Reviews

Coopers Real Ale <3 Beer May 23rd 2020

Not for me thanks.

Normally I do a recipe to the supplied instructions before reviewing. This time I skipped over, using MJ ale yeast, wheat malt and dry hopping with EKG in addition to the booster, as I figured the apparently large fan base of Real Ale made it a sure winner. Nope. By the time it had aged sufficiently to lose the awful iso hop taste which initially dominated the flavour, the EKG had long faded and the wheat malt was stale. No doubt a recipe fail, but I cant disguise my disappointment in this kit from any angle. Coopers do a wide range with some great entries, so I put this down to it being a budget end kit for beer lovers with -er- different tastes. Probably would be ok just doing the basic recipe and ageing a few months. But that would be a bit dull, right?

American IPA - Brewery Pouch <3 Beer May 22nd 2020

Nothing more to do

From the moment the pouch opened I was certain MJ nailed this one. The malts were just right and the hops excellent quality. The flavour intensity is more than sufficient to permit an extra 500g of ldm above the standard kg of malt booster. Given the style, extra fermentables are virtually mandatory in truth. This one is best sipped, and delivers all the expected fruity floral notes of an AIPA. It takes about 3 months to really peak if you use all the hops. IPAs are supposed to be pungent but it is possible to hold back some here, as the combo herein is truly Bold. There are a couple of issues with this kit. The pouch opening both extract and instructions like all these kits, the yeast is slow to work, particularly so with extra malts, and the recommendation to pitch hops without a bag is downright dumb, given the way these pellets disperse. They are just traps for first timers, not real detractors. Highly recommended for all hop lovers.

Black Rock Mexican Lager Bizzo April 20th 2020

A nice crisp lager

Started this kit last month. Added 1kg Brew Sugar. Brewed short to 20 litres. OG was 1042, pitched the tiny packet of yeast (5g) that came with the kit at 22°. Set the Inkbird to 20°. After 3 days the fermentation still hadn't started, so I added a packet of Wilko's yeast and within a couple of hours it was bubbling constantly. It came out at 4.9% AVB, and it tastes great. Would of given it 5 stars but for the tiny packet of yeast that didn't work. 

Coopers Sparkling Ale nomoregoon February 29th 2020

better than store bought version once hopped with Northern Brewer :)

this is my go2 recepie for lighter colour refreshing tasty ass beer. 2weeks in primary with kit yeast, and 1kg BE3. Then add 40g Northern Brewers Hops in hop tea form (steep in just boiled water no longer than 10 min in big cofee plunger, its a bitter kit so it can take it :). transfer to keg, cold crash (in keg) and carbonate. Result: 21 ltr of Utter beer nirvana.    

Preacher's Hefe Wheat <3 Beer February 20th 2020

Popular but a little disappointing

I am a real fan of this beer style, and it has been years between making one so I gave the Preachers kit a run. I used Morgans wheat lme 1.2 kg along with the standard yeast at 20-22 degrees controlled temp as is usually recommended. It pours hazy, with a decent head and has the desired bready, faintly citrus notes with sweetness and low bitterness. The flavour didnt taste its best until about 3 weeks; a bit slower than expected. Unfortunately the promised clove and banana esters are near to nonexistent. Serving at about 9+ degrees celsius is required to taste anything at all. The yeast was definitely not over pitched, so this is possibly because I habitually oxygenate the wort and forgot to NOT do that (oops) or because this yeast really requires fermentation around 17 degrees, as some do, to achieve its best. Friends and family loved it, but to me it was decent but just a little boring. If I did the same again, I would try to correct these mistakes, or otherwise add a little tettnager hops. Given I followed the recipe on the label, I can only give this 3 star unless the reason for the lack of ester development is clear.

GENERIC - Homebrand Draught <3 Beer January 26th 2020

Ok for a cheap brew

For 9 bucks a can, what do you get? On opening the kit, it had little aroma or colour vs other kits. Likewise the final product had with minimal body and flavour and a head. Initially it had a very unusual cidery, cross cardboardy taste that I have never experienced before. The yeast is hardly premium grade and beer probably needs racking off as soon as the primary ferment is done. I brewed with dextrose only and no dry hop; any more seemed pointless for a budget batch. Given it is 25% cheaper than a Coopers kit, you are probably getting what you pay for. My recommendation is to buy a better kit though.

update: after a month ageing the nasty flavours cleared up. It pours clear and really tastes like a generic xxxx / vb just a little less flavour. A little dry hop would really help but it makes more sense to me to just spend the money on a better kit.

ROASTED STOUT WITH DRY HOPS <3 Beer January 16th 2020

One to chew on

First impressions are outstanding. MJ have gone to some length to create a quasi-craft brew experience with high quality malt, yeast and dry hops. One gripe: The pouch may yield better product to the consumer, but its design ineeds work. It is very difficult to access the instructions without opening the extract part of the pouch. Not that there is any special wizardry therein, so no matter for experienced brewers.

A gift from my darling wife so made with 1kg lhbs brew enhancer she provided (seems to be coopers no 2 clone) plus an extra 320g ldme, as it was dark enough, but not stout enough already for my taste. The galena hops included smell divine! Tasting out of the fv gives intense dark malt character, strong roasted grain backbone and sufficient tannin to indicate this should be well aged. Hop presence is too strong at this stage, but this will be necessary to survive lengthy ageing. The strong ale yeast worked very effectively, and true to style, left relatively little trace in the final product. I dont expect it to taste the way it should for a few months (unlike the optimistic 3 weeks on the label) but will attempt to update as it goes. Will probably try it with some lactose next time though, as there will certainly be a next time.

update: over 3 months the flavours transitioned well, subtly sweetening and developing beautiful coffee notes. A winter winner.

Black Rock Bock Bernie January 16th 2020

Different

I brewed this with 1.5 kg of amber LME and was nonplussed by the taste such that I bought a Bock from the supermarket which tasted exactly the same. So, the kit does what it says on the can. I came to appreciate it.

Coopers India Pale Ale (IPA) <3 Beer January 15th 2020

One of the best value kits around

The 4 star rating is because the kit, on its own, is really just the foundation for a superb brew. Unlike some more recent innovations, e.g. MJ's craft series, the rest is up to you. Add the right blend of malts and hops and you have a 5 star product. As a base kit though, it is a real threat to many a craft beer in it's own right. A little sweet, and not as bitter or floral as many IPAs, very much what you would expect from an IPA though. Good complexity and progression of flavours on the palate. The kit yeast is excellent too, no pressing need for upgrade. Pours quite dark and a little cloudy. Overall, it is well balanced IMHO. I prefer with some dextrose, rather than all malt as prescribed, to crisp it up. Also dry hopping with a little cascade and citra hop for a couple of days before bottling really gives it a boost. One you need to try, for sure.

Coopers Dark Ale <3 Beer January 15th 2020

An old time favourite

Coopers dark ale is a bit of a tradition here. Probably the kit I have most experimented with because, while it is on the budget end of the range, it offer the most of what I like in a base for a vintage ale or winter dark ale. The base recipe results in a beer with moderate bitterness and complexity of flavour, very much of Tooheys Old style but lacking a little body and maltiness, hence the 3 star rating. Get creative and this can be improved, particularly with the right yeast and adjuncts, but some aging is also critical as the flavours take some maturation to develop. I used a custom yeast blend based on champagne yeast, with lme and yeast nutrient, aged for 6-9 months to get some serious ester complexity and stunning bubble streamers. But this is going too far to affect the rating on the basic kit. You can afford to play with it though.

Family Secret Amber Ale <3 Beer January 15th 2020

No fuss, good chugger

Coopers managed to nail the low hop, solid malt character of amber ale with this kit. Given the style, there isn't a need to stray too far from the base recipe. It begins with strong toffee notes and this progressively mellows with age. Your reward for waiting is a fairly sweet, mildly bitter drop with some background that, while not overpowering, lets you know it is not an average cleanskin. That is the main benefit, but possibly an achilles heel too. If you insist on being genre perfect, anyhow. Play with the recipe too much and the result may not be the everyman's inoffensive, sessionable brew an amber should be. That doesnt mean you shouldnt try though! Otherwise it is the easiest, no brainer kit to get right. Be careful, it can go down fast on a hot summer afternoon.

Brew A IPA <3 Beer January 15th 2020

One of the best value kits around

The 4 star rating is because the kit, on its own, is really just the foundation for a superb brew. Unlike some more recent innovations, like MJ's craft series, the rest is up to you. Add the right blend of malts and hops and you have a 5 star product. As a base kit though, it is a real threat to many a craft beer in it's own right. A little sweet, and not as bitter or floral as many IPAs, very much what you would expect from an IPA though. Good complexity and progression of flavours on the palate. The kit yeast is excellent too, no pressing need for upgrade. Pours quite dark and a little cloudy. Overall, it is well balanced IMHO. I prefer with some dextrose, rather than all malt as prescribed, to crisp it up. Also dry hopping with a little cascade and citra hop for a couple of days before bottling really gives it a boost. One you need to try, for sure.

American IPA - Brewery Pouch jafar December 9th 2019

Great beer with numerous flavours

I ordered this beer kit after successfully brewing the Mangrove Jack's IPA a few times. I always liked IPA and wanted to brew something a bit different.

Because of my carelessness, I managed to kill the yeasties in the included M44 US West Coast yeast bag. So I had to use the
M42 New World Strong Ale yeast from the Jack's IPA kit. The latter gives a bit more of a fruity taste they say.

After 2-3 weeks in bottles I cracked open the first one.
The first sip made me feel the spring, summer and autumn combined in my mouth. It was an amazing experience. The beer will amaze you with all the neatly balanced flavours it has. Of course, it might not be for the regular lager drinkers, due to it's intense flavour.
It has quite a lot of alcohol, which is of course expected in IPA.

Will definitely order it again to get some more of it's flavours. Hopefully, I won't kill the yeast this time :D

American Pale Ale - Brewery Pouch bobthebrewer September 24th 2019

Mangrove Jack's APA

Followed instructions on the kit, brewed with 1 kg of DME instead of sugar. Bottled.  It took about 2 months for it all to mellow and come into form.  Bang on five star rating for this one, brewing just couldn't be easier and the results are better than reasonable.  A very drinkable beer at the outcome, definitely better than a lot of generic beers I have picked up off of supermarket shelves.  A decent session beer that slides down easy and remains drinkable for the duration.

Preacher's Hefe Wheat Essexlol September 20th 2019

Pleasant Flavour

I have just bottled this and I thought it tasted great, which is unusual for me, as I always feel they need to be matured for a while for the flavours to come through. Then only thing would say is that (at this point)  it does not particularly remind me of a Belgium Wit. I am fairly sure though it will mature into a good beer for a cheap (in UK) kit.

India Pale Ale - Brewery Pouch jafar September 13th 2019

Great IPA

This was my first kit, and the best so far.
At first, I thought it was too bitter, but after a few (3) weeks in bottles, this beer became one of the best I ever drank.
It is very bitter, too bitter for most females (which is good if you don't want to share your beer with your spouse), but still great.
The alcohol level is quite high.
You can also taste some fruitiness.

It just needs at least 3 weeks in bottles to get the best taste.

Overall a great refreshing beer :)

E.S.B Australian Draught pedro August 8th 2019

Wow!

I read the reviews before purchasing and I thought that 'FRUITY AND SMOOTH, FINEST BEER EVER' review HAD to be an exaggeration. While I dont quite know whether I would say best ever beer commercial or homebrew it is certainly excellent. I also agree with other reviews that I personally wouldnt say it was aussie draught in style, too dark, too malty. It is however an excellent beer and I will certainly brew it again.

Grand Cru pettersson July 21st 2019

Strong and nice

Brewed with malt extract instead of sugar to 11 litres. Left it in the fermenter for 2 weeks + 2 weeks cold crash with gelatine finings. After 2 months in the bottle this is a very nice beer. I am looking forward to tasting it in another 2 months.
Gallia pettersson July 21st 2019

Malty and nice

Brewed with malt extract instead of sugar. Left it in the fermenter for 2 weeks + 2 weeks cold crash with gelatine finings. After 2 months in the bottle this is a very nice beer. I am looking forward to tasting it in another 2 months.
Christmas bobthebrewer June 10th 2019

Christmas Ale

Nothing added to the kit, done according to instructions apart from bottling.  Fermented out fully to 1010 and then 4gr of priming sugar per litre  at bottling time.  No carbonation problems at 6 months, all is well.

First taster at 2 months ... horrible

Second taster at 6 months and everything has mellowed and it is bang on.  It's as good as it comes, results as good as anything you can buy in a supermarket. Interesting complex flavours, non-hop bitterness that reminds me of Chartreuse.  Definitely not a session beer. A sipper.

Definite five out of five, you can brew better than commercial quality beer from a kit, I am impressed.

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