Monday, November 26, 2012

Black Butte Coffee, Robust Porter

Deschutes Black Butte is a classic example of an American Porter.  It is also (in my opinion) a great platform for adding Coffee to the recipe.  Over the last couple of weeks I've been debating on how to do this effectively.  Most craft beer brewed with coffee misses the mark.  It either has a fake aroma, or its "to in your face" for it to be enjoyable.  One of the exceptions is Coronado Brewing Company, Blue Bridge Coffee Stout. This beer is new to their line-up (I know it is a Stout, not a porter.) and brewed with 10 pounds of coffee added to each 10 barrels of beer.  I wanted to recreate the same full flavored coffee in a classic porter recipe. 

Coffee's tannins could easily overpower the simplistic taste of this recipe if I add the coffee into the boil.  Boiling the coffee for an extended amount of time increases the chances for harsh, bittering flavors.  Cold pressing the coffee into the completed fermentation is the most recognized way of adding the coffee for most homebrewers.  This process also gives you the control needed for measuring out the right amount of coffee for your particular taste.  But for this test, I wanted to try something new.

I wanted to add the fresh ground coffee into the mash.  The concept of this is two fold.  1st this will get the coffee flavors into the fermentation without adding the beans/grounds into the boil directly.  This will also allow for some yeast scrubbing during primary fermentation.  I really wanted the coffee flavor to be present, but not dominating.  If I did, I would just drink coffee and not make a beer out of it.  2nd, adding coffee into the mash is something that I've never tried before.  Similar to adding hops into the mash, while a lot of people say that hops do not carry over into the beer.  I firmly disagree.  (That's for another post)

One major concern to this coffee addition is removing the ground coffee after the mash.  I've spilled ground coffee before, its a mess and don't want it going into my boil.  

Layering effects from the coffee grounds

The plan was to add the coffee after the mash was started.  Doing my best to NOT disturb the grain bed.  Once the sac rest was complete I would scoop out the spent coffee grains and batch sparge as necessary/normal.  This, in theory, would keep the coffee grounds out of the boil and minimizing the potential harshness coffee can bring to the beer.

While mashing, the beer smelled amazing.  The aromatics of roasted chocolate and coffee sent my neighbors outside asking about this beer.  Giving the mash a taste, I got a very sweet, clean coffee flavor, with no coffee roast.  After the mash was complete I did my 1st batch sparge, towards the end I stopped the hot water and scooped the coffee grounds out of the mash tun.  Then I continued the batch sparging as normal.

This beer was split into 2, three gallon better bottles.  I wanted to have 2 carboys for this beer, as I have this primal urge to drop a healthy pitch of Brett into one of them.  I also set aside a one gallon beer for souring.  Even though that last part is still up in the air....Only time will tell if this works.

Black Butte Coffee
Robust Porter
Type: All Grain Date: 11/23/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 2, 3.00 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 7.38 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Lewys Tower B3-500
End of Boil Volume 6.76 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal Est Mash Efficiency 81.2 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): TBA
Taste Notes: Please see my "Tasting Notes" for this recipe
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4.80 oz Coffee, Don Fransisco (Mash 60.0 mins) Flavor 1 -
9 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 73.4 %
1 lbs 6.2 oz Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 3 10.7 %
9.6 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.6 %
6.7 oz Carafoam (2.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.2 %
6.7 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6 3.2 %
6.7 oz Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 7 3.2 %
3.2 oz Carafa III (525.0 SRM) Grain 8 1.5 %
0.60 oz Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 90.0 min Hop 9 25.9 IBUs
0.25 oz Cascade [5.75 %] - Boil 30.0 min Hop 10 3.2 IBUs
0.25 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 5.0 min Hop 11 0.8 IBUs
1.0 pkg California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) [35.49 ml] Yeast 12 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.058 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.057 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.015 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.9 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.5 %
Bitterness: 29.9 IBUs Calories: 191.7 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 29.8 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Temperature Mash, 1 Step, Full Body Total Grain Weight: 12 lbs 15.2 oz
Sparge Water: 4.88 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time

Saccharification Add 16.19 qt of water at 156.3 F 156.0 F 40 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F 10 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 4.88 gal water at 168.0 F
Mash Notes: The coffee was added to the top of the mash, then removed before sparging. 
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.4
Pressure/Weight: 11.69 PSI Carbonation Used: Keg with 11.69 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 41.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F
Fermentation Notes
Primary:  The yeast was pitched at 63 degrees.  This batch was split into 2, 3 gallon carboys. 

Created with BeerSmith

Update: (12-2-12)

I took out the wine thief and grabbed a sample over the weekend.  The gravity is still at 1.020 but the taste is great.  The coffee is such a backround flavor.  



  1. How did the coffee turn out in this beer? Was the flavor and aroma enough with just the mash addition?

    I just did the cold brewed secondary addition method and was underwhelmed. Looking for something better.

    1. Personally I was very satisfied with the levels of coffee. I entered it in the America's Finest Homebrew comp in San Diego. It received a 31/50. But I placed it in the Robust Porter category. It should of gone in the specialty category. All the judge sheets stated "Out of style"

      Here are my "Tasting Notes"

  2. Do you think that using a course grind would keep the beans in the mash during a fly sparge. I have the ability to grind my own beans.

    1. Yes, a course grind would be the best. I still would add it on topmof the mash and remove it before sparging.

  3. Thanks a lot for the input! I am pretty sure this is the way ahead for me and my Coffee Stout

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks a lot for the input! I am pretty sure this is the way ahead for me and my Coffee Stout

  6. Thanks a lot and I strongly hope this is the way ahead for me and my Coffee Stout

  7. How did the coffee turn out in this beer?

  8. Do you think that using a course grind would keep the beans in the mash during a fly sparge. I have the ability to grind my own beans.

  9. Thanks a lot and I strongly hope this is the way ahead for me and my Coffee Stout

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