The weather is changing. Then changing back. Then changing again and, well you know how it goes. What should we do? For me it sounds like time for coffee in the morning and beer in the afternoon. Oddly enough I am not a coffee drinker. When I think of coffee, generally I envision a big steaming cup of plain joe which really isn’t fair to coffee because there are tons of different coffee beverages and options out there these days. While not a coffee beverage per se, coffee beers have become a staple in the repertoire of many craft breweries across the country. Today I will focus on a few of the many different ways brewers utilize coffee in their creations. Coffee and beer go hand-in-hand.
Doubt me? There are actually many varieties of barley malt that already give off coffee like aromas and flavors from the roasting they receive during production, a natural pairing with coffee itself. Plus, there are so many different varieties of coffee out there that each one can add a subtle nuance to your beer. And we know there are tons of different ways to make coffee – Drip, French press, cold brew etc. – that can each add their own flavor profile and then you could just add the grounds themselves. The brewers can add the grounds in at the end of the boil essentially hot steeping the coffee to pull out flavor and aroma, but also astringency at the same time. The astringency factor is big in brewing because the dark barley malts we employ can also have the same effect. Astringent flavors result in a chalky and very drying sensation in the mouth and can also cause a slight choking effect, we don’t want that last one in our beer for sure and the others need to be kept in check. For this reason, brewers have adopted several different coffee preparation methods to get that coffee flavor without the astringency. Cold brew methods are a quick way to add straight coffee flavor to beer, just like drip coffee would but without astringency. Brew the coffee and dump it in essentially. Much in the same way that hops are used in a “dry hopping” fashion after fermentation, coffee can be added all the same.
Whole beans or milled coffee is added straight to the fermenter for a few days to allow them time to release their goodness. Whole beans are being used in Golden Stouts now to get the flavor but not the color. They are a treat for the eyes and taste buds. Now who else is ready to go get their caffeine and beer buzz all in one?!? Cheers!
Make sure to join us in our craft adventures each month. Landon is the owner of Farmboy Brew Shop. Email email@example.com. Cheers!