Coffee IPA with Fresh Cascade Hops

coffee-ipa-fresh-hopEthiopian 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

Recipe Specifics

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

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

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%


The Return of the Rain — 100% Homegrown Fresh Hop Ale

Hops 2015 02

Return of the Rain 03Thus far, it has been the most productive year for my homegrown Centennial and Willamette hops.  The bines grew up to the second floor window and then I trained them to move outwards horizontally, yielding 2.77 pounds total.  I was able to make my first 100% fresh hop ale using all of these hops in a single brew.  Since I brewed it during the week that saw the most precipitation in Seattle since April, I decided to call it The Return of The Rain Fresh Hop Ale.

Fresh Hops Second 03If this recipe had been brewed with regular hop pellets or whole leaf hops, it would have resulted in an extremely bitter (probably unpleasantly so) IPA.  I contemplated using prepared hops for my bittering addition as some brewers do to save the fresh hops for the latter flavor and aroma additions, but I had enough space in my kettle (and enough hops in general) to double up my usual bittering amount — so I opted to use all fresh hops.  The resulting beer is hop forward with a restrained bitterness and a decidedly dry finish.

Hops 2015 01When the beer was young it had a very interesting and not unpleasant umami-like note reminiscent of roasted peanuts; after conditioning in the keg for three weeks this “green” note transitioned into the more immediately recognizable herbal/spicy characteristics associated with Willamette hops.  This beer also displays incredible clarity akin to that of a lager (I couldn’t quite capture this in the photo above due to the condensation on the glass).  Though I like this beer, I’ll probably use packaged hops for the bittering and dry-hop additions in my next fresh hop ale.  See the recipe and tasting notes below:

The Return of the Rain Fresh Hop Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 9.80
Anticipated OG: 1.054
Anticipated SRM: 3.0
Anticipated IBU: N/A
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


61.22% — 6.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
15.31% — 1.50 Lbs. Golden Promise
10.20% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
10.20% — 1.00 Lbs. Rye Malt
03.06% — 0.30 Lbs. Acidulated Malt


2.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 45 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 30 min.
3.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 15 min.
6.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 10 min.
9.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
4.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 min.
7.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
4.00 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 0 min.
4.00 oz. Centennial (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 days (dry-hop).
3.40 oz. Willamette (Fresh, N/A AA) @ 5 days (dry-hop).


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.


Whitelabs WLP051 – California V Ale Yeast

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 100 min @ 152F


08.29.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Whitelabs WLP051 vial.  Brewtoad suggests 187 billion cells to ferment 5.0 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 08.31.15

08.31.15 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the California V Ale yeast

09.02.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

09.07.15 — Transferred into secondary after 7 day primary fermentation, added the dry-hop additions which were also fresh hops kept cold and covered in the refrigerator since picking them on the morning of 08.31.15

09.12.15 — Kegged the beer and began force carbonating

Return of the Rain 04Tasting Notes — 10. 20.15 (poured off tap)

As stated, this beer is crystal clear now that it has had time to condition in the keg.  Big herbal/spicy notes on the nose reminiscent of forest, earth and flowers with just a hint of that earthy peanut-like aroma.  The palate follows the nose but the Centennials offer some hints of citrusy lemon pith and a firm but round bitterness akin to, but not exactly like, chewing on pine needles and Nasturtium flower petals.  There are also some grassy notes on the back end.   Quick, refreshing finish that ends dry.

Calculated OG: 1.044
Calculated FG: 1.007
Approx. ABV: 4.8%