Frequently Asked Questions
Here we post homebrew questions asked by customers and try to answer them as best as we can.
Q. Is it safe to pay online?
A. Yes. We don't ever see your card details as you are redirected to the bank's system (Realex) or PayPal, and they take your details through a secure connection and then return you to our web site. Also, your card details are not stored (or ever even seen) by our systems.
Q. The checkout card amount shown on my order: is this the actual amount my card will be billed, or are there any additional charges?
A. Yes it is the correct amount, there are no additional charges. It is a good question though, because this is not always the case with other web sites. In particular, if you are buying from a UK web site, then even if the amount is shown in Euros, the credit card company usually takes payment in £ GBP and the conversion rate that they use is not the same as the rate you see on the UK web site checkout. Usually, its about 3% more. So you may think you are paying Euro 100 on a UK web site, but your credit card statement may show that you have been charged Euro 103 or more.
Q. Why do you use DPD couriers?
A. We use DPD because they deliver to more countries than any other, and we ship homebrew orders all over the world.
Q. Can the courier deliver at a specific time (e.g. between 2 and 4 PM)?
A. We have no control over when the courier will attempt to deliver your order; all we know is that it should be delivered the next working day after we dispatch it. You could call your local DPD courier office and ask them for more info on when the driver may arrive, see: http://www.dpd.ie/index.php/depot-finder
Q. My rotokeg is leaking CO2, what can I do?
A. Firstly, make sure you have placed lots of vaseline on the rubber ring in the lid; otherwise it won't seal. Next, make sure you do not overtighten the valves in the lid since the rubber seals will flatten out and CO2 will then escape. The valves should be hand tightened and then turned another 1/8 of a turn with a liers or spanner. Finally, check the ridge on the neck of the keg body and make sure it is smooth . . . these kegs are made in 2 pieces and then welded so the neck part must be filed down to make it smooth (Hambleton Bard already do this for you). On rare occassions, it goes wrong and the lid won't seal properly. We will replace the keg if this happens.
Q. Upon reading the Coopers carbonation drops instructions I am supposed to add 1 drop to a 375 ml bottle or 2 to a 750 ml bottle. I have purchased Coopers OxBar bottles which were only available in 500ml. Please advise.
A. This is a very common question and we have asked Coopers to answer it. They recommend using 1 drop per 500 ml OxBar bottle; this should give the same level of carbonation (fizziness) as commercial bottled lager. It will take a couple of weeks for the beer to become fully carbonated, and they must be kept in a warm place during this phase (20 to 25 oC). They will carbonate at lower temperatures, but it can take much longer. An advantage of the Coopers Oxbar bottles, is that they become hard as the CO2 expands ... so you feel when they are carbonated.
Q. After several weeks, my beer is flat. I kept the bottles at appox 20 oC. What can I do now?
A. This is a common problem, since homebrew beginners can forget to add carbonation drops to some bottles during bottling, expecially if a few beers are being consumed during the process! If its a capped glass bottle, there is not really much you can do. If its a Coopers OxBar, then you can:
- unscrew the cap,
- pop a carbonation drop in, and
- VERY QUICKLY screw the cap back on.
Once you add the carbonation drop, the beer will foam aggressively so you must replace the cap quockly. Do this over a towel to collect the inevitable spills. For swing top bottles, you can adopt a similar approach. We have had to do this ourselves in the early days!
Q. I just bought Brewferm Heading Powder: should I also prime the bottles or does this do both jobs?
A. Heading Powder simply helps to retain the head on your beer, it does not carbonate the beer. So you will also need to prime the bottles (use Coppers carbonation drops for convenience).
Q. If a kit recommends adding 1 Kg of sugar, how much of the LME and or how much Spraymalt should be added if I want to replace the sugar and make an all malt quality beer?
A. This is one of the most common homebrewing questions, and its remarkably hard to find an answer on the Internet. In terms of fermentables (the contribution to % ABV), the following conversions apply:
1 Kg of table sugar = 1.1 Kg of Brewing Sugar (Dextrose, Glucose),
1 Kg Brewing Sugar (Dextrose, Glucose) = 0.91 Kg of table sugar,
1 Kg of table sugar = 1.22 Kg of Dried Malt Extract (aka spraymalt, DME),
1 Kg Dried Malt Extract (aka spraymalt, DME) = 0.82 Kg of table sugar,
1 Kg of table sugar = 1.53 Kg of Liquid Malt Extract (LME),
1 Kg Liquid Malt Extract (LME) = 0.66 Kg of table sugar,
1 Kg Dried Malt Extract (aka spraymalt, DME) = 1.25 Kg of Liquid Malt Extract (LME), and
1 Kg Liquid Malt Extract (LME) = 0.8 Kg of Dried Malt Extract (aka spraymalt, DME).
So the best value solution is to simply replace 1 Kg of sugar with a full can of our BH liquid malt extract.
Q. Your web site is set up for Laser and consequently did not recognise my Visa debit number. Can I email you my card details?
A. We do accept Visa debit cards, just select the VISA option at checkout (click the Realex button, and then select VISA). We can't take card payments by email or over the phone, as its not secure.
Q. How much "body brew" should I use in 40 pints of homebrew beer, and when do I add it?
A. Body Bru, also known as Malto Dextrin or Burton Body Brew, is a partially fermentable sugar. It adds some sweetness to the beer, as it doesn't ferment. It also adds body character and flavor to light beers, and it can improve the beer's head as well. Usually not necessary in all malt beers. It is added at the start of fermentation along with the other ingredients. You can add 500g to a 40 pint beer kit but you may want to use about 250g to start with.
Q. Your website advises adding yeast nutrient before adding the yeast, but I have been told that the nutrient should be added in stages after the yeast is added. Which advise is correct?
A. The short answer is that both are correct. Adding certain nutrient types (e.g. Fermaid K) at 12 hours after yeast addition, and again at 30% sugar depletion is excellent advise for commercial brewers, or the more experienced homebrewers. The problem with additions during the anaerobic phase at around 1/3 sugar depletion is oxidaton risk since homebrewers don't usually have the equipment necessary to keep air out during the mixing process. And its a much more complex procedure for novice homebrewers. Homebrew suppliers must try to cater for our target audience, many of whom are complete beginners, and opt for the lesser of many evils. In a nutshell, its usually good advice to follow the instructions on the particular nutrient you have purchased (or on its web site description).
Q. Can you get KVAS concentrate for me?
A. KVAS concentrate is used to make a non-alcoholic drink, and is very popular in Russia. Unfortunately, at the moment we can only get it in 20 litre or 200 litre drums. We have asked our suppliers to investigate if they get it to us in 1.5 Kg cans and are waiting for a reply.
Q. Where can I get my homebrew CO2 tank refilled?
A. We can't really recommend anyone as we can't guarantee the quality of the CO2, and it has to be food safe. In general, contract party companies that supply fizzy drinks can refil CO2 tanks. As can fire extinguisher companies. But you must ask them if the CO2 they supply is suitable for homebrewing and is food safe. Some of these companies are as follows:
A.J. Edge Ltd, Unit E Solus Tower Ind Est, Corke Abbey, Bray, Co. Wicklow. 01 2721852
Doyle and Doyle, 78A Cookstown Industrial Estate, Tallaght. 01 4131336.
Munster CO2, Cork. 021-4505550
Seahorse Aquariums Ltd, Unit 3 St Joan’s ind Est, Turnpike Road, Ballymount, Dublin. 01 459 5650
BOC in Ballymun (next to Musgraves C&C)
Please let us know if you find any others and we will add them here.
Q. I trying to place an order online but it kept asking for a delivery method even though i put it in several times. What can I do?
A. When you select a delivery method, the web page updates and this takes time especially if you have a slow internet connection. You must wait until it has fully updated before moving on to the next page. You will know when it has updated because the shipping charge will change, as will the total cost.
Q. Hello, I'm interested in the smartstill and was reading that there are two types available on the market. One is the original but one has also been modified. Do you know which one this is as I can't tell them apart by looking at them?
A. The one we stock is the only one available from our supplier. It is the generic low powered version, and is suitable for most applications. For water distillation, it produces about 20% less distilled water per hour than a dedicated water distiller. This is not usually a problem; it produces pure water for drinking and for beer and wine making. For alcohol distillation, you must apply for a licence from customs and excise. See http://www.revenue.ie/en/tax/excise/
Q. Can the brewferm mini kegs be reused?
A. The short answer is yes. However, the kegs are laquered on the inside and care must be taken not to damage the protective coating in order to make sure that your home brew beer does not come in direct contact with the metal keg. This means that you have to be careful when cleaning the kegs. The Brewferm Minikeg Starter Kit has instructions detailing this. Esentially, just soak in Chemipro Oxi. Do not use other detergents, and do not use brushes, rice etc.
Q. I've just ordered a Brupaks Craftsman homebrew beer pack from you. Do I need grain bags to brew this beer?
A. No, you don't think you need any extra bags. The hops and grains are already in bags so all you have to do is add boiling water to them.
Q. I have lots of old 500 ml tyskie beer bottles, is the 26 mm capper that I bought the right one for capping my homebrew beer?
A. Yes, 26mm caps are standard for nearly all beer bottles. The best know exception in homebrewing circles is the Geuze bottle, which requires a 29mm cap. You will also need an adapter for the counter top capper since the standard version is for 26mm caps. We stock all of these items (including the Geuze bottles).
Q. I stuck on the Raja's Reward India Pale Ale 3.4 Kg Home brew Beer Kit yesterday, I see in the notes that it has a slow fermenting yeast. 20 hours have past but there is very little activity in the airlock. Starting temperature was 23.5oC, and current temperature is 20.3 oC. What should I do?
A. Its fine, don't interfere with it. The brewing temperature is perfect. Leave it for a couple of days, and then if it is still not bubbling, gently lift the fermenter lid and check to see if your homebrew beer inside is foaming. Its quite common for there to be no airlock activity. This is because most brewing buckets are not guaranteed to fully seal and CO2 can escape around the lid of the bucket.
Q. I forgot to include an ingredient in my homebrew order, how can I order it now without having to pay for shipping again?
A. If its within a few hours of your original home brew order, then simply order it and pay on line. If you choose the "collect at shop" delivery option, you will not be charged for shipping and we will include it with your original homebrew order. Please note that we can't support this option if your original order has already shipped since we will then have to pay for the shipping.
Q. Does a 3.2 Kg homebrew beer kit make more beer that a 1.5 Kg beer kit?
A. No, both kits will probably make the same amount of home brew beer. The difference will be in the quality of the beer since the 3.2 Kg homebrew kit will be 100% malt, but you will need to add more fermentables to the 1.5 Kg beer kit (usually sugar, so the quality may not be as good). Of course, there are always exceptions and some beer styles (e.g. Brewferm Belgian beers) require sugar.
Q. I would like to place a homebrew order, but I need the order to be delivered to an address that is different from my debit card billing address. Will this be okay?
A. Yes it is possible to have it delivered to an alternative address. Many customers have orders shipped to their work addresses. You can change the delivery address when you are checking out, before you pay.
Q. I have placed a homebrew order with your company, but when I paid for it, PayPal would not allow me to change the delivery address. What should I do?
A. The delivery address we ship to is the one you entered when you were cheking out (i.e. before you paid via PayPal). So what you do when paying with PayPal will not affect the delivery address you entered earlier. We know this can be confusing because PayPal sometimes gives the impression that the order will ship to your payment address within PayPal, but this is not the case if you have entered the correct delivery address for your home brew order earlier (during checkout).
Q. What is maximum weight you can ship to Northern Ireland?
A. There is no maximum weight regardless of where we ship (Ireland, Northern Ireland, UK, Europe etc). For orders over 30 Kg, we may ship more than one package but you still pay the same reqardless of how many homebrew packages we ship to you.
Q. I got the Premium Homebrew Starter Beer Kit and I am very happy with it. However, your site said I would get a 30 litre quality Brewferm PP fermenter but I think I got a 28 litre fermenter instead?
A. The graduation strip running up the side of the Brewferm fermenter only goes to 28 litres but it is actually a 30 litre fermenter as there is an additional 2 litres capacity above the top of the strip for foaming.
Q. Which of your chees cultures are DVI (Direct Vat Injection)?
A. We have the following DVI cultures in stock:
Cheese Culture LACTOFERM for 1 Litre
Cheese Culture For 100 Litres Of Milk
Cheese Culture For 500 Litres Of Milk
Q. I was looking at your Blichmann BrewMometer Weldless fixed model and was thinking of putting them through homebrew beer kegs to get readings. What would I have to do to fix one of them to a beer keg?
A. Full installation instructions for all of the Blichmann BrewMometers can be found here:
You will need to be able to get a wrench inside the keg, so it will need an opening large enough for you to get your hand in. Otherwise, you will need special tools.
Q. Do you sell a wider range of beer refill kits for my iBrew beer making equipment?
A. Yes we do. We sell the standard iBrew beer refill kits here:
iBrew Beer Equipment And Refills
Please note that the Brupaks Beers of the World Kits are 10 litre beer kits and are also compatible with the iBrew system; there is a very wide range of them here:
Brupaks Beers of the World 10 Litre Beer Kits
These are top quality beer kits and are well worth trying.
Q. Hi, I want to buy a boiler for homebrew malt extract beer production (not mash). The Brewferm Brewkettle Brewferm 27 Liter SS, Electric or Brewkettle Brewferm PRO Electric look like what I need but have they got a filter fitted to strain out the hops when drawing off the wort?
A. The short answer is no. They dont have bazookas or other filters for hops, pellets or grains. They are designed for use with Brouwland Muslin Hop Boiling Bags 10 pieces The hop bag holds the hops, or pellets and stops them from blocking up the tap; its a much simpler extract brewing solution and the boiler is thus much easier to clean after use. If you want to progress to all grain homebrewing, you can use a Brouwland Mashing Bag 30x30x35cm which is specially designed for these boilers. Its a very good solution and faciltates multi temperature mashing.
Q. I was just wondering about the homebrew beer and cider starter kits containing Coopers Ox-Bar bottles - do these require capping?
A. They come with screw caps so there is no ned to buy caps or a capper. The bottles and the caps can be reused many times. Sometimes, the caps get lost so we also stock packs of spare caps for them.
Q. I'm hoping to start brewing my own home brew beer soon in preparation for Christmas and I'm really keen on brewing some along the lines of Smithwicks. What would you suggest?
A. The Coopers English Bitter homebrew beer kit is what you are looking for! Its an excellent ale. It can be found here: Coopers International English Bitter 1.7 Kg Beer Kit.
Q. Can yourecommend a book on homebrew cider making from your own apples?
A. This one is excellent: Real Cider Making On A Small Scale (Book).
Q. What yeast would you recommend for making homebrew cider?
A. If you are making homebrew cider from a cider kit, the yeast is already included under the lid of the can, or in the packaging. If, on the other hand, you are making cider from apples or from apple juice, then you should use a dedicated cider yeast or any good champagne yeast. Here is a list of them:
Young's Cider Yeast Sachet 5g (Alternate Lalvin Champange EC-1118)
HB Cider Yeast/Sweetner
Red Star Pasteur Champagne Dry Wine Yeast 5 gram
Bioferm Champ Wine Yeast 7 grams
Lalvin Champange (EC-1118)
Young's Champagne Wine Yeast Sachet 5g
Q. My homebrew wines and ciders are too dry so I'd like to sweeter them. Can I just add sugar?
A. No. There are often residual yeast cells in homebrew beers, wines, and ciders. So there is a good chance that the sugar will just ferment, leaving an even drier result. Even worse, if you bottle homebrew wines after adding sugar then the resulting fermentation will release CO2 and your homebrew wine bottles could explode! The solution is to add non fermentable sweeteners. Here are some of them:
Sorbitol Liquid 70% 250 ml (325 grams)
Wine Sweetener 57 ml
Glycerin VINOFERM 100 ml (125 g)
Q. Do you sell homebrew kits on Amazon?
A. Yes we sure do. We currently sell over 400 products on Amazon, including the most popular homebrew beer kits, winemaking kits and cider kits. Its growing all the time. On Amazon, we trade under the Brewsmarter name.
Q. I have just installed S30 Brass 8 gram Inlet Valves with Piercing Pin on my homebrew pressure barrel kegs and tried injecting the 8 grm Nitrogen Bulbs, but the gas simply escaped and none went into the barrel. Are the Nitrogen Bulbs compatible with these valves?
A. Yes they are, but you will also need a bulb holder to inject the gas: Red Plastic Bulb Holder for 8 grm CO2 cartridges. You can't just press the bulb down on the valve, it won't work! Also, Nitrogen behaves very differently from CO2 and will not create a "head" on your beer like CO2 does. Its quite possible that you have successfully injected the Nitrogen, but that it seems otherwise.
Q. I wanted to buy some wyeast yeast. Is it possible to get it posted rather than couriered?
A. There are three problems with posting small homebrew orders to you. Firstly a pack of wyeast will cost almost as much as the courier to post. Secondly, there is no tracking (and registered post is much more expensive). Thirdly, liquid yeast can't be posted in an envelope as it could get crushed and destroyed. We used to post small homebrewing items, but customers claimed a large proportion of them never arrived. So we had to discontinue it.
Q. What is the Plato scale and how do I convert to specific gravity?
A. The conversion between degrees Plato and specific gravity is not exactly linear, but you can achieve reasonable accuracy by multiplying the ° Plato by four. For example 10° Plato is approximately equivalent to an SG of 1.040. This shows up on most homebrewing hydrometers as the number 40. The Plato scale measures the density of homebrew beer wort as a percentage of extract by weight and represents the density of the wort as the percentage of sucrose by weight. Commercial beer brewers, and some homebrewers sometimes prefer it as it effectively measures the amount of fermentable materials. Its very similar to % Brix. Here is an online converter for homebrewers: http://vk1od.net/calc/sg.htm. Just enter a number in any of the fields and hit the Enter key.
Q. What about the relationship between SG, Brix, Plato, Baume and Refractive Indices?
A. A detailed explanation of all these ways of measuring homebrew beer wort characteristics is beyond the scope of this section. However, its easy to convert between them if you know the value of one of them. Just use the online converter for homebrewers here: http://www.brewersfriend.com/brix-converter/. We can't guarantee the accuracy of online converters so you should google a couple and check that they are all giving you the same answer. For example, if you have a Speidel recipe that specifies 12° Plato, simply type the number 12 into the plato field and press the Enter key on your keyboard. The equivalent values for the other scales will now be displayed. The one you will most likely be using is SG (specific gravity). An SG of 1.045 can usually be read on your homebrewing hydrometer as "45".
Q. So, who actually uses all of these different scales?
A. Homebrewers usually work with Specific Gravity. Professional beer makers and some microbreweries tend to use °Plato, and professional winemakers normally use %Brix. Equipment to measure the refractive index is commonly used by homebrewers to determine the sweeetness of fruits (like apples for homebrew cider making).
Q. What is a hectolitre and who uses it?
A. A hectolitre is 100 litres. The hectolitre is the typical unit used in the production of homemade beer in microbreweries. Its also a term used in European legislation relating to homebrewing quotas and the associated duties and taxes.
Q. Hi, please give me your best price for 3 by 500 Litre flat bottom variable capacity homebrewing fermentation tanks from Brouwland. Also, do you stock them, and how long will it take to get them?
A. We don't usually carry these items in stock, but we can order them in for you. If we are about to place our main homebrew order with Brouwland, then the shipping costs will be much lower than if we have to order them in just for you. This is because we can add them to our existing homebrew order and get economies of scale from our shipping partners. It will usually take 3 to 4 weeks to get them to Galway (longer if Brouwland are shut down during holiday periods). The best way to proceed is to email us a list of items you want from Brouwland. We will then place them on the HomeBrewiWest web site where you will be able to see the pricing (usually about 5%to 10% higher than Brouwland's RRP to cover shipping costs) and once you order them online, we will order them in for you.
Q. I wish to buy a Speidel Braumeister 50 litre unit, but also wish to buy a Malt Pipe Shortened so that I can use it to make 20 litre homebrews. Do I need to purchase the 50L gasket, or does it come with the shortened malt pipe?
A. There is no need to buy the gasket as it is altready included in the shortemed malt pipe.
Q. I have a home brewing question. I've a recipe which requires a pectin destroying enzyme, and I'm not sure what that is. Do you stock it?
A. We surely do! There are a number of products on this web site including: Pectolase 32grm Drum, Harris Super Enzyme (Pectic Enzyme for 22.5 Litres), Pectinase Enzyme for 25 Litres (HB 30918), and Pectolase Powder, 30 grm. These can all be found in the homebrew ingredients section here: Clearing, Finings, Irish Moss, Pectic Enzymes.
Q. I have some questions about using your BH Light LME 1.5 Kg tins for extract brewing. Is your BH Light LME suitable for extract brewing, and how many tins would you recommend using? I prefer stronger homebrewed beers (4.5-5.5% ABV). Would 2 cans of LME be enough or should I add extra DME spraymalt? How does this liquid malt extract compare to other homebrew malt extracts (e.g. Coopers)?
A. Two cans of LME are commonly used in 3.0 Kg homebrew beer kits (Woodfordes, Muntons, St. Peters, Brupaks etc). These produce 40 pints of approx. 4.4% ABV beer. If you want a stronger beer, the easiest way to achieve it is to reduce the amount of water added, and make 32 pints of approx. 5.5% ABV, or 36 pints of approx. 5% ABV homebrew beer instead (some of the stronger St Peters and Woodfordes kits do this). The problem with adding extra LME is that you would have to use a full can since its hard to store an opened can. If you want to add DME, bear in mind that 1 Kg Dried Malt Extract (aka spraymalt, DME) = 1.25 Kg of Liquid Malt Extract (LME). Lots of people all over the UK and Europe have been using BH Light LME Liquid Malt Extract 1.5 Kg for nearly a year with great results. Its every bit as good as the other more expensive homebrew liquid malt extracts.
Q. Do you supply non-alcoholic homebrew beer kits?
A. Yes, the non-alcoholic version of: Coopers Original Ginger Homebrew Beer Kit . However, there is still some alcohol. According to Coopers, it only undergoes a single ferment in the bottle (the fermenting bucket is just used for mixing the brew). Fermention in the bottle carbonates the homebrew to make it fizzy and prevent oxidation. However, with all fermentations, some alcohol is produced (about 0.7% ABV) but not enough to be considered an alcoholic beverage (less than 1.15% ABV).
Q. Hello, I'm planning on ordering a couple Cantina homebrew wine kits from you this week and was hoping you could advise on a suitable bung with the order. I'm looking for a bung which will take the airlock and a 5mm hole for the heater wire. I'm using a normal aquarium heater. What bung would you recommend. I'm using a plastic fermenting bin with a solid lid which I will drill for the bung.
A. The only place I have seen such a bung is with the Electrim 75 Immersion Heater. I'm afraid we can't get them elsewhere, so you would have to make one yourself. However, we would not use a normal aquarium heater as these can heat the wine up excessively, destroying the yeast. I'd recommend keeping the fermentation temperature at about 20 to 22 oC. and certaintly below 25 oC; otherwise the wine kit may taste bad, or not ferment at all.
Q. I have tried twice to purchase homebrew products from yourselves, and on both occasions, something odd has happened while trying to pay - my details disappeared when I hit the Paypal button today. Please help.
Q. Just found your site and am very impressed. I am looking for a homebrew beer kit that does not have wheat as one of the ingredients as I am intolerant. Can you tell me if any of your available beer kits are wheat-free? Your advice would be appreciated.
A. Unless the kit is actually a wheat beer, it should be free from wheat since other beer kits are made from barley malt. If you have a particular homebrew beer kit in mind, please email us so that we can check the ingredients for you. Also, please bear in mind that all beer kits contain barley malt, and thus contain gluten.
Q. I'm interested in an alcometer that I can test liquid that I think may have alcohol in it that I have not brewed. Does such a device exist?
A. The short answer is no. You can use a refractometer to measure the alcohol ABV is a liquid, but only if there is no sugar in it, and unfermented beer worts and wines will contain sugars. Here is one: refractometer 0-80 % vol. alcohol. The only other ways that we are aware of are Spectroscopy, the Ebulliometer method, and distillation followed by hydrometry/refractometry. All of these are probably well beyond a homebrewer's budget.
Q. I bought the Coopers Irish Stout homebrew beer kit with your own recommended ingredients bundle (LME); however, it says on the Coopers can to add 300grams of sugar so I'm confused. Do I need to add extra sugar?
A. For this beer kit, Coopers recommend that you add 500 grams of Light Spraymalt plus 300 grams of sugar. If you read the FAQ on fermentabes above, you will be able to calculate that this is equivalent to just over 1 Kg of liquid malt extract (LME). For convenience, it is easier to simply add the entire 1.5 Kg contents of the LME can. No extra sugar is required.
Q. Hi, I'm looking for some help with homebrewing ingredients. I want to brew a wheat beer from a can. I tried the coopers wheat beer kit but their yeast doesn't give that wheat taste I'm looking for. Can you recommend a yeast to use with the coopers kit, and should I buy a can of malt extract or spray malt instead of using dextrose?
A. Yes indeed! We think the best combination is: Coopers Brewmaster Wheat Beer 1.7 Kg Beer Kit and select the following bundle option: All malt, I Kg wheat, Carb Drops. This will get you an all wheat malt beer kit. Then we'd use the following yeast: Safbrew WB-06 Yeast which is probably the best wheat beer yeast we stock. You could also use the following wheat yeasts which are a bit cheaper: BREWFERM BLANCHE Yeast 12 grams, Mauribrew Yeast WEISS 1433 (12.5 grams), or Danstar Munich Beer Yeast 11 gram.
Q. I would like to make some red ale like Beamish red. I have buckets and bottles but probably need additional homebrew equipment. I would be grateful of your advice.
A. There are many red ale beer kits, but the most popular are these two: Woodfordes Wherry Bitter 3 Kg and St Peter's Ruby Red Ale 3.0 Kg 40 Pint Beer Kit. Both are great beer kits. To figure out what additional homebrewing equipment you need, take a look at the following kit which contains everything: BrewSmarter Premium Starter Beer Kit (Best Value). Then take a look at what you already have, and simply order the missing bits.
Q. in relation to the brewsmarter bottle rinser/sterilizer, is the jet as powerful as the avvinatore bottle rinser? Is the bottle washer double blast jet for each bottle as powerful as the bottle washer single blast?
A. As far as we can tell, its every bit as powerful. As is the mini rinser. If you use both jets at the same time, I'd expect a slight drop in pressure but they should still both work perfectly.
Q. Can the pump in the Speidel units (Braumeister 20 Litres and Braumeister 50 Litres) be used to pump the wort into a fermenter sitting on the same bench?
A. No. This feature is only available on the Braumeister 200 Litres and the Braumeister 500 Litres.
Q. I am looking through your products for something to help with straining my homemade wine. I've made a few wine kits to date and no matter how careful I am, there always seems to be a little sediment that gets through to the bottling stage. What do you suggest?
A. For fresh wines (5 to 14 days fermentation), there will be a little sediment in the bottled wines as they have not had time to fully clear. For 4 to 6 week kits, this is much reduced and most homebrew wine kit makers usually just bottle the wine. To remove the yeast, you could use a wine filter like: HF Vinbrite Mk3 Filter System. However, there are mixed views about filtering homemade wine as it may expose the wine to air as it drips from the filter, thereby slightly oxidizing it. Its really a matter of personal choice as there are no fixed guidelines about filtering, or not filtering.
Q. Hi I bought a king keg barrel from you. How do i get beer into it from fermenter to barrel without air contamination, and do I need a second fermentation with carbanation drops?
A. If you have one of our BrewSmarter starter beer kits, then all you have to do is connect a section of Silicon Hose 9 x 13 mm (Per Metre) to the tap on the fermenter. Place the other end in the keg, and simply open the tap. The keg will fill from the bottom, minimizing air contact with the beer. If you had bought the King Keg Top Tap Draft Beer Upgrade For BrewSmarter Starter Kits, it already comes with a length of this silicon tube. You will need a secondary fermentation, and you could use a pack of Coopers Carbonation Drops. But you could also simply add about 160 grams of brewing sugar, or even ordinary household sugar.
Q. Are Munton's homebrew beer kits wheat free?
A.Muntons do have wheat beer kits, and they do contain wheat malt extract. However, their other beer kits are indeed wheat free kits.
Q. I just started fermenting a Muntons Connoisseurs Nut Bown Ale last Sunday, and the instructions said that the temperature should be kept between 18 and 21 oC. However the temp did get up to 26 oC for a while but has been at 21 to 22 oC for the past few days. Has the beer been spoiled? Any help would be appreciated.
A. It should be OK. The problem is that beer ferments very fast at 26 oC and then slows, so there is a temptation to "fix" it . . . . which will more than likely destroy it. Just leave it and follow the instructions. Let us know how you get on.
Q. Hi, I was chatting to one of your colleagues as to where I would source a cooling fermenter to ferment lager. I have a 100 litre kit and need to get my hands on a fermenter that would do that size. Even a second hand one would do as we are only experementing at the mo thanks.
A. That's a tough one to answer. Its kinda half way between home brewing and a microbrewery! See here: Speidel Braumeister. But their chiller is for commercial microbreweries, and very expensive for 100 litre batches. Lager requires low temperatures . . . in winter here, tap water can be use with a chiller, but that won't be reliable during summer (if and when we ever get a good summer). Take at look at http://www.brouwland.com/en/ too. They have lots of large fermenters, and one may suit. We are Brouwland wholesale agents in Ireland and can usually match their European RRPs.
Q. I purchased a Sadlers Reserve homebrew wine kit from you a couple of weeks ago and followed the instructions to the letter. It started fermenting and then stopped completely after only 3 days. There is no froth on the top or anything, what can I do?
A. Just continue to follow the instructions. Because these kits are made from pure grape juice, they do tend to ferment very quickly. At the end of the fermentation period, take a hydrometer reading to make sure that all is well.
Q. I am going to make my own vodka and before I put an order in with you could you tell me if I use Alcotec 48 dual turbo super yeast and Alcotec 24 turbo klar to clear it, is it drinkable after this process or do I have to distill it?
A. First off, distillation is illegal in Ireland without a permit, even for personal consumption so we can't really help you there other than to advise you to contact revenue for detailed information. The 48 hour turbos are drinkable when cleared with turbo klar, but they don't taste great.
Q. I've been trying to purchase a wine mix on your site but it won't accept a VISA debit card. Please help.
A. Our website has been having payment problems on mobile devices (phones, tablets etc). For some silly reason the web hosting company deactivated Realex payments on it. So only the PayPal option works on mobiles at the moment. We are working on it. In the meantime, there are two ways around it:
- get to a desktop PC and click the Realex button at checkout, or
- on your mobile device, look for the following "switch to desktop site" and click on it; this will enable the Realex button at checkout and you can then pay by VISA debit.
Q. I wonder if you could give me some advice. I bought a Coopers Wheat Beer, a Craft Range IPA and Coopers IPA from you a couple of months ago. I really liked the craft IPA, the wheat beer was nice enough and I made it with extra LME instead of sugar. The coopers IPA is the barrel at the moment. I am now looking for more kits and was hoping that you might be able to advise. I was thinking of getting a blonde/Mexican type light beer, a Belgian beer (I love delirium and hoegarden grand cru), a wheat beer and another IPA. After my really good experience with the Craft IPA I was drawn towards the Craft Blonde Lager and Craft Wheat beers.Please help.
A. First off, as a general rule, the best kits come with varietal yeasts designed for the particular style.
Blonde/Mexican type light beer: there are a few including:
- Coopers International Mexican Cerveza 1.7 Kg Beer Kit (add 1 Kg dextrose),
- Cortez Gold Mexican Cerveza 3.0 Kg Beer Kit (no extras required),
but for a light lager type beer, the best is:
- The Craft Range Blonde Lager Kit 3.0 Kg
Belgian beer: try this range:
- Brewferm Belgian Beer Kits
A wheat beer: there are lots, but only 2 are true wheat beers with varietal yeasts:
- Brupaks West Riding Wheat, and
- The Craft Range Wheat Beer Kit 3.4 Kg
Another IPA,the best is:
- The Craft Range Craft IPA Beer Kit 3.65 Kg
although we also have a new Craft Range Citra American Pale Ale which is amazing.
Q. Your web site says the Craft Range kits are complete, but some don't have priming sugar, and some do. Why is this?
A. Most beer and kits require the addition of sugar or malt extract. The Craft Range do not. There are 2 ways of priming beer and cider: batch or bottle. Since we don't know which method you will use, we don't include priming sugar (you may prefer carbonation drops in which case you would be paying for priming sugar that you don't need). The 2 exceptions are the Craft Range IPA and the Craft Range Citra APA. Tbis is because we have optimized carbonation levels for these kits and recommend batch priming, and so we include the priming dextrose for convenience and to help you be sure you use the correct amount. As for the others, you would need about 100 grams of household sugar, valued at about 10 to 15 cents. Because of manufacturing processes, VAT rates, packaging etc, this would increase the kit cost by a couple of euros. We don't think its worth it (except for the superb IPA and Citra APA beer kits).
Q. I have been brewing Coopers Heritage Lager for some time and using sugar. Your Bundles Options offer:
- brewing sugar,
- Coopers LME, and
- BH LME.
My question is which of the above will taste best? I have no problem paying extra if it improves the brew; the problem being that Internet reviews are so mixed. What do you think?
A. Some beer styles are designed to be light, and they are hopped accordingly. Other "all malt" kits are hopped differently to modify the effects of non fermentable malt component contributions to aftertaste; in a nutshell it depends on the kit! Go with the Coopers recommended ingredients. They are probably the best in the world at this, and know exactly what they are doing. Ideally go with the Coopers LME option. But the BH brand is also top notch and a little bit cheaper.
Q. How do they make beer kits?
A. A facinating question. The short answer is that it really depends on who is making them! Most homebrew beer kits come in cans or pouches, and are made using LME (Liquid Malt Extract). The quality of the LME is thus very important, and there are many parameters feeding into this equation. As a pointer though, some LME is made by brewers whereas others is made by food ingredient suppliers (see BYO Malt Extract Article). Thus a primary factor is the selection of the LME used to make the beer kits: its important to have access to a wide range of LMEs so that the correct "blend" can be achieved; smaller companies (and even some larger ones) don't have the resources to blend malt extracts. Next comes how the LME mix is subsequently processed and packaged; for example canning can damage the LME because of the sustained high temperatures involved . . . again a bit of research is required. Almost all of the new innovative beer kits come in pouches though, and its not because the packaging is cheaper, its really a quality issue. The LME mix is then bittered, but this process is not published by most manufacturers. Unfortunately, these beers would lack hop flavor and aroma, so the best of the new kits come with hop pellets for "dry hopping" where hops are added late in the fermentation to add wonderful aroma and transform the beer. Finally, the yeast is very important. Until recently most beer kits manufacturers used basic ale yeasts in all of their beer kit styles. Many still do, but the newer kits use varietal yeasts matched to each beer style and this has transformed the quality of the kits. Most manufacturers don't publish details on the particular stains they use so it can be hard to tellr.
Q. I bottled before primary fermentation completed, its way too gassy now. So I emptied the bottles back into the fermenter. Can I still produce drinkable beer?
A. This is a complex question. Bottling before fermentation completes can be dangerous. Nearly all bottles can explode when you do this, including heavy duty champagne bottles. The stronger the glass bottle, the bigger the bang. We don't stock champagne bottles for this reason. We will only sell Coopers PET bottles to homebrew elderflower champagne makers. You can still recover the beer still since its carbonated and in a fermenter, and the CO2 will protect the beer. But its tricky: there is no way to know how much CO2 is in this beer. You could leave it the fermenter for a few days at room temperature, and then bottle as usual. But if you bottle sooner and prime the bottles as per usual, you could wind up at square one with very gassy and dangerous beer again. This is particularly true in winter since cold beer retains much more CO2 than warm beer does. In a nutshell: leave the beer in a fermenter for a few days at room temperature (at least 16 oC) to allow the CO2 to dissipate, and then bottle again.
Q. How do I work out the alcohol content (ABV) of my homebrew beer kit?
A. Coopers beer kits use this formula:
ABV % = (OG - FG) / 7.46
plus 0.5 when you bottle (because of the priming sugars). And it fairly accurate. OG stands for Original Gravity which is measured at the start of fermentation (i.e. at the time you add the yeast). FG stands for Final Gravity which is measured at the end of fermentation, just as you are about to bottle (but before you add any priming sugars). Bear in mind that OG and FG are specific gravities multiplied by 1000, so that typically range between 995 and 1100 for homebrew beer and wine kit makers. This all sounds a bit technical, but its really not that bad! Just befiore you add the yeast, use our SR hydrometer (in nearly all beer starter kits) to take a reading . . . . it will look something like 45 for a standard 4.5% to 5.5% ABV homebrew beer kit, but is really 1045. So use 1045 in the formula. When its finished fermenting, repeat the process . . . . it may look something like 10 on the hydrometer, but is really 1010. So use 1010 in the formula. So (OG - FG) will be 1045 - 1010 which is 35. Divide this by 7.46 and you get 4.7. Now add the 0.5 and you get the final ABV value of 5.2%.
Q. The new Craft Range beer kit instructions don't always specify OG and FG values, so how do I know when they are ready to bottle?
A. See above "How do I work out the alcohol content (ABV) of my homebrew beer kit?". All Craft Range beer kits give a target ABV. So if you plug your OG and FG values into the calculator above, and they come close to the target ABV, then all is well. Follow the generic Craft Range beer kit instructions and you won't go too far wrong. There are so many exciting developments with the Craft Range, that we find it hard to keep up. But a target for 2016 is to create and maintain a web site containing all sorts of information about these amazing new technology kits.
Q. See attached video: is my Brewferm fermenter and airlock leaking?
A. We believe that these fermenters have the best seals on the market. Nevertheless, we strongly advise not to use the airlock as evidence of fermentation activity . . . . they are not really guaranteed to be air tight. Their main function is to keep insects out and provide a barrier to air. During fermentation, CO2 is created which is heavier than air, and this forms a natural protective layer to stop oxidation. Don't use the airlock as proof of fermentation; instead take specific gravity readings with your hydrometer . . . this is a much more reliable method for monitoring fermentation progress.
Q. I seem to be having a problem with the auto siphon: I pump the siphon and it forces the liquid out but then it stops?
A. This is a common issue. The fix is quite simple: once you pump the syphon to get the flow going, push it back in fully. It should then work fine.
Q. Hi, I'm going to purchase the Craft Range homebrew Wheat Beer. Can I order the bundle with all the discounted bottle trees and rinsers or just one?
A. We get this question all the time. Esentially, you can get whatever the system allows you to do. Its just one option per section. So when you buy this beer kit, you can opt for a discounted bottle tree OR a discounted bottle rinser, but not both at the same time. Of course if you order a second craft homebrew beer kit, you can then select different options so that you can eventually get all the discounted items.
Q. Hi, I just checked my 7-day homebrew wine kit and its still cloudy after 9 days now in total. What do I do now?
A. There are many reasons why this can happen, but the most common is because the wine wasn't fully fermented. A 7 day kit can ferment very quickly if its fermented at about 25 oC, but its usually fermented a bit cooler and requires more time to ferment. The only way to be sure is to take 3 hydrometer readings 24 hours apart (i.e. today, tomorrow, and the day after) and make sure that the readings are steady (if the specific gravity is dropping, then the wine is still fermenting). Another reason this can happen is that the wine has not been properly degassed; we suggest using an electric drill and a degasser. In any event, if you have added the finings then all you can do is to wait until it clears. Cooling the wine will help. Its also not the end of the world if you bottle your wine kit while it is still a bit cloudy: its still safe to drink, and the bottles should clear in the fridge.
Q. Started my brew of the Craft Range Blonde Lager yesterday, which is my first ever attempt at a homebrew beer kit. I note the beer kit instructions say to keep the temp above 20 degrees C but I have been reading a lot on the Internet that says it can be as low as 12-14 degrees C for lager. Mine is currently at 18-20 degrees C. Can you confirm the ideal temperature range? And what will be the consequences of the temperature being too high or too low?
A. It depends on the yeast in the beer kit. For example one of the Craft Range pilseners comes with a true lager yeast which can be fermented at low temperatures: The Craft Range Czech Pilsener Beer Kit 3.35 Kg With True Pilsner Yeast. The Craft Range Blonde Lager comes with a different yeast. Follow the instructions that come the kit. 18-20 degrees is fine but it may take a bit longer to ferment. Use a hydrometer to determine when fermentation is complete. Fermenting at a temperature that's too high will result in off flavours and may even kill the yeast, stopping fermentation prematurely. Fermenting at a temperature that's too low will result in longer fermentation times and also stop the fermentation prematurely. If the fermentation gets stopped before the alcohol strength is sufficiently high, then wild bacteria can compete with the the yeast and potentially destroy your beer.
Q. Can you please recommend a suitable yeast for brewing some ginger beer? Anything up to 10 litres perhaps, or whatever you recommend value wise. Oh my hot press would not be the hottest either.
A. It really depends on your ginger beer recipe. However, a generic ale yeast is always a good choice so we'd recommend this one: Mangrove Jack's Workhorse Yeast - 10 grams M10. This yeast has a very wide fermententation temperature range from about 15 oC all the way up to about 30 oC but we'd recommend keeping it between 18 and 20 oC for best results.
Q. It's only day 4 of the 14 day fermentation of a Craft Range 14 Day Cab Sauvignon wine kit but it appears to have stopped fermenting and the hydrometer reading is 990. Should I leave it or rack it off and bottle it? The temperature has been around 23oC all the time.
A. Its probably fully fermented although it would take 3 constant hydrometer readings 24 hours apart to be certain. The Craft Range and Australian Blends wine kits use a very fast yeast which will fully ferment out in a few days at 23 oC. For the kits that contain oak chips, I'd ferment at a lower temperature of about 20 oC. Fermentation should be complete after a few days, but the yeast cells are still active and will consume nasty left overs including VDKs and acetaldehyde over the following days. The oak chips also need time to do their job, so I'd still follow the instructions with the wine kit to get best results.
Q. My cousin gave me a gift of a wooden beer barrel. Pic is attached. It weights about 6.5 kg. I haven't checked its capacity as yet. I am worried as I have never used one before. Can I use it with the coopers dark ale or their English bitter 1.7 kg kits. I have normally used bottles with flip lids each with single carb drops. Would i have to do any thing different with this. Is there any thing else I would have to do? Any info would be appreciated. Thanks.
A. We have looked at the barrel and it has a simple wooden tap just pushed into the barrel and also a simple wooden plug pushed into the top. The problem is that, during secondary fermentation, CO2 is created and the pressure builds: up to about 2 bar, or 28 PSI (the pressure inside a car tyre). This pressure would probably force the taps out so we don't think the barrel would be suitable for beer. Possibly OK for wine or spirits though.
Q. Hi, I'm new to brewing and was going to try the “All American Sessions Blonde Ale” AG kit. Will I be okay with a 30L kettle since this homebrew kit needs 20L for mash and 9L for sparging? Thanks.
A. It will be fine because much of the initial 20 litres is absorbed by the grain, and you will wind up with much less than 29 litres after sparging. We have a blog which is being updated as we brew these kits on a Bulldog Brewer, and there is lots of useful info and also tips here: Blog.