When I saw that Coopers had recently improved upon their popular Microbrew Kit with what they now call the ‘Coopers DIY Beer Kit‘, (DIY=Do It Yourself) I was excited to check it out and review the changes. I was also a little worried.
Sometimes, improvements come at a cost. I’m a big supporter of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality. Sometimes though, improvements really ARE for the better.
A few years back when I first found the Coopers Microbrew Kit, I was a bit skeptical. It seemed a little too easy, a little too packaged. I was thinking it was a Mr. Beer type thing.
So, I read up on it and decided that if I was ever going to try home brewing, the Coopers beer kit would be the only way I could (would) begin. See, I’m not that great at following instructions, and I have a low frustration level. I’ve always wanted to brew my own beer for fun, but the thought of reading a bunch of stuff and buying a bunch of stuff to do something that I might do once in awhile was always a big turn-off.
Eventually I took the plunge, got myself a Coopers Microbrew kit, and low-and-behold, even I was able to make several batches of very good beer right in my own kitchen! As a bonus, there were no explosions, and even better, nobody got poisoned either!
So, learning of this new Coopers beer kit, I again did a little research to learn more about it and the changes. Were the changes good or bad? The best information I could find is in this video that compares the new Coopers DIY Beer kit to the older Coopers Microbrew Kit. If you have a few minutes, you can check it out yourself.
Its an interesting video, but if you didn’t have time to view it, that’s cool because I’m going to tell you my impressions of the new DIY Beer Kit! Bear in mind I haven’t tried the new kit myself just yet. I’m very happy with my old micro brew kit and I don’t think I’ll be needing to upgrade, but I’ll review the differences for you.
- The new kit has a lot of practical enhancements over the old kit that should make the home beer making process even easier. The most noticeable improvements are to the six gallon fermenter. The new fermenter is made with a transluscent plastic that allows you to actually see what your beer is doing in there! The old one was a solid white plastic that wasn’t really easy to see into. My take – THUMBS UP!
- Another improvement to the Coopers DIY Beer Kit fermenter design is at the lid. The new fermenter has a huge opening with straight sides. Compared to the old fermenter which had a smaller opening and a curved top, its easy to see that the new fermenter is going to be much easier to clean, which means less chance of contamination to your beer. My take – THUMBS UP!
- In addition to that simple design change, the Coopers DIY beer kit does away with the airlock. Huh? well, they have what is called a Krausening ring that slips over the top and allows the gasses to escape like an airlock would. Again, one less thing to worry about as far as contamination. My take – THUMBS UP!
- The last big practical improvement to this home brewing kit is the tap. The old beer kit had a screw-in tap which works fine, but again you need to mind the threads and keep them clean to try to prevent contamination of your beer. The new DIY Beer Kit has what looks to be a snap-in tap with no threads. Easier to keep clean. Less chance for infection. Nice. My take – THUMBS UP!
- What else? Well, it looks like Coopers replaced their excellent glass hydrometer with a plastic one with clearer markings and a more stable base which is harder to tip over when you are taking your readings. I think this is good from a practical standpoint, but I have to say the glass hydrometer they used to ship was top-notch. Not sure I like this enhancement, but it’ll do. My take – ITS A WASH!
- It also looks like Coopers enhanced the DVD how-to instructional video that comes with the kit. I thought the old instructions were very clear and concise, but they featured some Australian guy who is famous over there but I had no idea who he was. Maybe they’ll get someone new! Another note is the new kit only has DVD instructions, whereas the old kit had print and DVD which is redundant I guess. My take – ITS A WASH!
- The only real downside to the new kit over the old one is the price has gone up a little bit. The old kit usually sold for $99, and the new kit looks to sell at $115.99 To me, that’s still a really good price, and its still an excellent value considering you can crank out six gallons of beer per batch. Still, a price increase is a price increase and that always gets a thumbs down from me! My take – THUMBS DOWN!
There is a bright side though! Sometimes, there are Coopers Beer Kit Coupons available which can help save some money.
So, what’s my take on the new Coopers DIY Beer Kit? I really like the practical improvements made, and having used the original kit I think the improvements are very helpful, especially to a beginning home brewer like myself! The problem areas that might have been a concern regarding infection (like the threads on the tap) have been addressed. Less chance for infection means a better chance for good beer!
I think the improvements are worthy and smart, and I’d have no problem recommending the new kit. That being said, I don’t see any reason to replace my current Coopers Microbrew kit with the new one just yet, and if you currently have a Coopers kit I don’t think you’ll benefit much from the new model. Just keep cleaning the tap threads and making good beer until the thing wears out! (Which might be awhile!)
Now just so you know, if you do purchase one (and I hope you do!), be aware that I get a little commission from the sale. That said, I HAVE used the Coopers products personally, and I wouldn’t risk pissing off my visitors by steering them the wrong way.
Anyway, if you’re interested in purchasing the improved Coopers DIY Beer Kit, for yourself or as a gift for a beer lover you know, just click on the link below now!