If the world were a perfect place you could drink beer anywhere, at anytime. While it might still be a faux pas to drink during a funeral service or couples therapy, it surely wouldn’t be an immediate indicator of alcoholism. Drinking for breakfast, however, would be perfectly acceptable, even celebrated, encouraged, but most of all, delicious. Why? the simple, yet ingenious paring of coffee and beer.
Now I’m not one to drink before noon–unless I’ve yet to go to bed–but a coffee beer is an excellent way to kick off the morning. There have been many a great coffee beer passed down my gullet: Bell’s Java Stout, Surly Coffee Bender, and Lagunitas Cappuccino Stout come to mind. Soon, I’ll have one more to add to the list: the Peace Coffee Stout/Porter Kit from Northern Brewer.
A few months back, I stumbled upon this magical beast of a brew kit, and had to buy it. Okay, my mom was with me, and bought it for me as an impromptu gift, but why fuss over the details. Anyway, I brought the delectable kit home, over-brimming with excitement. Northern Brewer describes the kit as follows:
Peace Coffee Stout Porter Extract Kit
O.G: 1046 / Ready: 4 weeks
Peace Coffee and Northern Brewer have teamed up to bring you an amazingly simple yet complex stout porter. Peace coffee works with local cooperatives to bring in 100% fair trade coffee from the farmers that grow it and delivers the coffee, through all seasons, by bicycle messenger. We love Peace Coffee for all these things, but just as importantly the coffee is freaking amazing! The stout porter has notes of black currants, black cherries, and cocoa with mouthfilling bready malt flavors. The specially formulated coffee blend was created to lend a rich, muscular coffee backbone and provides a fruity and spicy nose. Usually 1 + 1 = 2, but in this case 1 + 1 = 1000x times more awesomer than 2.
- 0.5 lbs. Simpson’s Dark Crystal
- 0.5 lbs. Chocolate Malt
- 0.5 lbs. Black Malt
- 6 lbs. Gold Malt Syrup
- 1 oz. Kent Goldings (60 min)
- 4 oz. Peace Coffee Stout Porter Blend (grind coarsely and add to secondary)
If you choose dry yeast
- Not recommended.
If you choose liquid yeast
- Wyeast #1768 English Special Bitter. Optimum temperature: 65-80° F.
A couple weeks back, I actually got to brew this fabulous beer, I took the following notes in my beer lab notebook:
Goal: To use the Northern Brewer kit to create an accurate representation of the coffee stout/porter style of beer.
- Malt: 0.5# Simpson’s Dark Crystal, 0.5# Chocolate, 0.5# Black, 6# Gold Malt Syrup
- Hops: 1 oz. E. Kent Golding (5.4%)
- Yeast: Wyeast #1099 Whitebread
- Special: 4 oz. Peace Coffee
- O.G.: 1.046
- F.G.: ?
- ABV: ?
- Bitterness: ?
- Color: ?
While brewing, I accidentally activated my whitebread yeast packed instead of the ESB suggested by Northern Brewer. I guess that is the danger of having too many yeast packets in my fridge at one time. I bought a rolling pin a couple months back to make a pie crust, but also to crush the grains. I noted the following about crushing grain superiority, “Malt Grinder > Rolling Pin >> Coffee Mug.”
My hydrometer reading gave an Original Gravity of 1.032, quite a bit short of the mark. I used less than three gallons of water for the boil, which leads me to believe that the specialty grains may not have steeped as well as expected. I may be possible that the water became saturated at a low level of total starch/sugar, and that a longer than normal steeping period was necessary to extract the expected moles of starch/sugar. I don’t know if steep rates are dependent on the saturation of of the liquid… If any organic chemists out there know, spread the word.
Not long after, unless you consider 68 days long after, I racked the beer into the secondary. On 5/22/09, I recording a corrected Specific Gravity of 1.014. I racked the beer, added the coffee, tasted a sample, and recorded the following observations in my notebook:
Racking: Today the beer was transferred from the primary carboy to the secondary. The beer appeasr a dark black with brown particulate throughout, and a small amount on the surface. The coffee was coarsely ground and added the carboy [sic] before racking.
I tasted the beer after racking and already the flavor of coffee was detectable. The beer had malty undertones and was slightly acidic but I believe that was due to the coffee grounds in my mouth.
It has been almost exactly two weeks since I racked to secondary. This weekend should be an excellent time to transfer the beer to the keg and carbonate the sucka. I will probably naturaly carbonate this batch, as my Carbon dioxide regulators are a little wonky from a fall–I think it’s time to invest in a ragulator cage. I read quite a while ago that priming sugar is not a linear function of the volume of the beer vessel. Basically this means that the amount of sugar necessary to adequately carbonate a 12 oz bottle is not porportionate to the amount necessary for a 5 gallon keg. I’m going to scour the Northern Brewer forums (an awesome resource and meeting place for homebrewers, by the way) for a more reliable source than my memory. Poorly structured research shows that about half the priming sugar is adequate for a 5 gallon corny keg.
Updates, when I keg…