When you start thinking about how to brew your own beer, all kinds of questions pop up. Is it easy? Is it expensive? Do I need much skill? Perhaps most importantly, does it make good beer or will I poison myself with what I make?
Well, stay tuned, because The Brew Club is going to chronicle the process of making your own beer at home with the very popular Coopers Home Beer Brewing kit! A Coopers beer kit review if you will. As a first-time home brewing project, the Coopers kit takes a lot of the guesswork out of the process, thereby eliminating a lot of ways for me to mess it up! The Coopers people claim that you can make great beer (6 gallons of it!) in 4 easy steps. We’ll take them up on it and bring you along!
Super beer nerds might laugh at the home brew kit concept, but I’m not interested in that right now. What I’m interested in right now is brewing beer for beginners! I want to make my own beer for the first time fast and easy!
So there it is on my kitchen table in all of its glory. This box is about the size of a large picnic cooler and is probably a good 20 pounds!
The first thing you should do is open the box and make sure everything that you are supposed to have is in there.
I’ll warn you that the home brew kit is packaged very efficiently, and once you remove the contents it’s hard to get everything back into the box! Its a lot of stuff!
I’m really surprised at the size of the fermeter! (That’s the big white jug in the next image) I understand the idea of brewing 6 gallon batches of beer, but when you pull a six gallon jug out of a box, it really sinks in how much beer you’re going to be able to make in one batch! Let’s just hope its good beer!
Looking at the next picture, you can see what comes with the Coopers Home brewing kit. Starting from the left, you have the plastic beer bottles and bag of bottle caps for them. I only took out a few to photograph, but you get 30 740ml reusable bottles with the kit! (740ml is roughly 25 fl oz.) A couple of the plastic bottles were dented, but I squeezed them and they popped back into form. I suppose beer out of plastic bottles is a little cheezy, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use glass in the future if you wanted to. Again, this is practicality over style. Plastic bottles with screw caps should make bottling much easier I would think.
You then see a green and white cylindrical canister of Coopers Lager Concentrate. This is the beer style that comes with the brew kit, but you can get many different varieties to try in the future including ales, IPA and Stouts.
Next to the Lager Concentrate, is a package of Brewing Sugar. This is an item that you usually don’t find in most beer kits. Its available anywhere so its not a big deal if you have to go to the store and buy some, but kudos to Cooper’s for including it in the kit for the first go-round. Its just something else you don’t have to worry about, especially as a first-timer.
The small red bag in front of the fermenter (the big white jug) contains the Cooper’s Carbonation Drops. Funny, but Australians seem to call these ‘lollies’. (Maybe because the look like lollipops?) The carbonation drops are used to give a measured dose of sugar needed to prime the individual bottles of beer for secondary fermentation, but that’s a bit later on in the process. Again, pre-measured doses so you are less likely to mess it up! Nice.
Laying flat on the table you can see a long plastic mixing spoon and the ”Little Bottler” (rod thingy with the blue tip) which speeds up the bottling process. With 30 bottles to fill, you want something to make the bottling process easy!
In front of those items, you can see the DVD video instructions as well as the printed instructional manual. The other booklet is a registration form and order forms if you want to order something in the future by mail.
Lastly, the smaller items lying in front of the fermenter are the Airlock and its rubber grommet. The airlock is like the ‘trap’ in your kitchen sink sort of. Half -filled with water, the airlock allows CO2 to escape from the fermenter, while preventing outside contaminants from getting in. Also there’s the tap with built-in sediment reducer which minimizes the amount of yeast sediment that gets transferred to your bottles.
Finally, there is an adhesive thermometer that gets placed on the fermenter so you get an idea of the temperature. The brewing process works best between 21 and 27 degrees Centigrade. (I didn’t know what that was either, but it roughly translates to between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.)
Obviously we have the large plastic fermenter and screw on lid, and I really like the fact that the large fermenter has indents for handles. Think about the weight of this thing when it is full of beer-stuff! The handles will be a big help I’m sure, and its a nice touch.
So there you have it! We’ve gotten our Coopers Micro-Brew kit, opened it up and checked out the contents. Everything looks good and so we’ll move on to the next step which is reviewing the DVD and printed instructions, and also cleaning everything thoroughly.
If you’d like to get your own Coopers Home Brew Kit to follow along or to give home brewing a try yourself, I hope you’ll consider purchasing it through The Brew Club. We would appreciate it! You can click on the image above to order your own kit from Cooper’s secure website.
Remember to check back for Part Two of our Brewing with the Coopers Home Brew Kit Series!