When I first started homebrewing I bought a number of kits (a wheat beer, a dark ale and an IPA). Having been so dissapointed with my first kit (the wheat beer), I decided to skip the rest of the kits and proceed to extract. Since then the two remaining kits (simply a can of pre-hopped liquid malt and a packet of generic yeast) have sat forlornly in my ingredients bin surrounded by their more sophiticated relatives, pale malt, carapils, crystal, black patent and my personal favourite roasted barley. I never thought that I would brew either of these kits, however the other week after brewing my latest all grain batch I had an hour to kill and a spare fermenter and so I thought, what the heck!
I decided to brew the IPA and to dry hop it with some cascades to give it a bit of freshness. Now before I say how the brew went I must admit to having had a couple of pints of ISO Standard Stout and so this may have had an effect on the outcome.
Coopers Selection - IPA kit
500g Light DME
1 Package of Coopers Ale Yeast
It had been so long since I had done a kit that I actually had to read the instructions to remember what needed to be done in what sequence. I dissolved the DME and sugar in 3 litres of warm water and then added this to the fermenter. I then topped up the fermenter to the required mark (23 litres), while I was doing this I had the kit can in a pot of warm water to loosen up the concentrate. Once this was done I opened the can and poured in the contents. Here is where the first problem came, the concentrate took a nose dive to the bottom of the fermenter and stayed there. I tried in vain to stir and slosh the liquid about to dissolve it, however I got bored of this after about 5 minutes and just threw the yeast in. In hindsight I should have added the concentrate to a little of the water, gotten it well mixed and then topped up the fermenter gradually. Because of this lack of mixing, when I took a gravity reading it was about 1035, far short of the expected, however this was of course due to the fact that the wort wasn't well mixed. I hoped that the vigours of fermentation would solve this!
First Taste Test:
This beer tastes really good! A little thin yet but the cascade aroma and flavour is really good with a nice level of bitterness on the end. I brought a growler of this to a get together at TheBeerNut's house last weekend and it went down really well. I passed around glasses with the introduction of "It's a kit hack but it's not offensive", however the feedback was all pretty good. The comments were all along the lines of "really tasty, very sessionable, however a little thin" and to a man everyone was pretty surprised with the taste and flavour that this kit managed to produce. I have to say I am pretty happy with the fact that I have 3/4 of a keg of this as I think it will only get better with time. Conclusion, kit beers can be really good!