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The Undeserving Plight of Coffee Beers

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by mambossa, Feb 9, 2019.

  1. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (138) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    If there’s anything that can fade and jeopardize a beer’s fate faster than anything, it’s coffee. That’s right. Coffee is, dare I say, even more ephemeral than hops.

    Some of the best and worst beers I’ve had were completely made or broken by this seemingly finicky ingredient.

    I sit here nonplussed and wildly confused. I’m sampling a 4pk of Madtree Porter that uses coffee from 4 different roasters in Ohio. Oh, and it has lactose in it (another temple-throbbing rant), further decreasing its shelf life. This 4pk is not even a month old, and is an immediately regrettable purchase

    How many peoples’ experiences have been ruined by one stale or poorly sourced coffee?

    How many beers that started off great have been undeservingly shit on because of their flavor falling off?

    I understand some people simply don’t like coffee flavor, but the majority that do are in a real hit-or-miss situation when it comes to purchasing coffee ales.

    The greatest coffee ales are shells of themselves before most people get to try them.

    a young man who is clearly bitter about buying an unsatisfactory $11 4pk of regionally roasted coffee porters.
    dukeandduke, MikeP64, bl00 and 5 others like this.
  2. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,706) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Hmm. An undeserving plight? I’d vote for coconut well ahead of coffee , I’ve had a number of outstanding coffee beers, I’ve yet to have a beer with coconut where I could tell the difference. It’s just on the label.
    MikeP64, Milktoast75, Chaz and 6 others like this.
  3. mambossa

    mambossa Initiate (138) Jun 30, 2015 Ohio

    Prairie Paradise is pretty loaded with it. But coffee has the downside of creating really undesirable flavors when it’s stale. And it stales noticeably quicker than one might think.
    Fox82791 and RobNewton like this.
  4. Snowcrash000

    Snowcrash000 Meyvn (1,266) Oct 4, 2017 Germany

    I recently had a 13 month-old bottle of Perennial Sump and while there wasn't that much coffee left in it, I still thought it was quite an enjoyable beer. There were certainly no off-flavors to it, it's just that the balance had shifted more towards the chocolate fudge side, with the coffee still being there as well, just not very intense.

    I'm not even that much of coffee lover, so I'm not sure if I would have actually enjoyed this more fresh. So, while the beer probably wasn't quite what it was supposed to be anymore, it was still rather enjoyable in my opinion.
    rronin, Roguer, beergoot and 3 others like this.
  5. beertunes

    beertunes Poo-Bah (5,746) Sep 24, 2007 Washington

    Fuck cofeve.
  6. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,281) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    I like decently done coffee beers that aren't overly bitter, but yes coffee fades notably within six months. Though I like coffee, IMHO some beers improve when the coffee fades thus revealing other flavors that were shaded by the coffee. On the downside, aged coffee beers can attain a green pepper taste as happened with a FBS I accidentally aged for a year.
    Fox82791, beergoot and nc41 like this.
  7. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,706) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I don’t drink a lot of coffees stouts, but I usually drink them fresher than not, I can’t see aging KBS for 6 months and gaining anything from it. There was a time I had quite a bit of BC Coffee and some were at least 2-3 years old and I thought they were still great, the coffee wasn’t sharp obviously but it was still there and it was very mellow. I have aged some KBS in the past and I still thought it was very good, but I thought it was best fresh and hot. Two coffee beers that respond a bit differently to time, they mellow a bit but there’s no doubt the coffee is still there.

    Now again to the coconut, I’ve tried several and never got a bit of coconut from it.
    cavedave and DoctorZombies like this.
  8. DoctorZombies

    DoctorZombies Poo-Bah (2,830) Feb 1, 2015 Florida
    Society Trader

    I like coconut, and agree that many offerings come up short, some with no coconut at all...while coffee notes can be hit or miss over time, I think coconut fades fast (as does orange) so I try to drink these flavored stouts as fresh as possible. There are, imo, great tasting coffee beers that retain coffee taste while aging (Peche Mortel for one) and there are coconut beers that truly smell/taste like an Almond Joy - they are out there!
  9. Glider

    Glider Aspirant (206) Nov 15, 2004 Massachusetts

    Disagree. Yes, coffee in beer falls off over time, but nothing that should ruin a beer in a month if it was packaged properly. I enjoy coffee porters and stouts, and I wouldn’t say I’ve ever had a terrible one. I’ve had plenty of coffee beers that still tasted pleasantly and strongly of coffee that were a few months old.
  10. NickTheGreat

    NickTheGreat Devotee (472) Oct 28, 2010 Iowa

    I like coffee and like beer. But I don't buy coffee beers. Just don't really like them. So my wallet (and wife) is okay with the influx of coffee beers :wink:
  11. Claude-Irishman

    Claude-Irishman Zealot (578) Jun 4, 2015 New Jersey

    Carton "Regular Coffee" is delicious and sell out locally very fast-
  12. eppCOS

    eppCOS Champion (801) Jun 27, 2015 Colorado

    Ah yes, the plight of the 17 or so coffee beers that are in my fridge at almost any moment.
    They're fine. They're delicious and if it's not your thing, OK, but "plight" is a strong word.
  13. Benish

    Benish Meyvn (1,015) Mar 13, 2013 Wisconsin

    I 100% agree with that statement until I had Makaveli from Abnormal last night. Holy cow the coconut shined through beautifully! Finally a beer I can taste the coconut.
  14. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (1,541) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    I hate coconut and can usually easily taste it in beer. I've poured out several because it was too strong. But Perrin No Rules is a beer I love. The coconut is there but very subtle. I'm guessing I taste it easier than you because of how much I hate the taste.
  15. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,484) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I really enjoy coffee beers and love coffee in general. There is nothing worse than a coffee beer that either lacks coffee or is shot. Overall I have not had too many bad experiences with coffee beers, most are delicious and the ones that are older while soft on coffee took on a fantastic flavor so still great to drink. I recall a couple times where my coffee beer was rancid tasting or so bitter it was not fun to drink, but those are the exceptions rather than the norm least for me which is a good thing. It all comes down to how well the beer is made, ingredients used etc. I hope you find some solid beers to enjoy, when done right they are amazing.
    Now off to have my coffee, cheers!! :beers::beers:
  16. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,484) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    Try "The Patsy" by Barley Forge, this is a killer beer with perfect coconut balance.
  17. jvgoor3786

    jvgoor3786 Poo-Bah (1,541) May 28, 2015 Arkansas
    Society Trader

    If I see it I'll try it, but only because you recommended it and live in Arizona. (I spent eight years in Tucson.) It's not really about balance for me though. I would prefer what @nc41 is complaining about - I just really hate the taste. I think the flavor in No Rules is masked by other, stronger flavors, so I only get a faint hint.
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  18. MostlyNorwegian

    MostlyNorwegian Zealot (524) Feb 5, 2013 Illinois

    Lactose is mostly just going to sit, because it's not a sugar the yeast being used in your porter is terribly interested in tackling. Too complex. They may nibble at it, but only very slowly. It it were a sour, or a brett beer. They'd have a party with the lactose.
    But. here's where I'm confused. Having a coffee beer that is falling off after a month, and you are proclaiming it's not even a month old? Just not buying it, because maybe you tasted it too fresh, and are confused by how it changed or evolved into what it is supposed to be.
    But. It also sounds like there is another issue happening with the beer, and it has nothing to do with the coffee being involved. But, I'm also gathering from what you wrote here something else that tells me that you aren't really that familiar with coffee infused beers as a whole, and this is just a rant.
    Carry on.
  19. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,484) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I really think this stuff is great but I also love coconut so for my taste it may be perfect and you may find it too much. If you see some try and get a single to try, it may change your take on these just because it is so well made. I have had a ton of this style and this is the best I have had regarding flavors and overall quality, just a great beer. Nice on the AZ connection, cheers!
    jvgoor3786 likes this.
  20. thedaveofbeer

    thedaveofbeer Initiate (147) Mar 25, 2016 Massachusetts

    I guess I am lucky because I like coffee and green peppers.
  21. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,854) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The breakfast of champions!?!:wink:

  22. ZebulonXZogg

    ZebulonXZogg Defender (691) May 5, 2015 Illinois

    Funny how tastes change. I used to love coffee and chocolate in my stouts, especially FBS, but as I get older all the "additives" seem to spoil the beer.
    Give me a plain old BA stout and I'm fine, and keep the fruit out of my DIPA's.
    MikeP64, Milktoast75 and TongoRad like this.
  23. MNAle

    MNAle Meyvn (1,110) Sep 6, 2011 Minnesota

    That just strikes me as funny! Like "jumbo shrimp"... :grin:
    Dtrain22, MikeP64, riegler and 2 others like this.
  24. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,283) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    I was starting to think we were buds after the trillium and sexual chocolate threads.... but this is heresy.

    I love my coffee stouts, and while coffee can fade over time, I don't think it's an issue as long as oxygen is kept to a minimum. Once the green pepper creeps in its shit. Maybe that's why so many brewers are doing Mexican chocolate stouts. "Pepper flavors? That's intentional...".
  25. GetMeAnIPA

    GetMeAnIPA Zealot (561) Mar 28, 2009 California

    Have you ever tried it on nitro? It’s magical!
    AZBeerDude72 likes this.
  26. AZBeerDude72

    AZBeerDude72 Meyvn (1,484) Jun 10, 2016 Arizona
    Society Trader

    I never saw that, that has to be awesome a nice soft/silky feel to this beer, dam now you got me craving one lol. is this a brewery only or do you know if cans go out?
  27. raynmoon

    raynmoon Crusader (784) Aug 13, 2011 Colorado

    Bring back the coffee IPA!!
  28. Harrison8

    Harrison8 Poo-Bah (3,154) Dec 6, 2015 Missouri
    Society Trader

    I've been saying it for close to a year and a half - or longer - I bump coffee beers up in my queue when acquired. They get favoritism in my fridge before anything hoppy, including double-dry hopped (known to fade fast).

    Coffee fades fast, bottom line. High ABV can help - but I consume quickly regardless.

    beergoot likes this.
  29. StoutElk_92

    StoutElk_92 Poo-Bah (2,123) Oct 30, 2015 Massachusetts

    I love coffee in beer as long as it doesn’t taste like vegetal bell peppers. It usually holds flavor for me at least for several months. I’ve had some aged coffee stouts that still tasted like good coffee after a year. I’ve also had fresh coffee beers a month old that tasted like bell peppers. I guess it just depends on how the coffee was used in the beer. When done well, coffee stouts, coffee IPAs, pale ales, lagers, Belgian styles (Allagash), I’ll take just about any beer with coffee in it, and probably drink it early too. :wink:
  30. FarmerTed

    FarmerTed Aspirant (241) May 31, 2011 Colorado

    I love coconut in general, but in beer, I either can't taste it at all (Maui Coconut Porter), or if I can, it's too much for me after a few sips (Death by Coconut). I've never had one with a strong coconut flavor that I wanted a second of.
    SFACRKnight and FatBoyGotSwagger like this.
  31. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,706) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I’d say BC Coffee is superb even at 2-3 years, I’d love to have enough stock of different beers to do an unscientific tasting. I think a lot depends on who likes what, kinda like me with coconut, I love it, so a subtle hint might elude me, if you hate coconut it’s all over that beer etc.
    bbtkd likes this.
  32. papposilenus

    papposilenus Meyvn (1,074) Jun 21, 2014 New Hampshire

    I like beer. I like coffee. I like coffee in beer OK, I guess, but I get tired of it. It seems that 90-something-percent of all stouts and porters I see on the shelves have been brewed with coffee. I'd enjoy it better if it were more of an occasional treat.

    I've never figured out how to have beer hanging around long enough for flavors to fade or get stale.
  33. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,281) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    Buy more than you drink. I'm not a heavy drinker, and usually only have one beer a night about four nights a week. Granted, most of the beers in my cellar are 10-18% ABV. But - I can't resist buying new beers to try, and keep stocking my cellar with favorites. If I ever find myself unable to spend money on beer, I have about 6-8 months worth in my cellar...
    Milktoast75 and DrinkingThe413 like this.
  34. rgordon

    rgordon Champion (892) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    Just don't buy any more of them and be done with it. I love coffee and don't buy coffee beers. I just kind of keep beer and coffee separate. They are not even in my top ten favorite styles. But that's just me.
  35. AyatollahGold

    AyatollahGold Savant (956) Nov 28, 2016 Indiana

    I love coffee porters and stouts. I have had some that weren’t enjoyable but feel it was just from a coffee I wasn’t a fan of.
    There are so many different types of coffee, just like beer. Some are more bitter and acidic, some more smooth and creamy, others just like they were freshly roasted beans. It can all have a huge factor.

    Oskar Blues Death by Coconut!?
    Funky Buddha Last Snow!?

    Are both tremendous with huge amounts of coconut. Those are how @DoctorZombies is talking about Almond joys. Curious to hear if you have had those, if not, the Death by shouldn’t be too hard to find for you.

    But even others like
    Duclaw Dirty Little Freak
    Maui Coconut Hiwa
    are some that come to mind.
    I’ve had others that show it through, but not prominently so.
  36. SammyJaxxxx

    SammyJaxxxx Poo-Bah (2,292) Feb 23, 2012 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'm still flagshipping


    tzieser, HorseheadsHophead and Glider like this.
  37. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,706) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    Never tried Death By Coconut, I’m sure I can get that st the local TW. Mounds bars are my favorite, maybe I’ll take a run today.
    Dtrain22 and AyatollahGold like this.
  38. Bitterbill

    Bitterbill Poo-Bah (6,397) Sep 14, 2002 Wyoming
    Society Trader

    I had a coffee Stout, I think it was a Terrapin, that was in my cellar and forgot aboot. Well, when I finally rediscovered it, I drank it. No coffee left but it morphed into one of the tastiest Stouts that I ever drank. I didn't miss the coffee one bit.

    Yes it was Terrapin. Coffee Oatmeal Stout. My notes:

    Jan 9, 2011:

    Terrapin Coffee Oatmeal Imperial Stout...2007. I can't believe I let this one slip by for so long.

    There's certainly nothing wrong with the sound...a nice big pop when I removed the cap, and the look...Blackest of blacks and a decent though short lived head of tan foam.

    The smell has with a big Port like aroma with a ton of caramel malt and chocolate. No coffee left at all but I reckoned that would be the case.

    Big milk chocolate, caramel, Port flavours with mucho dark fruits. Holy hell. This is superb! Not what the brewer intended, for sure, but at this stage in the game, it drinks very much like a beautifully aged Old Ale or English Barleywine Ale.

    Still close to full bodied and there's mostly lightish carbonation until the swallow when I get some very spritzy notes on my throat.

    This is the surprise of this century so far for me. I would never have guessed that a most excellent coffee Stout would evolve into something even better. I wish I had a case of them so I could share!
    AyatollahGold likes this.
  39. JayWhitson

    JayWhitson Crusader (777) Feb 25, 2015 Montana
    Society Trader

    I blame nitrogen containing pyrazines.
  40. HorseheadsHophead

    HorseheadsHophead Poo-Bah (1,641) Sep 15, 2014 New York

    Not to sound like a dick, but at least you only paid $11 for the four pack and not $20+. :wink:
    But anyway, I do disagree with your overall point. I absolutely love coffee beer--it's my number one top favorite beer flavoring--I've had few to no examples where the coffee tasted offensively bad after some time. Yes, the coffee will fade over time--which is why coffee-forward beer should be drank fairly fresh--but if your coffee beer tastes all that bad, the beer itself is probably defective.