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-   -   GF coffee-chocolate light-ale (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/gf-coffee-chocolate-light-ale-258198/)

DougmanXL 07-21-2011 09:23 PM

GF coffee-chocolate light-ale
Hey guys,

I'm not sure if this post belongs in the beginners thread, or the gluten free thread, but anyways... I'm brewing my second GF Ale and this time I wanted to try to add some coffee & chocolate flavour to it. So far I have prepared the wort using Briess 45DE syrup according to their "Hoppy To Be Gluten Free" recipe, and it's sitting in the primary fermenting with the hops.

From what I've read I'd have to add the following to the secondary before transferring:
*10 shots of espresso brewed from fresh ground beans, boiled first (sanitation).
*6oz of cacao nibs, after they've been sitting in vodka for a few days (sanitation)
*(optional) 1/4-1/2 cup of Splenda, added to the coffee, (it has maltodextrin & sucralose, which dont ferment, and would add to the sweetness/thickness) - I wanted to sweeten it to offset the bitterness, and I would use Lactose, but im also blessed with lactose intolerance.

I'm just not sure the less-roasted syrup base im using will work with these dark bitter flavours. What do you guys think? Do you guys have any tips/suggestions; is this a bad idea?

PS: I would have made a porter, but I can't get the syrup for one up here in Canada - AFAIK I can only get Briess stuff, and they dont make a syrup for Porters. I will try roasting my own grains eventually, but it would be nice to have something similar to a dark ale in the meantime... I havent had a Guinness or a coffee-porter in 5 years and its driving me nuts.

KevinM 07-21-2011 09:57 PM

Regarding the espresso, you shouldn't need to boil it, since it's gone through boiling temperatures when the shot is pulled (assuming you're using a quality machine), and you may want to chill it and remove the oils that collect on the surface. (This was mentiontioned in some thread I recall reading around)
Regarding the Vodka. Once you remove the nibs, try the vodka with a bit of sugar. Yum. Otherwise add that into the mix too.

Taste test before adding the sugars though. Those can be added at a later time.

We're all in the same boat there on working towards the grains part.

spaced 07-22-2011 03:22 AM


I've been looking at going down this path for a while. Will be very interested in your results.

Just some notes.

* Tread carefully with coffee, supposedly if you boil coffee it releases the oils and oil isn't good in beer. (Just going by what I've read). I tried to use cold pressed coffee in my only attempt. That recipe failed but I think that was down to using T-58 yeast

* I have reactions (don't know about others) to some grain spirits. Just something to note if you want to share it with Celiacs.

* Some people have had success with roasting Quinoa grains and steeping them in brews. Something I'm wanting to experiment with.

Please post your results when you're done.

DougmanXL 08-26-2011 05:03 PM

Hey guys, so I modified the recipe slightly, added a fair bit more espresso and cocoa nibs than stated, roasted the cocoa beans in 2 batches (light & dark), added some lightly crushed columbian beans as well (sanitized by boiling), secondaried for a week, used a liquid settling agent & bottled.

The beer was bottled about 1.5 weeks ago, and I tried some over the weekend... very intense, bitter coffee flavour (i like), with a slight dark-chocolate note to it, a nice smooth mouth feel, a beautiful brown color, and a nice coffee-smell. Decent head too. Surprisingly its not oily, maybe it was the beans I used, i dunno.

One problem that I found, was after a few you're wired! Shortly after that, things got interesting, lol.
I'm thinking there was too much caffeine, and not enough body or alcohol... next time I may up the OG with candi sugar/more extract, and lower the coffee.

KevinM 08-26-2011 06:26 PM

With the amount of coffee used (well... really, any it seems that any time you're using less coffee than wort), you should be fine tastewise regarding the oils. I think we're just avoiding the oils in the attempt to pull a frothy head on the stout, and oil tends to limit that. And we're already limited enough by sorghum in this effect.

Try a glass with some maltodextrin added. I found that helps ( a little bit) and will probably add some during the boil next time I do a darker beer. If you're doing any mash/partial mash, you can try some gluten free oats too.

Any idea how much nibs by weight you used? More or less than a pound? I think I only used 3-4 ounces, but I don't recall since I wasn't documenting very well and was thinking of using a pound soaked in vodka to my secondary.

DougmanXL 08-26-2011 08:31 PM

I used almost 1lb of cocoa nibs, but I was going to use 8oz originally. There were 2 cups of crushed columbian beans, and 14 shots espresso. But I'm crazy, normal people (non coffee addicts) that I gave these beers to were like "YUCK!", so I would tone it down to maybe 5oz-7oz. And maybe skip the ground up beans, they added a lot of bitterness.

The 1/2 a cup of Splenda added a nice slight sweetness. Your probably right about maltodextrin, and I would also add some candi sugar.

spaced 08-26-2011 09:49 PM


Originally Posted by DougmanXL (Post 3204546)
One problem that I found, was after a few you're wired! Shortly after that, things got interesting, lol.
I'm thinking there was too much caffeine, and not enough body or alcohol... next time I may up the OG with candi sugar/more extract, and lower the coffee.

Hahaha that's gold. Do you mind typing out your final recipe? Just want to check it out, since my trial went so horribly wrong.

DougmanXL 08-31-2011 01:40 AM

Well, ok, ill repost it in a better format; although I think im missing something. It's "mellowing out" and the off flavours (ie: the coffee flavour) is fading I think, it is now more tart and less bitter, and more foamy and creamy. And it tastes more coffeeish when its fairly warm, and when it is young (less than 2 weeks old). Maybe I need something to bind the coffee flavour, would maltodextrin do that? I didnt add it originally, but I am going to do this next time:

Extract: 2.5gal boil size
6.6 or 9.9lb Briess Sorghum 45DE (60m) (depending on desired ABV)
1oz cascade (60m)
1tsp irish moss (10m) (recommended)
1lb brown sugar, or candi sugar (10m) (recommended)
4-8oz maltodextrin (10m) (recommended)
1oz amarillo (5m)
1 tsp yeast nutrient (end) (recommended)
1 pack Nottingham yeast
OG: 1.048, FG: 1.010, ABV: 5.1%

*recommended means I didnt add it, but think it should be added now
-Primary fermented 1.5wks
-roasted 0.45lb cocoa nibs @ 250F, 25m (medium)
-roasted 0.45lb cocoa nibs @ 270F, 30m (dark) - these may vary, i used a convection toaster oven
-let the 0.9lb's of cocoa nibs soak in cheap vodka for 2 days

Prepared Flavourings:
1) Any quality whole bean dark roast columbian: ground for espresso, make 7oz in espresso maker
2) Any quality whole bean medium/light roast coffee (I used van houette costa rica) ground for espresso, 7oz in espresso maker
3) boil 2 cups of crushed columbian dark beans
5) add 1/2 cup of splenda
6) drain cocoa nibs
7) add 1-6 together in the pot, and cool to ~70F
8) add contents of pot to secondary, rack to secondary

-Secondary for 1 week
-It was still kinda crudgy so I added liquid settling agent at the end & racked again, but you may not need that with the moss
-used 3/4 cup corn sugar & bottled
-afterwards, either reuse the chocolate vodka, or mix it with chocolate milk shakes (which was awesome!)

chilort 09-23-2011 03:26 AM

I've done a number of coffee beers over the years. I do some gluten free brewing but I've never done a GF coffee beer. I'm still trying to get my GF stout where I want it before I start throwing in coffee.

I wouldn't worry about sanitation with the coffee. By the time you throw the coffee into the secondary there is very little sugar left that could be used by unwanted yeasts.

In doing coffee beers I get the best flavor by cold (or luke warm) pressing coffee in a french press. I like espresso flavor beers but I've never tried making one so I cannot say for sure about getting the good espresso flavor out of a home machine. I also feel I get the best aroma from crushing a few ounces of coffee beans and putting them in the secondary about 12-24 hours before I bottle. Though it can really clog up a bottling wand.

Best of luck.

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