Last night I bottled the Steam Freak Captain Cogsworth Coffee Stout. This brew requires a somewhat unusual bottling process, so I’ll walk you through it. The objective: add the coffee and the priming sugar at the same time.
Luckily, both can be done without a major modification to the bottling process. Basically, instead of mixing the priming sugar with water, the instructions that came with this coffee stout beer kit call for mixing the priming sugar with coffee. I like to do things differently, so instead of making a regular cup of coffee, I decided to make cold brew.
Cold brewed coffee is simply ground coffee steeped in cold water. The idea is that this avoids extracting harsh, burnt flavors from the coffee. The only catch is that it takes longer to brew than traditional coffee brewing methods, about 24 hours instead of a few minutes. Here’s how I went about adding cold brewed coffee to my coffee stout:
- About 24 hours before bottling, pre-boil the steeping water. For the sake of sanitation and to remove any chlorine in the water, I boiled my steeping water for about 20 minutes. I placed the lid of a mason jar in the boiling water for several minutes to sanitize it.
- Pour the boiled water into a quart-size mason jar. I poured the water into the jar when it was still very hot, so this should have sanitized the jar.
- Cool the water in the refrigerator. I set the jar in the fridge for a few hours while I did some work around the house.
- Mix the ground coffee into the water. I poured off about half of the water and added the coffee to the jar. I sealed it up and mixed the coffee around a bit.
- The next day, get ready to bottle. One of the first things I do when bottling a beer kit is move the fermenter into position. This gives sediment a chance to settle while I clean and sanitized bottles, caps, the auto-siphon, tubing, and the bottle filler.
- Mix coffee and priming sugar. First, I used a priming sugar calculator to find out how much priming sugar to use. Then I strained out the coffee using a sanitized French press. I poured the coffee into a small pot and mixed in the priming sugar, heating the mixture to just short of boiling.
- Transfer beer into bottling bucket and mix in priming sugar/coffee mixture. I gave the coffee/sugar mixture a moment to cool, then got ready to transfer. I started transferring the beer and poured in the coffee/sugar mixture once there was about an inch of beer in the bottling bucket. The swirling motion of the beer as it filled the bottling bucket was enough to mix things together.
- Bottle. Fill bottles and cap as usual!
Ideally, using the cold-brewing coffee method will bring a smooth, aromatic coffee character to beer, without adding much bitter astringency. Stay tuned to see how it this coffee stout beer kit turns out!
• Part I – Brewing a Coffee Stout
• Part II – Brew Day, Partial Mash
• Part III – Adding Coffee, Priming
• Part IV – Final Tasting Notes
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.