I was out shopping with the wife at a kinda mom and pop thrift store. Out of nowhere at this clothing thrift store I find a stack of Coopers extract malt cans. Because they were dirt cheap and because I had nothing to do the next day I bought a can of irish stout and IPA extract. I didn’t have any extra hops laying around, so here’s what I did…

Experiment #1

Irish Stout - I went to the organic store and bought a bag of raisins and some good coffee beans. Went home and brewed the extract, a french press worth of coffee and the raisins in a 30 min brew session.

Experiment #2

IPA - I have no idea how or if they added any hops to the extract, so I spiced it up a little. Juiced about 6 oranges and added that juice to the extract with about 2 tablespoons of cinnamon. Once I added the wort to the fermenter, I realized that the cinnamon was way overkill.

I used the yeast that came with the extracts and they both responded well and are bubbling nicely.

It will be interesting to see the outcome!

My past experience with Coopers, is that if these are specific kits i.e., IPA, Irish stout, then they were hopped. They are also non boil kits and I think that extended boiling will increase the IBUs. I actually purchased and brewed a Cooper Bitter a year ago just for old time’s sake. It was pretty bitter. I hope your experiments turn out good.

Yep, the coopers kits are pre-hopped.

Boiling them won’t increase the IBU, as there are no extra hops to facilitate this, but what it will do is drive off some of the volitile hop oils and decrease the flavour and aroma aspects from the hops. In other words, don’t do it! unless you want less hop flavour/aroma for some reason…?

Coopers do their homebrew IBU calculations a bit differently. They list the total IBU for the tin, so in order to calculate the IBU in your beer, you will have to do some maths. Details are given here:

“To calculate the bitterness of the brew: multiply the quoted product bitterness by the weight of the product (1.7kg)* and divide by the total brew volume (normally 23 litres)."

The IBU values for the cans are here:

So for example, with your IPA kit (listed as 710 IBU), assuming you made 23L (~6 Gal) :

Product bitterness x 1.7 / Brew volume = Total bitterness before fermentation

710 x 1.7 / 23 = 52.5 IBU

If you made 19L (~5 Gal) then:

710 x 1.7 / 19 = 63.5 IBU

Machalel, Thanks for the info…I just finished bottling the stout and it produced strange results thus far. Now that I think back on things, I don’t know what possessed me to brew both raisins and coffee in the same batch. I guess I was thinking different hints would come out. Instead, it smells sweet, but has a sharp bitter tartness to it. It also had very little body.

Also, the ABV has also thrown me for a loop. I have two theories as to why my ABV was so very low. I measured the OG of 1.032 and the FG of 1.012, which gives me the ABV of 2.63. I know I messed up somewhere, that’s fine. I just want to know where so I can learn from it. Theory one…I measured the OG wrong. Theory two…something was up with the yeast that Coopers supplied. The airlock bubbled for well over a week, so I can assume it was doing its job. The airlock has been quite for a few days, so I assumed that it was finished…for the most part. Also, as part of the experimentation, I boiled the raisins with the wort extract and I left the raisins in the wort while fermenting. When i bottled this evening I noticed the raisins had taken on liquid as they were very plumb.

I know the ABV level won’t really change, but I’m hoping that with plenty of aging, the bitterness and tartness might mellow out.