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Old 08-02-2012, 03:11 PM   #1
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Default Cold-brewed coffee to the boil?

I'm somewhat new to homebrewing (less than 10 batches under my belt), and have been very interested in adding coffee to my beers. I've produced one coffee stout in the past, but the addition of coffee to the secondary resulted in a somewhat watered-down brew. Granted, I am a novice, so I may have screwed something up.

I was wondering, has anyone tried adding cold-brewed coffee directly to the boil?

I've read a few articles that say boiling cold-brewed coffee doesn't necessarily detract from the flavor, but it does add some slightly different characteristics (body, added roasted notes). The reason I ask this is because I am worried about introducing nasties into the secondary, and I've heard that adding grinds directly to the boil can result in some unwanted bitterness. I've also switched to using only a primary fermenter, which makes life a little easier, so avoiding a secondary would be great.

Hoping that this isn't a silly question, but it sounds reasonable to me.

Thanks... you guys are awesome

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Old 08-02-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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I think boiling the grounds would leave it a bit bitter. If you bottle, Maybe consider making coffee cold (make it very strong/concentrated) and filter it and use it to dissolve your priming sugar. I've done this with great results.

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Old 08-02-2012, 05:28 PM   #3
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Thanks DocScott for the quick reply. That was going to be my next option if I couldn't figure out the cold-brewed-to-boil method.

One thing though- I was talking about adding pre-brewed cold coffee in the boil, not the grounds. Basically, I would steep the grounds in cold water overnight, filter the grounds out, and be left with cold-brewed coffee, which I have heard maintains less astringency than traditionally brewed coffee. The cold-brewed coffee would be added at some point during the boil at brew time.

I'm having a hard time figuring out why I can't find much info on this process, as it seems somewhat intuitive to me. You would avoid the harshness of boiled coffee grounds (resulting from adding the grinds to the boil and extracting bitter notes) and would have the coffee in the brew throughout the fermentation process... at least in theory.

So far, this is my only reference point: http://www.madalchemist.com/archives...brewed-coffee/

Then again, I could probably stop trying to over think things and use a tried-and-true method such as that which is described above.

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:22 PM   #4
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Doc, he is referring to adding cold brewed coffee to the wort while boiling. Without grounds. I doubt that boiling the already brewed coffee will bitter it much though I havent tried it myself.

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:33 PM   #5
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I have a coffee toddy to cold brew coffee & in stouts it works.

I've also considered adding a couple packs of Startbucks via at the start of the boil, but haven't yet.

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Old 08-02-2012, 06:42 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DrunkleJon View Post
Doc, he is referring to adding cold brewed coffee to the wort while boiling. Without grounds. I doubt that boiling the already brewed coffee will bitter it much though I havent tried it myself.
Take some already brewed coffee and boil it for an hour and see how it changes. Chances are, it will turn nasty. I make it a point to not let my coffee get even close to boiling temps, even when sitting on the hot plate (of the maker).

For the OP, brew it stronger. Brew the coffee as strong as you can and then add it, but not in the boil.

You can also add some kiln coffee to the mash, or even roasted barely, to get some coffee flavors. I've been enjoying what kiln coffee brings to some brews. I use it, along with pale chocolate, in my mocha porter with great results.
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:14 PM   #7
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I imagine that boiling the cold-brewed coffee for any period of time would cause its flavor to dissipate rapidly (if not turn unpleasantly bitter). One thing is for sure: boiling the grounds or beans themselves is the cardinal sin of coffee.

I would recommend cracking the coffee beans and steeping them in the secondary for 18-24 hours (a cold infusion). If the taste was watered down on your first attempt, try using more beans, and make sure to use a pretty robust roast - try an Ethiopian or Sumatran bean. I suppose you could pasteurize the beans first in a hot-water or alcohol soak.

Other options: adding cracked coffee beans directly to your mash, adding some concentrated cold-brewed coffee at bottling, or even adding a bit of coffee liqueur, which would eliminate any microbial concerns due to the high alcohol content.

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Old 08-02-2012, 07:16 PM   #8
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Coffee extracts maybe?

I have seen some recipes that as for strong cold brewed coffee in secondary. I havent seen any in the boil though.

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Old 08-02-2012, 07:42 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tpizzy View Post
I was wondering, has anyone tried adding cold-brewed coffee directly to the boil?

I've read a few articles that say boiling cold-brewed coffee doesn't necessarily detract from the flavor, but it does add some slightly different characteristics (body, added roasted notes). The reason I ask this is because I am worried about introducing nasties into the secondary, and I've heard that adding grinds directly to the boil can result in some unwanted bitterness. I've also switched to using only a primary fermenter, which makes life a little easier, so avoiding a secondary would be great.
I haven't tried adding coffee to beer yet, but I have experience with the Toddy cold-brew coffee maker. For the uninitiated, it is a plastic bucket with a special filter that is filled with coarsely ground coffee, let to soak overnight, and then drained into a carafe. The brew is quite concentrated; to make a cup of coffee, heat about 3 parts water to boiling, and add to 1 part coffee concentrate (plus or minus, according to taste). It makes a nice, mellow coffee with lots of flavor, since there is no hot extraction to drive off volatile flavor components. There is also less caffeine extracted due to lack of heat.

This would be my preferred method of making coffee for use in a beer, but I wouldn't boil it; I'd put it in after flameout, when the beer is starting to cool, but still warm enough to kill any nasties.

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Originally Posted by esvoytko View Post
I would recommend cracking the coffee beans and steeping them in the secondary for 18-24 hours (a cold infusion). If the taste was watered down on your first attempt, try using more beans, and make sure to use a pretty robust roast - try an Ethiopian or Sumatran bean. I suppose you could pasteurize the beans first in a hot-water or alcohol soak.
One nit to pick here-- the origin of the bean has little to do with the roast. Any bean can be roasted more or less, according to taste. In general, the less the roast, the more the origin comes out; darker roasts tend to drive off the flavor compounds, so the origin doesn't matter as much. If you roast to an Italian roast, the origin doesn't matter much, since it's more or less turned to charcoal at that point.
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Old 08-02-2012, 07:49 PM   #10
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One nit to pick here-- the origin of the bean has little to do with the roast. Any bean can be roasted more or less, according to taste. In general, the less the roast, the more the origin comes out; darker roasts tend to drive off the flavor compounds, so the origin doesn't matter as much. If you roast to an Italian roast, the origin doesn't matter much, since it's more or less turned to charcoal at that point.
I've heard this before... I get a Columbian coffee bean that's given a medium roast before being shipped out (place is in MA, and they roast to order).

Other things that seriously impact the flavor, and character, of brewed coffee include not only water quality, but how hot you brew it at. Also, how long it's allowed to rest on a heating element after being brewed, and how hot that element gets the brewed coffee. Some makers allow you to adjust certain aspects of the process. IME, cooler brewing temperatures, coupled with lower hot plate temperatures, for shorter time periods all make for a much better mug of coffee. I also use filtered water (good filter system here) for the coffee, not just tap water (that's just wrong).

Check out Dean's beans
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