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Old 01-04-2010, 12:27 AM   #1
rickfrothingham
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Nov 2009
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I searched around and couldn't find anything about using caffeine in beer other than various coffee drinks, which is not what i'm going for. I want a beer to start off a big night with, giving a good caffeine boost to get things going.

The FDA is moving towards banning the use of caffeine in commercially produced alcoholic beverages, and several of the big brands (Sparks, Tilt) have already changed their recipes to remove caffeine. What i'm not looking for is responses about warnings for my health or admonishments, rather i'm looking for thoughts, ideas, or any suggestions from the community on how to pull this off. I never liked those alcoholic energy drinks because the flavor was atrocious and I haven't had one in years, but still love the idea of the alcohol/energy combination.

From what I've read, Red bull has 80mg of caffeine per 8.3oz can, a shot of espresso has around 100mg, and 7oz of coffee has anywhere from 65-150mg or so depending on the bean type and process. I'm looking to make a beer with 100mg or so of caffeine per 12oz, without affecting the flavor much. My current plan is to purify the caffeine in no-doz pills (200 mg each, here's one method -http://www.instructables.com/id/Extracting-almost-pure-Caffeine-from-Caffeine-Pi), dissolve that powder into a thin ethanol solution and pour that into my bottling bucket when I add the priming sugar.

I'm thinking I'll use an IPA, since I've heard caffeine at those concentrations has a mildly acidic/bitter taste that I'll need to deal with, so maybe a nice american IPA with the 3C's and some Simcoe. 7-8% abv, 80-90 IBU should do the trick

Any thoughts/suggestions/experience anyone has had with this kinda thing?

Thanks!!!

 
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:42 AM   #2
rickfrothingham
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Actually, I think I'll bottle a couple bottles without it first, then add the appropriate amount of caffeine tincture for the remainder, so I can do a taste comparison and see if it makes a difference.

 
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Old 01-04-2010, 12:53 AM   #3
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Very interesting. I can't help much but I'd be interested in the same thing. However, I'd be reluctant to caffeinate the entire 5 gallons. I only hit the town needing red bull every now and then.

Actually now that I'm thinking about it, why not just pop some no doze while drinking an ipa? Although that doesn't sound as fun, it's basically the same thing.
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Old 01-04-2010, 01:05 AM   #4
rickfrothingham
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Haha yeah, that's a very good point jmo... as with pretty much everything else I do with home brewing, its really just to see if I can! And though I don't personally care, caffeinated beverages have less stigma than taking a pill... and its more novel this way.

I may just make a small amount of caffeine/alcohol solution (say, an ounce of 20% ethanol/80% water with 2 no doze pills dissolved in it, then split it into 4 parts and add straight to the bottle. That way i'll be taking a little less risk with the experiment.

 
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:47 AM   #5
LexusChris
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickfrothingham View Post
Actually, I think I'll bottle a couple bottles without it first, then add the appropriate amount of caffeine tincture for the remainder, so I can do a taste comparison and see if it makes a difference.
A tincture makes a lot of sense. You can both guage the taste impact, as well as the strength.

You might also think about using some herbs like yerba mate or guarana, to give you the pep you are looking for. There is a yerba mate beer recipe here, although I've not tried it.

Good luck!

 
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Old 01-04-2010, 08:02 AM   #6
mordantly
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a heavy percentage coffee stout?

 
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Old 01-04-2010, 10:17 AM   #7
klyph
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Meh, I drink beer for the exact opposite reason I drink coffee. I don't get it.
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:02 PM   #8
rickfrothingham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klyph View Post
Meh, I drink beer for the exact opposite reason I drink coffee. I don't get it.
Yeah, I don't expect most people on here to understand the draw of the caffeine/alcohol combination, but I love it. If I want a big Friday night out after a long week of work, its just the thing I need to make it happen. Its just that Joose is so damn terrible... what i'm inventing here is the classy version of Joose; only meant for that 0.5% of the population that would ever want it, but perfectly awesome for us 0.5%.

I'm going to try adding the 100mg level of caffeine to a standard pale ale to see how it affects the flavor first... maybe a SNPA or something. Then I can plan accordingly. I may rely on the caffeine to provide some of the up front bitterness, letting me reduce my bittering hops a bit and do a lot of late-hopping flavor/aroma hops instead for a good cover up flavor if necessary.

 
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Old 01-06-2010, 10:31 PM   #9
Razorbrew
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This might be interesting

http://www.partyenhancers.com/pure-caffeine-powder.php
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Old 01-07-2010, 12:03 AM   #10
rickfrothingham
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razorbrew View Post
Hmmm, yeah that sounds VERY interesting! I don't have a scale that works down to that granularity, so i'm probably going to stick with refining my no-doz tabs so i can get better dose control.

 
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