Using the Coopers Craft Beer Brew Kit
A friend of ours (thanks Mike!) kindly gave Vic a Coopers Craft Beer Brew Kit so he can brew beer on the road and keep costs down. If you haven’t picked up on the fact, Vic loves beer, especially craft beer.
The craft beer kit makes only 8.5L of beer as compared to 23L from the normal Coopers brew kit. But this amount and size of kit is perfect for our setup as this makes one dozen long neck PET bottles (740mL) or a carton (24) of 375mL stubbies from one brew. The PET bottles are also reusable, lightweight and shatterproof, so perfect for travelling.
Cost per carton is under AUD$20
The cost to make one brew is just under AUD$20, taking into account the cost of the malt extract, sugar carbonation drops and sanitiser used to clean the bottles. The kit is only AUD$62 from Coopers online DIY Beer store if you’re a Coopers Club member or $69 if not. Joining the club is free, and you get specials emailed to you and new recipes to try out. The Coopers Community Forum is also a great place to exchange ideas with other home brewers and get useful information and tips on brewing.
Vic made four brews while staying at Leonie’s mother’s house in Gumeracha. So strictly speaking while we are technically on the road, he didn’t make it at a campsite, but that’s our aim. Vic took over the pantry for fermenting the beer and storing the bottles during second fermentation. She wasn’t that impressed but seemed to turn a blind eye.
It’s easy to do
The process of brewing is very straightforward and illustrated well in the Cooper’s video below.
One tip is to immerse the hop malt extract in hot water to get it runny so it mixes well with the water. Also make sure you sanitise your bottles, fermenter and tap well to avoid infection. When buying your extract, if you can, check the Best Before date on the bottom of the tin when you buy it to make sure it’s not old and brew before that date.
The FAQ on the Mr. Beer website recommends to brew using fresh yeast to ensure that the brew ferments thoroughly if you want to brew a beer past its Best Before date (out of curiosity or otherwise).
The four brews Vic made were using the Coopers/Mr Beer (Coopers purchased Mr Beer in 2011) malt extracts Bewitched Amber Ale, Diablo IPA, Northwest Pale Ale and Churchill’s Nut Brown Ale. All were drinkable but the standouts were the IPA and Pale Ale.
We left Gumeracha with 18 long necks. Was this enough to cross the Nullarbor? Surprisingly, yes, but only because Vic had some stocks of canned beer left.
Brewing at a campsite is our next challenge. This would use valuable water for sanitising your equipment and bottles and 8.5L water added to the malt extract in the fermenter, so probably around 12L. It would also rely on ambient temperatures being in the low twenties as you need to keep the fermenting temperature in the high teens or low twenties for about a week, depending on the beer style. This could work if you have an RV with air conditioning but we don’t so we need to pick our places carefully to brew. If you had enough water to spare and these conditions it could be done. We’ll see how we go. If anyone is doing this on the road, please leave any comments or tips below and let us know how your brews taste.
In our next brew, we took it to the next level by adding extra hops and bitterness.