Y-Brew 0x03 – Aussie Pale Ale – “Willy Hop” mod

@RecentlyDrunk's excellent AG 04

@RecentlyDrunk’s excellent AG 04

Today I had a bottle of @RecentlyDrunk‘s lovely “Simcoe Amarillo” homebrew. I hope to be able to make a beer that good myself one day. For now, however, I’ll be sticking to what I can manage with “kit” brews. My Cooper’s kit has done good work producing two batches of ale so far. My Sorachi-hopped Cooper’s “Lager” worked rather well… not as good as proper Bristol Beer Factory Acer (no surprise), but well enough to be identifiably an attempt to mimic it. I had Acer at the Cambridge Beer Festival and my first thought was “this reminds me of my homebrew” ;)

Y-Brew 0x03 - Getting Ready

Getting Ready

Inspired by the weather, a bit of gardening including running a trellis for our “Willingham Hop”, and by Bob’s excellent “Simcoe Amarillo”… I did a quick “brew” today. I picked up a Cooper’s “Australian Pale Ale” can and some Brew Enhancer #2 earlier in the year and then promptly put it away and forgot about it. Today I dragged it out, cleaned up all the kit and got stuck in. It’s all very simple really, the beauty of kit brewing: I spent more time sanitising stuff than actually “brewing”. (In quotes because I won’t really consider it proper brewing until I go “all grain”, kits are just cheating really.)

Last autumn we harvested the hops from our hob bine, a hefty 200g (dry weight) in all. We have no idea what sort of hop this is as it was here before us, so we just call it the “Willy Hop” (we live in the village of Willingham). My mod to the APA recipe is to add some Willy Hop and up the BE#2 by 50% to get a higher ABV. Today’s recipe goes:

Y-Brew 0x03 - Rinsing Hops

Rinsing Hops

  1. Boil 4 litres of water
  2. Add 1.5kg of Cooper’s Brew Enhancer #2 and dissolve
  3. Add 15g whole-cone “Willy Hop” – boil for 5 minutes
  4. Add 15g whole-cone “Willy Hop” – boil for 5 minutes
  5. Turn off the gas… “flame out”
  6. Add the tin of Australian Pale Ale hopped-extract, stir in thoroughly, this is stirred/steeped for 5 more minutes
  7. Strain into fermentation vessel
  8. Pour 10 litres of tap water through strainer to thoroughly rinse hops, remove strainer
  9. Make up volume to 23 litres while checking temp – aiming for ~25C
  10. Stir very very thoroughly
  11. Take sample for measuring original gravity – was around 1046
  12. Sprinkle on yeast nutrient (not confident of my Cooper’s yeast sachets)
  13. Sprinkle in content of 3 Cooper’s yeast sachets – they’re not old, but just in case…
  14. DONE! Lid on, put somewhere warm and dark…

I’ll be adding a good charge of Willy Hop for “dry hopping” once this is fermented. Stay tuned! (and fingers crossed…)

Y-Brew 0x03 - OG 1047

OG 1046

Y–Brew 0x02 — St. Peters India Pale Ale

Well, Y-Brew 0x02 is in the fermenter.

A simple kit again — St. Peter’s India Pale Ale. In no way adulterated… yet.

The OG at 27°C looked to be about 1048, which the Brewer’s Friend temp adjustment calculator suggests to be about 1049 @ 20°C. This seems right for giving a FG above 5% (final target ABV is 5.5% — but that takes into account priming for secondary I expect).

I’m relying on a new glass hydrometer now, as the Cooper’s one seems to be way out of whack. (So who knows what Y–Brew 0x01’s ABV actually is!)

The hop powder provided was scattered in onto foam from 5 minutes of vigorous agitation (oxygenation), followed by the contents of the yeast sachet. “Pitch” temperature was about 27°C.

Vague intention to split this into two two–gallon pressure barrels and dry–hop one with Simcoe. But to do that pressure barrels must be bought, which is about £50. Could be very useful for making split brews in future though, a two gallon barrel is easier to take away and also fits in the fridge better.

This will be the last kit brew I do. Going to try extract next, probably with steeped grain using a recipe from either the Brew Your Own British Real Ale or Radical Brewing book.

Now… the waiting begins. Time to pop a Y-Brew 0x01 into the fridge perhaps!


  • Brew Kit: St. Peter’s India Pale Ale (5.5%)
  • Hops: Provided, sachet of Goldings powder plus “hop enhancer”
  • Yeast: Provided
  • Pitch Temp: 27°C
  • Date: 2012-08-27 @ ~16:00
  • OG: 1048 @ 27°C (thus ~1049)

Y-Brew 0x01 – Cooper’s Lager – Up-hopped

Brew done...

Brew done... and trying some hop-tea: hoppy & quite bitter.

Well, here we go – my first homebrew… finger’s crossed it isn’t a dud first experience! I’ve followed the kit instructions pretty closely with a minor, I think, tweak in the hop department. I bought the kit, plus some other bits and pieces including extra hops and a St Peter’s IPA kit from http://www.the-home-brew-shop.co.uk/ – prompt delivery with a tracking code and everything intact except for the very flimsy Cooper’s DIY Beer DVD, which was cracked! No worries, as the video is also online along with many other instructional videos from other folk on YouTube.

I started with a Cooper’s Original Series Lager Kit… and did some research online. It isn’t quite a lager, for starters, it comes with an ale yeast so is really a light ale. Quite a few reports of using this kit with extra hops (in various ways) can be found on the popular homebrew forums too.

In a more general sense, there were various things said about water treatment, with the primary concern being to get rid of chlorine. There was some talk about boiling water to achieve both de-chlorination and to remove some hardness.

On Saturday I boiled 25l of finest Cambridshire tap-water and popped it into a 5 gallon plastic barrel I’d included in the order. This sat for about 24hrs to cool, with the lid off (covered with a teatowel). This plus a little Brita filtered water from the fridge was my brew water. Used with a little reservation as it did taste a little “odd” – not bad odd, just different from the tap water.

Come Sunday evening, I sanitised all equipment as best as possible and started my brew!

I made up 20 litres as per the kit instructions. I.e. dissolve the Brew Enhancer 1 in hot water, mix in the hopped malt extract, top up with water to 20 litres.

Boiling Saaz in Wort

Boiling 20g of Saaz in 2l of Wort

This is where I went off-plan. I took off 2 litres of wort and brought this to boiling point in a large saucepan. I then added 10g of Saaz hops, then after 6 mins I added another 10g, then boiled 6 more minutes. I added this extra-hopped wort to the fermenter through a strainer.

Pitching Temperature

Pitching Temperature - A Little High @ 28C

After mixing this in the temperature was up at about 30C, so I added 2lt of chilled water from the fridge – through the hops in the strainer – then topped up with room temp water to just a little over the 23lt mark. This left the temp a little high at 28C.

I sprinkled the packet of yeast and moved the fermenter to the warmest room in the house – the study. I’m currently a little concerned that there doesn’t seem to be much activity in the brew, though there is some. Perhaps I should have followed the frequently seen instruction to toss the kit yeast and buy some brewing yeast separately. Well, time will tell.

I also just tasted my OG sample and… hmm… it’s a bit bitter. At room temperature mind you. I thought I was being conservative with the 2x 10g hopping with the Saaz, which is only 3.1% alpha acid. I’d seen forum posts where people popped in 2 x 30g and then another 30g dry-hops post-ferment. I do intend to add some dry-hops too, I have some Sorachi Ace for this!

Original Gravity - About 1034

Original gravity - About 1034

The OG was a seemingly low 1034 – though this looked more like 1033 after it had been sitting for a couple of hours.

Well, for the timebeing, here’s live Y-Brew-Cam: Hm, light’s not so great for beer, isn’t it? Brew-Cam cloaked… here’s an older pic:

Y-Brew 0x01 - Live!

Y-Brew 0x01 - Live!


The notes I’ve written down on my Cooper’s brew-sheet are:

  • Brew Kit: Lager
  • Adjuncts: Brew Enhancer 1 – 4099110704
  • Hops: Boiled in 2lt wort – 10g Saaz at boil, 10g more Saaz after 6 min, 6 more min boiling.
  • Yeast: Coopers – 7g – 31111
  • Date: 2012-06-17 @ ~21:00
  • OG: 1034 (1033 after 2 hours)

One review comment on the coopers kit: why on earth does it come with a non-permanent marker that wipes off the shiny brew-sheet provided?

I finished with a cup of tea made by steeping the spent hops. It was quite bitter, but tasty. Was drinkable with a teaspoon of light brown sugar added. :)