Time for a Toucan

A toucan brew is simply one done with 2 cans of pre-hopped extract. The Coopers Stout that I brewed last year tasted nice but I felt it lacked head and body. It was a bit on the light side and I reckoned it could benefit from more concentration. So it seemed an ideal candidate for a toucan. I did the toucan with a can of Coopers Stout and a can of Coopers Dark Ale and 500g of brown sugar as it seems like a popular toucan recipe on the AussieHomeBrewer.com forum, and it’s very simple – no steeping grains, no boiling hops. I was a wee bit concerned about the amount of bitterness which I calculated to be around 70 IBUs using the Kit & Extract Beer Designer, but was reassured on the forum that it doesn’t taste overly bitter especially when aged for awhile.

A Cunning Plan To Prevent A Messy Blow-over

When I brewed the Coopers Stout it fermented like crazy and kicked up major krausen which overflowed out of the airlock and made a bit of a mess. I’d expect the blow-over to be even worse with 2 cans so after looking on the forums I found an accepted approach for dealing with the situation. Instead of making the batch up to the full 23 litres, I made it up to 18 litres to give additional head-space during the initial vigorous stage of the fermentation. Then today, day 3, once the fermentation had slowed and the krausen dropped a bit, I topped it up to 23 litres with water and the 500g of brown sugar. I figured that holding off on putting the sugar in until this stage would minimise the effect of the dilution and help keep the yeast working well as they would have more fermentables to chew on.

The krausen did manage to make it’s way into the airlock but did not come out the other side, so the 12 litres of headspace seems to be just about the right amount for this particular brew.

Update 30 Jan 2012

I bottled this brew on Friday and found it to be a very tasty brew even while warm flat and green, so it can only get better! It wasn’t overly bitter at all, I was expecting a harsh bitterness at this early stage but was surprised how mild it was. It’s hard to believe that it’s 70 IBUs, so either the numbers are just plain wrong or else the malts balance it out. I’m really looking forward to trying it once it’s carbed up in the bottles.

Label for Toucan Stout

Label for Toucan Stout




    • alex flanagan on 23 April 2012 at 9:41 pm
    • Reply

    hi~ wondering how this beer has turned out now, if you have started tucking into it that is.
    i have been contemplating the same as i recently bought the same two kits.
    i also wonder what type of brown sugar you used.

      • on 23 April 2012 at 9:59 pm
      • Reply

      Hi Alex,
      Yes I’ve tasted it. It’s quite good but I think it will benefit from more aging so I’m not really tucking into it yet but saving it for later on in the winter, just a sample now and again to check on how it’s developing. It’s definately a big improvement on the straight up Coopers stout that I did last year, much richer tasting and I like the stronger bitterness. The biggest problem I can point out with it is that it’s lacking in the head department, so it would probably have benefited from some steeped grains in that regard. But overall it’s quite good and maybe the head might even improve with aging. The sugar I used was muscovado sugar which is a very dark sugar that tastes of molasses. Any dark sugar should be suitable.

      If you brew it, post back and let me know how it goes.

    • Carl Christensen on 6 March 2021 at 5:02 am
    • Reply

    I have been making toucan brews for a couple years now. Until now I have only done beers of the same family, example Pale Ale and IPA… I have an IPA and and Lager draught that I would like to combine. Are there any rules about this?

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