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When to add Coffee to Stout

I’m about to make a coffee stout, and I’ve heard some people say you should add ground coffee at flameout, while I’ve heard other people say wait until the beer is in secondary and add it like a dry hop.

I was just wondering which method anyone here has used, and what the possible advantages/disadvantages are.

Thanks!

I have done it two ways. Dunked a mesh bag of fresh ground coffee in at flameout and just poured in fresh brewed coffee into secondary, keg or bottling bucket. The advantage to using brewed coffee is you can add a little at a time until you are happy with the taste. Can’t comment on the “dry hop” idea.

I only made a coffee stout one time and it was reportedly the best beer I ever made. I put Kona coffee in at flameout and then I put Sumatra coffee in the secondary. SO my answer is: both.

I used freshly ground coffee, no brewing involved. It was stellar. No bag either; just dumped the ground coffee in the wort/beer.

I have coarse crushed beans and placed in a muslin bag and dropped in the keg. Then I can taste it until I like it; usually only takes a few days. Then I pull the bag out.

Another option is to cold steep some coffee and pour that in at time of kegging. This works too; but for me it is a little more guess work that using the beans as a “dry hop” method.

I used a quarter pound of good coffee (I forget which) ground coarsely at flameout. Let them steep for twenty minutes and strained the wort through a double mesh strainer into the carboy. Worked perfectly, with just the right amount of coffee aroma and flavor (at least for me).

Mmm, I think I might have a pint right now… :mrgreen:

I’ve added whole beans to the secondary and then bottled when it tasted right, usually about a week.

So that’s what, five answers and five different methods :mrgreen:

[quote=“BrewingRover”]I’ve added whole beans to the secondary and then bottled when it tasted right, usually about a week.

So that’s what, five answers and five different methods :mrgreen: [/quote]Whole beans?

[quote=“MullerBrau”][quote=“BrewingRover”]I’ve added whole beans to the secondary and then bottled when it tasted right, usually about a week.

So that’s what, five answers and five different methods :mrgreen: [/quote]Whole beans?[/quote]
Yup, not even cracked. I got the tip from a pro who’s won medals at GABF for his espresso stout.

[quote=“BrewingRover”][quote=“MullerBrau”][quote=“BrewingRover”]I’ve added whole beans to the secondary and then bottled when it tasted right, usually about a week.

So that’s what, five answers and five different methods :mrgreen: [/quote]Whole beans?[/quote]
Yup, not even cracked. I got the tip from a pro who’s won medals at GABF for his espresso stout.[/quote]

I did this too. I put the whole beans in a steeping bag in the conditioning tank then kegged it when the flavor was right. The theory is that you pull less acidity out of the coffee if you don’t crack them. I didn’t notice there being any less acidity, but it turned out pretty good! There was plenty of coffee flavor and aroma after about 32 hours.

Hmmmmm…so all of the above seems to be the correct answer. I guess it’s probably a personal preference thing. I might try adding some course ground coffee at flameout this time, and then I’ll check the flavor a few days before bottling. And if it’s too strong I’ll go another route next time. I’m making it for someone who loves coffee, so I don’t think the strength will be an issue.

Thanks for all the responses!

Another method is to do some cold brewed coffee and add it at packaging time. I like going this route since it is very easy to dial in exactly how much coffee to add since I pour a bunch of equal size samples, dose those samples with various of cold brewed coffee, decide which addition I like best and then scale that ratio up to my batch size. Pretty much the same thing can be accomplished by adding the coffee at a different point in the process but since coffee beers only happen every other year or so for me I’m never very confident in the quantity or time needed with the coffee if I was to add it at a different point.

^this. This is yet another aspect of brewing/cooking where you can geek out as much as you want. I am a card-carrying coffee geek, and I love cold-brewed coffee for a number of purposes, especially dosing beer to exactly the right profile.

My coffee porter uses my home-roasted single-origin beans cold-brewed and added to taste in the secondary. Typically I use a medium roast of something ‘classic’ like El Salvador, Brazil, or Columbia. The ‘weirder’ beans like Sumatra, Ethoipia Yirga Cheffe, or Congo can work, but those beans alone have some pretty gnarly flavors (berry, vinous, dried fruit, etc.) that may or may not work with your beer.

Loving all of the different flavors that can come out of coffee, I do think that when most people want a ‘coffee-flavored’ beer, it really means they want a ‘roasty’ or maybe a ‘nutty’ flavor. To this end, you can add a medium to dark-roasted coffee, ground or whole to various points in the process. Whichever way you go, if possible, get your beans from a place that roasts on site, and grind them right before you use. The sooner you use them after you grind, the better, as they can get stale real quick.

Think about it like any tincture or extract: You are using the alcohol and pH of the beer to act as a solvent and ‘wash’ the compounds/flavors off the beans. The more surface area, the quicker that extraction will happen. I don’t see any practical benefit to boiling the grounds/beans, other than maybe sanitization.

Interesting discussion since I was thinking of doing something with coffee on my next batch. I love coffee stouts. Founders Breakfast Stout is almost a religious experience.

A couple of questions: First, and please pardon my ignorance, can you remind me what is meant by ‘flame-out’?

Second, anyone tried adding coffee to a brandy wine or imperial stout recipe? Would you expect the higher ABV have some affect on the coffee, either good or bad?

[quote=“KenBakerMN”]Interesting discussion since I was thinking of doing something with coffee on my next batch. I love coffee stouts. Founders Breakfast Stout is almost a religious experience.

A couple of questions: First, and please pardon my ignorance, can you remind me what is meant by ‘flame-out’?

Second, anyone tried adding coffee to a brandy wine or imperial stout recipe? Would you expect the higher ABV have some affect on the coffee, either good or bad?[/quote]Flame out is the zero minute mark on the 60 minute boil. Ie when the boil is done and you shut the flame off.
Yes coffee is so good is other beer. It is easy to try with a commercial sample and some strong coffee or imagination.

I’ve added coffee to an RIS a couple of times. The coffee flavor fades over time, but it’s interesting to see how it changes.

I’m about to brew my first robust coffee porter (and first coffee beer overall), and I’m planning on buying a cold brew concentrate at Whole Foods and adding different amounts to individual bottles first, then bottle the beer as usual. I’m trying to imagine any pitfalls with this method but I can’t.

[quote=“MullerBrau”]I only made a coffee stout one time and it was reportedly the best beer I ever made. I put Kona coffee in at flameout and then I put Sumatra coffee in the secondary. SO my answer is: both.

I used freshly ground coffee, no brewing involved. It was stellar. No bag either; just dumped the ground coffee in the wort/beer.[/quote]

I pretty much followed suit, except for the secondary. I think I added about half a pound of Sumatra and Verona at flameout. No bags at all, just dumped in…along with some cocoa nibs and bittersweet dark chocolate.

And to this day, I still think this was one of my best beers.

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