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Coffee Porter?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by MP72, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. MP72

    MP72 Aficionado (240) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    Since I started brewing about a year ago I have been pretty experimental with recipes and kits and most have worked great. However I am interested in doing a coffee porter after having good luck with my vanilla porter. The problem is my research has come up with so many ways to add the coffee ie. cold steeped, grounds in a hop sack in the boil , and also as a dry hop in the secondary while others just pour cooled fresh brewed joe into the bottling bucket. What do most of you guys do to help me narrow this down.

    Thanks in advance for all suggestions
  2. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (435) Indiana Sep 25, 2008

    I think most of us will tell you that we cold steep and add to the end of the boil. If it's your first time, I recommend a cold steep, a taste, a boil, a cooling of the coffee and adding it into your fermenter after you hit FG. This will help you repeat your process if you're too weak or strong on the coffee flavor.
    wspscott and MP72 like this.
  3. MP72

    MP72 Aficionado (240) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    I guess I will try a few approaches since there seems to be no definitive ideas.
    Thanks
  4. I like to live on the edge and throw whole coffee beans into primary after fermentation is complete, similar to how I dry hop. The pros (or at least Terrapin) do it this way with good results.
    MP72, OldSock and ColForbinBC like this.
  5. You should never boil coffee. Put another way, you should never boil coffee. That means you shouldn't add it to the boil ...ever. Even Starbucks wouldn't think of it (they achieve their signature bitterness by burning the coffee before it's brewed -- but that's a whole 'nuther thread). Boiling burns the coffee, resulting in an acrid bitterness that makes for a very unpleasant cup (try some 'cowboy coffee' sometime. Or, better yet, put a mugful in the microwave and bring it to a boil. You'll see what I mean).

    There are several methods that people use to add coffee to their beer. My method is to cold steep coarsely ground, dark roasted beans - the fresher, the better (if you don't roast your own beans, find a friend who does, or find a local roaster who provides the 'Roasted On' date. Wait a minimum of 24 hours after roasting (trust me on that point), up to three days is ideal). I use cold, previously boiled water. I steep 2 oz of grounds in a 32 oz French Press overnight in the fridge -- 12 hrs is a good number. I then add it straight to the keg. If you bottle, then I would suggest the bottling bucket.

    I've found 2 oz is about right for my taste in 5 gallons of a 1.075-ish Stout. I get a subtle coffee flavor at first that intensifies as the beer ages. After, say, two months, the coffee becomes the dominant flavor (not sure exactly what's happening there). I suspect the quantity of coffee should be adjusted with the gravity, though I haven't played with that. Obviously, YMMV.
    rocdoc1 and MP72 like this.
  6. MP72

    MP72 Aficionado (240) Pennsylvania Sep 25, 2006

    Thank you both this is helpful. I think I may try the cold steeping method added before bottling. Also thanks for the recommended amount that will be a big help as a starting point.
  7. sarcastro

    sarcastro Savant (405) Michigan Sep 20, 2006

    I think I will do this for a porter I just brewed. Do you sanitize the french press?
    MP72 likes this.
  8. rocdoc1

    rocdoc1 Savant (380) New Mexico Jan 13, 2006

    I use mikehartigan's method also, my coffee porter is one of my favorite beers. Keep the late hop additions restrained so that the hops and coffee flavors don't clash. If you use a British style porter recipe as opposed to a hoppier modern American(like Avery New World Porter) you'll be OK.
  9. I spray the inside of the pot and the plunger with StarSan before adding the coffee. I also wrap the top, somewhat, in Saran Wrap while it's in the fridge in an attempt to minimize the likelihood of critters inviting themselves in. Needless to say, you probably don't want to do this if you just mixed up a 50 lb batch of Italian sausage and are storing it in the fridge until you get around to packaging it (Garlic infused butter can be nice. But garlic infused beer? - not so nice)
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    If you're referring to Wake 'N Bake, Terrapin grinds the beans, i.e. they are not whole, and they put them in a secondary (not primary).
    MP72 likes this.
  11. Yeah, I was really just referring to the fact that they add the coffee directly to the beer. Are you sure they grind the beans though? I could have sworn I read an interview with Spike where he mentioned throwing them in whole. This was at least a year ago though.
  12. VikeMan

    VikeMan Advocate (740) Pennsylvania Jul 12, 2009

    Someone from Terrapin (don't remember who) on "Can You Brew It?" described it as a coarse grind of a special blend from Jittery Joe's.
  13. I think you can actually buy the blend online, which I may do at some point in the future. At any rate, I've had good results adding whole beans in primary.
  14. I do a 170*F hot press...then also dump the VERY coarsely ground beans in a hop bag and place in keg...good quality coffee is a must.

    I don't want to boil the coffee, but some heat seems to be beneficial to the extraction process and negates the need to thoroughly sanitize...IMHO...YMMV

    I have done cold presses, but sanitation concerns and less acidity don't seem to be worth it for the small amount of coffee used in most of my batches.
  15. inchrisin

    inchrisin Savant (435) Indiana Sep 25, 2008


    I didn't mention to remove the grind. I fail to see how boiling coffee (after removing the grind) would hurt the value of the coffee. That said it's going to be the first thing I do when I get home.

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