Archive for December, 2010

KIT#3 – Coopers Sparkling Ale

Kit: Coopers Sparkling Ale
The Plan: Combine kit with Nelson Sauvin & Cascade hops to make something like Brewdog’s 5am Saint.

Music: Led Zeppelin
Date: 19/12/2010
Time: 8:00pm – 9:30pm
OG: 1.056
Expected FG: 1.014 – 1.016

Bottling Date: 08/01/2011
Actual FG: 1.014
Actual ABV: 5.5%

Used Safale S-04 11g sachet, rehydrated in boiled kettle water at 30C. Boiled 1.5l water in a saucepan and added 300g dextrose, 100g wheat spraymalt (to aid head retention), 500g light spraymalt. Dissolved with a spoon and added 25g Nelson Sauvin hop flowers. Turned off heat and left to steep for about 10 minutes. Added resulting mixture to kit extract and 1.5kg can liquid malt extract. Pitched yeast. OG a whopping 1.056. Aerated well and topped up to 23l. Haven’t bothered using an airlock this – what’s the point? Just left a small crack in the lid.

In less than 2 hours (before I went to bed) the aeration foam had died down and there was visible fermentation. Couldn’t believe it.

Plan to dry hop with a mixture of Cascade and Nelson Sauvin.


20/12/2010 – Some gentle fermentation going on. The fermentation on my first 2 batches would have been a lot more vigorous. Not sure if this is to do with the yeast used or the temperature in the room. It was extremely cold last night. A slow start has a good effect on fermentation though, so no worries there.

21/12/2010 – Serious krausen which has lifted the lid off slightly. Fermentation looking good.

01/01/2011 – Racked to secondary, after nearly 2 weeks in primary. Beer has cleared extremely well. The yeast cake was highly compacted, not sure if this is due to the length of time in the FV or the use of S-04. The FG was anywhere between 1014 and 1016. had a taste, probably the least pleasant taste I’ve had straight out of the trial jar. It reminded me of wine somewhat, lots of alcohol in this one. Dry-hopped with 20g of Cascade and 10g of Nelson Sauvin with a muslin bag (sanitisied in StarSan solution). I wedged the hop bag down with the paddle and put the lid on so the hops are fully immersed. 2 days later and there’s a great hoppy aroma coming from the FV. I’m planning on dry-hopping it for a week or so before bottling.

08/01/2011 – Bottled brew at 1.014. I had half a bottle left over and it tasted pretty good – probably the best taste yet, straight out of the FV. Considering it was warm, flat and unconditioned I was surprised at how good it tasted. Big hop flavour and aroma. But then, it has been in fermentation for 3 weeks. Should mature nicely in the bottle and hopefully the big Nelson Sauvin aroma will still come through. It doesn’t taste like 5am Saint, and certainly not like Coopers Sparkling, but it’s definitely right up my street. Looking forward to supping this one. I also experimented by adding 2 carbonation drops to 2 of the PET bottles (they both have unbroken seals). Hopefully they don’t explode!

22/01/2011 – After only two weeks in bottles, I had a sample. Lots and lots of flowery hoppiness but very sweet. My guess is that the sweetness was from the priming sugar because the beer was barely fizzy. I also had a blinding headache afterwards, let’s hope I don’t get that with the next bottle. Left by the radiator in cardboard boxes for a few days and the bottles seem more pressurised. Moved elsewhere in the kitchen and will leave for another 2 weeks. This is a high gravity brew so it’s going to benefit from an extended period of conditioning, just like the IPA I did.

17/02/2011 – This has been conditioning in the shed for at least two weeks now. I’m planning on leaving it well alone until 08/03. By then it will be 2 months in bottles and should have improved considerably. If not, I’ll leave it for another month.

20/02/2011 – Opened a bottle of this by mistake as I thought it was a Pale Ale! Improved a little bit but it’s going to be at least another 6 weeks. It’s tantalising – I can taste the potential in this.

12/03/2011 – Tried another bottle and it has changed considerably, a little more bitterness coming through, some of that serious in-your-face maltiness is mellowing. I’m not getting much of the hops at the moment, but there is lots of fruitiness. I’m not sure if this is due to the NS hops or the S-04 yeast. It’s definitely going to need another month to mature further. Getting there though.

27/03/2011 – Another sample. Really improved. Had no problem finishing this glass. A very malty drop, similar to the IPA I did. Very little hops coming through on flavour or aroma. Will leave another week or two, but I’d be quite happy to drink this. It tastes like it needs a big dose of Centennial or Simcoe. Couldn’t get over the clarity of this beer – it looks almost as clear as a commercial beer.

20/04/2011 – Just started milling into this now! What a lovely drop. Looks like all the patience was worth it. A nice alcoholic kick, bags of fruit from the yeast and hops. I can even detect the tiniest hint of clove which I find very appealing but some people on the internet seems to think it’s an “off-flavour”. Whatever :) I thought before that I’d never do this kit again, but I’ve changed my mind. It’s defintely one to do again, with a few tweaks here and there. The only downside is the long conditioning time.

As a 5am Saint clone it’s pretty pants, but still very happy with it. The next attempt at a clone will be much nearer the mark.

21/04/2011 – Use the kit yeast, which contains some lager yeast. Might attenuate a little better and give a less sweet flavour. Definitely a big-ass dry hop next time. I think the maltiness of this brew will stand up to a lot of hopping.

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