Friday, 22 February 2013

Making the brew!

Again, no pictures of the process. Got a bit lost in it once I started, didn't want to make any mistakes and forgot about anything but making it right.

At least it should be right!
Basically the kit I got requires you to dissolve a can of treacle-like substance and 1kg of sugar in about 2 litres of boiling water to start with.
And so I approached the first unforeseen challenge: my kettle will only boil 1.7 litres at once...

My plan then became pouring the boiled 1.7l of water into the fermentation vessel along with the contents of the can, which I warmed in a water bath to loosen it a bit.
Then filled the kettle with enough water to refill the can and boiled that while I stirred the water and contents of the can which is now in the fermenting vessel to get it fully dissolved.

When the kettle reboiled the water was poured into the can and given a quick stir to get the majority of the remnants from it. It's horrifically concentrated so even a small amount will make a huge difference to the final outcome.

So once that was poured into the vessel too the 1kg of sugar in the "Brew Enhancer" was poured into the vessel and that was stirred to within an inch of it's life to make sure it was completely dissolved.

The vessel is filled up with cold/warm water from the tap until it was at the 23l mark. Pouring it in from a height means that there is plenty of air in the mixture which is always good for the yeast.

The gravity of the brew is checked before the yeast is pitched and on this my hydrometer reads 1.033 but it also reads 0.990 for our tap water so I guess that it's not terribly accurate. This isn't a big problem because it's consistently wrong so the change in gravity will still be accurate. 
(1.033 - 1.000 is the same as 1.041 - 1.008)

Once the yeast is pitched, that is sprinkled on the top, the lid goes on and away it goes!

A day or two into the fermentation and you can see the foamy head on the beer which is a sign that the yeast is fermenting and doing it's thing. You can probably just make out that there's condensation around the top too which is also a sign that the fermentation is on it's way.

Just have to leave it for about a week and a half to two weeks then start to check the gravity of the brew.

Once the gravity is consistent across two readings about 24h apart then it's ready for bottling!

Friday, 8 February 2013


So, the kit is here, all I have to do is clean and sanitise it so nothing contaminates my brew.
Easy, right?

Well... sort of.

There are easier ways to do this and if I had thought ahead I would have bought some of the vastly labour saving no-rinse sanitiser.

But I never.

So I used this:

29p for 2 litres... still can't decide if that amount of money saved is worth the hassle of having to rinse it but we shall see...

All I did was dilute it down at a rate of about... a glug per... some water... I didn't measure it very accurately as you might guess.

Leave this in contact with the equipment for half an hour or so, I just stuffed all of the gubbins, spoons and what not into the fermenting vessel (FV) and let it stew.

Rinse thoroughly, reeeeaaaally thoroughly... until not even a hint of chlorine can be smelt. Chlorine is what can make beer taste like TCP apparently so I was incredibly thorough. I feel I've something to prove to people who said it was silly to brew my own beer, this is going to be drinkable damnit!

That really was the most time consuming thing I think, rinsing time after time, I think it got about 5 thorough rinses in the end.

I'm not looking forward to doing this with the 40 or so bottles before I bottle the beer... there will be more pictures then of the process.

Wish me luck! O.o

Friday, 1 February 2013

Coopers DIY Brew Kit

How they package this box is utter magic.

Quite how they fit so much stuff into such a small box is beyond my comprehension.

The lid of the box lists the contents.

Wish I had found something to show the scale of the box... its not terribly big considering.

Inside the box:

The kit is meant to come with a Lager kit but the site I ordered it from allowed me to change it out for the Stout kit you can see there.

In the box there is a fermenting vessel which doesn't require an airlock, a beer kit with a pack of brewing sugar and everything needed to bottle the beer once it's done.

There are a few other little bits and pieces which are required such as a hydrometer and spoon. There's also some bits which aren't necessary but are a nice extra like a laminated log book and a dry wipe pen.

Altogether an excellent value box, I think. The beer is currently fermenting but next time I'll put up the process I used to sanitise the kit before I started. Probably going to be a bit light on pictures unfortunately, once I got started the taking of pictures left my mind completely. Nevermind!