Personally I don’t drink coffee. I had a brief affair with it in college but I’ve never been able to get over the acidity and bitterness. I drink a cup of tea in the morning to get going and that suits me just fine. My wife however loves coffee and was in a major coffee craze a couple months ago and so we made a coffee porter.
In planning the beer we decided two things. First we were going to use Maris Otter as our base malt and second the selection and brewing of the coffee was going to be very important to the beer. Because of this Eryn went down to the Flying Goat here in Healdsburg to talk to them about their different roasts and what would be the best match for our porter. They sent her home with a medium roast low acidity blend that we then took and cold brewed for about 24 hours. The cold brewing allows you to pull the coffee flavors but not the bitterness and it worked.
The beer is a dark brown on the pour and never develops a head even on the most vigorous of pours. Instead a small amount of bubbles hang around the surface cleaning the way for the dark beer to shine through. On the nose you get the strong smell of coffee. It pretty much over powers anything else that might be underneath. When you taste it you get big coffee flavors upfront but that bitterness that usually follows in a coffee never develops. Instead it falls into a the porter flavor and finishes with a nice roastyness from both the black malt and the roasted coffee.
A few side notes on the beer. The first time we tried it before carbonation it basically tasted like coffee. Since then the coffee flavor has really mellowed out. Another note, I added a couple drops of homemade vanilla extract to the bottom of a glass and tasted it with the beer, it mellowed the coffee even more and will definitely be an addition next time. Finally, just coming back from Hawaii Eryn’s really got a thing for Kona Coffee. It’s expensive but the flavor seems like it will probably be the absolute best for a coffee porter.
So that’s what we’ve got. For someone that really doesn’t like coffee I think the beer came out pretty good. If you’re around and interested in a pick-me-up and a beer at the same time let me know so you can come on by. Can’t make it, what’s your favorite coffee porter? How come?