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.