First adventures in home brew

Thomas Coopers Heritage Lager

Thomas Coopers Heritage Lager and fermenter

Howdy!

My friend Mikey and I have recently decided to start making home brew. In this blog, we’ll be documenting our brews, sharing what we’ve learned, and hopefully stimulating some discussion and just generally see what happens.

Today, Mikey and I made our first 23 litre batch using a fairly standard starter kit that you can get from most home brew stores. We figured this was a good place to start. The kit came with pretty much everything you need, including a can of Thomas Coopers Australian Lager mix. We made a smaller batch last weekend, but I’ll let Mikey get into that.

These mix cans are a great place to start because it makes the process very easy, albeit probably a little bit too simple. This way though we were able to concentrate on the most important part of home brewing: sterilization.

If you’re interested in getting into home brewing, remember: sterilize EVERYTHING. If any nasties get into your wort, your beer will not turn out. So stay clean and err on the side of caution.

So from there it was just pour the contents of the can into the fermenter with two litres of boiling water – remember, let the can sit in some hot water for about 10-15 minutes, it makes it pour much easier. Pour in some dextrose, fill the the fermenter to 23 litres and you’re pretty much done.

When filling the fermenter, make sure the water is at about 20-25 degrees C before pitching your yeast. And of course make sure everything is stirred thoroughly.

Before pitching your yeast, make sure to take a hydrometer reading to get the original specific gravity (OSG) of the wort. Today we got an OSG of 1.038. The higher the OSG, the higher the alcohol content of the final brew. 1.038 is not terribly high, but it’s pretty good, and we should get a final alcohol content of about 4.5-5.5% or so.

Following that, pitch your yeast, stir that in, put the lid on the fermenter, place your airlock and you’re done… The whole process took about 45 minutes, not counting some initial cleaning and sanitizing.

The instructions said that the fermentation process should take about 6-8 days, but we’re anticipating longer as it’s a bit cool at the moment. Once all of that is done, it’s time for bottling!

While we wait, Mikey has another fermenter at his house as well as the same Coopers kit we used today. Rather than adding the dextrose supplied, we’re planning on using a malt extract to bring out a little more flavor. We’ll report in after we brew that.

-Chas

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5 thoughts on “First adventures in home brew

  1. […] want to do some brewing this weekend.  If Mikey is available, we may do a lager similar to the big batch we did a few weeks ago, but tweaking the recipe slightly.  Alternatively, if I’m able to get enough apples, I might […]

  2. […] want to do some brewing this weekend.  If Mikey is available, we may do a lager similar to the big batch we did a few weeks ago, but tweaking the recipe slightly.  Alternatively, if I’m able to get enough apples, I might […]

  3. […] mentioned in my first post that there is story behind how I ended up wanting to home brew. Over the next few weeks I’ll […]

  4. […] and I both got the same starter kit that came with the same can of Thomas Coopers Heritage Lager.  We made my can first and followed the directions to simply add a kilogram of dextrose to the wort.  While the beer […]

  5. […] Thomas Coopers Lager #1: 5 bottles […]

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