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[Review] Brewer's Choice Premium Lager - Dried Ingredient Kit

Started by Garry, July 16, 2013, 01:04:29 PM

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Garry

July 16, 2013, 01:04:29 PM Last Edit: September 25, 2013, 11:10:55 PM by LordEoin
I heard about the dried ingredient/tea bag kits from a Lee valley brew club member and decided to give it a go.

I got the Brewers Choice Premium Lager from HBW.

The kit comes with a big bag of dry malt, a pack of yeast, 1 no grain tea bag and 2 no hop tea bags. The kit doesn't say what the hops or grains are though!







The yeast I got is a lager yeast which was probably a silly decision with the current heatwave! I don't have a brew fridge (yet) so I'm using a Coopers ale yeast instead. I also added 1kg of DME and 300g of dextrose to boost the ABV.



Step 1: Boil Kettle
Step 2: Put the tea bags in a sanitized container and add 2L of boiling water. Cover and leave for 20min.





I use this 20 minutes to clean and sanitize my FV. I also look for a scissors and weigh out the dextrose.

Step 3: Pour the water into the FV. Then cover the FV to keep out any nasties.





Step 4: Repeat step 2 & 3

Step 5: Repeat step 2 & 3 again. You'll notice the colour of the water getting lighter with each step. Like a night out; your first piss is yellow and it fades to transparent as the night goes on!

Step 6: Discard the tea bags.



Step 7: Add all the dry malt (in stages) and dextrose to the FV and stir until dissolved.



Step 8: Top up the FV to 23L and try get the temperature down to 20-25°C. Not easy in this weather! Stir vigorously for 5 min to aerate the wort.



Step 9: Sprinkle in the yeast, cover the FV and put in the bubbler.





The OG was 1.048.

I put the FV out in the garage because it's too warm in the house at the moment. I put on a heat belt too but I doubt it will be needed.



Verdict: There was a lot more work and time for this kit compared to a can of Coppers. I've heard that the quality of these is top notch so we'll wait and see. Unless it's a superior beer I'm not sure if I'd do it again. I also hope my ale yeast won't feck it up. It was bubbling away nicely this morning anyway.




Eoin

Quote from: Garry on July 16, 2013, 01:04:29 PM

Step 5: Repeat step 2 & 3 again. You'll notice the colour of the water getting lighter with each step. Like a night out; your first piss is yellow and it fades to transparent as the night goes on!




Almost poetic, it certainly brought a tear to my eye.

Garry

Quote from: Eoin on July 16, 2013, 03:50:58 PM
Almost poetic, it certainly brought a tear to my eye.

Co'meer ya big softy

JerryMcC

It seems with the kit cost and the additional fermentables that the total cost is approx 35 euro. That's steep compared to the Cooper kits.
It would want to be significantly better to warrant that cost. I'll follow this with interest. 

LordEoin

The packet has choice 1,2&3 for light, medium full bodied. Which one is this?
Is the only difference the amount of water added?

Garry

Quote from: LordEoin on July 17, 2013, 11:50:18 AM
The packet has choice 1,2&3 for light, medium full bodied. Which one is this?
Is the only difference the amount of water added?

I should have made it clearer. What you receive with the kit is what's shown in the second picture; 1 bag of dry malt, 2 hop tea-bags and 1 grain tea-bag.

The 3 options are up to yourself.

1. For a light bodied brew add 1kg of sugar
2. For a medium bodied brew add 1kg of DME
3. For a full bodied brew add 1.5kg LME

Since this is a lager kit I went with option 2 + a little bit of option 1! I suppose it's the same as any kit and kilo only the kit is a bag of malt + tea bags instead of a tin of hopped extract.

Garry

Quote from: JerryMcC on July 17, 2013, 11:37:20 AM
It seems with the kit cost and the additional fermentables that the total cost is approx 35 euro. That's steep compared to the Cooper kits.
It would want to be significantly better to warrant that cost. I'll follow this with interest.

To be honest, I didn't even look at the total cost. It came recommended so I said I'd give it a shot. It sounds pricey now that you point it out though :o

LordEoin

I suppose in these kits you're paying for their expertise with the recipes and the convenience of not having to weigh much.

Garry

I bottled this on Sunday. The gravity only dropped to 1.016, I thought it would go more but 4% ABV is OK.

I'll crack one open next week and we'll see how good it is.

Garry

This has been in the bottle +4 weeks now. I've been sampling a few over the last few weeks. The beer cleared up very quickly so it is a nice clear yellow colour. The quality is good too. You'd know it was 100% malt. There is very little hop bitterness or aroma though but that is the style rather than the kit. It's a lawnmower beer and my friends love it. I'd describe it as Budweiser with body! I'd prefer something hoppier myself but I suppose I should have gone for a different style for that.

The first few I opened, I was very disappointed with the head retention, it was almost non-existent. This has sorted itself out now. It just needed 4 weeks in the bottle.

If I'd used the lager yeast that came with the kit and lagered it properly it would probably have been even cleaner.

All in all the quality of the kit is excellent. I would do another one but not this style (unless I was brewing it specifically for friends). If I did this one again I think I'd dry hop it with some saaz or hallertau just to give it a bit more nose.

Greg2013

Is it worth it though Garry considering you could do two coopers kits for around the same price ?
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."  Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis USMC(Ret.)

Garry

It is more expensive and that's part of the reason I wanted to give it a go. This kit + 1kg DME is ~€3 more expensive than 2 coopers kits. You'd have to do a side by side comparison to be certain but I'd argue that these kits would give you a fresher tasting beer? It's got the extra grains and it's dried malt instead of liquid. That's just my opinion though. I have found that I get better results using DME instead of LME. Other's will no doubt differ?

The teabags are very convenient. No measuring or cleaning up required. If you charge as much as I do for my time then your saving straight away  :P

Greg2013

See i would be inclined to say why have 20 litres of this when i can have 40 litres of coopers and there is nothing wrong with it? No doubt it gives a fresher beer Garry and i have one of these in mind for when i get things sorted here, however at that price i reckon for me anyway its only viable once in a blue moon. Keep us updated though, interested to see the final verdict. :)
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."  Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis USMC(Ret.)

LordEoin

I swapped a few bottles of my standard Finlandia Lager for Garry's Brewer's Choice lager last week and had a chance to taste it over the weekend.

It pours nice and clear and about the same colour as Budweiser.
The head was light but lasted the whole way down.
It's slightly citrussy and although it wouldn't be my choice of styles it was refreshing and enjoyable.
It had a suitable mouthfeel and no inappropriate sweetness
It could probably do with a little more bittering and aroma hops to make this into a great beer.

@Deadman
i would say that this kit as standard is a bit better than standard Coopers lager, which I found was very sweet and light with poor head retention.