Kit tweaking etc.

Want to experiment with additions and tweaks to beer kits? This is the place to post.
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wolfenrook
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Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:07 pm

So, so far I've got 1 kit bottled (Coopers Mexican Cerveza, wife loves it, I'm not so keen, lacking in the hop department), 1 kit in secondary waiting to be primed and bottled (Woodfordes Headcracker) that had a stuck fermentation finally fixed by pitching a packet of CML Real Ale yeast which got the SG down to 1016 (sample tasted, om nom nom nom...). I didn't even risk it with the Wherry kit and pitched 2 packets of CML Real Ale yeast... Had to fit a blow of tube..... :lol: This is still going in primary, possibly just about coming up on done... Not tasted it yet though as it hasn't even been close on needing me to start testing the SG to see if ready for secondary.

Most recently I put a Bulldog Brews Bad Cat Imperial Red kit on, still bubbling away in primary. This is my first I'd like some feedback and thoughts on. Reading around, a few folks have had these go very wrong, usually right after dry hopping with the supplied finishing hops. My suspicion is, well surely those hops have been sat in a shop/warehouse going stale? To this end I've purchased 25g Willamette and 25g Amarillo (same hops as the ones supplied) to use instead, figuring these are less likely to be off. I also have 2x25g t-bags of Citra, I'm thinking of adding 1 of these to the dry hopping? I love very hoppy US IPAs, especially ones with Citra and Amarillo. Am I right in thinking this should work out ok? Done some research, found folks who've used Willamette + Citra, Willamette + Amarillo (bit obvious, these been the ones in the kit. lol) and Amarillo + Citra, not managed to find anything about all 3 together though. So hopefully more experienced heads than mine are willing to share their thoughts. :wink:

So, on to planning future brews (already have the tins for these).

1) Big time tweakage of a Wilkos Golden Ale kit. I'll make it up with 1kg of light DME (got this already, well I have 3kgs of it to be honest, but I reckon that'd be overkill... lol). Was thinking though of using either CML US Pal Ale yeast, or CML Real Ale yeast, then dry hopping with Flaconers Flight blend. Not sure I want to try the kit un-enhanced to be honest, I'm not a fan of insipid beers, and suspect it'll be one of them if I don't "enhance" it. lol

2) Tweaking a Wilkos Cerveza kit. Make it up with 1kg of Richies beer enhancer (or I have 9 kg of brewing sugar and 500g bags of light DME..), dry hop it with some Saaz and Hallertau hops (these seem to be the ones used in Dos Equis, which is much nicer than Corona or Sol in both my wife's and my opinions. lol).

Thanks in advance for any suggestions, advice or thoughts given.

Cheers

Ade

aamcle
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by aamcle » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:40 pm


wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:46 pm

aamcle wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 2017 5:40 pm
Try http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showt ... hp?t=69567

aamcle
Thanks, already looked bud, I'm a member on there too. :wink:

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:19 pm

Ok Results so far.

The "unstuck" Headcracker was bottled yesterday. FG 1.016, from how many came out of the bottling bucket (the third vessel it had been in) would appear I'd made it a bit on the long side (so sorta another tweak....). Had a taste of the leftovers from the bucket, front of the tongue you get strong fruity/maltiness, followed by strong hoppy bitterness. Very strong flavour, so yeah I'd make this long again (got 27 pints out of a kit that's supposed to make 23 pints..). 6.04% is plenty strong enough beer for my wife and myself. :wink:

The tweaked Wherry, where I used 2x 11g sachets of CML yeast is STILL bubbling! Slowed down a fair bit, but still going. OG was 1.048, current SG is 1.012. Instructions say finishes around 1.014, so the CML yeast goes way further (higher attenuation). Tasting the trial jar, strong alcohol hit, quite bitter and certainly tastes of beer. It's already stronger than the 4.5% this kit supposedly goes too, and hasn't finished yet. No regrets from switching the yeast, that's for sure.

I'll probably whip up the US'ified Golden Ale later today. Bought another 30 litre FV last week, so have one ready to go.

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:34 pm

Right, sorted the golden ale, messed up a bit though and made it a litre too long (24 instead of 23), so tweaked it a tad more.

1x Wilko's Golden Ale kit
1kg light DME
500g brewing sugar (to try to counter the extra litre... :=P )

OG 1.047 (corrected for taking at 25 degrees C).

Yeast: 1x CML US Pale Ale yeast (11g), rehydrated for 15 minutes before pitching at 25 degrees Celsius. Fitted a blow of tube as I suspect this may kick off a bit on the vigorous side...

Fingers crossed now. Plan is to dry hop with 25g of Falconer's Flight Blend hop tea bag once it's finished fermenting, give it a bit more aroma and flavour. Wort smelled quite nice though.

Fringers crossed. [-o<

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Thu Sep 28, 2017 9:34 am

Good job I fitted the blow off tube... The golden kicked off like a rocket! Serious bubble blowing in the jug. Settled down now to a nice steady bubble.... No signs of stopping yet. :lol:

Clibit
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by Clibit » Fri Sep 29, 2017 6:23 pm

A very solid start you've made there. In my experience of messing with kits, you get a big return for making the effort to improve the malt, hops and yeast, generally speaking. Steeping a little grain, adding some hops, and maybe using a better yeast. Hops is very little work so is a no brainer. Steeping some grain isn't a big deal either, just a 30 minutes soak and then boil the liquid. You can even use pale malt if you hold the temperature in the mashing range, approx 63-70 ish. Buying a liquid yeast can also improve things a lot but adds more cost than the other two.

And once you're doing these things you are on the verge of extract brewing with grains, or even partial mashing. Hops are a great start.

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:20 am

Thanks. :)

Funny you should say that, I'm currently working on making the move to BIAB all grain brewing, but tempted to still do the odd kit for styles I don't feel confident doing, or beers my wife isn't a fan of, every now and then. I've done it all a tad quickly really, but that tends to be how I am when I get a hobby. :wink: I've only actually bottled from 2 kits so far though, a Coopers Mexican Cerveza which was completely meh and the reason I decided to tweak, and a Headcracker that I had to put more yeast in. :lol: I have a Wherry kit waiting to be bottled now, which will be one of my last untweaked (although I used totally different yeast... lol) kits (my wife has really enjoyed the trial jars the last few... :wink: )(I plan to leave a Youngs US IPA kit untweaked too, as it comes with a nice load of hop pellets for a dry hop).

Only thing now is, I'm not sure how I am going to drink so much beer, I only usually drink a few pints a week... :lol: Good job my wife likes beer (a lot!) too!! :twisted: Oh and my father in-law likes a bit of real ale too. :beer:

Prost!

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:20 pm

Right, so yeah, finally took the SG on this as not seen any activity from the airlock for a few days now. Looks like that bit of brewing sugar helped a fair bit as it's gone from an OG of 1.047 to an SG of 1.006... Not bad for a Wilkos Golden Ale kit eh? :lol: Had a taste of the sample jar, absolutely delicious! Not what I was expecting it all, having a sort of wheat beer flavour to it, which I really wasn't expecting from CML US Pale Ale yeast. Out of all of the kits I have made so far, this has been the tastiest trial jar for me.

Having tasted it, I decided to change my dry hop a little, so dry hopped it with 25g falconers flight, 25g of Citra and 25g of Amarillo hop pellets. Hoping to give it a heavy hit of citrus to complement that wheatyness. Of course it might change character completely now it's been dry hopped, and again once I've primed and bottled it, and leave me questioning my actions. :wink: [-o<

So far so very very good however. Promises to be a tasty beer that's not exactly session-able.... :lol: Fingers crossed.

[added in a quick edit] Forgot to mention, I ended up putting all but the falconers flight pellets in loose. I opened the Citra expecting them to be in a bag, but they weren't so just tipped them in, only for the bag to follow them in afterwards... The bag was folded in the bottom of the sachet with the pellets on top of it... :lol: So then I cut open the Amarillo bag and tipped them in too... I was going to do the same with the Falconer's Flight (which were inside the little bag) but my wife stopped me, so they got dumped in in the bag. As such the Falconer's probably won't utilise as much as the others, which might prove a good thing. :wink:

sandimas
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by sandimas » Sat Oct 07, 2017 9:47 am

A suggestion for next time - rather than using brewing sugar, get some Maris Otter crushed grain and mash it at 66C for an hour in a saucepan, give the resultant liquid a quick boil to drive off any nasties, and use this with the kit.

A cheap way to boost a kit, easy to do with kitchen equipment, will produce a better result...and the first step on the way to all grain brewing :D

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:30 am

Thanks for the tip, probably won't be a next time though as I'm getting ready to move to BIAB all grain brewing. :wink: Got the equipment, got the ingredients (well, nearly, just need some heather honey, black pepper corns and coriander seeds...), just need to get all of the kit beers currently occupying my FVs bottled, and 1 more kit (Youngs US IPA kit) done. I have a Wilkos Cerveza kit too (the one I bought the Saaz and Hallertau hops for), but I'll just chuck that on eventually when I can fit it in. :wink:

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:33 am

This has now been bottled. Wife and I tasted the remains from the bottling bucket and even with the excess sweetness from the priming sugar in there still this promises to be totally delicious! Right at this moment it is VERY hoppy (on near Jack Hammer levels) with a lovely fruity citrus flavour, a bit of priming and conditioning and should be truly yummy. =D>

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Thu Oct 12, 2017 8:20 pm

Ok, so, I just put another tweaked kit on.... I did this one for my wife pretty much. Already had the kit sitting around, so figured I'd get it out of the way so to speak (got a Youngs US IPA kit too to use, but won't be tweaking that as I figure it'd be gilding the lilly). :lol:

This time It's a Wilko's Mexican Cerveza single can kit tweak.

Ferment-ables:-

1 tin Wilko's Mexican Cerveza
1kg Richies beer kit enhancer
504g (couldn't be bothered to remove the 4g... lol) dextrose

Hops:-
25g tea-bag Hallertau
25g tea-bag Saaz

Yeast: 2 packets Wilko's kit yeast

I mixed the ferment-ables with water at 78 degrees C rather than the usual boiling water, then topped up to 21 litres with tap water treated with 1/2 a campden tablet. Thoroughly aerated the must.

Made a hop tea with the hops, then pitched this, and the hop tea-bags, into the must and gave it a stir. I then pitched the yeast at 22 degrees Celsius.

OG: 1.051. :? So this COULD turn into something rather strong (I reckon it should easily hit 5%, or go horribly wrong).... :lol: Little chance of it been as weak as the Coopers cerveza I made was that's for sure...

Fingers crossed.

wolfenrook
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Re: Kit tweaking etc.

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Oct 21, 2017 2:40 pm

Just took the first sample, and it's now down to an SG of 1.006, so not a session-able one then.... :shock: Worked it out as 5.9% ABV according to the beersmith 2 calculator.

Tasted the sample, absolutely delicious! Lots of clean flavour, with a decent level of bitterness. No hints of anything that doesn't belong like I had with the Coopers kit, a winner for me and my wife for sure. :D

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