Today we tackle questions that our listeners have submitted. We’re joined by Scotty who reads some questions from our guests, and we also answer a couple voicemail questions that listeners have submitted. Got a topic you’d like us to discuss? Submit your questions via phone at 888.620.2739 ext 6, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also find us on most social networks under the handle @DripsDraughts (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram).
Highlights & Takeaways
Shelf life for cold brew
Why offer and serve both nitro and flat cold brew
Effects of storing cold brew at ambient temperatures and chilling at the time of serving
Episode 38 Transcript
Brendan Hanson: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to the Drips & Draughts podcast. As always, I’m Brendan Hanson. Today, I am joined by my brother Cary and my brother from another mother, Scott. Scott’s in town, welcome.
Scott: Hey, thanks friend. I appreciate it.
Brendan: Can we call you Scott on this, or should we call you-
Scott: Scotty [laughs]
Brendan: Scotty. Okay. We had a Rick on the show once who didn’t like to be called Ricky.
Brendan: So, Scott’s in town. He actually brought us a beer. We were going to have a Firestone Velvet Merkin today but —
Cary: Oh, I forgot we had that.
Brendan: -lunch got a little long, had a couple of beers at lunch and Scott brought us a good beer. We’re having a– what is that? What do you got over there Scott?
Scott: It’s a –I’m reading the label right here, fresh flavorful local avocado honey ale from Carpinteria in California actually.
Brendan: Island Brewing Company.
Brendan: We had one other beers on the show–
Cary: We did. I can’t remember what it was, but I know we did.
Brendan: Kelley delivers beers randomly, so she drops beer on us. “Hey guys, do you want to have this?”
Cary: She needs to do it more often actually.
Brendan: Yes. Shout out to Kelley.
Brendan: Anyway, today we’re just going to be going through a couple of questions that we commonly get. Really, this is just kind of a thank you up to all the supporters out there. We’ve had a lot of support. We started this back in April and really didn’t expect to do much more than answer questions on a few episodes and let the podcast fizzle out. But we’ve had a lot of people excited about what we’re doing.
A lot of people want to come up on the show and just talk about either coffee or beer, cold brew or tea. It’s been a lot of fun. We’ve learned a lot. We’ve met a lot of great people through the process. Today, we’re going to answer some common questions that we get. Scott is going to be our question-reader guy. Scott, would you mind starting with question number one there?
Scott: You got it. So, guys, what is the consensus on the average shelf life for bottled and sealed cold brew before opening?
Cary: That’s a good question. I don’t even think there’s a consensus yet really. We’ve had a lot of people throw out a couple of different numbers, but I wouldn’t say there is a definitive consensus there yet, right?
Brendan: Keep hearing one to three weeks. The fact that let’s say it’s considered a non-acidic beverage, people are saying that it’s got a limited shelf life. But then so much goes back to the process, how it’s been made. Actually, let me grab it.
Cary: We are bottle-checking. This bottle was brewed May 21st 2016. That’s seven months to the day today.
Brendan: Yes, seven months old. So, if we had a bad process this thing would be a science experiment. It’d be full of mold, it’d be nasty.
Cary: You’d have marshmallow floating in there.
Brendan: It still looks like coffee, I think I could hand to scott and he would probably drink it.
Brendan: Maybe. If you didn’t see this little date label that we had on there.
Cary: [laughs] Right. But that thing still looks so clean. It’s interesting because you see some cold brew coffee on shelf and I’ve seen day stamps, and I’ll say drink by little bit a couple of months out. This company is doing stuff further out, I don’t know if they are heat pasteurizing or something, which can ultimately end up changing flavors on you. Or maybe not. Looking at this, it’s still perfectly clean. Taste, probably a little off but–
Brendan: Yes, I’m sure it’s losing some flavor.
Cary: But I think a lot of the new and smaller companies that are starting to bottle or can are erring on the side of caution and just saying, “Okay, I’m putting a one or three-week max date stamp on it.” Just health safety.
Brendan: This question goes on to ask, “If it’s three weeks, why is that specifically? Is it because of health or safety concerns?” I think that is a big reason because once you get beyond that two-week mark you can start growing stuff in there if it wasn’t produced in a clean environment.
So, that’s the limit there, and if you’re looking to go into like three-month or six-month shelf life, you can start looking into heat pasteurization or high-pressure pasteurization which one of our clients has done. A couple of our clients will do either the heat or the high pressure. But both of those you’re obviously adding in extra cost in making the beverages.
Brendan: Scott, do you want to continue this question? This is a lot longer than I thought.
Scott: Yes. Why do some companies such as Chameleon have a shelf life of greater than six months? And why others have a shelf life of one month, when both have the same ingredients – coffee and water, and don’t use any type of pasteurization?
Brendan: Oh, they don’t? I wonder if they really don’t use any pasteurization.
Cary: Yes, that’s interesting. I’ve never actually read or if they even say that on their label. Like, “Non-pasteurized.”
Brendan: In talking with some of our clients, we’ve got clients across the United States, everybody is going through different processes. Everybody has different requirements based on where they’re located and where they’re operating. Maybe some states are giving out a six-month shelf life with certain requirements. If it’s brewed cold or if it’s filtered.
Cary: Right. Might even be along the same lines of NSF approved. We saw a lot of NSF approved commercial grade refrigerator kegerators here. We get companies in rural areas in the middle of the United States or non-LA type areas were their health inspectors might not be as strict, and they don’t go for those fridges because they cost nearly two or three times as much. They can get away with a little at-home fridge and no one’s going to bat an eye at them.
Brendan: Like, “I’m just going to use a Whirlpool.”
Cary: Exactly, yes.
Brendan: Shout out to Whirlpool.
Cary: That’s interesting. I’d like to actually find out if that’s true. Like Chameleon is not pasteurizing. If they have six-month shelf life.
Brendan: Or, they could run it through a heat pasteurization process on the way to the bottle or very easily — I think Chameleon comes in plastic bottles. If they do, then very good chance that they’re doing high-pressure pasteurization. Because that’s not changing flavor at all. It’s basically just applying pressure to the product. Very, very interesting.
Cary: Yes. I think there’s got to be a lot more development with that come 2017 with all these companies starting to can and bottle, and people researching it more, and the health department cracking down on cold brew a little bit more. It’ll be interesting to see how that all plays out.
Brendan: Yes, absolutely. Alright, should we give Scott a break and take a voice mail question?
Brendan: Our first voice mail question. This is a kind of nervous. Here we go.
Ryan: Hey, my name is Ryan from Biloxi, Mississippi. I am launching the course first Pop out coffee cart. I have some questions about some cold brew and the ratios. I have a ton of questions actually but I’ll ask one. I’m looking to brew five gallon batches right now. What is the coffee to water ratio for concentration? I saw multiple things online, but just want to get you guys’ opinion about the coffee to water ratio to make a five gallon corny keg. Thanks again for the podcast. It is absolutely incredible. Great, great information. Thanks, guys.
Brendan: We’re probably going to give you tons of different answers as well, just like all the answers you’re finding online.
Cary: Or not a very good answer. Because this is one of those questions that I feel like everybody twitches their own. They have a different roast coffee, different grind, different flavors, they like different intensity. So I feel like everyone is just-
Brendan: All over the board.
Cary: -doing different things. We’ve talked to people that are doing a concentrate ratio, in our opinion, and say that’s how they’re serving as a straight drinking coffee, and we’re like, “Wow, that is a strong coffee.”
Brendan: Yes, it’s going to keep you up for six days straight.
Cary: Right. [laughs]
Brendan Hanson: Maybe seven.
Cary: What’s our general? When we do our ten-gallon batch, we’re usually around six, seven pounds of course ground coffee, and 11 gallons of water for a straight drinking.
Brendan: Right, and that yields us two kegs of ready to drink coffee.
Cary: When we do our concentrates, we’re usually around 12 pounds of coffee and 11 gallons, 11 and a half.
Brendan: 11 to 12.
Cary: – because we’re at the brim on our 15 gallons system there.
Brendan Hanson: Depends on how much we can fit in and how much water we have on hand.
Cary: Right. And with the ground absorption, we usually still grab about 10 gallons of a double concentrate. We’d have to dilute that by about 50% whenever — one-to-one, whenever we’re serving that.
Brendan: Yes. So there’s really no golden rule for making a concentrate. There’s so many variables. The water that you’re using could pull more or less flavor out of the coffee. And then the coffee that you’re using obviously is going to be stronger or more bold or bright, or just depending on the roast and the bean. But just fora concentrate, I usually say start at about a gallon to a pound. Gallon of coffee or gallon of water to a pound of coffee.
Cary: Let it sit for about 20, 24 hours. That’s about a one-to-one style concentrate right there.
Brendan: Yes. If it’s too strong, if you dilute that and you still feel that it’s too strong just dye your coffee back a little bit,or add more water and go from there. Hopefully that’s helpful. Probably not. But that’s why we’re here.
Brendan: Alright, Scotty, you’re up.
Scott: All right, this comes from Facebook you guys, so guys listen out, “I listen in the car so I never get to call your 800 number, but my question is, why do you have nitro coffee and flat coffee on tap?”
Brendan: That’s a good question. I like having both on tap because nitro coffee is just fun.
Cary: It’s fun, but it also adds so much more complexity to the coffee. It’s like having a beer. It’s like going to a bar and you get that rich head on there and it brings out the aromas of the coffee more. It adds that creamy mouth feel. It’s healthier to drink because you’re not adding creamer to it. Like, if you get and iced coffee and you want a little half-and-half in there-
Brendan: It’s like a zero calorie drink
Cary: Exactly, yes. But you still kind of get that mouth feel of having cream and that frothiness from it. Whereas iced coffee– Brendan and I, we drink these all the time.
Brendan: The flat coffee.
Cary: Yes. Flat coffee. So, ideally, that’s like having iced coffees on demand. So you fill up your cup with ice. You pour flat coffee over it. Boom. It’s ready to go.
Brendan: But we don’t even have ice here. We basically add a splash of cream in a cup and then pour coffee on top of it, and maybe mix in some water if it’s concentrate.
Cary: Exactly. But, for a shop owner. Just having a five gallon keg of cold brewed coffee ready to go, pour that over ice just to hand out the door.
Brendan: Yes. That’s one of the biggest things that we hear from our clients. Everybody wants to start serving nitro coffee and when they do they’re stoked about it. They love it. Their customers love it. But, then they say, “I’m glad I have this flat coffee tap because it makes making all of our other drinks so much easier”.
Rather than opening the fridge, getting a carafe out, pouring a drink, putting it back in. They’re basically just going to a tap, putting their cold brew in and it speeds the process up. I had one guy in particular that said, “Used to take us two minutes to make this drink, now it takes us 30 seconds”. So, they’re saving time. They’re getting more customers in and out. Their lines are shorter.
Cary: Yes. It’s all refrigerated. The lines are refrigerated. All it is, is a pour of the tap and ice cold coffee coming out.
Scott: The next question is, “I’m interested in having cold brew on tap at home, but you guys make systems that are 15 to 50 gallons. Is it possible to brew smaller batches and fill smaller, maybe two and a half gallon kegs? So I can put a small keg of cold brew in my kegerator.”
Brendan: Scott, I think you might have to be our guinea pig on this one. We might have to send you home with a-
Cary: That little mini-guy over there you were checking out. So, we just got our first five gallon system in. It’s funny how small that looks. It doesn’t look like it holds five gallons. I think we’re so used to seeing-
Brendan: Yes. These giant tubs.
Cary: 15, that’s the one there and that looks so much bigger.
Brendan: And the 50, we could put Scott in.
Cary: Ship him home in it.
Brendan: It’d be cheaper than a Southwest flight. That’s true.
Scott: Bags fly free.
Brendan: But, yes. We’ve recently rolled out a five gallon system. Five and a half gallon to be precise. That would fill a five gallon corny keg.
Cary: We’re getting more and more people saying, they love coffee and they love drinking cold brew or iced coffee at home, but they’re sick of just doing the 40 oz mason jar every couple days, or whatever it is. So, this is just such a great option. There’s a five and a half gallon system. You can yield probably close to five gallons if you’re doing a ready to drink ratio.
But we have a two and a half or three gallon size keg. Even brewing that amount, that would probably last, if it’s just you drinking it, it should last you a couple days. No [laughs], a couple weeks, I would think. Just having that on demand. Wake up in the morning, pour it over ice, leave the house. It’s easy. It’s nice.
Scott: This is something that I would be interested in, as a beginner, this size. Really getting used to it. I live in Arizona, it’s extremely hot during the summer time. We get up to 110, 115 degrees and the last thing you want to do is have a nice hot-
Cary: Yuck [laughter]
Scott: – cup of coffee.
Cary: Yes. Exactly.
Brendan: You almost need this.
Scott: Yes. So I think this is where I’m going to start. This size right here to get used to it. To understand the process behind it. To get my wife involved. It’s something that I can hook up as a two tap system to my kegerator and have it hold-
Cary: Yes, because you already have a– Scotty’s got a beer kegerator. All he really has to do is get a home brew style keg. Change out the fittings on one of the lines and hook it up and you’re ready to go.
Brendan: Yes. You’ve got that other tap that’s strictly reserved for Ballast Point beer since. Thanks to your brother.
Brendan: But the other one, yes, you could have some fun. You could brew your own beer. You could brew coffee. We just started doing cold brew tea.
Cary: Yes, even nitro tea. Really good.
Brendan: Tea on tap. Yes. The options are really limitless. You could have some fun with that one. You can put margaritas on there in the summer.
Cary: Yes. You could.
Scott: There you go.
Cary: We had one guy contacting us putting bloody marys on draft. He would make just ten gallons of bloody marys to serve on draft. He wouldn’t want to mix them constantly during the day.
Cary: Just, wow.
Brendan: Yes. We had– I might have to bleep this out, but we had Tito’s Vodka hit us up because they were doing vodka lemonades on draft. I think, out in Arizona. They wanted to have a mobile bar where they were just serving vodka lemonade.
Brendan: And, basically on draft. So they’ll fill up a corny keg.
Scott: It’s going to be dangerous at tailgates at ASU football games.
Brendan: Oh yes.
Cary: Oh for sure.
Brendan: And you drive a Volvo.
Scott: All right, so this next question is, “how long will cold brew on tap last?”
Brendan: Is that your own question because you’re going to do this?
Scott: I am going to do this.
Scott: I’m taking copious notes right now.
Brendan: So, this kind of goes back to that first question. It really depends on your processes. How clean and sanitary your processes are. I’ve had a keg of cold brew in my kegerator at home for over three months. I’m sure it degraded in its flavor quality, but I never had any problems with it. I drank it all the three months until it was gone and it was good. If I was selling that to people–
Cary: No way.
Brendan: Yes. I probably would’ve stopped after two weeks. But it probably would’ve been gone because usually you’re running through this stuff in like a couple days.
Cary: Right. Five gallons would go pretty quick. If we’re talking eight ounce pours, is that — that’s 60 in a five gallon keg? Or no, it’s a little more than that.
Brendan: Oh no. 12 ounce pours, you’ve got like–
Cary: Oh yes. 12 ounce pours, that’s 60.
Cary: I think so, let’s see.
Brendan: More than that.
Cary: Is it? Because you were talking-
Brendan: Get your calculator out. How’s your math, Scott?
Scott: I’m waiting on Siri.
Cary: When we used to bottle our beer, I would know exactly how many 12 ounce bottles we would get from a five gallon batch.
Brendan: Oh yes. I think it is 48 or 50, right?
Cary: Yes. I think it’s around 50. I don’t even know where my calculator is.
Brendan: So, yes you’re probably talking 75 to 80 if you’re doing eight ounce pours.
Cary: 80. Yes. 80 eight ounce pours. Chances are, most coffee shops or places serving cold brew- that’s not going to last more than a week. With how popular cold brew is nowadays.
Brendan: Yes, people are searching out cold brew. I’ve had people telling us, “Yes. we’ve been making cold brew for 15 to 20 years at our coffee shop, but we’re just now starting to call it cold brew. We’ve always called it iced coffee because it’s what we’ve used to pour over ice”. But now, with the term cold brew just getting so popular people are starting to rename a lot of stuff that’s been on the menu forever. But yes, how long will it last? I honestly feel that it could last indefinitely. Look at this bottle, from May 21st, been out at room temperature. Still looks fine.
Cary: And that bottle has, maybe a third of it is air space in there. It’s not filled to the brim. It wasn’t purged of oxygen.
Brendan: No nitrogen.
Cary: No nitrogen, so a third of it is oxygen. So, it’s like an environment begging for bacteria to develop in, but never has.
Brendan: We brew in a clean environment. We took pretty good measures throughout the process and it’s still good. So, we’ll try that on May 21st of 2017.
Cary: You will try that.
Brendan: Yes. Scott will come back, he’ll have half.
Cary: [Laughs]. I’m not trying that.
Scott: Pour it over ice. Give me iced coffee.
Brendan: Put a little cream in there.
Cary: A shot of penicillin before.
Brendan: Yes. So, how long would it last? Two weeks if you’re going to be serving to people. If it’s for personal consumption and you’re taking care of your process, you could go months.
Cary: Months, yes.
Brendan: Why not? All right guys, so we have one more question that came via phone. Let’s go ahead and see if we can try to play this thing right now. Ready. Set. Maybe? Here we go.
Steve: Hi. My name’s Steve. What I’m trying to find out is whether cold brew coffee, and I know there’s probably several different types, but is there any cold brew coffee that can be placed into a kegand not be refrigerated from the time that it gets placed in the keg to travel to storage, and only be chilled at time of serving? That’s my question. Could someone give me a call and see if there is such a thing and whether you guys are [unintelligible 00:20:57] to provide that? Appreciate. Thank you. Bye.
Cary: We get this question. I get this question from a lot of our overseas clients because I think people in different countries don’t have big refrigerators that we have in the US so they leave their kegerators outside of a refrigerator unit that then gets pumped like on the fly through a chiller–
Brendan: Like a jockey box on–
Cary: – on a draw system. We have people doing that. I don’t know how to answer this other than warm temperatures and stuff can affect flavors in anything you do. Maintaining good flavor always comes with refrigeration and cool environments.
Brendan: I think this goes back to the first question as well. It depends on your location. Every location has different health codes. I think it’s in Florida where they have to brew it cold below 40 degrees. They have to maintain it at below 40 degrees while it’s sitting there. During delivery it has to be refrigerated, and then it has to go straight into a refrigerator.
Cary: Just like a Coors Light. Brewed cold. [laughs] It’s the rocky mountain cold there. [laughs] Strict guidelines in Florida.
Brendan: Downs are blue.
Brendan: Is this safe to drink?
Brendan: To answer that question, I don’t think we can answer that question. It depends on where you’re at.
Cary: Yes. Actually if anyone else– I know we have some listeners overseas that do some of the stuff. Love to hear from you guys on how your kegs are maintaining in a warm environment prior to serving.
Brendan: I know when I go overseas, few times I’ve been, everything is different. Like you ask for a Coca Cola and you ask for a glass of ice, you get like one or two ice cubes with it. Or you get a beer and it’s just-
Cary: Like 50 degrees?
Brendan: -yes. It’s just warm. Like when in Thailand I got a beer and I was just like, “This is not refreshing.”
Cary: It’s not rocky mountain cold. [laughs]
Brendan: These downs are not blue.
Brendan: All right. Well, I think that’s it for our questions. We appreciate those of you who called in. I think we had a couple more call-ins but I lost them, or I couldn’t find them in the 20 minutes leading up to this episode. I apologize if they didn’t get played. Keep sending us questions. Call in, 888-620-2739 extension 6. Or send us an email, email@example.com.
Leave us a review. Scott’s going to start the charge by leaving us a review on iTunes. We could use more reviews. It could be our Christmas present for providing so much fun and exciting content over the course of this last year.
Cary: Yes. We’re not asking too much. Just a little gift.
Brendan: It’s not a lot. Takes a minute. Just dive in to iTunes. Turn off whatever you’re playing these days, mine craft. What’s your daughter playing on the phone?
Brendan: Yes. Stop playing Pokemon. [laughs]
Cary: Get off your Pokemon.
Brendan: Yes. Leave us a review. All right guys. What do you think? Well, out for music?
Brendan: You ready for this? It’s not going to be Halo.
Brendan: Let’s rock ‘n roll. That’s about it. Scott, we’re going to get you into Podcast someday?
Scott: For sure. I’ll be here.
Brendan: Start a baseball podcast maybe?
Scott: We could do that.
Brendan: A baseball podcast?
Cary: Yes. I don’t know enough about it.
Brendan: Me neither. I don’t know anything about it.