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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Details of adding coffee/vanilla to a beer?
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:18 AM   #1
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Default Details of adding coffee/vanilla to a beer?

I am thinking about doing a stout and adding coffee and vanilla flavors into it. I am pretty new to brewing so I am just gonna get a recipe kit for a stout and with the exception of adding those flavors I'm going to follow the directions 100%. I have been reading a bunch of related posts on how and when to add the vanilla and coffee to the beer.

So my first questions will be about the vanilla. I know you can either buy extract or make it. For my purposes/budget I'm going to use store bought extract. What are the effects of adding it to the 2nd fermentation vs bottling stage and which is the better choice? Second, if in the future I decide to make the extract which would be best to soak the beans in vodka, rum or whiskey? I realize that one depends on personal preference but I would like to read your opinions to learn from them.

On to coffee. It looks like the best way to do this is to cold brew the coffee and add it. Once again 2nd fermentation or bottling stage? For a 5 gal batch what is an appropriate amount of coffee to use (approximately)? And I was wondering if you split the coffee beans could you make an extract much in the same way you would with vanilla?

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Old 01-28-2013, 11:09 AM   #2
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On to coffee. It looks like the best way to do this is to cold brew the coffee and add it. Once again 2nd fermentation or bottling stage? For a 5 gal batch what is an appropriate amount of coffee to use (approximately)? And I was wondering if you split the coffee beans could you make an extract much in the same way you would with vanilla?
I just sampled my first oatmeal stout. I added about 12 ounces of coffee at bottling. After three weeks there is a pronounced coffee taste (not unpleasant). But I am hoping it will smooth out in a couple of weeks. It really depends on how much coffee taste you want.

I cold-brewed: I coarsely crushed the beans in a grinder and put them in a muslin bag. I placed that in a sanitized jar, added cold bottled water and left it on the counter for 24 hours. Every so often I would shake it. At bottling I removed the bag of beans and dispensed the coffee right into the bottling bucket.

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck!
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Old 01-28-2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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masskrug covered the cold brewed coffee aspect so for the vanilla, I use vodka because I want the vanilla to be highlighted. My second choice would probably be rum since I see those flavors complimenting - beyond that would definitely be a case of personal preference and taste. I just cut the beans in half (across the length) and then split them along the length and drop them in an old White Labs vial (be sure to get any of the seeds that may come out as well.) Once they are all in there, I cover with vodka and let it sit for 6-8 weeks (shake occasionally and open for an aroma check )

I add at bottling but if you want to bulk age with it that shouldn't be an issue either - I would think you'd end up with more aroma than flavor that way.

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Old 02-04-2013, 05:54 AM   #4
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A buddy and I had a brew day today. I brewed the Milk Stout (didn't put anything extra in it yet) the wort tasted a little like hot chocolate so even if I wasn't gonna add stuff I would be pumped to see the finished beer. I decided to add the coffee into the secondary by sterilizing it to a point by adding some of my homemade vanilla extract (used about a half jar of my friends very potent shine and 8 or so beans) then cold brewing it for a day. Then add the vanilla extract at bottling until I get the taste I'm looking for.

Thanks for your advice!

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