Review: Coopers European Lager Part Two
Four months ago I made a Cooper’s beer kit. The kit is a no-boil beer kit and I tried the European lager. After fermentation, I kegged the beer and bottled a few using the Coopers carbonation drops. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the beer, since I had bad memories of the canned kits I tried in college. I’m glad this kit did not resemble the beer kits from my early days.
I was going to review it as soon as I kegged it, but time kinda got away from me. I’m glad it did.
The kegged version of the beer was clear, but after 4 months the bottled version of the lager was crystal clear. You could read a paper on the other side of the beer. The extended lager really made this beer shine. It had a slight head, but it quickly dissipated. I think the head should be creamy and long lasting. The color of the beer is a great golden hue. It looks like a great lager which you’d have no problems serving to your friends.
When I first kegged/bottled the beer, the lager had a strong sulfur smell. I was warned about the sulfur before the fermentation was complete, so I was expecting the sulfur. In fact it’s common for young lagers to have some sulfur nose. There wasn’t much else to smell. After a month in the keg, the sulfur smell was mostly gone. You could barely detect it, and most people trying the beer could not smell any sulfur.
The bottled version was tasted 4 months after bottling, and there is no sulfur smell at all. Both the bottled and kegged versions had little to no hop or malt aroma. It smells like “beer”, but it doesn’t really have a malt or hop aroma.
The taste is really crisp and good. There was no alcohol flavor, and the beer was very balanced. There is a slight malt flavor, but it’s as crisp of a lager as you would expect. The malt does not dominate. I thought it tasted good when I kegged earlier, but I was really plesantly surprised by the bottled version. I think it really benefited with the extended lager. I meant to keep the kegged version longer to directly compare it to the bottled version, but it didn’t last long in my neighborhood.
I would not say it was the best lager I’ve had, but I think it compares very well with many commercial examples. If you served this beer, most would be very surprised it was homemade. I’m curious how it would fare in a competition. I know you’d lose points for the head and aroma, but I think it would fare well in the other categories. The beer definitely benefits from an extended lagering. If you plan to try this kit, make sure you have the patience to leave it in a fridge for a few months.
The carbonation drops were impressive too. I thought the beer was perfectly carbonated, and it didn’t leave any residual sweetness. I bottled in a 24 ounce “bomber” and added two drops.
The bottled version was perfectly carbonated, even better than my forced carbonation in the keg.
The ease of this beer kit makes it a good choice for those who want to make beer at home, but do not want to invest in lots of equipment. It also has a good clean flavor, and it makes a solid lager.
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I live in Denver, Colorado. This blog is everything about beer, wine, cider, mead and other spirits.
I am a avid homebrewer and winemaker. I’ve been making my own beer and wine for many years. I started making beer when I was in college (mostly because the drinking age in the United States is 21). My first few beers were horrible. The beers are much better now, and I often supply my neighborhood with free beer! It is a great hobby!