Showing posts with label coopers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coopers. Show all posts

The Science Behind Beer Enhancers: Elevating Your Homebrew Experience

Sunday, October 29, 2023
Beer, with its vast array of styles and flavors, possesses one unifying element: the 'mouth feel' or 'body'.

This sensation, reminiscent of the rich texture of a pint of Guinness, is akin to a creamy yet solid breakfast. Now, imagine a beer that feels watery on the palate; it's a stark contrast, isn't it? 

This is where beer enhancers come into play for kit brewers.

Unlocking the Secret of Great Mouthfeel

Simply brewing malt with sugar can produce a beer, but it often lacks the desired body. A well-bodied beer not only enhances the drinking experience but also provides a richer texture. To achieve this, many brewers employ 'beer enhancers' which, as the name suggests, augment the beer's body and overall mouthfeel.

Beer enhancers comprise basic ingredients, primarily a blend of fermentable and non-fermentable substances. The typical components include dextrose and maltodextrin. While the dextrose serves as a vital food source for yeast during fermentation, maltodextrin remains unfermented. This residual maltodextrin contributes to the beer's body, imparting a fuller mouthfeel. Additionally, it aids in foam formation, ensuring your poured beer retains a good head. The combination of these ingredients is particularly suitable for lighter beers, such as pilsners, draughts, and lagers.

For those looking to brew ales or beers with a richer, maltier flavor, light dry malt extract (DME) is the ingredient of choice. DME, often simply referred to as such, can be incorporated into the enhancer mix. 

Some enhancers even include hops tailored to specific beer styles. Hence, when purchasing online, it's crucial to ensure the enhancer's hops align with your intended beer type.
dme adding to beer wort tips

Diving Deeper into DME and Beer Quality

DME plays a pivotal role in enhancing the quality of beer. It's a concentrated malt extract, and its inclusion in the brewing process imparts a depth of flavor and body to the beer that's hard to achieve with simple sugars alone. Unlike simple sugars, which can sometimes give beer an undesirable citrusy undertone, DME provides a balanced malt profile. 

Furthermore, the consistency of DME ensures a uniform flavor profile, which can be a game-changer in achieving professional-quality homebrews.

Branded Enhancers: A Peek into Coopers

Venturing into the realm of branded beer enhancers, Coopers, an Australian beer-making giant, offers two renowned options: Brew Enhancer 1 and Brew Enhancer 2. While the former is tailored for lagers, the latter complements ales. These enhancers are not only available with Coopers' beer kits but can also be purchased separately. 

Apart from Coopers, other esteemed brands like Muntons, Young's, and Copper Tun have cemented their reputation in the brewing community.

Alternative Enhancers: The Role of Spraymalt

Spraymalt, a specially crafted form of DME, offers an alternative to traditional beer enhancers. The drying process, achieved using a spray drier, ensures a uniform powder in terms of both particle size and flavor. Beers brewed with spraymalt tend to have a less dry finish, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

Crafting Your Own Enhancer: A DIY Approach

For those who prefer a hands-on approach, creating your own beer enhancer is entirely feasible. By mixing dextrose, maltodextrin, and DME in specific ratios suited to the beer style, brewers can achieve their desired beer profile. 

For instance, for light beers, a 60% dextrose, 40% maltodextrin, and 0% DME mix is ideal, while a maltier beer like ale might benefit from a 50% dextrose, 25% maltodextrin, and 25% DME combination.

Incorporating an adjunct like beer enhancer can elevate the alcohol content of the brew, making it an added bonus for those seeking a stronger beer.

Concluding Thoughts: Is Beer Enhancer Worth It?


The cost-effectiveness of beer enhancers often comes into question. While adding an enhancer does increase the per-glass cost, the tangible improvement in taste and body makes it a worthy investment. If an enhancer costing $8 can elevate the quality of 23 liters of beer, that's a mere 35 cents added per liter - a small price for a significant upgrade.

Whether opting for branded enhancers, DIY mixes, or store-bought no-frills options, the goal remains the same: to brew a beer that's flavorful, full-bodied, and utterly delightful. After all, isn't that the essence of brewing?

How to use carbonation drops for brewing beer and cider

Monday, October 23, 2023

Using Carbonation Drops for Efficient Beer Brewing

Carbonation drops have become a popular choice among brewers for secondary fermentation during the beer bottling process. Traditionally, brewers would add sugar to each beer or cider bottle using a spoon, or they would opt for batch priming.

In contrast, carbonation drops offer a quick, error-free alternative. By placing a carbonation drop inside each bottle before sealing, secondary fermentation is initiated. This occurs as the yeast consumes the sugar present in the drop.

One well-recognized brand in this domain is Coopers Carbonation Drops. Another commendable brand is Mangrove Jacks. Both have garnered popularity and trust in the brewing community.

Ingredients of Carbonation Drops

The primary ingredient in carbonation drops is sugar, specifically sucrose. Thus, fundamentally, there's no stark difference between using a carbonation drop and adding sugar. The key advantage of using these drops is their convenience, ensuring consistency in the sugar dosage for each bottle. This uniformity is pivotal in achieving a consistent brew and preventing 'gushers', which are over-carbonated beers that overflow upon opening.

using carbonation drops for bottle conditioning

How to use Carbonation Drops for secondary fermentation

The procedure to use these drops is straightforward. Once the beer is transferred to sanitized bottles, a carbonation drop is added to each. The bottle is then sealed, allowing carbonation to commence as the CO2 remains trapped.

The number of drops per bottle varies with the bottle size. Here are some general guidelines:
  • 1 drop for a 350 to 375 ml or 12 OZ bottle. This also covers bottles up to 500 ml.
  • 2 drops for a 750 ml bottle or 25 OZ.
  • For bottles larger than 1 liter, 2.5 to 3 drops are recommended. 
However, caution is advised to prevent over-carbonation.

Carbonation Tablets as an Alternative

Carbonation tablets, or conditioning tablets, serve as another route to achieve carbonation. Unlike carbonation drops which primarily contain sucrose, these tablets comprise dextrose, dry malt extract, and heading powder. They introduce additional flavor and body to the beer. The application depends on the desired carbonation level; for a 12-ounce bottle (350 ml), 3, 4, or 5 tablets are used for low, medium, or high carbonation, respectively.

carbonation drops

Valuable Insights for Using Carbonation Drops

  • Carbonation drops can be employed to carbonate apple cider, adhering to the same measurements as beer.
  • Over-priming should be avoided. Excessive sugar can result in over-carbonation, leading to 'gushers' upon opening the bottle.
  • The brewing environment, especially temperature, influences the carbonation process.
  • For those who prefer adding granulated sugar, using a kitchen funnel can be efficient and less messy.
  • Carbonation drops can also be used for ginger beer and possibly hard seltzer.
  • When purchasing drops online, consider buying in bulk to optimize delivery costs.
  • A Soda Stream machine can be used for carbonation, albeit with caution.

How do carbonation drops actually work?

Carbonation drops operate on the principle of priming sugar. During secondary fermentation, the yeast metabolizes the sugar, releasing carbon dioxide (CO2) as a byproduct. This CO2 dissolves in the beer, inducing carbonation. Each carbonation drop contains a calibrated amount of sugar that yields a specific carbonation level. As the yeast processes this sugar, it releases a predetermined volume of CO2, ensuring the desired level of carbonation in the beer.

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