Coopers European Lager

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Coopers European Lager

Postby Gethin79 » Tue Apr 08, 2014 17:42

This was the first kit I ever made, and as such I think I made a couple of mistakes en route to the finished product, but I'll give you a run down of what I think of it.

Firstly, there is usually lots of discussion as to whether or not this kit comes with a genuine lager yeast. So, just to confirm...yes it does.

As a newbie I followed the instructions pretty much to the letter, adding the recommended 1kg of Coopers Brew Enhancer 2, making it up to 23L. OG of 1.040. I pitched the yeast straight out of the packet onto the top of the wort at 23C...and here followed my first mistake.

At the time I had no form of temperature control, and in fact didn't realise I needed it as I was following the instructions which recommended 21C. The instructions do say that the yeast strain will ferment as low as 13C but it seems to recommend 21C. So, I placed my FV in the kitchen, which fluctuated between 19C and 21C...which for this yeast was, as I found out on here, too warm. :doh:

I left the brew fermenting at this temperature for around 3 days before I realised my mistake and put it into the conservatory at 13C, but I fear this may have been too late. In total I left the brew in the FV for a total of 3 weeks, before achieving a stable SG reading of 1.010. By this time I had built myself a fermentation fridge, so racked into a secondary FV and lagered it for 2 weeks at 1C. This should probably have been longer, but as my first brew, I must admit, I was getting impatient ;)...oh...one thing to note...while this is fermenting this does give off a strong sulphor/eggy smell, which SWMBO was not too over the moon about. Don't worry about it, its normal, just prepare to be moaned at for a few days. :nono: It fades away fairly quickly though.

Anyway, following this I batch primed using 130g sugar in the 23L batch and bottled.

The instructions advise to condition for at least 12 weeks...this is one piece of advice I would certainly advise you follow. I bottled mine around 12 weeks ago now, and only have 5 bottles left. They are getting much much better now. Initially the lager lacked any sort of head, and any that I poured which did have a head would disappear within 30 seconds. Now, the head lasts much longer and some almost until I've finished the pint :drink:

The one thing I have noticed is a strange flavour, which my Dad also commented on. It is hard to describe, but the best I can say is it has a strong yeasty flavour, which doesn't taste quite right. Not horrible at all, just not quite right. I think I may put this down to the wrong fermenting temperature at the start. This flavour has mellowed slightly as it conditions, but it is still quite apparent.

In conclusion, this is a very simple kit to make, but I would only advise you make it if you have some form of temperature control to allow you to ferment at lower temperatures. Next time I will ferment this at 12C-13C from the start. Also, don't make this if you want to be drinking it at its best fairly soon. It isn't going to happen. It definitely needs that 12 weeks. All in all though, as a first attempt, I was very pleased with the kit and would recommend it.
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby magick777 » Fri Apr 11, 2014 18:15

I made the same kit last year, fermenting it at room temperature (19-21C) and had acceptable results from it. Made it up with the recommended can of liquid malt extract, can't remember what they called it. Didn't use hydrometers, just left it in primary for about 3 weeks, then bottled. If memory serves me correctly, I used Coopers' carbonation drops for priming, one per 450ml Grolsch bottle, which equates to roughly 150g of priming sugar in the 23L batch. In my estimation this was insufficient for a lager; I am accustomed to priming lagers with 8g of sugar per litre, and the carbonation drops in 450ml bottles work out to more like 6g per litre. The bottles were left to condition for three months; I'm accustomed to long maturation times.

Like you, I felt that there was something a bit wrong with the finished brew. It was perfectly drinkable, not unpleasant or yeasty and none of it went to waste, but it had more of a malt flavour and less in the way of hops/bitterness than I would naturally associate with a lager, and this combined with the under-carbonation produced something arguably closer to a poor attempt at a golden ale than to a lager.

To summarise, the kit did produce a drinkable beer, probably comparable in quality with the equivalent from e.g. Muntons, but I've had better lagers (subjectively) from three or four other kits. It wasn't a total fail, but didn't strike me as better than competing premium beer kits on sale in the UK (the addition of a can of malt extract is no improvement on many premium kits) and neither was I impressed with the carbonation drops, at least not for a lager. I cannot slate the kit entirely; it made a drinkable beer and it scrapes a pass for that. However, as a fifteenth or twentieth brew, I could not recommend it over any of Brewferm, Better Brew, Ultimate Brewery Classics or Bulldog, so this loosely translates as I'd damn it with faint praise.

After the fact, it struck me that it was illogical to purchase a European style beer kit from an Australian manufacturer, and I think I will probably only buy another Coopers kit if I require an Australian style of beer. Nothing wrong with them, but I've had equal or better results from UK and European manufactured kits. Leaving aside any moral/ethical issues associated with the food miles, part of the cost of a foreign-manufactured kit in the UK is the cost of importing it, which is only worthwhile if it offers some distinct advantage, and in my view, this did not.

Fermenting: Brewferm Gold, Brewferm Oranje Bock
Conditioning: Brewferm Pils, Bulldog Hammer of Thor
Drinking: commercial beers, unfortunately
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby sandimas » Sat Apr 19, 2014 10:54

As you have suggested, temperature is the key with this one, as it uses a true lager yeast. I did this in the depths of last winter, when parts of the house got really cold, and was able to ferment it at around 12C. Bottled it and allowed a long conditioning time (4 months or so), the result was superb. Only difference I made to the recipe was to add a small hop tea-bag, will probably add more hops next time. Think this is a really nice lager, but would only brew it in winter, to keep it cool during the ferment.
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby DrD » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:28

I found a few bottles of this buried in the garage, I brewed it Jan 2014.

As you might expect, after 2 years in the bottle it was crystal clear. Very dense, fine bubbles. Just a bit of hop bitterness left which made it quite crisp.

I really didn't like this beer when I first brewed it (which is how it managed to get lost in the garage). Main problem is they give you an ale yeast to use in a lager, which doesn't work as you get a non-hoppy golden ale. However, most of the odd flavours have since dissipated and it was actually quite pleasant, tasted like a lager.

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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby sandimas » Mon Feb 15, 2016 16:41

DrD wrote:Main problem is they give you an ale yeast to use in a lager


No, it's a lager yeast - Coopers Euro is one of the few kits to come with a low-temp fermenting lager yeast. Just done another fermenting at 12C, ale yeasts would die at that temp.
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby DrD » Mon Feb 15, 2016 21:21

Ale yeast doesn't die at 12C. There is some perfectly healthy S.cerevisiae at 4C in my fridge right now.

That said, I'm open to the idea that it is a lager yeast, but would require another explanation for the funky off flavours that dominated when it was young.
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby itenary » Tue Feb 23, 2016 10:54

Hello everyone

I am the distributor for Gozdawa beer kits in the UK and our cheaper kits have what we call a "hybrid" yeast which is in fact an ale yeast and I suspect that it is the same for other brands too.

However all our other kits come with special yeast according to the type of beer. We have 6 different low temp fermentation kits (1 can kits) and the recommended temp is between 14 and 18 deg. But I must admit that I don't know what would happen if it was fermented at higher temperature.

If anyone would like to try a low temp kit, send me a message through our website (artisan-goods.co.uk) and I'll send you a money off coupon.


@ magick777
Be careful about leaving your beer too long in the fermentation vessel as it shouldn't be in contact with all the sludge at the bottom longer than necessary. Even if you don't use an hydrometer, I'd suggest not to leave it more than a couple of days after it stops bubbling.

Last edited by itenary on Tue Feb 23, 2016 14:50, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby blinky » Tue Feb 23, 2016 13:42

I made this last October - followed the instructions, fermented at 12degress, left in Primary for 2 weeks then transferred to secondary and lagered for a further 4 weeks at around 4 or 5c. I tasted a couple of bottles over Christmas and it's pretty horrible - has a wierd aftertaste and I dont know why. TBH It had been bottled for about 4 or 5 weeks so maybe I should crack one open this weekend and see what its like now but I'm tempted to bin the lot!
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby itenary » Wed Feb 24, 2016 21:28

Hello everyone

I asked the factory what would happen if a kit with low temp yeast was fermented at high temperature (21/22 degrees).

They told me that it would brew a "ale type" of beer rather than a "lager type" and that the final beer would develop (too many) esters.

I hope this helps a little.

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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby blinky » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:13

I opened one last night, brewed in October and I think its nearly ready! The yucky taste has gone, it's got tiny hint of something that I think another few weeks will gt rid of. Its the only one I have finished yet! Has a hint of sweetness and not the crispness you usually expect but being an ale drinker I like this.
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Re: Coopers European Lager

Postby sandimas » Sun Feb 28, 2016 12:41

Against my better judgement I opened one last night that had only been bottled 3 weeks - yep, it was pretty horrible, chucked half of it down the sink. Done it before and it's great if left, so will not touch the rest until the 12 week point.
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