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doc280

Dividing Coopers Dark Ale, let's do this.

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Ok, a month ago I was in Lowes Food and they had Mr Beer Kits on sale for $9.95 and this got me thinking about brewing some beer. Anyway I left with three kits, two Churchhill Ale and one American Lager. I am keeping everything simple, by following the directions and by what I have read here. Three weeks fermenting, three day cold crash, sample taste, (umm flat but taste really good) and into the bottles for a least a four week stay.

 

So since I have all three brews going I was looking for a brown ale to brew up ( I did not mention but I love brown ales ) and I come across Coopers Dark Ale and read their Brew Enhancer 2 works well with it (calls for brew enhancer 3, but I could not locate that one).

This kit makes 23 liters or 6 gallons in American talk, so I plan on dividing the contents of the kit three ways, using my LBKs. The Coopers kit comes with a 7g pack of yeast, should I pitch this packet in one LBK and purchase additional yeast or divide the packet three ways? Dividing it just seems like there would not be much yeast in each LBK, but again it must be enough to make 6 gallons because it is what they provide. Hell I don't know any thing about yeast, expect for my fermenting temp. 72f requires an ale yeast, only reason I know this is because it is printed everywhere, but never how much is to much or to little.imageproxy.php?img=&key=c4b820ad04ea323f

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Well, I have split Coopers 6 gal refills among  3 LBKs several times with no problem.

That dark ale makes a nice beer like a pub "mild".

The 7g of Coopers yeast will do it if it is fresh. What I have done is to try it and see if I get some fermentation in 24 hours. If not, then add more yeast. If it starts I would leave it alone. When I have had old yeast, I just used more of it for one LBK and other yeast in the other LBKs.  I did not have that issue with the Dark Ale though. Be prepared for it not to  be as as crazy active as the Mr Beer yeast though - it is still OK.

Likely you will be OK. I would just split it & see. If the yeast takes longer to get going or is "underpitched" you will get more yeast added flavors which should be OK in a brown beer.

 

Using the Brew enhancer 2 instead of the 3 will result in the beer being just a touch less malty I believe but should be good. I did not have the brew enhancer so I used dried Pilsen malt and booster in the equivalent proportions. If came out fine.

 

You may find the yeast easier to split if you mix it with water first. Maybe some amount easy to divide by 3 like 1.5 cups then add 1 tsp sugar to the water and then the  yeast. I would use boiled water cooled to room temp. and put it in a measuring jug and cover it. After a couple of hours or more you should see some bubbles forming. Then stir it up to mix evenly and have none at the bottom and then divide equally among the LBKs. You may find after adding all the water, malt, etc. to the LBKs they are still a bit warm, so you would need to wait until they are cooler anyway to add the yeast (like below 80 deg.). The Cooper's instructions say to add yeast if wort is below 90 deg, but better to let it cool more. And the LBKs cool pretty fast.

 

That recipe will make a beer around 3.5% which is a nice mild dark session beer but not particularly strong tasting. I actually made my 3 LBKs different recipes by making additions to 2 of them and leaving one standard. Doing again, (I have 2 more I got on sale) I would make all standard. My additions were stronger  and more hoppy but I liked the original more. I have more to do and will likely make them standard recipe.

 

If you want it stronger add 8 oz Dried malt for added 1% ABV. Light malt is OK  or you can use booster too if you have that.

Hops are a bit more tricky, as they can really change the flavor and may conflict with the "mild beer" flavor. Still, it depends what you like :-D.

 

What I did was not to make all of it in 1 pot, but I first used about 6 cups boiling water to dissolve the HME then split that between the LBKs using a ladle after putting the 4 qts. cold water in each. (careful not to drip over everything). I figured it would be tough to measure evenly from the can - lol. Then I dissolved the dried malt (or brew enhancer) but I did this for 1 LBK at a time weighing it out to make it easier to manage and dissolving each batch before adding to its LBK.  Of course if you are using 1 packet and dividing equally you may not need  to weigh, you can divide using measuring cups. Then also if you are making each LBK different you can customize at this stage.

 

If you like these Cooper's refills, you may find getting one of the MR B 6 Gal fermenters easier, although I personally can't manage one that big. The 2 gal ones are just so handy to move about..

 

 

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Thanks for the information. I will be dividing the contents and will be starting each LBK one week apart. This way I do not run into any space conflicts during the brew process. When I open the yeast and divide it, will putting the unused portions in a zip lock and placed in the refrigerator, save it? Expiration date 04/18.

 

By the way I will not be moving up to larger equipment, as it would be to much a hassle to move around. By the way the plastic bins I am using, makes moving the LBKs even easier to move around, catch an mess, just in case a disaster happens, and I mix my no rinse sanitizer in them.

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Dividing 7g of yeast into three LBKs will be challenging, since you won't be pouring out more than 2g each time.   I split a packet of 11 grams in 1/2, but I do that at time of brewing, pouring 1/2 onto a coffee filter on my gram scale and stopping at just over 5g, then doing the same with the 2nd half.  If one ends up over, I gently tap some to the other filter.

 

If you're not using it for another week, you cannot do that - the yeast will get contaminated.  So, if you have a scale that will show 2g, then you could tap onto a sanitary surface and hope you don't go over. then fold and seal the packet and refrigerate it.  Good luck getting that right.   

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1 hour ago, RickBeer said:

Dividing 7g of yeast into three LBKs will be challenging, since you won't be pouring out more than 2g each time.   I split a packet of 11 grams in 1/2, but I do that at time of brewing, pouring 1/2 onto a coffee filter on my gram scale and stopping at just over 5g, then doing the same with the 2nd half.  If one ends up over, I gently tap some to the other filter.

 

If you're not using it for another week, you cannot do that - the yeast will get contaminated.  So, if you have a scale that will show 2g, then you could tap onto a sanitary surface and hope you don't go over. then fold and seal the packet and refrigerate it.  Good luck getting that right.   

I was thinking of sanitizing a mirror, razor blade and creating three equal lines ( I believe I saw this done on tv once). One line in the first LBK and the two other lines of yeast into there own bag, to the refrigerator. Do you think this might work without contaminating the yeast?

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43 minutes ago, doc280 said:

I was thinking of sanitizing a mirror, razor blade and creating three equal lines ( I believe I saw this done on tv once). One line in the first LBK and the two other lines of yeast into there own bag, to the refrigerator. Do you think this might work without contaminating the yeast?

Dont you have a homebrew store near you? Just go buy another pack of yeast?

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5 minutes ago, Creeps McLane said:

Dont you have a homebrew store near you? Just go buy another pack of yeast?

I do have two places, just trying to follow Coopers directions and work with in the confines of space and the three LBKs I have. I don't want to over pitch or under pitch. Are not the packs of dry yeast I am going to find at my local shop going to be sized for 5 gallons and therefore going to have to be divided too? 

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1 hour ago, doc280 said:

I was thinking of sanitizing a mirror, razor blade and creating three equal lines ( I believe I saw this done on tv once). One line in the first LBK and the two other lines of yeast into there own bag, to the refrigerator. Do you think this might work without contaminating the yeast?

 

I remembering seeing that in the documentary film "Airplane".

 

 

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Yes, the dry packs are 11g so I typically use 1/2 a pack, although you can use 1 full pack, the beer will just ferment faster, giving you a "cleaner " tasting beer. (I always use a full pack on lagers even in 1 LBK)

Overpitching and under pitching are techniques for  modifying beer taste that way. The yeast makes a lot of flavor during initial growth phase. If you put a lot in then the growth phase is shorter.

For the dark ale you probably don't want to overpitch  but  1/2 pack (5g or so is probably OK.)

You don't have to be terribly accurate, the yeast cells will not revolt at you. I generally distribute the yeast in the pack in such a way before opening it that I can fold the pack and get about half the powder either side of the fold. Then I slice the end off and empty one half of it out. Then I reseal it with scotch tape folded over the cut end. Then you would want to store the half in the freezer preferably.

Best not to empty it all out unless you are using it all.

Looking at the amount Coopers give you., one Fermentis packet would do  3 LBKs at least that rate. So that should encourage you.

Fermentis 11g    at their suggested  rate of 50-80g/100 liters (26.4 gal),  11 g  will ferment  3.6 to 5.8 gals  - so good for 5 gal (except  some beer requiring a lot of over pitching) , definitely 2 LBKs and barely 3.

Cooper's  7g  for 6 gal --> ~ 2g per LBK

Mr Beer   5g   for 2 gal  --> 5g per LBK

 

So it does look like Coopers is pitching yeast at the low end, but then maybe Australians like fruity beers. (Any comments on that?)

 

The other thing is - if you don't know what it is supposed to taste like, you can only go by what you like. :lol:

 

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3 hours ago, Nickfixit said:

Yes, the dry packs are 11g so I typically use 1/2 a pack, although you can use 1 full pack, the beer will just ferment faster, giving you a "cleaner " tasting beer. (I always use a full pack on lagers even in 1 LBK)

Overpitching and under pitching are techniques for  modifying beer taste that way. The yeast makes a lot of flavor during initial growth phase. If you put a lot in then the growth phase is shorter.

For the dark ale you probably don't want to overpitch  but  1/2 pack (5g or so is probably OK.)

You don't have to be terribly accurate, the yeast cells will not revolt at you. I generally distribute the yeast in the pack in such a way before opening it that I can fold the pack and get about half the powder either side of the fold. Then I slice the end off and empty one half of it out. Then I reseal it with scotch tape folded over the cut end. Then you would want to store the half in the freezer preferably.

Best not to empty it all out unless you are using it all.

Looking at the amount Coopers give you., one Fermentis packet would do  3 LBKs at least that rate. So that should encourage you.

Fermentis 11g    at their suggested  rate of 50-80g/100 liters (26.4 gal),  11 g  will ferment  3.6 to 5.8 gals  - so good for 5 gal (except  some beer requiring a lot of over pitching) , definitely 2 LBKs and barely 3.

Cooper's  7g  for 6 gal --> ~ 2g per LBK

Mr Beer   5g   for 2 gal  --> 5g per LBK

 

So it does look like Coopers is pitching yeast at the low end, but then maybe Australians like fruity beers. (Any comments on that?)

 

The other thing is - if you don't know what it is supposed to taste like, you can only go by what you like. :lol:

 

Ok, I am learning something here, so please bear with me. If I proceed like you have done, but instead of half, doing a third or close, sealing the pack, in the freezer, I more then likely will be ok? Also when it is time to pitch the yeast for the second batch and the yeast is removed from the freezer, do I let it warm up to room temp or pitch it cold?

I find your comments about the smaller amount of yeast creating a fruit taste interesting, I loved New Castle Werewolf, because it had a fruit note to it, but alas, none to be found the last few years.

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@doc280 am I understanding you right that you will not be brewing the full batch at once and then splitting the wort between the 3 lbks? How are you looking to protect the Extract and booster in between brewing cycles? How are you measuring out how much to use per brew? If your intent is to split the brewing of one extract and one booster into three different brewing days I would HIGHLY recommend NOT doing that as you raise the risk infection astronomically.  Every time you open and expose any of the ingredients to the open air the probability of catching an infection increases. My recommendation is either wait until you have all 3 lbks available at the same time and do a single brew session splitting into the 3 lbks or get a 6.5 or 7 gallon fermenter and going as a single fermentation. 

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45 minutes ago, hotrod3539 said:

@doc280 am I understanding you right that you will not be brewing the full batch at once and then splitting the wort between the 3 lbks? How are you looking to protect the Extract and booster in between brewing cycles? How are you measuring out how much to use per brew? If your intent is to split the brewing of one extract and one booster into three different brewing days I would HIGHLY recommend NOT doing that as you raise the risk infection astronomically.  Every time you open and expose any of the ingredients to the open air the probability of catching an infection increases. My recommendation is either wait until you have all 3 lbks available at the same time and do a single brew session splitting into the 3 lbks or get a 6.5 or 7 gallon fermenter and going as a single fermentation. 

Coopers, on their web sight has information on dividing the extract and the enhancer. With the recommendation of bringing the used parts to a boil before use, to kill any creatures. Only part I could not locate was the yeast part.

 

All my preparation, cold crashing and bottling occurs downstairs in the kitchen and fermenting and carbonation occurs in an upstairs closest. So larger setup will not happen. The reason for the week apart on each LBK is for the fact I have only room for one LBK in the refrigerator, for cold crash and Monday's work well with my schedule.

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10 hours ago, Shrike said:

 

I remembering seeing that in the documentary film "Airplane".

 

 

I knew I saw it somewhere....you are good to remember this scene and find it .... too funny. 

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Ok, taking into consideration all the suggestions and everything I read and the conversation I had with a Coopers representative I have decided to go forward.

 

I washed and sanitized all items used to divide the extract and brew enhancer.

 

I will be doing three batches, Dark Ale 1, Dark Ale 2 and Dark Ale 3. Dark Ale 1 will be made into wort minutes after the division, Dark Ale 2 one week later and Dark Ale 3 one week after Dark Ale 2. So each, a week apart and DA 2 and DA 3 extract will be kept in the refrigerator.

 

The Coopers extract I placed in hot water for 30 minutes. This made it very easy to just pour into the three, 2 cup size, bowls. The bowls turned out to be the perfect size, as the extract comes up to the brim leaving just enough room to seal it with the lid.

 

The brew enhancer would have been easier to divide, but mine was hard as a brick, so I had to break it apart first. Once broke up I divide it three ways in zip lock bags, by weight. Just storing these in my brew closet until needed.

 

The yeast, I did not use my mirror and razor blade to make three equal lines. Most opinions, I received, did not like the idea. Most suggested I arrange the yeast, in the pack, so I could pour out about a third of the contents and as long as I was close, with my division, everything would be good. After pitching DA 1, I folded the packet over and sealed it with tape. Then I tossed the packet in a small "Angry Birds" snack bag and in the the refrigerated. I will let it warm up when come time to pitch DA 2 and DA 3.

 

Making the wort, I am mixing the brew enhancer in with the 4 cups of cool water and then bringing it to a slow boil. Flame out and then add the extract. Then just follow the Mr. Beer instructions to the LBK for fermentation.

 

Each batch will go through the following:

Three weeks fermenting in the LBK.

Three days cold crashing.

Four weeks carbonation and conditioning.

Three days in the refrigerator before enjoying..... a least this is my hope.

Of course there was one message I received which said I was an idiot for doing this and I was going to die a torturous and immediate death.............wondering how this torturous and immediate death thing works........ lets find out.

 

 

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It sounds wonderful and I think you solved the division problem nicely.

I think the only way you can suffer is if it is SOOO good you just can't stop and you run out of cold bottles.

The tortuousness comes in finding frantic ways in desperation to cool the next one.:lol:

This will be a nice easy drinking beer. Let it warm up a tad, from the 38 deg fridge. 50-55 is good for it. so leave the bottle out for maybe 15-20 min before opening.

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On 9/10/2017 at 7:29 PM, Nickfixit said:

It sounds wonderful and I think you solved the division problem nicely.

I think the only way you can suffer is if it is SOOO good you just can't stop and you run out of cold bottles.

The tortuousness comes in finding frantic ways in desperation to cool the next one.:lol:

This will be a nice easy drinking beer. Let it warm up a tad, from the 38 deg fridge. 50-55 is good for it. so leave the bottle out for maybe 15-20 min before opening.

Sure hope you are correct.

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I had to wait until today to get batch DA 2 going. I removed the yeast, from the refrigerator a few hours before starting, to let it warm up. I removed the extract, from the refrigerator one hour before starting. Followed the steps I used with batch DA 1. So DA 1 and DA 2 are in the brew closet and I will get DA 3 up there next week.

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3 hours ago, doc280 said:

I had to wait until today to get batch DA 2 going. I removed the yeast, from the refrigerator a few hours before starting, to let it warm up. I removed the extract, from the refrigerator one hour before starting. Followed the steps I used with batch DA 1. So DA 1 and DA 2 are in the brew closet and I will get DA 3 up there next week.

 

I will say that I found I could drink this before carbonation as I was bottling and I did not need to leave it long to be drinkable.  Again that choice depends on taste, but this is not very hoppy and not strongly malty so there are not a lot of things to mellow down. Anyway

, give a shout when you bottle it on what you think.

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On 9/18/2017 at 7:42 PM, Nickfixit said:

I will say that I found I could drink this before carbonation as I was bottling and I did not need to leave it long to be drinkable.  Again that choice depends on taste, but this is not very hoppy and not strongly malty so there are not a lot of things to mellow down. Anyway

, give a shout when you bottle it on what you think.

Will do.

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I have just prepared Dark Ale 3, just as I did with the other two and it is sitting in the brew closet. I have did my absolute best to ensure the only variable is the storage time, of the extract, in the refrigerator. 

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4 hours ago, doc280 said:

I have just prepared Dark Ale 3, just as I did with the other two and it is sitting in the brew closet. I have did my absolute best to ensure the only variable is the storage time in the refrigerator. 

As you will see from my post in the other thread, WHATCHA BREWING/BOTTLING TONIGHT?, my 3 LBKs are all different, some differences by design and some by accident lol.

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Dark Ale 1 has been sampled and is now being cold crashed. From the sample, I would place this in the New Castle Brown Ale range of flavor.

I like New Castle so to have six gallons of Coopers Dark Ale around will be nice.

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Dark Ale 1 is bottled and stored away in the brew closet. Ten 740mls and one 20oz with just little left sitting on the cake, which I had to drink for breakfast.

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On ‎10‎/‎1‎/‎2017 at 9:17 AM, doc280 said:

Dark Ale 1 has been sampled and is now being cold crashed. From the sample, I would place this in the New Castle Brown Ale range of flavor.

I like New Castle so to have six gallons of Coopers Dark Ale around will be nice.

 

 Yes, I liked that HME too. 

I suppose I should not really say this but I have liked the Coopers brand beers I have made maybe a bit more than the Mr. Beer Brand, even though apparently made by the same company in AU. Maybe the recipes are different and I have more of a UK/AU taste than US.

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