I enjoyed the last imperial stout recipe I came up with and I want to refine it. The first time I did it I added cocoa nibs and a vanilla bean soaked in vodka to the secondary. I like it, but I want to see what it's like without additions and with other additions.
I am doing two batches of the same recipe. The first is a normal 5 gallon batch without any secondary additions. The second 5 gallons batch will be split in half. One will have cocoa nibs soaked in vodka. I did 10 ounces for 5 gallons before which provided more vanilla than chocolate. I want to do about 8 or 10 in the 2.5 gallon batch this time.
The other half will have coffee, but I have never done it. I read a lot about adding coffee and there is a ton of conflicting advice.
I've heard you can grind them or add them whole. However I also heard the oils from the whole beans can be bad for head retention but the ground coffee can leave grounds in the beer. I've read the beans as a whole don't add as much flavor as the ground beans do. I also heard cold brewing coffee can be a good idea but I've never done that before. Lastly, I've heard soaking them in water, bourbon, whiskey, etc. helps extract flavors better.
My questions for everyone:
- If I want a nice coffee flavor but nothing overwhelming, should I do whole beans or ground coffee?
- Should it be a bold flavor or something more subtle?
- How many ounces per gallon?
Any other advice is welcome!