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%


Spruce Springsteen — Spruce Tip Session Ale

Spruce TipsFor this beer I again enlisted the help of Eric The Barter (who may also be referred to as Eric The Forager) to scare up some fresh Pacific Northwest spruce tips.  Not only did he come through for this beer, but Eric found enough spruce for Gregory and I to brew a second spruce tip beer in the near future (we intend to make the second one without any hops).

For this beer though, I decided on a light pale ale frame with some flaked oats for body and some crystal 120 for color adjustment.  I decided to focus on Simcoe hops late in the boil and as a dry-hop for their notes of pine, citrus, and earth, which satisfyingly compliments the spruce.

According to Brewtoad I should have hit a target original gravity of 1.053 for a beer of about 5.0% ABV; however, I only hit 1.034 and finished with a beer of about 4.1% ABV.  This isn’t the first time I’ve missed my gravity using Brewtoad’s estimates for recipes with flaked grains; I think they might anticipate more fermentables from these types of grains than what is actually produced because I usually hit or overshoot my gravities otherwise.  That being the case, I now have a delicious session ale with spruce tips!

Spruce Springsteen — Spruce Tip Session Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.50
Anticipated OG: 1.053
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 32.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


80% – 8.50 Lbs. American 2-Row Pale Ale
09% – 1.00 Lb. White Wheat
04% – 0.50 Lbs. Flaked Oats
04% – 0.50 Lbs. Crystal 120L


0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 90 min (first wort).
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 20 min.
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop).


1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
6.00 oz. Spruce Tips @ 15 min.
2.00 oz. Spruce Tips @ 5 days (dry hop).


White Labs WLP051 – California V Ale Yeast

Water Profile

0.20 tsp Calcium Chloride
0.30 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 153F


04.21.15 — Late starter made night before brewday without sufficient time to culture up

Brewed on 04.22.15

04.22.15 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the California V Ale Yeast

04.25.15 — Signs of moderate fermentation activity

05.03.15 — Transferred to secondary and added dry-hops and 2.00 oz. spruce tips

05.08.15 — Kegged the beer and began force carbonating

Lavender Spruce SpringsteenTasting Notes

This beer turned out great; light and crisp with body enough to seem a bit stronger ABV-wise.  The earthy, fruity spruce melds perfectly with the delicious Simcoe hops.  I’d make this one again.

Calculated OG: 1.034
Calculated FG: 1.003
Approx. ABV: 4.1%