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I was given a coopers real ale kit of two cans and have never actually brewwed a full kit before. I was wondering if and how i might make this turn out a bit better, maybe by adding hops to a partial boil? Should this still ferment in the primary for 2 weeks, rack to secondary for a week? Any help is appreciated.

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2 Answers 2

Adding flavor and aroma hops to a partial boil are a good idea to give some extra hop aroma and/or flavor that is missing in the kit - the kits provide just hop bitterness (typically 20-30 IBUs.) You can add 0.5 to 1oz of hops in the last five minutes of the boil. Find a hop variety that suits the style - Goldings/Fuggles for typical English aromas, Cascades for punchy zesty etc.

As long as you rehydrate your yeast, no need for a secondary. Just leave in primary for 2 weeks then rack, prime and bottle.

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I was given 2 cans of the real ale. Should i use both cans? on the can it says makes 2.5 gallons, but that like 10 lbs of extract. I was maybe thinking about using one can, adding some DME and some additional hops –  Dereleak Oct 24 '12 at 16:36
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If you're going to add DME, then you'll need to add hops to maintain the balance, and those hops should be added at the beginning of the boil. For a pound of DME I'd suggest half an ounce of EKG, with another ounce at five minutes. If you're doing a full-volume boil, add the DME at the beginning. If you're just doing a 2-3 gallon boil, you can add it at flameout. –  TMN Oct 24 '12 at 19:46

Changing the yeast should give you a noticeable improvement as well. Try some different strains, an English strain, American Strain, maybe a Belgian strain. You might find a yeast strain that you really like. Either way it will probably be a huge improvement over the yeast that's included with your kit.

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