Author Topic: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?  (Read 2648 times)

Offline noopy51

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Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« on: May 08, 2011, 06:17:26 PM »
Hello!

I recently received a Coopers Stout beer kit as a gift from a friend of mine. I haven't used one of these canned beer kits before and was a little concerned when I read the instructions. I hate to poo-poo gifts (especially if they are beer) but I haven't heard many good things about these canned beer kits, so I wanted to ask for some 'beer doctoring' advice.

1. I have wanted to make a coffee stout for a while and thought this would be a pretty safe time to experiment. I plan on using a french press to make some nice Kona coffee, chill it in the fridge for a day or two, then add it to my secondary. Is this experiment wasted on the Cooper's kit, or would this help improve the flavors/balance? Do you have any tips on making a great coffee stout (soaking beans vs adding liquid coffee?)

2. The recipe says to add the contents of the brew kit along with 1kg of white sugar. I would rather not use white sugar in my brewing, as I hear it leaves a bitter/cidery taste to the beer. Any suggestions for a good substitution? I do have 2 lbs of Amber dry malt extract lying around the house. Would this work, or do you have a better suggestion for a sugar substitute?

Thanks for the help!

Sincerely,
Tom K
Seattle, WA

Offline tubercle

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2011, 06:38:29 PM »
Hello!

1. I have wanted to make a coffee stout for a while and thought this would be a pretty safe time to experiment. I plan on using a french press to make some nice Kona coffee, chill it in the fridge for a day or two, then add it to my secondary. Is this experiment wasted on the Cooper's kit, or would this help improve the flavors/balance? Do you have any tips on making a great coffee stout (soaking beans vs adding liquid coffee?)

Nothing risked, nothing gained. Since you have nothing but time invested go for it.

2. ....I would rather not use white sugar in my brewing, as I hear it leaves a bitter/cidery taste to the beer...

 This is a myth promulgated by the paranoid OCD's of the brewing world. You would have to ad a huge amount, like 50% of the fermentables for this to happen, if then. Don't fear the foam, don't fear the cane sugar.

 The dry malt would work as well but won't ferment 100% and will leave you with a higher finished gravity. Stick to the recipe.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2011, 06:43:16 PM by tubercle »
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2011, 11:48:47 PM »
1) How old is the kit? Old extract can throw unwanted flavors. Old hopped beer kits might have lower levels of hop bitterness. How fresh is the yeast packet than came with the kit? If it's more than a few months old, you'll need to make a starter from it or get more/fresher yeast.

2)  There's nothing inherently evil about white sugar; it's the percentage of adjuncts you need to worry about. If the LME in the kit has any adjunct sugars in it, adding an additional kilo of sugar might give you yeast nutrition problems, since it would take it well above the 10-20% sugar adjunct level at which problems like thin body, cidery notes, etc. can start to show up. Add yeast nutrient and pitch more starter than usual. If you're twitchy about the high adjunct sugar level, substitute in some light DME.

3) Your plan to add French-press coffee to secondary sounds good. You don't want to put actual grounds/beans into the beer, though, since the alcohol might extract tannins from the beans if you leave them in there for long periods of time. If you do add grounds/beans, put them in a bag so you can get them out. Another possible trick is to extract the goodies from your coffee grounds/beans by soaking them in top-end vodka and adding that to the secondary. Randy Mosher's book, "Radical Brewing" has lots of ideas for working with coffee.

4) Extract kits don't need minerals. Depending on your local water, you might get better results using RO/distilled water than typical dechlorinated tap water.

5) If you're not hopping, then you only need to boil the wort to sanitize it. If you are hopping, do a normal "wort boil" with the added sugar/DME and water you're going to use to dilute the kit, but only add the kit about 30 minutes before knockout. If the kit is old, you might need to add some bittering hops get the IBU you need. Of course, tropical stout, which is what you're trying to make, isn't really hoppy for a stout.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2011, 04:37:46 AM »

2. ....I would rather not use white sugar in my brewing, as I hear it leaves a bitter/cidery taste to the beer...

 This is a myth promulgated by the paranoid OCD's of the brewing world. You would have to ad a huge amount, like 50% of the fermentables for this to happen, if then. Don't fear the foam, don't fear the cane sugar.

 The dry malt would work as well but won't ferment 100% and will leave you with a higher finished gravity. Stick to the recipe.

I agree its a myth, but I also would disagree to use sugar in a stout for the most part. You'll get better results subbing out some light DME. You might sub out a little of the DME (maybe 5% of total fermentables) to assure proper attenuation.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 04:58:59 AM by majorvices »
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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2011, 06:04:43 PM »
If you don't want to use white sugar you could experiment with other highly fermentable sugars like rapadura, or other raw cane sugar. Or even maple syrup or agave, molasses etc. The idea is just to lighten up the final body a bit. you could even probably use white grape juice although I am not sure what that would do with coffee. I personally really like maple and coffee together so I might try that.

Offline brewmonk

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2011, 06:22:14 AM »
My first brew last year was a Coopers stout kit.  It turned out really well.  I just followed the directions including using the regular table sugar.  My only regret was that I ended up making 6 gallons instead of 5, so the alcohol content was a bit lower than I expected (but more beer isn't a bad thing  ;) ). 
I had a bottle of it a couple of weeks ago and it still tastes fine, just a bit drier than it was last summer.  I also undercarbonated it a bit because I was overly worried about over carbonating after reading an article on bottle bombs (like I said, it was my first time).
I think doctoring it with coffee will make it pretty good.  I don't think you'll have any regrets making it.
Br. Francis
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Offline noopy51

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #6 on: May 21, 2011, 08:41:27 AM »
I appreciate all of the advice. I'm really excited to brew my first coffee beer. I think in the future I will experiment with different types of coffee (I'm starting with Kona) to see if there is a significant difference.

Offline tumarkin

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2011, 12:14:11 PM »
cold extracted coffee seems to be the best for beer, especially on a dark beer - smoother, less acidic. lets the acidity come from the dark malt without adding too much.
Mark Tumarkin
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Offline bigchicken

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Re: Coopers Stout kit w/ coffee?
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2011, 10:54:34 AM »
I did a Northern Brewer coffee stout kit that called for adding coarsely ground beans to the secondary. If adding beans, I strongly caution you not to over grind or use too much. My beer turned out too acidic,  plugged my auto-siphon, and was more work than it was worth. That being said, I've aged it 3 months and it has greatly improved. If it keeps improving like this, it would still take a year to be decent.
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On Deck: Chocolate Cherry Stout, Northern Brewer Dry Irish Stout
Fermenting: Magnum Blonde
In bottles:Northern Brewer Munich Helles, Snow Eater Winter Warmer 2012, Apple Wine