Sunday, August 6, 2017

Brew Day - American Strong Ale with Coffee

Beautiful brown wort.
Founders Breakfast Stout. Bent Paddle Cold Press Black. Perennial Sump. Some of my favorite beers incorporate coffee. The latter beer on that list is most certainly my favorite of the three. Sump is a big stout that has a sweet, malty base to showcase a single origin light roast from Sump Coffee Roasters. Taking cues from Sump, I decided to build a beer that is brimming with coffee.

I'm lucky enough to have some friends in the craft beer industry and was able to get in contact with the owner/brewmaster at Perennial Artisan Ales. I sent him a draft of my recipe and asked for suggestions on how to improve it. He indicated that I had too much roasted barley (~11 wt%) in the grain bill which can compete with the coffee. Therefore, I dropped the roasted barley altogether and per his suggestion replaced it with some dehusked roasted malt (in this case, Briess Blackprinz). I took this one step further and chose to only use the Blackprinz after the mash was complete during the vorlauf step. This technique is outlined in Gordon Strong's "Brewing Better Beer." The technique is used to obtain the color and flavor of roasted malt while limiting the harsher acidic characteristics (although Blackprinz is designed to not have these in the first place).

Capping off the mash.

As for the rest of the recipe, I designed it to be strong with a smooth mouthfeel and a sweet finish. To achieve this, I intentionally built the beer on a lot of malt and mashed on the higher end of the spectrum for saccharification. The oats are there for increased body and a slick mouthfeel while the crystal malts are there to help round out the coffee with a bit of sweetness.

As for the coffee, I chose Just Coffee Las Diosas. Just Coffee is by far my favorite roaster in town. The description for the coffee sounded like it would blend beautifully with my base beer: earthy, hazelnut, cacao. Per Perennial's suggestion, I chose to add the coffee as whole beans directly to the fermenter for one day. The smell during packaging was heavenly.

Recipe Specifications:
Estimated O.G.: 1.086
Estimated F.G.: 1.028
Estimated ABV: 7.7%
Estimated IBU: 59
Estimated SRM: 71

Brewing Liquor:
100% Reverse Osmosis
1.2 g CaCl2/gal finished beer

70.2% Brewers 2-Row (Briess)
10.5% Flaked Oats (Briess)
10.5% Blackprinz (Briess) (Vorlauf only)
3.5% Caramel 40L (Briess)
3.5% Caramel 90L (Briess)
1.8% Rice Hulls (Briess) (used as a filter aide to prevent a stuck mash)

0.4 oz. / gal finished beer Nugget @ 60 min

You will not regret eating those ice cream sandwiches.

100 mL White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale in a 3 L Starter - 1 day stirred, crashed (used 2/3 of yeast cake for pitching)

0.75 hr @ 156 F

Batch Sparge:
5 mins @ 170 F

75 mins
1 tsp Irish Moss @ 10 mins
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 10 mins

Cooled to ~65 F

Wort sample.

1.5 min Pure O2

Pitched 2/3 yeast cake from 3 L White Lab WLP007 Dry English Ale Starter
Controlling temperature at ~65 F

Coffee Addition:
0.80 oz./gal. finished beer Just Coffee Las Diosas Whole Beans @ 1 day

Cat nap.

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