with a reputation like Coopers, doesn't go after some of the "Mr. Beer" starter market. I sure know a lot of people that got started brewing that way and an equal number, or more, that didn't want to pursue it. However, Mr. Beer still sold them (or the gift giver) a least 1 kit.

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Jan 17th, 2008
10:02 pm
Brewboy, meet the Coopers Brewery Micro Brewery Kit; Coopers Micro Brewery Kit, meet Brewboy. Amazon.com sold a fair number of these over the holidays. It's spendier than Mr Beer, but a better starter kit. We even include an entertaining how-to dvd hosted by Paul Mercurio (Aussie movie star that apparently women find quite "hunky"

Regarding the size, actually, what we hear most often from consumers is that after making up the beer, waiting a few weeks, 2 gallons is gone way too quickly. 5 gallons does sound like a lot (we hear that from consumers as well), until you break it down. That's 2 cases of beer. We ask, "How much beer did your husband and his buddies drink during the Packers/Seahawks game last Saturday?" Suddenly 5 gallons doesn't sound like all that much. Same amount of work..lots more beer on the other end.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Rosace
Jan 17th, 2008
10:48 pm
I'm thinking brewboy will probably take 2 of those kits now that you mentioned the Paul Mercurio video
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 17th, 2008
11:05 pm
Never heard of him, but if you offer a kit with an instructional DVD featuring a couple of voluptuous, scantly clad blondes, I might be heading over to Amazon.com.

Now that?s a Christmas gift!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Jan 17th, 2008
11:14 pm
What? And combine beer with scantily clad women as a sales pitch? I can't *ever* imagine that working!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: natesampson
Jan 18th, 2008
2:21 am
Did someone mention scantily clad women and beer???
http://barbax.com/beerbabes/
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 18th, 2008
3:13 am
N8, I wouldn't mind looking at beer babes, but that's one damn big web site to load, when you're on dial-up.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: natesampson
Jan 18th, 2008
3:41 am
No worries, Bboy. It would prolly make you go blind, anyway.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jan 18th, 2008
4:01 am
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: jmo
Jan 18th, 2008
4:25 pm
. . . can you guys type in braille, please? I can't see anymore . . .


wow.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jan 21st, 2008
11:46 pm
Mark it has been awhile since i was able to check this website. I apreciate the apology. You know it may have not been what you wrote but the way I took it, and that is not your fault. I apologize if i came off sounding like I was telling you your job. It is nice when we can all stand back and take a breath, sometimes that is all that is needed to make things look a little different. You know I may actually try one of those kits again. Sounds like they could speed up my brew day on days that i am short of time, and alot of people seem to like them. Thanks again.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Feb 4th, 2008
9:52 pm
I had the chance this afternoon (just now) to brew up this kit. Here's a couple of initial comments:
- I only have 5 gal glass carboys and a bottling bucket. Since I didn't want to tie up my bottling bucket, I borrowed a buddy's plastic pail. I'm so thankful I did, since that simplified the whole process.
- I was amazed at how quickly things went. One hour from pulling the gear out to putting the bucket away and cleaning up.
- I sanitized using 1 oz BTF Iodophor in the ~23L of water I had in the bucket. (I wanted to get lines for the 20L and 23L levels)
- I wished I had heated the opened can of extract in a pan of boiling water instead of a bowl of warm tap water to try to loosen up the extract, to make it easier to pour the extract. (Note: this step was not with the instructions on the can, but was in the instructions on the website, so I felt it was fair game.) That said, I'm glad I sanitized a scraper/spatula to get the rest of the extract out.
- I boiled 2L tap water, poured it in the bottom, then added the extract and the sugar. I stirred quite a bit to get the extract mixed, then topped off with tap water. I varied the tap water from very cold to luke-warm so I could get the wort to the 24C at 20L and 23L.
- I didn't have a great way to measure the S.G., so I sanitized a glass cup (and my hand in the process) and took an appropriate amount to pour into my hydrometer tube holder. That seemed to work well. O.G. was 1.041.
- I spread the yeast across the top and then gave a couple of good stirs with the spoon to mix it up. In no instructions did it say to mix in the yeast, so there's a deviation for you.
- The bucket is stored in my brew closet that has a small space heater set to 75F. I'll check the FG this weekend and hopefully bottle it.

Initial tasting thoughts: it's very bitter, as I expect from my wort. Otherwise, it's smooth and easy to drink. I look forward to seeing how it comes out.

As I'm sure Mark would like to hear, if this turns out well, I'll be buying more Cooper's extract kits in the future. The ease and simplicity of this brewing session, not to mention the affordable price of a kit, will quickly draw me back for more.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Feb 5th, 2008
1:13 am
I brewed my kit last weekend. This is what I did:
1. Drew up 5 gallons tap, added a campden tablet. Let sit overnight.
2. Next day brought 2 quarts tap RO water to boil, added extract and bag of sugar/malt, stired well then sat pan in ice bath.
3. Brought 5 gallons to boil, covered and let sit overnight to cool.
4. Next morning poured extract into 6.5 gallon carboy, added cooled water to 5 gallon mark.
5. opened yeast pack, poured contents in to beer.
6. Went to work.

Time spent brewing about an 2 hours spread over 3 days.
Stuff is bubbling away still.

Very easy and quick to brew.
Would like to see 11 gram packs of yeast instead of the small packs.
If this stuff turns out drinkable I will brew this way from time to time .
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: ToG
Feb 5th, 2008
1:47 am
I started things yesterday afternoon. Followed the package instructions exactly, except for warming the extract can in a sink of hot water. OG was 1040. After two years of all-grain, I had forgotten how quick it was to make beer from a kit! It's currently perking away in my fermentation chamber at 70F, smelling good.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: slacker
Feb 5th, 2008
3:00 pm
This is reassuring stuff to hear. My new job leaves me with less time to brew... this sounds like something I could even do on a weeknight. Granted, it's not as rewarding as making my own recipe from scratch... but it's still fresh beer to keep my taps occupied.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
Feb 5th, 2008
5:48 pm
Scott, thats exactly what I was thinking. My AG brew day is about 6 hours, with the kit its a couple of hours. I just bought a fixer up house that will occupy most of my weekends for a year or so. Don't want to come home after a hard day at the fixer upper and have to pop open a BMC.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Feb 17th, 2008
3:05 am
I bottled the Cooper's Bitter tonight. I was worried I wouldn't have enough bottles (since this was about 5L more than I usually bottle), but in the end I only had a yield of 56 bottles. I should have had 57, but I broke the neck on one while capping it.

My F.G. was 1.012 for a final ABV of 4.4% (per the Cooper's formula in their instructions). It was 1.014 on Thursday, so I hope I a) misread it on Thursday and b) it really stopped fermenting. Then again, it had been in the fermenter for 10 days on Thursday at 70-75F, so it should be done.

I really liked the carbonation drops. My only concern (unrealized, I believe) was forgetting to put one in a bottle.

The process still took me about an hour to an hour and a half, but not too shabby. And I did it alone, although usually my wife helps me. I'm really looking forward to getting my kegs setup (tomorrow??) to avoid most of that in the future.

While not related to the experiment here, I did try to harvest the yeast. I left a bit of beer in the bottom of the bucket and swirled it around before pouring it into a sanitized mason jar. Well, mostly pouring it. About half of the slurry (the yeast + beer + trub = slurry, right?) missed and went into the sink. But I've got about a half-liter of slurry in a mason jar with a loose lid sitting in my fridge to settle out. I'll see how that works and if I can build it up in the future and use it for another batch.

Lastly, I had a nice taste of it (naturally). I thought it was fantastic! In fact, I'm sorry it was only 4-6oz for a taster. It was clean, smooth, and lacked any kind of overpowering sweetness to it. If it doesn't carbonate, it'll still be a fantastic beer to drink.

I'll report back again when I crack open a bottle in a week.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Feb 22nd, 2008
11:54 pm
I went ahead and chilled a bottle this afternoon and tried one of these Cooper's Bitters. It came out fair. It's a bit early to break into it, but not per their directions. The carbonation was great, so I've got no qualms about using the Cooper's Carbonation Drops in the future. The flavor was much too similar to what I brewed in a Cooper's Stout Kit in Dec 06. It was still bitter but not in a hoppy bitter kind of fashion.

Maybe I'm just having an off day or the Sam Adams Brown Ale I had a few hours earlier tainted my perception. I'm also going to chill it a bit more to see if that helps out. I had it around 50F.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
Mar 1st, 2008
9:28 pm
I finally got around to brewing this kit today. I decided to wait a bit so that it'll be ready and in it's prime for the NCAA Basketball Tournament when I'll have lots of thirsty folks over.

Brewing:

I followed the instructions in this kit just like I would have if I was a first-time brewer. The instructions mention using 1KG sugar or 'other fermentables', but they never mention what other fermentables could be used or in what amount. So 1 KG of white sugar it is! I have tons of DME around, so maybe next time.

After some quick L => Gal calculations and a quick Star San batch, it was time to "brew". The instructions mention that I can use 2L of Boiling water or 4L of hot tap water. Wow, hot tap water? This sounds too good to be true. So, hot (135F) tap water it is. I filled to the 2 G mark with hot water and stirred as much as I could and then brought it up to 5 G then took a temp. reading. I was right on target so I kept filling to about 6 G with cool water and sprinkled the yeast on top. On goes the lid and into the closet it went.

That was SERIOUSLY easy. I can't tell you how terrible this beer is going to have to be in order for it to be 'not worth the effort'. From the time I decided to make this kit, to the time I was back on the couch was about 30 minutes. Most of that time was sanitizing. If this beer is 'good', then it's a rousing success.

I'll admit that I'm not the world's foremost expert in English Bitters, so my standards for this beer may not be as high as some other folks on this board. That said, I was amazed at how easy this beer was to make. I'll be kegging it as soon as it's done.

Thanks to Coopers for the kit; I'll report more when the beer is ready.

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Mar 1st, 2008
11:01 pm
Glad to hear someone else has taken the plunge and brewed the beer! While not quite as smooth as I might have hoped, the simplicity behind this beer has made me very, very happy. I'll do more kits. Now I just need to get my LHBS to carry Coopers and make Mark proud.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Mar 2nd, 2008
12:13 am
Good Afternoon Shannon,

Give the beer a little more time in the bottle, it will smooth out a bit more. I'm quite pleased that you find that there is a value to our kit. When asked by more advanced brewers about the quality of a Coopers beer kit beer vs using more advanced methodology, I always indicate that someone doing all-grain brewing is likely to make better beer (for a multitude of reasons), but there is a trade-off in time, equipment expense, space etc. Life is a series of trade-offs.

Good luck with your LHBS. There is a host of reasons why some shops won't stock us; better margins on more raw ingredients, personal bias towards advanced brewing...why, there are a couple of shop owners who just don't like me, I know, hard to believe . At any rate, Shannon, if procurement becomes an issue, let me know.

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
Mar 2nd, 2008
1:37 am
SimpleDad,

Glad to hear everything went as it should.

For the record, the Coopers Bitter isn't meant to emulate a British-style Bitter beer. I believe it is meant to emulate an Australian Bitter, ala Victoria Bitter, the best selling beer in the Melbourne region. I'm not sure if VB is designed to emulate a British-style Bitter. Although, in the time since this beer kit was originally introduced some 30 years ago, Coopers has come out with an "Australian Bitter" beer kit that is supposed to come even closer to emulating VB. I'm not that familiar with the commercial beer, so while the kit makes a good beer, I can't speak for if it achieves the desired effect (I mean besides being quite drinkable!).

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidPalm
Apr 29th, 2008
5:38 pm
Okay, I finally got around to brewing this batch on Friday, 11 April. I was planning on doing a regular all-grain batch that Saturday, but when I got home from work on Friday I realized there was just no way I was going to have time to brew the next day. But the family was at the library, so I thought what the heck, this is a perfect chance to try the Cooper's kit. Some beer is always better than no beer.

As others have said, this kit was super-easy to make. I pre-heated the can of malt extract for ease of pouring, then added half of the 1 kilogram package of "brewing sugar" (corn sugar and maltodextrin mix) that came in the box, then the prescribed amount of boiling water. I topped this up using my tap water, which was an experiment in itself. I'm on a well and I did not sanitize this water in any way before using it in this brew. My OG was 1.038. I used my new MixStir for the very first time to oxygenate, pitched the Cooper's dry yeast that came with the kit, and fermented at about 68 deg F. The whole process took me less than an hour--I had everything cleaned up and dinner started before the family got back.

I kegged this exactly two weeks later. FG was 1.012. The beer is much darker than I expected. Once I got it chilled and carbonated I took a taste and was very pleasantly surprised. It has a firm, balanced bittering and a prominent but nice molasses note. The body is light but not overly so--it's nice for such a low gravity beer. There is no hint of any infection problem from the well water.

I took this keg to church this past Sunday (our Mass is at 3 pm and we always have potluck supper afterwards). Serendipitously, we had a visiting priest who hales from Australia and he was very familiar with Cooper's products. Everyone who tried the beer enjoyed it. Certainly it'll be better in a few weeks when it smooths out, but for a two week old beer it's really quite nice.

I don't think this kit makes an award winning beer, but it's darn good--great for everyday drinking. It's the cat's pajamas for those times when you don't have time for an all-grain batch. Would I use a Cooper's product again? Absolutely.


I'll post on this with a few more details at my blog if you're interested: http://catholic-beer-review.blogspot.com
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Burp
May 16th, 2008
4:22 pm
I kegged this brew I guess towards the end of Feb. I don't take no stinkin notes.
It had a bite then, I bottled and served at a gathering of workers middle March. It had a bite then.
Wanting to free up refrig space, I bottled the reminder and sat them aside hoping time would heal the bite.

Popped open one last night, got to say it is dam tasty, no bite.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
May 16th, 2008
5:59 pm
Unfortunately, my batch was not as successful as anyone above. I followed the directions exactly as stated on the package; as much as I wanted this beer to turn out well, it simply didn't. The final result was undrinkable due to a very strong cider flavor. Maybe this had to do with the amount of sugar in it, or something else. I would have used DME or something else mixed in with the sugar, but the instructions on the package didn't give any guidelines on how much to use etc.

I'd be willing to try another one some time down the road if I was in a pinch, but at this point, I can't recommend this product to my friends.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
May 16th, 2008
6:50 pm
Hey Simpledad,

I'm sorry your experience was not what you had desired. Our goal is to make every experience with Coopers products a good one.

One of the issues I always confront with our product in the US is a regional difference in tastes and goals. The US is the only homebrewing market in the world where people brew primarily as a hobby, and not for economic reasons, although with the direction of beer pricing recently, that may change

The kit I sent out was a part of the Coopers Brewery Original Series of beer kits. These kits are designed with the Aussie/Canadian/British homebrewer in mind, meaning they are relatively cheap, and pretty easy to make, with an emphasis on relatively cheap. What makes them both is the amount of non-barley based sugar that is called for. This still works just fine for many US brewers, and does not work just fine for others. Which is why we designed the Brewmaster Selection Series, and Premium Selection Series beer kits (here comes the advertisement...it is my job after all). Both of these series are produced using style specific hops (like Styrian Goldings in the IPA, and Hallertauer in the Pilsner), and are packaged with stylistically appropriate yeast. And they don't call for 1kg of sugar. The Brewmaster Series actually recommends a blend of dextrose and dme, the Premium Series calls for 3.3lbs of Coopers Light Malt Extract. The guys in the brewery have designed these specifically to be used with the recommended addtions. (end of advertisement)

Don't give up on us Simpledad - you may still find that our kits are What to Brew, When You Don't Have Time To Brew (I'm testing out a new tag line).

Cheers

Mark Henry
Coopers Brew Products
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: simpledad
May 17th, 2008
5:00 am
Mark,

I seriously doubt that you would have tasted this beer and attributed it to regional tastes, but maybe I'm wrong; it's happened before. I really wanted the kit to make a beer I'd be able to drink, but it just didn't happen. The next time I'm at my LHBS I'll check out your other products and maybe give another one a try.

One suggestion, if you're going to provide an alternate method, provide complete directions of the alternate method. I would have used DME if it had told me how much to use. Additionally, I didn't see any mention of OG to the point where I could have figured it out.

I like the tagline.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Sabre_Fan
May 17th, 2008
6:37 am
While I didn't receive a kit from Mark, I did get one for Christmas from my in laws. A Canadian Blonde(not only a brew kit but a wife too

Anyway, process was quick, beer turned out good. Everyone that tried it enjoyed it. I did have to let it cold condition for a while, about 2 months, before I thought it was where it should be. But my tastes are inexperienced at this point. All in all, I'll be buying another one for when I want to get something in the bucket quick so I have some reserve beer.

As far as the directions go, if my memory is correct, which it seldom is, I think everything was good but they didn't say not to boil or to boil. But I may be way wrong, made it back in Jan.

Now back to my IPA on the burner.......
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
May 17th, 2008
11:52 am
You got a wife for Christmas? Was she wrapped?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: marklhenry
May 17th, 2008
2:11 pm
And I sure hope you got the extended warranty!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Sabre_Fan
May 19th, 2008
11:03 pm
I was informed of a "no return" policy from my father in law. Came as is, no warranty or guarantee. But so far so good.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Banjoman
Jul 20th, 2008
4:14 pm
This post is mainly for Mark Henry of Coopers,
I am a Mr.Beer enthusiast and several of my mrbeerfans.com brewers have used the Coopers kits with great effect.

"And don't even get me started with Mr. Beer........"

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that one can split a can of Coopers between two fermenters. If one wants an excellent Canadian Blonde IPA all they have to do is use the whole bloody can. I have tried it both ways and have had great success.

Please don't cut off your nose to spite your face...The great thing about Mr Beer is that there is a community of brewers out there that are continually experimenting to make a great beer. You could market yourself to take advantage of this willingness to try new things.

Thank You for providing us with an effective alternative.
BTW I pick up my Coopers Kits at Things Beer (my LHBS).
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: rhartman
Jul 23rd, 2008
5:34 pm
I have clearly stumbled on to this thread late, but have enjoyed it nonetheless.

I am the living embodiment of a new brewer as I have only made 2 batches thus far and it just so happens that my second batch was based on a Cooper's "Canadian Blonde" kit (I was somewhat tickled to see a "Canadian" style beer offered by an Australian brewery and couldn't resist). I prefer slightly more flavourful brews than you typically see in a local store, so I experimented by adding some Candy Sugar as well as steeping some 2-row Pale and adding that to the mix as well.

At the first tasting I thought it was simply my own pride and obvious bias but found the beer quite enjoyable. When my brother tasted some, his praise was much higher, claiming it was better than any store bought beer he had ever tasted. Consequently, my next batch will also involve a Cooper's Kit and my brother is planning to break into Homebrewing using a Cooper's Kit as well. Regional tastes are indeed different, but Cooper's manufactures an excellent beer/beer kit by any standard I can imagine.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidPalm
Jul 24th, 2008
1:17 am
Just to follow up on this as well, I've put my money where my mouth is and bought two cans of Cooper's Bitter, at the same time I was buying a 55 lb. sack of pale malt. Yeah, I brew ten gallon batches of all-grain beer whenever I can, but sometimes I just don't have five hours at a stretch. A friend to whom I was teaching the basics of brewing and I whipped up one of the Cooper's brews in well under an hour last week and it's bubbling down cellar. I thoroughly enjoyed the first batch and I look forward to sampling this one.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 24th, 2008
2:24 am
Denny speaks again!
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jul 24th, 2008
3:35 am
Chris what are you talking about?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 24th, 2008
3:54 am
The fact about Dennys little exerts(maybe not spelled correctly) on details....Is he so above all this that he cant get into details any longer...Maybe Im oversteping my boundries...b ut if this is a site on building better brewers....well maybe hes really busy??? All Im commenting about is he comes on and blurts a quick response without alot of educational tutorials,but then again maybe Im searching the wrong place for that?


"Everyone will tell you it is impossible because they really want to do it and will be jelous if you actually do it."...no freakin' way.... (In reference to Hypothetical Post!!) this is what I mean.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidPalm
Jul 24th, 2008
4:00 am
Please post when you're sober, okay?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 24th, 2008
4:02 am
How about you post when you get a brain
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DavidS
Jul 24th, 2008
4:08 am
OK, I understand now.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Blueflame
Jul 24th, 2008
4:16 am
Chris seem little ruff around the edges today what gives
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 24th, 2008
4:16 am
really? Youve seem to be a understanding or communitive brewer BB,i appreiciat that.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 24th, 2008
4:24 am
Hey Robert, excues me if I vent a little......I never sit by idle...If I dont like what I see,I say it like I feel, and If someone doesnt like that than thats their prob!or truth hurts,right. I dont hold any grudges so just talk with me and be an adult about it.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Blueflame
Jul 24th, 2008
4:48 am
Chris no problem just thought maybe some thing went wrong today may be could help with the venting part cheers
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: roosterjd
Jul 24th, 2008
4:49 am
OK, as one adult to another, there's a difference between "venting" and making snide comments. In three of your last four posts there have been indications that you DO have a beef with Denny.

In response to your questions about your water analysis, the questions you asked HAVE been answered. Maybe not by Denny but a lot of what I know has been gleaned from Denny and reading/sources/people he recommends.

the guys on here are EXTREMELY helpful and have improved my brewing 1000%. The answers don't all come from the person you asked, but the advice is usually right on the money.

This thread was about cooper's kits and unless I missed it, Denny didn't comment on it either. Let's end the hijack now.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 24th, 2008
5:04 am
I apologize Tex, for using your post, but its all the same........Jim, I really like the fact that you feel compelled to answer for denny....and as an adult I can acquit your comment.


"In response to your questions about your water analysis, the questions you asked HAVE been answered"
Not completely,although I dont believe Ive earned the response that Im looking for,but Im hoping.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: jtrainer
Jul 24th, 2008
2:50 pm
Chris, I'm not sticking up for Denny but below is the text of his only response to this long thread....

"The guy knows the kits they make. If they're hopped, especially with aroma hops, you don't want to boil. don't assume you know more than these guys who have been doing it a LOOOONNNG time. "

I'm not sure what experiment your refering to. No just above your post David Palm was running some sort of experiment using pale malt and coopers kits... did you mean to comment on David P?

I've been following this thread as I plan to give a couple of these kits to a cousin, but he has little interest in the hobby outside of drinking my beer....

Funny the "Change it up" thread didn't break down... why would a brewing thread break down...

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DConn
Jul 24th, 2008
5:39 pm
I didn't answer the post about water because there are people far more qualified than I am who can answer it. I (try) not to talk about what I don't know about.

As to brief responses, I work 2 jobs and try to post what I can when I can...if you don't like it, don't read it.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: TexBrewer
Jul 27th, 2008
8:10 pm
Man did not know this post would go on for so long. I was mad that day and just needed some honest feedback from folks with more knowledge than me. Now I have to hang my head in shame constantly remember of what could happen on a day you wake up with a hangover and decide to look at your e-mails.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: BrewerBob
Jul 27th, 2008
8:52 pm
"I work 2 jobs "

DC, I know you work in the studio....Is the gig at the Hult Center the second job? I thought they were one in the same in a way.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DConn
Jul 28th, 2008
3:41 pm
Nope, Hult Center and studio are totally different, other than I do audio at both. Today started at the studio at 7 AM, at the Hult 8:30-1:30, back to the studio til 4-5 afterwards.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: BrewerBob
Jul 28th, 2008
7:07 pm
Otay....so you multitask
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 29th, 2008
12:20 am
Doing what exactly?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DConn
Jul 29th, 2008
3:49 pm
"Doing what exactly?"....Who, me? Or Bob?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Chaselakebeer
Jul 29th, 2008
4:00 pm
Hey Dconn, what in the world did you do to P_ss off the new guy? I must have missed it.
Last I saw he was asking for help on the water thread, then bingo "The love was gone"

"Can't we all just get along"..............

CLB
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: DConn
Jul 29th, 2008
4:43 pm
I have no idea....
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 29th, 2008
6:08 pm
Not p_ssed off,just a little frustrated figuring out this site and the people on it which has been real good (all of you!) and if you didnt see my apology, I'll say it again. Didnt mean to stir the pot up so much,had a real s_itty day and wanted some answers and I know I could have done it better. Yes im the new guy and any help I recieve from you guys is appreciated sincerly...I have a long way to go here...I hope.

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Chaselakebeer
Jul 29th, 2008
6:22 pm
No worries Bud.......

Did you see on my profile that I am also in MN. Any HB clubs down there in Alex.

CLB
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 29th, 2008
6:35 pm
None! I even put an add in the paper trying to find some brewers in the alex area. no luck. I go to St Cloud for stuff,and joined their club for the discounts. Cloudy Town Brewers,but havent been able to go to a meeting. How about in your area?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Chaselakebeer
Jul 29th, 2008
7:02 pm
Nothing but lakes and mosquitoes here. My son went to tech. at st cloud. I bought some stuff from a LHBS there but I can't remember the name of it. I was many years ago. My daughter will be moving to St cloud this fall.

CLB
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: cheapBeersucks
Jul 29th, 2008
7:42 pm
Theres a newer store just off division st. across from the burger king,back behind old country buffet. Its actually a computer shop with some homebrew stuff....nothing real exciting. Its called Minco. Next time Im in the cities would like to stop at midwest supplies.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Chaselakebeer
Jan 19th, 2009
1:23 am
My buddy brought me one of these kits to make starter with and since I have some extract for starters I am going to make this kit tonight as per directions in the kit and I'll let you guys know.

You guys that made these kits from Mark Henry or bought them?

How did they turn out?

CLB?
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Ian
Jan 19th, 2009
2:11 am
I was one of the winners, and my results are as follows:

Pro: quick and easy to make! I ganged it with an all grain brew, and it only extended my brew day by an hour.
Con: Beer tuned out to be not really my cup of tea. My results were a bit watery and had a distinct molasses taste I wasn't into.

To be fair, I think I added too much liquid (I forgot that the syrup is going to take up volume, not having using extract in so long), and I couldn't keep the yeast in the 70+ range as the instructions noted. So, YMMV.

Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Chaselakebeer
Jan 19th, 2009
3:31 am
I made it into 5.5 gallons, I just hate not having 5 gallons in the keg, seems like a waste.........

That said I pitched at 74 degrees and put it in my closet, it's 64.6 in there right now. I followed all the directions but I just have to ferment cooler than the advised 70-80. That's just to high. IMHO.

Pros: It took less than 1 hour from start to clean up done.

Cons: when I tasted the hydrometer tube (1.046) The bittering was way back and sharp. Also the claim to fame for the no boil is aimed at aroma, I could smell none.

So we'll see......but one thing for sure making 5 gallons in an hour is awesome.

I really think this will not be so bad considering it was free except for 2.2# white sugar and whats that a buck or so. 2 cents per 12oz beer, Ya baby.........

CLB
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Shannon
Jan 19th, 2009
1:43 pm
Steve, my findings were the same as yours. I loved the speed of brewing. I thought the kit was overly bitter. I did just crack open a bottle from that batch that I brewed last March. It got a LOT better with time. I think that for a beer that was originally drank young, this needed to age a while.
Subject: Re: Was i wrong or is this guy just blowing smoke
Author: Chaselakebeer
Feb 11th, 2009
1:42 am
I felt I should update this even though the beer doesn't deserve it.

I fermented at about 64-68 for a couple weeks. FG is 1.011

I racked and fined it with gelatin and polyclar. Then crashed for a week.

I kegged it Saturday Feb 7th. Not impressed. I realize something might change but the bitterness is harsh and so far back it leaves a bad taste. The carmel/molasses is just hard to handle with no flavor hops. I their defense it would be hard to make a hopped malt with bitterness, flavor and aroma.

Not happy, glad I didn't pay for it. Sorry Mark, it's just not my thing. I would hate a new brewer to experience this and feel like this is what he could expect.

In all fairness I have to say the an IPA loving person might like the bitterness more than I

CLB

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