Cooper's Australian Pale Ale

Coopers International Series Australian Pale Ale Kit
RRP £14.75
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Muntons Beer Kit Enhancer 1Kg –
RRP £6.99
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Muntons Light Spraymalt 500g
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Cooper's Australian Pale Ale
Cooper's Australian Pale Ale

My son and I are quite new to home brewing but we've enjoyed both the brewing process and the

 consumption of the end product! With extreme care on hygeine we've been very impressed with the quality we've been able to achieve with a simple brew kit. But, as confirmed hop heads, we've felt that we could add a little something to the standard recipes.

We chose Cooper's Australian Pale Ale as the base as it doesn't have any dominant characteristics which might mask what we were hoping to achieve. A first batch had been brewed using beer sugar and, whilst perfectly acceptable, was a little thin. We wanted to increase body, mouth feel and head retention so substituted sugar with 50% brew enhancer and 50% light spray malt. These were added to the Cooper's can in the normal way.

Hopping was always going to be fun but we resisted the temptation to throw 'the kitchen sink' at it. After some background reading and lot's of discussion we settled on a combination of hop tea (flavour) and dry hopping (aroma). The tea was made by boiling 15gms of whole Chinook for 15 minutes. We hoped this would give some depth of flavour without too much added bitterness and the hot tea was added to the fermentation vessel and water added to 23 litres at around 21Deg.C. Yeast was pitched, lid was added and we left it to ferment for 2 days. On the third day, we added the dry hop muslin bag which we'd stuffed with 30 grams of Chinook and 30 grams of Citra (told you we were hops heads!).

We'd previously read that if dry hops were left in the fermentation vessel for too long they could impart a musty or very bitter edge so we decided to err on the side of caution and leave them in for only four days. 

By day 10 the present gravity had stabilised at around 1009. This was a little higher than expected but, as a bonus, might produce a light residual sweetness. This brew was kegged, left warm for a few days for secondary fermentation and then moved to a cooler place to condition. A month later (how did we resist?) we decided that it was probably fit for drinking and actively cooled the keg with damp towels.

So how it did it taste? From an entirely biased perspective we were very pleased. With the additives (hops, spraymalt, enhancer) it wasn't a cheap pint except by pub standards but the flavour was spot on. Loads of citrus and fresh grapefruit with a light bitterness and good body and mouthfeel. Head retention wasn't quite there but we're looking at that for the next brew. The beer has continued secondary fermentation in the keg and, even now, when it's 2/3 empty we can draw a lively, well carbonated pint. 

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