Monday, August 30, 2010

Kit Hack #1 - Cascade IPA

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.

The Recipe:

Coopers Selection - IPA kit
500g Light DME
300g Dextrose
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!


Slightly slower to kick off than my all grain, but well under way after 24 hours and primary fermentation subsided after three days. Moved from Primary to Secondary after a week. Dry hopped in secondary with 25g of Cascades for one week. Kegged and transferred to kegerator a total of two weeks after brew day. Set regulator to 10psi and allowed the keg to force carbonate for a week.

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!


TaleOfAle said...

Will you have that at the September meet? Should be interesting.

Out of curiosity, why not naturally carb? If you are spending a week force carbonating you might as well naturally carbonate it. It will be mostly carbonated in a week and as good as it gets in two. After that it just gets better the longer it sits in your fridge/kegerator.

Mark (Halite) said...

Should have some left for that, I only have it on keg but I can bring in a growler.

I have never naturally carbed any of my kegged beers. I have been thinking about making another kit hack from a kit I still have left over and so I'll definitely try it with that one.