Coopers Lager Update

2010/01/16 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

It has now been a week since I bottled the X01 brew. I didn’t cover the bottling experience as it is a pretty banal experience, but I will say this: The Coopers Microbrewery Kit makes bottling straight from the fermenter extremely easy and expanding to more advanced techniques of secondary fermentation very straightforward.

Being completely impatient with the bottle conditioning process I could wait no longer and chilled my very first bottle of homebrew. I knew that most guides and advice insist that one wait at minimum 2 weeks before tasting the brew, but I was interested in seeing just how the relatively green beer met my expectations.

First the lessons learned:

What You Smell is What You Get
When I first mixed the brew’s ingredients together in the fermenter I noticed a very distinct smell. Seeing as how the olfactory senses are very intertwined with taste that distinct smell imparted an equally distinct taste which did not really appeal to me at all. At the time of mixing I chalked this up to an inevitable smell of wort and assumed the smell would not carry over into the final beer. Needless to say I was very wrong.

The wort’s aroma and taste were still very present in the final beer, and perhaps be it the fact that I am not very much a fan of lager beers in general the taste of the final product was far from my favorite. (Or since we’re dealing with an Australian kit here, ‘favourite’)

In short: If you don’t like the smell of your wort you are not going to like the final taste of your beer.

Patience Pays
As the week of bottle conditioning progressed I noticed a marked increase in pressure within the included plastic bottles. However, the total pressure after the week was nowhere near what one might find in a factory-pressurized plastic Coke bottle. The walls of the bottle could still be moved inward with relatively light pressure, so one could have easily concluded that the total internal carbonation was not that high at all. Upon opening the bottle this was confirmed.

First, there was almost no release of pressure. Second, there was no activity upon pouring the beer into the glass. Lastly, the served beer completely lacked a head. None formed. None stayed.

I will continue to monitor the beer’s conditioning at 2, 3, and 4 weeks and hope for continued improvement. Is the beer just still too green for proper carbonation? Did I leave the brew in the fermenter too long? Did I not use enough priming elements? Maybe it’s just too cold to properly condition. Since I foolishly did not split the batch up into test elements (time, priming, elements, temperature) I’ve no way of telling. Taking the time to find the proper brewing conditions for my next batch will be key.

Further research on the subject indicates that the beer is just too green for the conditions. Therefore, for the time being I will be holding out hope for this initial batch.

Final Verdict
At its current state I do not like the beer. There is still a considerable amount of yeast flavor left in the brew, and the bitterness is unbalanced in relation to the other notes.

However, what currently remains in the 31 bottle is still distinctly beer, and I’ve no doubt that time will ultimately even out the notes to yield a more enjoyable brew.

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Entry filed under: Brew Log, Brewing Personal Notes, tasting. Tags: , , , , .

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