Prost!

So I have been brewing since the summer of 2006. Its passed being a hobby, I love the time I spend brewing. In the last few years brewing has become part of what I am.

Now on top of my love of homebrewing, I am beginning my move into the professional brewing scene with an expanding local craft brewery.

Mostly this blog will be talking about my brew days, any experiments that I work on and the process of getting into the professional world.



Monday, June 30, 2014

Coffee in beer.


Getting back to using the Blog:
So I know I planned on getting back to using this, then I stopped about 30 seconds later.
But I feel like I can put some time into writing on here.  I want to do a few different projects that I would like to write about.

So let's see how long my attention span stays on here.


Coffee Extract Test:

Left: .25oz Costa Rican Coffee, fine ground.
Right: .25oz Costa Rican Coffee, whole bean.
Both in about 2oz of 100 Proof Vodka
.
While working on an Imperial Stout, with the plans of adding coffee and cocoa, I started looking at methods of adding coffee.  I've done the cold steep, years back, and was fairly satisfied with the results(wasn't the best choice of coffee, but the process worked).
Being concerned about watering down the final beer and serving as an additional risk of contamination, I wanted to look for an alternate method.  Since I have had success with cocoa nibs in vodka, I figured I would try the coffee in vodka as well.

24 hours 
I took .25oz of Costa Rican single source coffee, through my grinder on the finest setting, making coffee dust, added that to about 2oz of 100 proof vodka.  Into a second glass, I added the same amount of whole beans in vodka.  Right off the bat, the grounds mixed right into solution, the beans just hung out on the top of the liquid.

I let the glasses sit for a few days to see the changes.

By the end of the first day, the beans had all sunk to the bottom and started to release some great aromas, fresh coffee beans(go figure), nutty and hid the alcohol pretty well.  The grounds, on the other hand, still smelled like vodka, cheap vodka at that, with just a slight hint of dark coffee.
 
48 hours, only slight color difference
When it came to tasting, the grounds stood out the most.  There was still the alcoholic burn, but with a firm bitterness from the coffee, that rounded out with the flavor of the beans.  The whole beans still came across as fresh beans and nutty, much like the aroma, but masked a lot of the alcohol.

Sampling over the next two days yielded pretty much the same results, with some evolving coffee flavor in whole beans.  The flavor was still stronger in the grounds.

I pulled a blind sample for someone, with no explanation of what he was tasting.  The flavor and aroma from the whole beans masked the alcohol, to the point that he thought that, when he sampled the grounds, he said right away, "There's alcohol in this."  I explained that both were the same solution, just one made with coffee grounds while the other is made with whole beans.

So, the conclusion?  I'm going to use both.  Probably a 70/30 or 60/40 blend by weight of beans to grounds.  I want the coffee flavor as well as the aroma, but going into a dark beer too much astringency from the coffee might make it hard to drink.