The process of making beer involves three main stages including brewing, fermentation, and finally bottling. Although the three stages are all important, the most critical stage is brewing. It is during brewing that the beer takes its style and flavor.
Stouts are categorized as dark ale beer. They emphasize malt over hops. A dark roasted malt tastes bitter and often takes on floral notes that make it feel like black coffee. These flavors can be intensified further by adding coffee. But how much coffee do I put in a stout? Read on to find out.
What is a Coffee Stout?
Coffee is a great match for stout. Most brewers have at least one stout brand that they add some coffee. The black malt and roasted barley in stout makes it ideal to add freshly roasted coffee. But what is a stout? The use of the term stout dates back to 1677. Back then, stout described strong beers instead of dark beers. Today, stout refers to any beer brewed with dark roasted malt or barley, which gives it an inky black color.
However, inclusion of coffee in beer is still a new phenomenon. Brewers started experimenting with beer and coffee beans in the 1990s. Since the popularity of craft beer is exploding, most brewers have introduced coffee into their lineup of beer with the hope of capitalizing on the coffee flavor.
Today, coffee is a mainstay in stronger and darker beers. After the introduction of coffee stout in the beverages market became a success, this morning brew is now offered in lighter options such as wheat beer, saison, and pale ale among others.
How to Add Coffee When Making Stout Beer
Before you get to know the amount of coffee to put in a stout, it will help to understand how coffee is added when making stout beer. There are many variations of stouts and numerous way for adding coffee to stout.
The most commonly used methods are either adding coffee at various stages of brewing or adding brewed coffee to the finished beer during canning. Each method offers unique flavor and aroma to your craft stout beer.
If you choose to add coffee during the brewing stages, you can add it before the boil, after the boil, or during fermentation. It is not advisable to add coffee during the boil since boiled coffee tastes bad as its aroma and flavor degrades while cooked longer than necessary. That is why it is added before or after the boil. Also, if you introduce coffee in the early stages of brewing beer, coffee oils will volatize, thereby helping with head retention.
When adding coffee during fermentation, you are adding it to the cold stage of the brewing process. Brewers add coffee either as while beans or ground coffee. They are added inside a mesh sack and steeped in the beer.
If you add coffee during the bottling or canning process, you will get the strongest coffee aroma and flavor in your beer. However, the strong coffee taste can overwhelm the plate quite quickly. In this case, you add brewed coffee. Cold brew coffee gives better results than hot coffee. Adding hot coffee at this stage may introduce bitter flavors that can harshen the bitter taste of beer. Cold brew coffee produces consistent and mellow flavors.
How Much Coffee Do I Put In a Stout?
When adding coffee to a stout, you will add four 8-ounce cups of brewed coffee or 1.5 ounces of ground coffee to 5 gallons (19 liters) of beer. Start with this amount and feel free to add more later on depending on your taste preferences.
How Much Caffeine Does a Coffee Stout Contain?
The caffeine content in coffee stouts is a major concern, especially for individuals who are sensitive to caffeine. You may wonder whether taking too many stouts make keep you awake all night. It is unlikely for stouts to make you lose sleep.
On average, an 8-ounce cup of coffee contains about 163mg caffeine. The caffeine content varies from between 64 to 273 mg of caffeine per cup based on the brewing method used. In comparison, a 12 fl oz. cup of coffee stout beer contains about 50mg caffeine.
Depending on the strength of the roast used, you may need about 5 stout beers to get an equal dose of caffeine as you would get from one cup of coffee, assuming that the stout has 50mg caffeine. Thus, you can drink stouts without the risk of consuming excessive caffeine.