Friday, December 30, 2011

its the breakfast beer

That’s right, at long last we have a home brew post, it has been far too long and given that the last batch ended up getting tossed I am going to make sure that this is a good one. To that end I am returning to one of my most popular brews as well as a good call for these dark rainy months we have here in the northwest (also known as all the time)

The brew in question is my Oatmeal Coffee stout, a brew which when done correctly has a rich dark malt flavor balanced with a chocolate finish, the coffee in this balances with the rich malty flavor nicely and the addition of rolled oats to the mash adds a healthy white head and smooth texture that cannot be achieved any other way.
This particular brew requires a bit of prep before brew day its self, namely the coffee. A lot of people will just brew a pot or two of coffee and add it to the fermenter or the boil, others us espresso in much the same way, and I even found one slightly crazy individual who used instant coffee. The problem with most of the common ways to brew coffee is that the heat causes the release of oils from the coffee which contributes to the bitter flavors most people associate with coffee more than anything else. These oils also damage head retention and could otherwise contribute to off characteristics in the brew. There is however an easy solution; Cold brew the coffee.

To cold brew coffee all you have to do is put coffee grounds into cold water and then ignore the whole mess for about twelve hours. When it’s finished brewing all that is left to do is strain out the coffee and transfer the product to a new container. This produces a very strong yet not bitter or oily brew that is really some of the best coffee you could have (if you are a coffee fan), most consider it a coffee concentrate. I’ve experimented with this process and found that even budget brand coffees produce much better results when brewed in this way, and in the summer this is how I prefer to make my coffee.

And so onto getting ready to brew beer in a couple of days, I have my recipe which I will get into towards the end of this post, I have the equipment, I just need my half gallon of coffee (did I mention this calls for a lot of coffee?). I start with two cups of course ground coffee (the courser grind produces less coffee flour while providing more surface area for the water to work with the coffee). The coffee goes into a half gallon bottle with cold water and into the fridge, and that is pretty much that. Most people say about 12 hours is enough to get what you need from the coffee is all you need but longer does not hurt anything and I am actually going to let this go till brew day, which will be a couple days away in this case. I am also going to do two batches, because I want a full 64oz and the coffee does soak up a lot of water.

The important thing to remember about using coffee in beer is that heat will turn the best coffee you can imagine into a bitter sludge in a hurry, that is to say it burns easily. I’ve had conversations with other brewers who use drip coffee or simply add the beans or grounds to the mash, they say its fine, I disagree but in the end that’s one of the fun parts of this hobby, no one does it quite the same way.

This is what the rest of the recipe looks like
§  4# Dark Malt Extract
§  3# Light Malt Extract
§  5 oz Dark Malt Extract (for priming)
§  1# steel cut rolled oats
§  1# Crystal Malt 90L (Whole Grain, Crushed)
§  1/8# Roasted Barley (Whole Grain, Crushed)
§  1/8# Black Patent Malt (Whole Grain, Crushed)
§  1/4# Chocolate Malt (Whole Grain, Crushed)
§  2 oz Northern Brewer Hops
§  .5 oz Willamette Hops
§  64oz Cold brewed coffee concentrate
§  Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale yeast

I will have the procedure up on brew day along with pictures and the starting gravity

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