Over the past several weeks, I’ve been making a coffee stout partial mash beer kit: Captain Cogsworth Coffee Stout. First, I reviewed the ingredients and made a plan about how to add the coffee to the beer. I then brewed the beer, guided it through fermentation, and bottled it with the coffee. Now we can taste the coffee stout and see what changes might be made next time around.
Here are the notes from my taste test of the Steam Freak’s Coffee Stout beer kit.
Tasting Notes: Steam Freak Captain Cogsworth Coffee Stout
- Aroma – Soft malt aroma, primarily roasted malt, with just a touch of caramel sweetness. Some notes of chocolate and coffee, but not too bitter or astringent. Some subtle esters from the American ale yeast, which combined with the malts come across as dark fruit. A wildly inviting aroma.
- Appearance – Dense, tan head that holds over time fairly well. Very dark brown color, nearly opaque. Some light brown highlights around the edges, just as a stout should be.
- Flavor – Primarily roasted malt and coffee flavors, supported by subtle malty sweetness. The beer is bitter without being over the top or astringent. Hop flavor is minimal. Some ester character is present. The beer tastes a little young, so it will be interesting to see how it changes over the coming weeks. (Added Note: It has now been 5 weeks since bottling, and the flavors have come together beautifully. The maltiness rolls into the roasted/coffee, then finishes with the hops.)
- Mouthfeel – Medium bodied. Slight astringency from roasted malts.
- Overall – This beer’s pretty darn good! It’s a flavorful dark beer with subtle coffee flavors, but not as heavy as something like Guinness. I look forward to sharing it with family and friends!
So would I make any changes to this partial mash recipe kit? Two things come to mind:
- This is more of a personal preference than anything else. I wouldn’t mind a little American hop character in the aroma. Maybe just dry hopping for a few days with a half-ounce or so of Cascade or Nugget hops would do the trick.
- I’d also like to explore how to get a more assertive coffee aroma. Would brewing the coffee hot make a difference? Several brewers recommend the cold-brew method, so I’m not sure whether that would be an improvement. Maybe increasing the roasted malt from 8 ounces to 12 would help. Another option would be to increase the amount of coffee added to the coffee stout, or even try aging the beer directly on the ground or whole beans.
All told, I think this coffee stout partial mash beer kit turned out great! Luckily I have these comments in my homebrewing notes, so the next time I brew a coffee stout, I’ll know exactly what to do to make it even better.
Which Steam Freak homebrew beer kit would you like to try?
• 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, homebrewer, 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.