Want more control over your recipes, but with the ease and time savings of a kit? Start with malt extracts. Mix and match to build a recipe, add some hops, and you have the perfect brew.
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10/20/2008 -- I made a batch of beer using Muntons American Style Light Beer. I put the packet of yeast on top, let it sit for ten
minutes and stired it in.It has been 17hrs later and no bubbles or fermentation has started.What to do now?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: When you have yeast that doesn't start within 24 hours of pitching, it could be any of several problems. The yeast may have been too old. The temperature of the wort may have been too hot. There may not have been sufficient nutrients or sugars for the yeast to start. The best fix is to get a fresh yeast packet, and start it in a pint of sugar water at a temperature between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit. Add a teaspoon of yeast nutrient, and let the mixture sit in a covered jar overnight. You should see foam on top the next morning, indicating active yeast. At this point you can add it to the wort and be relatively sure it will show activity in the wort within 12 to 24 hours. If after 24 hours there is not activity, then you may have an unintentional ingredient (such as cleanser or disinfectant) in the wort that is killing the yeast.
1/19/2008 -- I have a 3.3 lb. can of your CBW malt extract("golden Light") that I purchased 3 years ago. My questions: One, is this still usable without much flavor lost, and two, should I add hops for a "true beer" flavor? Thanks
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Hi Ray. An excellent question. I've brewed "old" malt several times with mixed results. Check the can. If it's not rusting around the seams, and it isn't starting to bulge (any more than the normal bulging that always seems to accompany liquid malts) the malt should be safe to brew. Yes, I would add hops depending on the recipe you are trying to emulate. For American light lager, I recommend an ounce of Cascade or Northern Brewer for 30 minutes in the boil. You would need to check a recipe for other styles as they are too numerous to list here (I use the HBD database at http://hbd.org/brewery/gambmug/gambmug.shtml)
What I have found in my own experience is that the older the malt is, the stronger the change in flavor. You will experience some loss of flavor overall with a slight addition of the harsher after tastes. The oldest malt I ever brewed from a can was just over 7 years old and I could detect a slight tinny flavor in the aftertaste of the beer, although the overall flavor was still decent.
5/22/2007 -- What is the best type of sugar to put into the wort?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Corn sugar is better than table sugar, as table sugar tends to give the finished beer a cidery after taste. Honey is also a good sugar.
3/12/2007 -- How much dry malt extract is needed for 5 gallons?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: If building the recipe from scratch, we recommend between 5 and 8 pounds of dry malt depending on the style of beer you are making. If you are blending with a canned kit, we recommend 3 pounds.
Use light or pale if you are making any type of light beer, lager, pale, or red/amber ale. Use amber if you are making a brown ale, bock, Octoberfest, barleywine, or similar style. Use dark only for porters, stouts, and some specialty beers.
3/12/2007 -- What type of malt extract to I need for Coopers Lager?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: We recommend using 3 lbs (dry) or 3.3 lbs (liquid) light or pale malt extract to bring the canned kit to a 5-gallon batch strength.
10/17/2006 -- I got an Ironmaster Stout and Porter Kit for my birthday, but was wondering if is recommended to add any hops if brewing this with another can of malt to make a 5 gallon batch?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: There is no need to add any hops, as the kits are formulated for the 5-gallon standard.
Of course, if you prefer your beers a little hoppier than "standard", you should feel free to do so. If that's the case, I would recommend no more than an ounce of Fuggle 45 minutes in the boil, and probably a half-ounce would boost it enough for most folks, for either the porter or the stout.
8/22/2006 -- I was given a Muntons Pilsner kit and it calls for adding 2.2 pounds of sugar. I am new to brewing and want to know what kind of sugar to use and if I can use corn sugar.
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Yes, not only can you use corn sugar, but we encourage it. Using table sugar (cane or beet) tends to give a cidery taste to the finished beer, and using fructose or lactose will tend to sour it. Corn sugar will add the appropriate amount of fermentable to get the correct alcohol rating without altering flavor or body. You could also use 2.2 pounds of malt extract to give a richer, fuller bodied flavor if you prefer.
8/20/2006 -- This is my 1st attempt at homebrewing. I got the EDME red ale in two 4lb cans. Do I need some sort of sugar to add with the kit?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Each can of the Edme is balanced to produce 2.5 to 3 gallons of beer with no additional ingredients required. Most brewers will add three pounds of malt extract or corn sugar in order to produce a 5-gallon batch. With two cans of Edme Red Ale, you can do one of two things. You could either brew them together to make a 6-gallon batch, or you could brew them separately with additional malt extract added to each to make two 5-gallon batches.
For red ales, my recommendation for additional malt would be 3-pounds of the liquid amber. Corn sugar will make for slightly less body in the finished product, but is also less expensive as an additive.
5/3/2006 -- Priming 5 gallons of beer with honey instead of corn sugar for better head sounds great, but how much honey would I use?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: A good rule of thumb when priming is 1-1/3 cup DME = 1 cup sugar = 3/4 cup honey. You can use that conversion and adjust your honey amount for whatever priming agent your recipe calls for. I generally recommend between 2/3 cup and 3/4 cup honey for most beers.
4/17/2006 -- When selecting a priming agent, why does honey give a better head retention than malt or corn sugar?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: There are a couple reasons. First, honey is made up of complex sugars that take the yeast a longer time to break down. As a result, the carbonation profcess is slower resulting in a more thoroughly absorbed CO2. Second, honey contains a large concentration of acids and proteins that are missing or available in smaller amounts from other priming agents. The protein content in particular provides more body when used as a fermentable, and consequently more body in the head when used to prime with. Finally, stir sugar or dry malt extract into water and see how thick it gets... then look at honey - the high viscosity translates directly to the quality of the head in the finished product.
4/17/2006 -- Have you ever heard of chili pepper beer? Do you have a recipe?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Yes, I have heard of it, and in fact have sampled several. I have come to the personal conclusion that chili peppers are to be enjoyed WITH a beer rather than IN a beer, but hey - who am I to judge?
Try this recipe. Substitute a jalapeno for the green chili for a more "vibrant" taste.
1/2-lb crystal malt
3.3-lb light LME
3.3-lb amber LME
2-oz cascade hops
1 lb roasted green chili
1 packet ale yeast
Crack the grains and place them in a gallon of cool water. Apply heat to slowly raise to a boil. At the start of the boil, remove the grains and add the LME, honey, and hops. Boil for one hour. Pasteurize chili peppers by soaking them in 160F-170F water. At the end of the boil, strain the wort and the chili peppers (with the water) into a fermenter and add chilled water to bring up to 5 gallons.
4/17/2006 -- Just curious... is there a natural way to make green beer? ...without adding the food coloring?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: My partner and I tried for years to produce a naturally green beer with horrid results. The closest we got was a green champagne, when we pushed it through copper tubing in a jockey box on a really hot day (the acid in the champagne caused copper to leech into the beverage, rendering it really nasty tasting and somewhat poisonous).
We did find one article online that claimed to have a "green" beer. Imagine our surprise when we found out that "green" meant it was brewed in a solar-powered brewery.
4/17/2006 -- I want to try malting my own barley. What would you suggest as a good resource?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: There are a number of good resources on the market. The magazine "Brew Your Own" has published some great articles in the past - look for them online at byo.com. Some good books include "Malts and Malting" by Dennis E. Briggs, which talks about it from the commercial perspective, but includes a great section on chemistry/biology and another on methods; "The Homebrewer's Garden" by Joe and Dennis Fisher has a 30-page chapter on growing and malting your own grains; "The Biotechnology of Malting and Brewing" by James S. Hough, which has several chapters on the malting process.
1/4/2006 -- A friend gave me one of your Cooper Stout kits for Xmas, and I'll be brewing my first ever batch of beer with it. However, the instructions that came with it don't say anything about boiling it... they just say to add boiling water to it and then fill the fermenter the rest of the way with cold tap water. Is this the correct way to use these kits?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Coopers makes an entire line of what they call "no boil" kits. In truth - nearly every malt extract could be billed as "no boil" because the mashing process (converting starches to sugars) is already done and the malt was already boiled down to create the extract.
However, I have found through practice that if I don't boil at least 15-20 minutes in 4-6 quarts of water, I never get the malt liquidy enough to completely mix with the water. The result then is that the malt sinks to the bottom of the fermenter, and I don't get complete fermentation. By boiling, I ensure that the malt is evenly distributed in the fermenter, and the end-result tastes much better.
There are some people who also contend that you should always boil because boiling, even for a few minutes, kills all bacteria; and that ensures that you start with a sterile batch.
I recommend boiling 6 quarts of water, remove from the burner, add the malt, stir until liquified, then return to the burner for 15 minutes. Watch the pot, and stir constantly in the beginning, because the malt will foam up. Use a big pot (16-quarts or larger) to avoid boil-over. As the foam rises, you can also lift the pot off the burner and it will subside. This is called "hot break". After boiling, I recommend adding at least a gallon if chilled water to your fermenter. Then pour in the boiled wort (beer that isn't beer yet), then fill up with more chilled water. That lowers the temperature of the beer so the yeast isn't shocked. Also, for a five-gallon batch, I usually fill to 5 gallons plus a quart. You will lose a little liquid at the end when you siphon the beer out, since there will be a yeast sediment layer in the bottom of the fermenter that you will leave behind.
7/28/2004 -- Do you sell Coopers home brew starter packs with all the essential gear for brewing and bottling etc?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: We carry the True Brew or Brewers Best starter pack for equipment. Both have all the equipment you need to get started (except a brew pot.)
We do carry a complete line of Coopers liquid-malt ingredient kits as well as Coopers unhopped liquid malt extracts. Look in the section labeled 'malts, grains, and extracts', and select "Beer Kits by Brandname" for the Coopers kits. Select "Malt Extracts" to find the unhopped LME.
1/21/2004 -- I heard that corn sugar is best to prime with. My first batch will be 2.5 gallons. If I am using sixteen 16oz glass bottles, what is the water to sugar ratio for each bottle? Also what is the water to sugar ratio for the 2.5 gallons?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: Corn sugar is not necessarily the best priming agent, but it is the most common and least expensive. Other options are honey, dry malt extract, and forced gas. "Best" really depends on what you're looking for in head consistency and retention.
That said, a 2.5 gallon batch would use about half a cup of corn sugar dissolved in a quart of boiled water. Put the priming solution into a sterile bottling bucket and siphon the beer out of the fermenter into the bottling bucket, leaving the sediment behind and making sure the fluids mix thoroughly.
If you want to do it "by the bottle" for 16oz bottles, use a level 1/4 teaspoon of corn sugar in each bottle. Just put it in the bottle dry and fill the bottle with the beer. It will eventually dissolve in the beer and allow it to carbonate. Be advised that with this method, it is possible to get beer that is over or under carbonated due to inconsistencies in the amount of sugar. One other option is "carbonation drops". These are little pellets of candied sugar designed to be dropped one-per-bottle, and dissolve over a day or two. They have a consistent amount of sugar in each drop to make things easier on the brewer.
7/1/2003 -- I recently dug out my home brew equipment stored since 1994. Inside were two cans of Muntons light malt extract. Whadya think? Should I try to use it?
Response From The Home Brew Store Dot Com: I can say from experience that it is possible to use really old malt when brewing. I can also say that while it works, it will not produce the same product that fresh malt would. Here are some things to look for: Is there any rust or corrosion around the edge of the can (where the rim meets the side)? If so, there may be oxidation of the liquid malt. Is the can bulging at all? If so, bacteria may have gotten in. While the bacteria can be killed by boiling, if it included wild yeast you may have some off-flavor from wild fermentation. If you open the can, is there any "solid" material floating on top of the liquid? If so, you may have crystalization. This can be cleared up by boiling. Finally, just being in contact with the sides of the can for that long may lend a slightly metallic taste to the malt. This can be partially overcome by blending the malt with fresh malt in a batch, or covered by brewing a high-hop beer or a clove beer.
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In any case, boil the malt in a gallon of water for at least 30 minutes before adding to any batch you brew, just to minimize the effects of any of the negatives. Also, be prepared for a finished beer that doesn't necessarily taste as good as it might with fresh malt.
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