Hazelnut Coffee Ale - I'm doin' it!!!

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ViperMan

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Okay, I started a discussion on this nearly a year ago, but now I'm actually planning on doing it. Here's what I'm planning:

All-grain Bill:

9.5 lbs Mild Malt (4.0 SRM) Grain 1 76.0 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 2 8.0 %
1 lbs Munich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 3 8.0 %
.5 lbs Black Barley (Stout) (500.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.0 %

Single Infusion Mash at 154, Batch Sparge to 6.4 gallon total volume before boil.

Hop Schedule

1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 14.9 IBUs
0.50 oz Willamette [5.50 %] - Boil 20.0 min Hop 7 5.2 IBUs
Total IBU's 20.1

Extras:
.5 lbs Milk Sugar (Lactose) - Add at Flame-out
2.00 Cup Coffee (Primary 3.0 weeks)
1.00 Cup Hazelnut Vodka (Bottling 0.0 mins)

Yeast:
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.00 ml] Yeast

The plan is to make a beer out of my favorite morning coffee - dark roasted Starbucks with hazelnut syrup and a splash of half-and-half.

I'm going to brew 2 (measured) cups of extra-strength coffee using a paper filter which produces much less oil than using a french press. I'm also going to soak a pound of Hazelnuts in high-quality vodka for 2 weeks to produce hazelnut-flavored Vodka. I'll add the coffee into the primary and the vodka into the bottling bucket.

My first question of course is what do you think of my grain bill? I actually wonder if the 1.068 OG might be too high and result in too-sweet of a beer. (I have NO idea what "style" this might be emulating.) FG estimated at 1.017.

Second question; is there a better way to infuse the coffee flavor? I can easily buy whole beans, but I know that the flavor is inside the bean, not on the outside. Also, do you think this might be too much coffee? Is "a little a lot"?

Hazelnuts have a relatively mild flavor, so I'm actually not worried about adding too much. I also chose the mild malt for the base as it supposedly imparts a nutty flavor, which I hope will accentuate the hazelnuts.

I welcome your comments - you guys have never steered me wrong. I'm hoping to brew a half-batch of this next week.

Jeff
 

thepartsmancometh

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I prefer to use coffee exactly as you originally described. I find brewed coffee gives a nice flavor without being too much.

I'd be interested to hear how the vodka turns out ; I have never tried the infusion method. I used hazelnut extract in a porter and wasn't too impressed. Ever think of using frangelico instead of infusing?
 
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ViperMan

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Actually yes I did, but my concern would be the Frangelico getting consumed by the fermentation process (since it's sweet) and leaving either a processed flavor or no flavor at all. Vodka absorbs the flavor but isn't fermentable, so the flavor is consistent.

I've done orange-infused Vodkas before for the "Hemi Beer" in my siggy. It worked well, though after a taste-test, Absolut Mandarin tasted better. I am going to look for a peanut vodka, though I think I've only seen peanut butter vodkas in the past.

I'm thinking I'll do a real light toast on the Hazelnuts beforehand just to make sure the flavor gets picked up by the Vodka.

Thanks for the support on the coffee. Think I'm using the right volume of it?
 

thepartsmancometh

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Yea, the quantity sounds reasonable. For a darker beer (ie: coffee stout or porter) I've used a full (10 serving) pot without it being overbearing (not sure how many actual cups are in a standard pot).

Toasting the hazelnuts is probably a good idea; I think they taste better that way anyway.

I hadn't thought about the frangelico fermenting. Sorta makes me want to try it and see what its like lol
 
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ViperMan

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Well, I'm doing an experimental half-batch with this. No reason why I couldn't further split it into quarter batches at the secondary phase and do toasted hazelnut vodka in one and Frangelico in the other. Hit the subscription button and I'll let ya know what happens. :)
 

greenbirds

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Sounds like an interesting brew, and I like the recipe.

Is the munich malt you're using that Gambrinus dark munich? Like the stuff BMW sells? If so, I have been experimenting with it in a lot of different styles, and I have found that a little goes a long way. I actually once added it as 25% of the grist of a dunkelweizen, confusing it with Weyermann dark munich (about 8-9 SRM) -- ack! I think it's actually pretty similar to melanoidin malt, contributing an intense (and possibly cloying at higher %) malty sweetness. So, my advice would be to go not any higher than a pound so as to not compete with the hazelnut...
 
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ViperMan

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Thanks for the tips, greenbirds.

I actually realized I had chosen that grain from BeerSmith and not double-checked with my LHBS to see what they actually sell. The answer appears to be "No - not Gambrinus" but instead, "Yes - Weyermann Dark Munich." The product I selected on BeerSmith calculated at 20 lovibond, while I'll be using the Weyermann at 9 lovibond. Recipe adjusted (minimal impact to the calculations at the top of this post, but thank you still for making me do a double-check!)

Here's the link to the product at my LHBS:
http://www.southhillsbrewing.com/product_detail.asp?category=130&product={387E27A8-41D0-4849-81D7-F0CB572C7E41}
 
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ViperMan

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If I drop the Mild Malt down to 6.5 pounds, I get an OG of 1.052 and an FG of 1.010 - right in line with an American Brown Ale...

I wonder if this is more where I want to be. I also wonder if BeerSmith is considering the lactose to be more fermentable than it actually is...
 

greenbirds

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Yeah I'm not sure which 20L dark munich it is that Beersmith refers to. There is the Weyermann dark munich, 8-9L, and the Gambrinus dark munich, ~30L.

Anyhoo, if you scale down the OG, I would scale down the percentages of all grains, not just your base malt, lest you throw the rest of the ingredients out of whack.

Not sure about BS's treatment of lactose with regard to FG. I bet someone has addressed that question, but I'm too sleepy to check right now :eek:. Good luck.
 
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ViperMan

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Yeah since I'm starting off with a half-batch, the difference in grain is negligible. So I'm going to plan on the bigger grain bill because then yeah - the percentages, hop infusion, etc, all works out better.
 
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ViperMan

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Brewing this today! Really excited to see my first all-grain recipe coming together!!

Mashing right now at a perfect 155 degrees. Very excited!! Will keep you guys updated on the progress!
 
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ViperMan

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Well, efficiency was still crap - put too much sparge water in during the mash phase to keep my temp up, so I didn't have enough left to actually sparge with... But a little DME topped it off nicely, and now I wait for fermentation to slow so I can add the hazelnut vodkas and Frangelico (two separate primaries.) I'll let ya know how it goes!
 

Taliesin

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I am curious as to how this turns out as well, mostly for how well the coffee flavor comes across. I'm working on a Coffee-Brown myself, as I had a FANTASTIC one at Alaskan Brewing Co. in Juneau back in '08. (Will never be bottled...I wept.) I've been wondering how I'd add the coffee, and for some reason thought that adding a pot of brewed coffee to the primary would cause problems with adding contamination. But as I think about it....a drip coffee-maker boils the water to brew the coffee. lol. Duh.

Keep us posted!
 
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ViperMan

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I added 1 cup (extra strong) into the primary with the yeast. Will be sure to report on how it comes out!
 
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ViperMan

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UPDATE...

Gonna be a man about this one - gonna just admit it...

...this beer is AWFUL. BUT, I don't think it's the recipe's fault: I think it was the brewmaster's...

I noticed after it sat in the fermenter for a while that the gravity was still really high. I figured the yeast had stalled so I pitched some more. After another few weeks there was virtually no change. I went ahead and bottled it (using a hazelnut coffee syrup as a priming sugar) and let it sit.

Now that it's "ready," the beer is SUPER sweet yet with a black, roasted flavor. Unfortunately the flavor is pretty much hidden by the sweetness, and the beer has virtually no carbonation whatsoever...

I'm thinking a bunch of things went wrong here - first I think I sparged it way too high, thus pulled out too many unfermentable sugars. I was still trying to grasp the sparge process when I made this beer. Batches that I've made since were far more successful. I also can only presume that I didn't use enough syrup for priming - I followed the chart in Palmer's book, using the amount recommended for the Lyle's Golden Syrup (or something like that...)

So if I try this again (and I probably will at some point) I'm going to sparge a bit lower, maybe go for a higher attenuation yeast just to be safe, and will probably just force-carb it since I've bought a kegging setup this year (yay me!)

Oh, and some other suggestions I'll keep in mind - use a smidge more coffee as it doesn't really come through as much as I wanted it to, and DON'T use Frangelico. The Frangelico is too strong - can actually be tasted over the sweetness. Unfortunately it doesn't impart a Hazelnut flavor as much as it just tastes like Frangelico. I DO think that it did ferment out somewhat, as the bottles that have Frangelico in them are a bit more carbonated than the ones that got the Hazelnut-infused Vodka.
 

thepartsmancometh

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Sorry to hear its not awesome, but it sounds like you (and we, collectively, benefit too) learned some valuable information regarding the process. Thanks for reporting back!
 
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ViperMan

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Yeup - my thoughts exactly. And also I've done all my beers this spring as half-batches, so I'm only out one case of beer, which in PA we get kinda used to! :)

Luckily the other brews I've done so far have been VERY successful, so I'm not upset about it. :)
 

thepartsmancometh

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Are you going to dump it? You might consider letting some age to see how it develops. It also might be nice blended with something very dry
 
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ViperMan

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Not dumping it yet - letting it sit. But I postulate that it'll have to sit for QUITE a while before it evolves into anything worth drinking. :)

I could blend it, but I'd rather not try it and end up wasting TWO batches of beer!
 

vonZwicky

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Viperman, have you tried brewing this recipe again? I'd love to hear about it I you have.
 
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ViperMan

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I have not - sorry. I can share this though: during a recent tasting with some friends, they actually gave the Frangelico "version" better scores. I think it was mostly due to the fact that it had a bit more carbonation, but it also had a sweeter finish and just seemed a bit more smooth. So I may have been wrong in suggesting not to use it.

I'll try another half-batch later on this fall when I clear up all these other brews sitting around!
 
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