Part three of our Brewing Your Own Beer With the Coopers Home Brew Kit series is where it all starts to get fun! Mixing! I’d suggest that you read the manual and watch the DVD instructions first. Many people, myself included, are too anxious to simply ‘jump in’ and get started on an exciting project!
Some tips that you might consider before you begin.
I’d suggest that you find a place that you can safely fill and leave the fermenter. We mentioned previously that a gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds. 8 X 6 = 48. This thing is going to be heavy when its full, so make sure you have a sturdy place where you can fill it, stir everything up, and leave it sit for a week if need be without having to move it.
Also, you want to keep in mind the chosen location has to able to keep the fermenter’s temperature within the ideal temperature range. (Between 70 and 80 degrees F.) Much to my wife’s dismay, I set up shop on the kitchen counter!
So, you’ve inventoried your home brew kit, sterilized it, and you’ve found a suitable location and now you’re ready to go! This is like a cool science experiment!
A few tips before you begin. Let the concentrate sit in a pot of hot water for 10 minutes or so to soften it up a bit. It’ll pour more easily for you that way. The Coopers beer concentrate is the beer ‘stuff’ all in one can. Its the hops, its the malt, it’s what makes beer beer, and you’ll see its a thick liquid like molasses. Heat it up a bit in water and it’ll pour more easily.
Another tip is to take a black marker and mark the 2 liter and 23 litre marks on the fermenter. Its a little hard to see otherwise, and if this is your first time, getting the proper water level its one less thing to worry about!
You’ll also want to stick on the thermometer at this point, and also go ahead and stick the black rubber grommet into the little hole in the fermenter’s lid. This is where the airlock will go later on, but its easier to do this little step now.
Open the warmed beer concentrate and dump it all into the fermenter. Then, cut open the bag of sugar and dump that in too. So far so good! Ideally, you’ll have 2 litres of boiling water ready to pour in and you’ll carefully go ahead and do that. I didn’t have 2 litres of boiling water, so I used 4 litres of really hot tap water instead. At this point you just mix it up with your sanitized mixing spoon for a few minutes.
The next step is to fill the fermenter with cold water up to the 23 litre mark (you marked it, right?). The idea here is to get this mix (wort) of hot and cold water + beer concentrate stuff to ideally be between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
Its important to not wait too long before you add the yeast to the wort and you can add the yeast anywhere between 64 and 90 degrees F in case your hot and cold water ratio is out of the ideal range. Remember my 4 litres of hot water? Well that made my wort too hot to add the yeast – it was at the upper end of acceptable. (This is why I suggested to read the instructions!) So, I had to wait a little for the temperature to come down.
While you wait, you risk your wort becoming contaminated, so its better to add the yeast even in the extreme temperature range if it isn’t in the ideal range of 70 – 80F. My thermometer showed a temperature a little over 90, so this had me worried!
Thinking back to my college science classes, I remember that it was important to keep your petri dishes covered as much as possible. Why? Because there’s all kinds of bacteria and ‘stuff’ floating around in the air and if some of that happens to land in your petri dish, or in this case my wort, it could all be ruined!
So, while I waited for my wort to cool a little, I simply covered it with the fermenter’s lid to keep the risk of contamination to a minimum. We’ll see if it works! (Just follow the instructions folks!)
Once the wort was OK, you go and add the little yeast packet. Its just kind of sprinkled on top – no mixing. That’s it. You want to quickly and carefully screw on the fermenter’s lid, good and tight, we’re trying to avoid contamination here! (Unless you’re making a lambic or something – I’m not sure Jersey air bacteria would make for tasty beer though!)
Insert the airlock into the hole where the little gasket was put in before, fill the airlock halfway with some clean water and then you test the seal. (Wet the airlock a little with clean water, it helps it slip into the rubber grommet a little easier.)
To test the seal, you gently squeeze the frementer a little until the water level in the airlock changes. If the airlock maintains the water at different levels for 30 seconds or so, you’re good. (I had to tighten my lid a few times until it worked for me.)
And that’s about it! I pulled the shade so sunlight would not be on the fermenter and crossed my fingers. If all goes well, we should see some signs of the fermentation process, the most obvious being some bubbling action coming from the airlock. Other good signs are condensation on the lid, and a scummy, frothy layer that should form around the top of the liquid.
But for now, its off to bed and we’ll check on our homemade beer science project in the morning! FYI, this whole process took me about 2 hours, but I had to wait a bit for my wort to cool. If you follow instructions, it shouldn’t take as long.
Sound interesting? Want to try making your own homemade beer? Why not buy a Coopers Home Brewing Kit now for yourself or for someone else as a gift? You can do this! Click now on the image below, and you’ll be taken to Cooper’s secure order page where you can order your own home brewing kit now!
Keep an eye on this space as we move on to part 4 of our Brewing Beer at Home with the Coopers Home Brew Kit series! To review, we’ve inventoried our home brew kit in part one, sanitized everything in part two, and now we’ve actually mixed the beer ingredients in part three. Part four is going to talk about what happens to the beer between now, and when it gets bottled!