So you have just purchased a Coopers Beer kit from BeerBros. Well done and thank you. You are about to embark on one of the best hobbies EVER……
There are detailed printed instructions included with each kit as well as a DVD, but to make everything as simple as possible, we wanted to walk you through the basic instructions in this post.
Before you start, some great advice I was given when I started brewing…..Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize and in case you are unsure SANITIZE. The importance of this cannot be understated. Make sure everything is sanitized including equipment, surfaces, hands, and anything else that comes into contact with the liquid that will eventually become your beer.
Step 1 – The Mix
Firstly, soak the tin of malt extract in hot water for 10 minutes or so. This will help soften the extract and loosen the label on the can.
Meanwhile bring 2 litres of water to a boil. Pour dry ingredients (fermentable sugars and/or brew enhancers) into your fermenting vessel and then add the 2 litres of boiled water to dissolve.
Once dissolved, add the contents of the brew tin and mix thoroughly.
Then add water to the 20 liter mark. Stir and check the brew temperature. Try to use bottled water and not tap water, as the chlorine in tap water may change the taste of your beer).
The resulting mixture is referred to in professional beer making terms as your “wort”. Top up to the 23 liter mark with cold or hot water as required to get your brew temperature in the 21ºC – 27ºC range, making sure to check the adhesive thermometer on the side of your fermenter.
The Krausen Kollar can be set in place at this time.
Once the desired temperature has been reached, you may add the yeast. Sprinkle the dry yeast evenly over the surface or stir liquid yeast into the brew. Then fit the lid and attach clips to keep the fermetor air-tight.
Step 2 – Brew
Test the original gravity (OG) of your Coopers beer kit, by drawing the brew from the tap to half-fill the sample tube (hydrometer tube) and chuck down the sink (yes it pains me throwing beer away but it’s necessary for the first time). Then draw sufficient amount of brew to float the hydrometer. Read the gravity scale at the meniscus (the line where the liquid and hydrometer meet – we do like to use big words from time to time) and record the figure on your Brewer’s log.
Although your Coopers beer kit malt extract and yeast can ferment at very high temperatures (as high as 27° celsius), keeping the brew at the lower end of the recommended range (even as cool as 18° celsius), will result in cleaner flavours and aromas.
Allow it to ferment for 5 -12 days.
At 24 hours in the fermetor, you should see a foamy head forming (known as a the krausen).
Around day 3, when the foam has subsided, remove the Krausen Kollar for cleaning.
Take a hydrometer reading every 2 days, and you will know the fermentation has come to an end when you have 2 consecutive days of identical hydrometer readings.
That last hydrometer reading is also referred to as your Final Gravity (FG).
Even though the primary fermentation is complete, it is acceptable, if not desirable to leave the “wort” to sit in the fermenter for a few extra days before bottling, so the brew has a chance to chill out and settle.
Step 3 – Bottle
If your bottles are already clean (remember SANITIZE, SANITIZE, SANITIZE), soak your bottles for 10-15 minutes in your sink with a solution of 7 litres (doesn’t have to be exact) and 1 TBS of Coopers Brewery Sanitizer (or a no rinse sanatizer like Iodiphor). Rinse them well and put them upside down in your dishwasher to drain.
Carefully place your fermenter on you kitchen counter near the dishwasher and attach your bottling valve to the fermenter. Once you are certain the bottling valve is firmly attached, open the spigot on the fermenter. The bottling valve should hold without leaking.
Once your bottles have fully drained, in one bottle, put 1-2 Coopers Carbonation Drops (1 drop for 345-375ml and 2 Drops for 740-750ml ) into the bottle and move the bottle up the filler. Once the valve touches the bottom of the bottle, your bottle will begin to fill up with beer.
Just before the beer reaches the top of the bottle, move the bottle in a downward motion removing it from the bottle valve, then screw on the cap. Repeat this with each bottle until all are filled.
To Calculate approximate % alcohol: (OG-FG) ÷ 7.46 = Approximate percentage of alcohol by volume (ABV).
Step 4 – Enjoy
We recommend leaving your bottles to condition at or above 18°C for at least 2 weeks (longer if you can wait that long). While the brew is drinkable after 2 weeks in the bottles, you may find that your brew benefits from further conditioning. The general consensus has been around 3 months, but we never could wait that long. During that time, we would also recommend tasting a beer every couple of weeks while in the bottle. This will help you to familiarize yourself with the flavour changes and determine where your preferences lie. We know it’s hard, but the longer you leave it, the better the beer becomes.
Your Next Batch
Once you are hooked, don’t forget that refill kits, brew enhancers and fermantable sugars are available from our online store, And remember BeerBros offers free delivery to Durban, Hillcrest, Kloof and Umhlanga areas. We also offer delivery to any location in South Africa at reasonable rates.