Time to Brew: Coffee Stout Edition

If you’ve noticed, it’s been a little while since I’ve talked about homebrewing on here at all.  Moving lots of stuff around makes it difficult for me to set up time to get it done, so I haven’t really done much recently.  I wanted to brew once before we moved from the condo, but it never worked out.  The time has finally arrived for me to get back down to business and produce something for the upcoming winter months.

The last time I brewed I produced probably my most challenging beer to date.  I’ve never really done a follow up on it for a good reason.  I still don’t really think it’s ready yet for the general consumption.  In case you’ve forgotten, I produced an oaked bourbon honey chipotle brown ale.  I know, it may have been somewhat ridiculous to try to get all of those flavors in there.  I’ve had to let the beer bottle age for a little while because I clearly infused the bourbon with the chipotle peppers for far too long.  There’s a really good reason why I called it Boomstick Brown though.  I think it should be ready within another week or two.  The point is that it certainly was far too hot the first few times I tried it.

Even though I’ve barely made it through any of those bottles, I wanted to get brewing another one that would take me a little while to drink.  I started brewing last year not long after my birthday in February.  Since I felt that I started a little late to tackle a stout, I decided to wait out the spring and summer to create a really good coffee stout.  I love coffee and I love stouts, so it only seemed logical to attack this style next.  Then, when I was hunting down recipes, I found that Zymurgy had an article on creating a good coffee stout.  It was the last sign I needed to tell me that it was time get the stout moving.

Since I still feel like I’m in the beginning stages of this whole brewing thing, I decided to utilize an extract recipe I found with the article on making a coffee stout in the magazine.  I like the few I’ve made from magazines thus far, so I wanted to stick with what has worked in the past.  I tried to use a base I found online for my chipotle, and I think that may have ultimately messed things up a bit.  Since I’m doing an extract recipe, I’ll be starting with some specialty grains and moving into my malt syrup for the rest of the brew.  Therefore I’ll be using 7.5 lbs of pale malt syrup and 15 oz of Munich malt syrup.  For me it’s the first time I’ve used two different malt syrups.  The specialty malts will be 5 oz of 45 L crystal malt, 5oz of 150 L crystal malt, 4 oz of roast barley, 4oz of chocolate malt, 4oz of black malt, and 4 oz of briess extra special roast.  The original recipe tells me to use Simpsons brown (coffee) malt, but my store said they don’t have it and the briess should be a good substitute.  Any thoughts or input on any of the gains or malts?

I really don’t think the hops are a huge deal; however, I have .5 oz of Magnum going in at the start of the boil, .5 Crystal going in at the 30 min mark, and 1 oz Crystal going in at the flame out. Supposedly this will give me about 20 IBUS, which I think sounds about right for my purposes.  The recipe also says to use Wyeast 1056 American Ale. The final and big issue for me is getting a good coffee flavor in there.

The article outlines two different ways to get coffee into the beer.  The first one says to take half a pound of ground coffee, put it in two muslin bags, and place it into the wort at flame out.  Allow it to steep for two minutes and then get it out of there.  I kind of like this idea.  It sounds quick and easy.  The second idea is to create what they call a coffee toddy.  This involves taking 2 oz of ground coffee and steeping it in 1.5 cups of cold water for 24 hours.  It says it makes a much smoother variation of the coffee that has less bite to it.  After 24 hours, you get the coffee grinds out of there, and you add the liquid to a secondary fermenter.  I’m not sure which option I like better, but I’m sure I’ll use one of the two.  Which do you like better?  I have another idea to work some light vanilla flavor in there as well; however, I’m not sure how I would want to do that.  I’m thinking of using whole vanilla beans in secondary, but I’ll have to wait and see.

I’m quite psyched to get this beer working this weekend, so if you have any other thoughts on what I should do, let me know now.  I’ll be heading out Friday to get the ingredients, so I haven’t given you much time to think it over.  In the end, I think I may have to use this one to honor my favorite Vigilante of all time.



  1. I look forward to reading your results. I tried to brew one last year and ended up brewing coffee instead. The recipe I found on the internet said to add the coffee after removing from the burner and leave it the entire fermentation. It was terrible and I dumped it. Good luck!

  2. Good luck with that. I am not sure about the vanilla though.

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