fredag 22 september 2017

Brewing with the Coobra Craft Brewer 25

Finally the time came to brew a batch of beer with my home grown hops. As this was a test session, we pretty much used whatever ingredients we had at hand. Also, this was an excellent time to try out my new toy. The Coobra Craft Brewer 25 and the Coobra Sparge Water Heater 16.

The recipe 

Malt

  • 3.5 kg pilsner malt
  • 1 kg Abbey malt
  • 0.5 kg Cara 150
Hops
  • 20 g Magnum (60 minutes)
  • 120 g homegrown fresh hops (20 minutes)
  • 60 g homegrown fresh hops (7 minutes)
Yeast
  • Safale US-05
Estimated alcohol by volume: 5.5%

The process

Cleaning procedure of the Coobra Craft Brewer 25

In the manual it stated that you should run the pump with a 10 liters of water and a cleaning substance for 5 minutes, followed by running it 10 liters pure water for 5 minutes * 2.
The cleaning substance we decided to use was vinegar, roughly 3 table spoons in the 10 liters.
We decided to go with vinegar as it is OK even if there would be some rest products left after the 2 water runs. I.e. it is safe.

Cleaning procedure of the Coobra Sparge Water Heater 16


As stated in the manual, we filled the heater up with water and boiled it up and then discarded that water through the ball valve.

Mashing

Time for the mashing process. We filled the Coobra Craft Brewer 25 with the water amount we planned to use. (I actually forgot to write down the water amounts)
Setting the initial temperature was no problem on the control unit, and popping the watts up to 2500 to get the water heated in minutes.
After the water reached the given temperature 73º C , we set down the watts to 700 and lowered the temperature to 66º C.
We threw in the malt and stirred it around a little so that it got all soaked.
Time to start the pump.
The spreader was a nice touch, spreading the pumped water over the malt bed
The Coobra CB 25 pump in action
This was nice, the pump pumped for 48 of the 50 minutes, the after that it clogged up and I had to shut it down and be cleaned. When reading the manual we found out that the bazooka filter in the brewer sometimes can let through small bits of the malt and when it happens, you just open the pump and rinse with clean water and the pump is in action again.
Halfway through we started the Coobra Sparge Water Heater 16. When it indicated the correct temperature (81º C) it went from heating to keeping warm mode. After a test with a manual temperature check, we noticed that the heater was off by 10 degrees celcius. So we set the thermostate to 91 and after some minutes it was OK.

Sparging

After the timer completed it was time to start sparging. Ideally we would have used the pump bit as it was out of order we ended up using a bucket. But it was a real improvement to heat all the water to the correct temperature at once.
During the sparging we started to lift up the mash bed. For sake of simplicity it had steps so that you can lift it up little by little and leave it there to drop.
It seems that you can do it all in place with this method, but we decided to move the mash temporary to an fermenter for 2 reasons.

  • We had to move the brewer from the kitchen
  • Gives us a better view of how many liters we are dealing with

Boiling

Total volume at the start of boiling was 22 liters.
We set the started the Coobra Craft Brewer 25 again and just set the power to 2500 watts and it started to heat the water until it started to boil.
We threw in the first sock filled with hops and secured it to the brewer with a clothespin. After 40 minutes we added the second sock and with 7 minutes left we threw in the last one.
We tried to place the cooling spiral into the boiler for the last 10 minutes to let it boil to clean it. But it was really problematic with the socks in place and the silicon tubing to the spiral touched the brewer (that was hot) etc, so I don't think we will do that the next time.

After one hour, we had boiled 3.5 liters of water and were down at 18.5. This was good by our calculations.

Starting the cooling water in the spiral the the excess heat was removed in 10-15 minutes or so, quite OK time.

Tapping it all into the fermenter through a juice filter to get out eventual fragments of malt.
We also tapped a little to a tasting glass and to the test tube for the gravity check.

We were really impressed with the round taste at this point. Really has potential to become something nice. Gravity before fermentation was: 1.055.

Overall impressions

Before, we have used a friends plastic brewer modified with heat control. The Coobra CB25 was a real boost. Hopefully the water pump works a little better next time, too bad it got stuck at the end of the cycle.
Overall: Would buy again

Next time: Brewing wheat beer with the CB25

Disclaimer
I bought this product myself and this is my opinion on them. I am in no way affiliated with the manufacturer of this product.

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