Ethiopian coffee, usually a medium light roast with notes of berries, flowers, wood, and chocolate, has become a favorite of mine. Here in Seattle, there are several great local roasters who offer delicious and complex varietals from the coffee producing regions of this east African country — Seattle Coffee Works’ Yirgacheffe Wote Konga, Slate’s Guji (Sidama), and my current go-to, Olympia Coffee Roasters’ Banko Natural. Sharing similar characteristics with hop varietals I enjoy, I’ve long thought that Ethiopian coffee would work wonderfully in beer.
When people think of coffee and beer, they usually assume the coffee will accompany a dark ale, such as a stout or a porter. However, stemming from our mutual admiration of Fort George Brewing’s (Astoria, OR) Java the Hop coffee IPA — far and away the best example of the style I’ve ever had — Gregory and I have had a coffee IPA in the queue for quite a while. We finally got around to writing a recipe after the crunch to brew our Willamette and Centennial Fresh Hop IPAs, only to find that the hops we chose to compliment our choice of Olympia Coffee Roasters’ Banko Natural were not available.
On the fly, we improvised a new hopping schedule that would utilize some of the next-generation hops of German descent that we have been tasting in some great new local brews. Figuring we had the recipe set, the next improvisation occurred the night before brewday when a friend offered us over 20 oz. of fresh Cascade hops. We tweaked the recipe once more and came up with our substitute coffee IPA. We’ll eventually brew our original vision, but for now you can find our recipe, process, and tasting notes for this version below:
Coffee IPA with Fresh Cascade Hops
Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 12.50
Anticipated OG: 1.063
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 60
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes
48.00% — 6.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
32.00% — 4.00 Lbs. Maris Otter Pale
08.00% — 1.00 Lbs. Wheat Malt
08.00% — 1.00 Lbs. Flaked Oats
04.00% — 0.50 Lbs. Honey Malt
5.00 oz. Cascade (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 60 min. (First Wort)
0.50 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 60 min. (First Wort)
0.20 oz. Columbus (Pellet, 16.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.10 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Hüll Melon (Pellet, 5.2% AA) @ 10 min.
6.00 oz. Cascade (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
1.00 oz. Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 5 min.
10.55 oz. Cascade (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Calypso (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Hüll Melon (Pellet, 5.2% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Hallertau Blanc (Pellet, 8.8% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Hüll Melon (Pellet, 5.2% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Calypso (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 13.8% AA) @ 5 days (Dry Hop)
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
2.00 oz. Whole and coarse-cracked Ethiopian coffee beans @ 3 days secondary
Imperial A01 — House Yeast
1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum
Single Infusion – 90 min @ 150F
09.14.16 — Made a 1L starter of A01 House Yeast
Brewed on 09.15.16 with Gregory
09.15.16 — Chilled wort to 76F and pitched the starter after 20 minute hop stand with 2 minute whirlpool
09.16.16 — Signs of moderate fermentation activity 10 hrs after pitch
09.16.16 — Vigorous fermentation 21 hrs after pitch
09.23.16 — Transferred to secondary and added all of the dry hops
09.25.16 — Added the 2 oz. of coffee beans from Olympia Roasters
09.28.16 — Kegged the entire batch and began force carbonating at 10 PSI
Tasting Notes — 10. 17.16 (poured off tap)
Well clarified yellow-orange color with a brief headstand which laces thin. Coffee aromas of chocolate covered strawberries, brandy, and cedar; underlying hop aromas of pear and mango, with unspecified floral notes. Beginning- and mid-palate are extremely well balanced: Sweet-lush brandy and wood notes from the coffee meld with floral-peppery flavors from the hops. Juicy notes of orchard pears and their stems emerge and meet hints of pineapple, citrus (lemon and bitter orange), and berries. Finishes off-dry with a lingering pepper and pine bitterness and the suggestion of booze.
Calculated OG: 1.056
Calculated FG: 1.010
Approx. ABV: 6.0%