Beer kits keep failing!

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by Toredan, Aug 8, 2015.

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  1. Aug 8, 2015 #1

    Toredan

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    Getting frustrated with beer kits. This is the second one I've tried now (both Geordie's Yorkshire Bitter since that is the cheapest kit in my LHBS) and they both seemed to fail. On the first one I started with the can and added 1kg of malt spray. The OG was 1.046. After three weeks in the FV it was only down to 1.022 and wouldn't budge. Moved it into a secondary (which I now know to be a mistake since I discarded all the trub) and left it for another couple weeks and it was still at 1.022 and tasted terrible. This time I used the same (1kg of spray malt and the canned wort) and came out with 1.041 OG. It's been 2 weeks now and I've been testing my SG every few days. After week 1 it dropped to 1.030. At the end of week 2 it was 1.024 and now at the end of week three it's still 1.024. Could it just be the yeast that comes with the can? My apartment is rather hot so ambient liquid temp tends to run around the 21-22 mark. Perhaps a different yeast would work? Is there one that's tolerant of slightly higher fermentation temperatures? I've just noticed Tesco's has a sale on homebrew products and Wherry is down to £16. I've been really tempted to try this as it's been reviewed on this site as a better kit than the Geordie's and everyone says how good it tastes. Problem is if my flat is too hot I don't want to be burning cash that I could be brewing cider with instead. Can always wait till winter to brew my ales I suppose :p
     
  2. Aug 8, 2015 #2

    MyQul

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    21C-22C is a good temp for a stuck brew so it's definately not your house being too cold causing it. Have a look at this thread for some idea's

    http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?t=54457

    Failing that, don't fancy being forum guinnea pig number 2 do you?

    http://www.thehomebrewforum.co.uk/showthread.php?p=507671#post507671


    Wherries are a good kit to make but are notorious for sticking too. I'd swap the yeast out for US-05 or Gervin G12

    Edit: Also make sure you rehydrate your yeast as sprinkling it can kill half of it which can be a contributing factor to a stuck brew
     
  3. Aug 8, 2015 #3

    clibit

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  4. Aug 8, 2015 #4

    MyQul

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  5. Aug 8, 2015 #5

    GlentoranMark

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    Clibit beat me to the answer, the difference is like night and day. My last ever kit review, a Scottish Heavy had that horrible yeast twang you get with kits. My first all grain was 1000% better and no twang. It's not that much more difficult, just more time consuming but the extra time spent is worth it.
     
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  6. Aug 8, 2015 #6

    MyQul

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  7. Aug 8, 2015 #7

    GlentoranMark

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  8. Aug 8, 2015 #8

    FatDad

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    I am a total beer brewing virgin but anything that says 'kit' and 'cheap' sets alarm bells ringing in my head (even as a wine maker wannabe). I remember my brother dabbling with home brewing in the early 1980's and using Geordie kits (no offence intended to Geordie) and tap water.

    I remember his efforts all tasting like dirty dish water (much to do with the use of tap water???) with zero body no matter what fancy equipment he purchased.

    As a chef of 12 years in the past I know that the quality of your ingredients will always make a huge difference to your final product no matter how simple or complex the method, after all a Curry Pot Noodle will never compare with the quality curry from any decent Indian restaurant no matter how well you boil the kettle - the term "You can't polish a turd" springs to mind.

    Again, this is just my opinion and must be tempered by the fact I have not yet brewed a beer kit myself so I may be talking out of my airlock. :)
     
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  9. Aug 8, 2015 #9

    cornyandy

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    There isn't much I have thrown down the sink in my split up brewing career but about 15 years or so ago I got a BOGOFF of 2 Geordie Kits from Morrison's these two fermented weakly and tasted awful. I have never gone Geordie again in terms of beers kits. I think it might have something to do with the fact that there is some Barley Extract in there rather than being all Malt Extract. Barley syrup is made from sugars extracted from (I think) raw un-malted barley. It is a poor quality product and if I see it in a kit it goes back on the shelf. Geordie may have changed the make up of the kit but I doubt it.
     
  10. Aug 8, 2015 #10

    Redron

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    Well, I would say you are all being a little unfair to the old faithful Geordie kit.
    Cheap and cheerful, maybe, but I have done a fair few of these over the past 18 months and in my experience the 'Geordie bitter' kit, if brewed to instructions with brewing sugar and left to mature in the keg for at least six weeks suddenly seems to undergo a transformation into a very nice pint ! This is not a fluke as I have done it many times....
    To note, I have tried the other Geordie kits but none as good as the regular 'bitter'. My LHBS in Yorkshire said he sold loads, but only the bitter kit...

    I am drinking one now as I type and it's perfectly drinkable, perhaps not as dandy as a premium (expensive) kit or my recent partial mash, but very drinkable nonetheless. Not bad for £8...... !
     
  11. Aug 8, 2015 #11

    clibit

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    Have you tried adding hops to it?
     
  12. Aug 8, 2015 #12

    Redron

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    Actually, no I haven't, but probably a good idea. As noted in a previous post by cornyandy, it can be a little 'syrupy' unless left to mature for a good time, so maybe dry hopping to add a little bitterness could improve it no end.
    It is a cheap kit and to diss it seems a little unfair as it has survived for donkeys years and is probably the mainstay of a lot of kit Brewers. I've tweaked mine by adding a little extra DME and brewing slightly short and of course, leaving it to condition, as we should with all our brews, with good results.
     
  13. Aug 8, 2015 #13

    clibit

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    I dry hopped a Geordie Yorkshire bitter once, the hops made a big improvement.
     
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  14. Aug 8, 2015 #14

    Slid

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    It is asking an awful lot of 1.5kg of malt exract to make a decent fist of 5 gallons of beer. Doubling up has made a good drink, even done to 6 gallons with a 1kg table sugar addition.

    At the mo, I would use a single can kit as the base for a partial mash.

    That is another of clibit's threads, although much less popular.
     
  15. Aug 8, 2015 #15

    MyQul

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    That's because it's only a stepping stone on the pathway to AG nirvana (well, I'm sure that's what Clibit would say anyway)
     
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  16. Aug 8, 2015 #16

    Slid

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    I'm pretty happy with a PM at the mo - Coopers kit plus 2.2kg Base malt and 300g of something else (Crystal for IPA, Chocolate and Roast Barley for Porter / Stout) - UK grown hops are cheap and make the sort of beer I like. US 05 delivers the clean and clear sort of output I'm after and the tip about storing under "green beer" in a fridge is truly excellent.
     
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  17. Aug 8, 2015 #17

    pms67

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    Getting frustrated after two kits ???
    There are some top notch kits out there,loosen your purse strings and buy a Youngs or Festival it for twenty quid.
    40 pints of Good beer can't be made for a tenner or twelve quid.end of.
     
  18. Aug 8, 2015 #18

    clibit

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    Wanna bet?!
     
  19. Aug 9, 2015 #19

    Tony1951

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    I was just going to say that but you were there first.

    I reckon I can make 40 pints for about £7.50 and it is pretty good. What's more, it isn't hard to do it either and you don't need a tin opener.
     
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  20. Aug 9, 2015 #20

    Tony1951

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    Hi Dan.

    Both of these fermentations seem to have failed and stuck at too high a specific gravity. I have no idea what yeast these Geordie beer kits use, but it would seem that it is either too old or is inadequate in some way. I'm assuming the brew was kept at a suitable temperature around 18-20C and that you had either used a no rinse sanitiser or had rinsed out the FV if it was not the no-rinse sort. The wort should be well agitated with a sterilised whisk or some other way of adding oxygen before pitching the yeast and the yeast needs to be in date and not old, badly stored stuff which is mostly dead. DId you get a good foaming fermentation in the early stages? I'm trying to work out whether the fermentation ever really got going, or just limped along for a bit and then died out.

    Clean wort uncontaminated with un-rinsed sanitiser
    Well aerated
    Correct temperature
    In date, properly stored yeast

    These seem to be the key requirements for getting a decent fermentation.

    Before I got into All Grain brewing, I brewed a stack of Cooper's kits which all worked without exception. You could try one of them and Tescos now have a sale on so they will come in at about a tenner a shot. I like the English Bitter one and the IPA. If you try one of these, try using 1kg of spray malt rather than brewing sugar and you will get a better maltiness and mouth feel. Try one of those - get it to work and then go and buy a big pot for about £20 and order some grain and hops and read Clibit's thread on simple all grain brewing. I promise you - you'll throw away your tin opener and only consider grain and hops and yeast as the way forward after that.
     
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