November 11, 2021

Expert Tips for Brewing Coffee Beer

Expert Tips for Brewing Coffee Beer

Here at Northern Brewer Homebrew Supply, we love coffee almost as much as beer (well, maybe). And, we definitely love coffee beers. That’s why we were so excited to work with a local Minnesota roastery, Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, on our Blue Collar Coffee Stout beer recipe kit. You may have already seen this fun video we shot when a crew of Northern Brewer co-workers visited Bootstrap in St. Paul to learn more about the passion and process behind their coffee sourcing and roasting. Beer nerds meet coffee geeks! What could be cooler? Part of the fun of collaborating with coffee experts on coffee beer recipe ideas was getting their advice on how to best utilize coffee in the beer brewing process for optimum flavor extraction.

Never one to miss an opportunity to enjoy beer with like-minded people, our head development brewer Brad Segall shared some beer growlers of his Oatmeal Coffee Porter during our visit. He and Bootstrap owner Micah Svejda sat down to sample the beer and talk about best practices for brewing a coffee beer. They agreed that of all the methods for flavoring beer with coffee -- in the boil kettle, in the fermenter, in the keg -- the best is steeping it hot directly in the boil kettle after flame-out when the wort has cooled slightly to around 195-205°F. Watch our new video below to hear a bit more about why this temperature works so well for achieving a great coffee flavor in the beer.

Expert Tips for Brewing Coffee Beer

If this Oatmeal Coffee Porter sounds like something you would enjoy brewing at home, you’re in luck! Brad shared his personal recipe in both Oatmeal Coffee Porter Extract and Oatmeal Coffee Porter All-Grain versions. While we are huge fans of the Blue Collar Blend from Bootstrap Coffee Roasters, you could use any city roast coffee (or any roast level really) that you enjoy in the recipe.

Behind the Brew: Oatmeal Coffee Porter

This recipe comes from Brad’s quest to brew a porter with a complex caramel malt character and a smoother mouthfeel than that found in most traditional American-style porters. The result is essentially a mash-up between an American Porter and a classic Oatmeal Stout. The blend of malts provides the whole gamut of caramel malt flavors, prominent roast character, and a silky smooth mouthfeel. The Columbus hops used in the first half of the boil create a firm bitterness and add a very faint citrus character, while the Goldings hops near the end of the boil provide beguiling floral aromas with a hint of earthiness.

The porter stands alone as an amazing beer, but adding coffee takes it to a whole other dimension. Steeping coarsely ground Bootstrap Coffee Roasters Blue Collar Blend coffee in wort allowed to cool a bit is key to not over-extracting the beans which could result in a bitter coffee quality. Instead, with the hot-steep technique the coffee provides an additional layer of roast plus nutty, chocolatey notes with very little astringency or added bitterness. The beer can be a bit aggressive on the palate (in the best of ways) when super fresh, but smooths out and melds into a wonderfully pleasing coffee ale in short order in the keg or bottle.

Brew this and our other buzz-worthy coffee beers:

Read more about coffee, beers, and coffee beers:

How to Make Cold Brewed Irish Coffee: Warm up with a traditional or cold-brewed Irish coffee. Your soul with thank you.

Java for Brewers: Northern Brewer reached out to one of our favorite local, fair-trade bean bros for his take on the latest coffee beer trends.

A Buzz-worthy Partnership with Bootstrap Coffee Roasters: Our Blue Collar Coffee Stout recipe insider secrets.