Relax, Don’t Worry, Have a Homebrew

One man’s journey to create the perfect beer…

Posts Tagged ‘Brown Noser Ale’

Coffee and beer? Coffee in Beer? Much Better

Posted by ebrius on January 16, 2009

Its been a while since I’ve posted (jeez, two months). Not much has changed since then, unfortunately I’ve had to put brewing on the backburner.

One thing that has changed is that I’ve bottled my Brown Ale and I just tried a bottle the other night. Something new that I decided to try was adding coffee at bottling, the results, less then impressive. This brings me to the topic of this post, coffee in beer.

There are several different ways to add coffee to beer, the ones that come to mind are: coffee flavor extract, fresh grounds, hot brewed coffee, cold brewed coffee, and espresso brewed. Now, I’ve tried or brewed beer with all this different forms of coffee (minus straight grounds), and some turn out better then others.
First, extract: This has to be one of the worst things I’ve tried, the extract was apparent and tasted very fake. Never, NEVER use coffee flavor extract, you will regret it.
Fresh Grounds: This is the one option I have not tried. I assume the flavor is very similar to cold brewed coffee. The thing with cold brewing is you are only supposed to keep the grounds in the water for about 12 hours. This is an option if you say, add the grounds to the primary or secondary 12-24 hours before you transfer it. Its hard to say how the PH and other properties of the beer will effect the flavor of the coffee, since coffee flavor is heavy influenced by the water used. I imagine, assuming the coffee flavor comes out properly, that this would create the best blend of beer and coffee flavoring
Hot Brewed: Adds the usual coffee flavor, depending on when this is added, it can either blend well with the beer or overpower it, this is simplest and safest way to add coffee
Cold Brewed: My personal favorite, this really allows the complexity of the coffee to come through (assuming you used good coffee). Because cold brewing creates very little bitterness, this can be used with basically any type of beer without overwhelming the beer
Espresso: The final option, and a pretty good one too. I wouldn’t recommend this for anything other then stouts and porters because of the strong flavor, but if you want something that says, BAM!, there isn’t a better option the espresso.

Next, when do you add the coffee? At the boil, primary, secondary, or at bottling? This, like any other ingredient, will have its flavor greatly effected by when its added.
At the boil: Not recommended, I have never tried this, but coffee tends to get bitter the longer it is brewed, so unless you plan to ‘perk’ some coffee grounds while boiling, this is not a good options. On a related note, I would never add straight grounds to the boil anyway.
Primary: This is a good option, it allows the flavors to blend well with the coffee, you tend to get more flavor and less aroma then you do when adding it to the secondary, but the difference isn’t very noticeable
Secondary: Also a good option, like I said, I haven’t noticed much of a difference between primary and secondary, its really a personal preference
Bottling: I tried this with my Brown Ale and I wasn’t very happy with the results, the beer tastes like beer with watered down coffee. It has started to get better with age, but I really don’t recommend it, primary and secondary additions are simply a superior method.

So, in conclusion, my personal favorite option is cold brewed coffee in the primary. But using anything other then extract and adding it to the primary or secondary will generally create a good coffee flavor. Do keep in mind what type of beer you are brewing, for example, I would not recommend adding espresso to an IPA, but adding some grounds to the secondary for an IPA could create an interesting flavor. One last thing to note is do use good coffee. Beans like Blue Mountain or Kona would probably be a little overkill, but don’t use generic, Price Chopper brand, $2 a pound coffee, you will taste the difference.

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Brown moved to secondary

Posted by ebrius on November 19, 2008

I moved my Brown Ale to my secondary container over the weekend, and even though the gravity reached about what I was expecting (~ 1.015), fermentation started up soon as I put the airlock in. This beer is probably going to be a little drier then I was expecting.

I took a taste of it and it was rather unremarkable. I’ve learned not to expect much before a beer bottle conditions, but I’ve been giving it some thought and I think I might brew up a pot of coffee and add it at bottling. It should add a unique flavor that should help differentiate this beer from your standard brown. I’m still deciding whether I want to cold brew or drip brew. Cold Brew has the advantage of not being bitter and allows you get a sweeter coffee flavor, but I don’t know if I want that for this beer.

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Busy day at the Brewery

Posted by ebrius on November 10, 2008

Saturday I spent about 5 hours in my kitchen taking care of some beer. I finally got my brown ale brewed, which turned out exactly how I wanted. It has the exact color I wanted and I hit my target gravity. I actually got a little higher then was expected, but that might have been caused by a minor grain bill change at the last minute. I don’t generally sample my wort before it starts fermenting, but the aroma was very pleasant and just what I was looking for, nutty with a very faint hint of coffee.

I also got my IPA bottled, which, to be perfectly honest, tasted kinda watery. I’m going to assume that is because it is still rather green and had priming sugar mixed with it and will taste better in a week or so.

The only bad news is I tried my Christmas ale again, and it isn’t much better then it was before. Its dark, but kinda watery, there is no head, and the ginger and cloves flavor is simply too overpowering. This is definitely one that will be sitting for a while, and will probably end up in loafs of bread more then anywhere else.

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Brown or Barleywine?

Posted by ebrius on October 24, 2008

I need to figure out which one I want to brew next. On one hand, I like barleywines more the brown ales, but on the other hand, the barleywine will take at least 4 months to be drinkable, probably longer. If we say the barleywine will be ready in about 4 months, it won’t be drinkable until March/April, which, in my opinion, isn’t really the season for barleywine. I could of course just get another carboy and keep the barley wine in that for longer, and let it bottle age for a while. We’ll have to see, the brown will probably come next, and I’ll brew the barleywine some time around January or February.

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Next Up, Brown Ale

Posted by ebrius on October 15, 2008

I’m starting to run low on Pale Ales, so I am soon going to need a beer to replace it. My stout is far from drinkable on a regular basis, and I have a feeling the Christmas Ale is going to be the same way. The IPA will probably be drinkable, but I went a little overboard on the hops, and I don’t know how well it will pair with food. So, that brings me to my Brown Ale, this ale will have a rather low ABV (for my beers at least) of about 4.8 and an IBU of about 30, so it won’t be as hoppy or alcoholic as my other beers. If this one turns out good, I might start making alternating batches of this, and a revised version of my pale ale, to have for day to day drinking.

I’ve made some small revisions to recipe, mainly changed the hop bill around since I don’t know if I will be able to get a hold of Kent Goldings hops

5lb  Light Dry Malt Extract

1lb   Victory Malt
.25lb Chocolate Malt
.25lb Canadian Honey Malt
.25lb Crystal 20L
.25lb Crystal 40L
.25lb Crystal 60L
.25lb Crystal 80L

.5oz Northern Brewer @ 60
1oz  Fuggles         @ 30
.5oz Northern Brewer @ 10

Yeast:
White Labs English Ale WLP002

Expected:
OG:  1.050
FG:  1.013
IBU: 31
ABV: 4.8 %
SRM: 16

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Brewin a Brown

Posted by ebrius on October 13, 2008

I’ve created a lot of different recipes, but most of these are hoppier beers that don’t have a very strong malt backbone. I’ve decided to change things up a bit and create a recipe for a brown ale. Brown ales usually fall somewhere between pale ales and porters, but I think this one will lean a little closer to a porter.

5lb  Light Dry Malt Extract

1lb   Victory Malt
.25lb Chocolate Malt
.25lb Canadian Honey Malt
.25lb Crystal 20L
.25lb Crystal 40L
.25lb Crystal 60L
.25lb Crystal 80L

.5oz Kent Goldings @ 60
1oz  Kent Goldings @ 30
.5oz Kent Goldings @ 10

Yeast:
White Labs English Ale WLP002

Expected:
OG:  1.050
FG:  1.013
IBU: 28
ABV: 4.8 %
SRM: 16

I’m not a big brown ale kinda guy, but I figured it would be an interesting style to try out and do something a little different.

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