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Old 03-19-2013, 07:50 PM   #1
eulipion2
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Default Adding coffee to light beer

I'm brewing a saison right now for the purpose of adding coffee to it. The only thing is, most coffee beers are brown, porter, or stout. I'm looking at going the cold-pressed route, and in the darker beers I've seen anything from 2 oz coffee in 2 cups water (so 2 cups coffee) added to secondary, up to 4 or more.

For a light beer of about 6% ABV, 27 IBU, and about 5 SRM, I'd say 2 cups of cold-brewed coffee in 6 gallons would probably be the upper limit, but if anyone has experience with coffee in lighter beers, I'd love to hear from you.

Thanks!

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Old 03-19-2013, 08:03 PM   #2
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This is just from my personal experience. I just made an oatmeal stout and I wanted to add a coffee taste to it. I also went the cold-extraction method and used 4oz of coffee in 2 pints of water and let it sit for 24 hours. Then I added that in the last 5 min of the boil. It completely dominated the flavor and took over the oatmeal stout (which by the way, was amazing before I added the coffee). For your situation, I would go with around 1-2oz to get a slight coffee taste from real cold extracted coffee and 3-4 if you want a dominate taste. When I do this again I am going to use about 2oz in my stout. For a saison, I am thinking maybe an ounce? I am not sure though. Just take good notes so you can adjust based on your final results.

I would also watch out for doing the extraction for longer than 24 hours. The first extraction I did for this batch, I started 3 days before hand with the thinking that the longer it sits the more coffee taste will be extracted - wrong! I got harsh flavors and it tasted bad. Just go 24 hours and use a super premium coffee that you personally enjoy. This is not the kind of thing where you want to use cheap coffee or a coffee you have not tasted. Some coffees are just hard to drink, even expensive ones.

Good luck. Keep us posted as to what happens. I have been toying with the idea of adding coffee to some of my lighter beers to just try something different and see what happens.

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Old 03-19-2013, 11:12 PM   #3
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If you've brewed the base beer before and have some around use that or grab a commercial saison you think is similar and experiment. Make the extract with the coffee you plan to use. If you don't roast your own, I bet there are some fancy coffee roasters in Richmond. Look for something that will go with your beer, be it fruity, peppery, or earthy. If you go to a good roaster and tell them what you want and why, I bet they can make some suggestions. Pour a bunch of measured samples and dose them with an eyedropper or a syringe would probably be better.

Good luck! I think coffee saison sounds terrible. I figured if anyone could pull it off, it would be Ron Jeffries at Jolly Pumpkin. Worst JP beer I've had by far. Have you had a saison with coffee that you liked or do you have a particular flavor in mind?

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Old 03-20-2013, 12:37 AM   #4
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There is stuff out there called natural coffee distillate. I know, it's not like adding cold brewed fresh coffee to your beer like you would a stout or porter. But it's clear, mostly used by bakers to give coffee flavor to white frosting. It may be a good option to give the flavor you want without mucking up the color of your beer. I'm not so sure of the cost but might be worth looking into. You could also do as suggested above with an eye dropper/ syringe into a commercial Saison to dial in the flavor.

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Old 03-20-2013, 02:39 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe View Post
Good luck! I think coffee saison sounds terrible. I figured if anyone could pull it off, it would be Ron Jeffries at Jolly Pumpkin. Worst JP beer I've had by far. Have you had a saison with coffee that you liked or do you have a particular flavor in mind?
Fortunately we have a bunch of great roasters here. I'm looking for a light roast with a fruity, spicy flavor, low oil, low bitterness. I've never tried a coffee saison, but I thought it'd be interesting, and thought I could pull it off.
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluidmechanics View Post
There is stuff out there called natural coffee distillate. I know, it's not like adding cold brewed fresh coffee to your beer like you would a stout or porter. But it's clear, mostly used by bakers to give coffee flavor to white frosting. It may be a good option to give the flavor you want without mucking up the color of your beer. I'm not so sure of the cost but might be worth looking into. You could also do as suggested above with an eye dropper/ syringe into a commercial Saison to dial in the flavor.
Interesting! It's like Sinamar instead of Carafa. Think I'll go with the real thing though.

TahoeRy, I think you're right - one ounce coffee in one cup of water would probably be plenty.
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Old 03-20-2013, 02:56 AM   #6
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I think the one oz amount will give you that slight coffee taste and not be to over-powering or change your color to much. It's so hard to estimate it though. Just brew it and adjust it for the next batch. You are on the right track by using a lighter roast. I think you might find a good blend depending on how you brew your saison. Also, one thing to be aware of. Coffee does have oils so that means you might lose some of your head retention. You are not using very much so it might not affect it at all. Maybe try to plan for this by adding some wheat, carapils or anything else to bring that head back. Oils tend to take the head away but as long as your ok with the possibility, I say do it. Again, your not using very much so it might not affect anything. The best thing about brewing is doing exactly what you are doing - experimenting. Please keep us posted, I am interested to see what you come up with and how the flavors play out. I know Mammoth Brewing Co. near me is playing with coffee in one of their ales so its not a weird thought to try it.

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Old 03-20-2013, 09:58 AM   #7
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FWIW, Starbucks has a blonde coffee. I've only looked at it briefly, but i think it's lighter in color & flavor. Maybe your Richmond roasters have something similar?

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Old 03-20-2013, 04:08 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNGabe View Post
If you've brewed the base beer before and have some around use that or grab a commercial saison you think is similar and experiment. Make the extract with the coffee you plan to use.
This. Much better to experiment first on a small scale, rather than risk ruining your batch!
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Old 03-20-2013, 10:52 PM   #9
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Boulevard in Kansas City

Just released their coffee ale here some info to help you

http://www.boulevard.com/BoulevardBeers/coffee-ale/

Good luck

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Old 03-25-2013, 09:37 PM   #10
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According to this article:

http://www.pitch.com/kansascity/boulevard-roasterie-coffee-ale/Content?oid=3146005

Boulevard simply dry-hopped with freshly ground coffee beans.

Quote:
Eventually, they discovered that the softness and citrus notes of an Ethiopian Sidamo produced a smooth coffee brew — and required close to 1,000 pounds of freshly ground coffee, which was steeped in the fermenter.

"It was like dry hopping but with coffee," Belden says. "We made a gigantic toddy but with beer instead of water."
Belden is Elizabeth Belden who works for Boulevard. I read a comment on that same site by someone who tasted Boulevard's Coffee Ale. They think it is "[Boulevard's] Farmhouse Ale with coffee." So, maybe checking out Boulevard's attempt will give you some pointers as the above poster suggested. They tend to do their custom brews with belgian ales or saison's as a base to start their recipe. I just bought four bottles today and will try it out tonight when I get home from work!
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