Today we talk and sample coffee beers. We’ve got a [toned down] assortment of beers that we’ve selected that used some form of coffee in the brewing process. Whether the beers be brewed with coffee beans, coffee grounds or cold brew coffee as an additive, the beers that we sample and discuss in today’s show are all beers that have had some form of coffee added.
Highlights & Takeaways
Coffee can be added to beer in many forms: whole beans, grounds, cold brew. If you’re a coffee shop owner, roaster, etc. it may be worth reaching out to local breweries to do a collaboration beer.
Beers that we sampled on this show:
- The Darkness – Homebrew
- Calm Before the Storm – Ballast Point
- City of the Dead – Modern Times
Jeff is the unofficial Pioneer of Podcasting.
Episode 21 Transcript
Welcome to the Drips & Draughts podcast, where we help you bring your craft to draft. From soda to beer and from coffee to kombucha, we’ll discuss making your favorite craft beverage in small or large batches and how to best serve it on draft.
Brendan: Welcome back to the Drips & Draughts podcast. As always I’m Brendan Hanson, and I’ll be your host. Today we’re going to diverge from coffee a little bit, not a whole lot, we’re still going to talk about coffee quite a bit, but we’re going to talk about beer specifically as well and more specifically beers that use coffee in them. Hopefully, this is an informative episode for you coffee shop owners, roasters. Hopefully, you guys get some ideas on how you can maybe sell your coffees to local brewing companies or maybe how you could collaborate with local brewing companies. In fact, as draft coffee and cold-brewed coffee gets bigger and bigger, I think we’re going to see a lot more cold brew on tap starting to show up at breweries to give brewery-goers alternative option. So today I am actually joined by one of my old college roommates. Hendu, Jeff Henderson.I figured since we’ve done, we’ve probably done too much drinking together over the years but since we’re both professionals, I thought I’d have him on the show, and we’d sample some beers that were made with coffee beans, coffee grounds or even cold brew coffee.
But before we get into today’s episode, I’d like to read another iTunes review and since we’re reviewing some beers from big breweries today, I’ve got a review here that was left by somebody who either works at the brewery or owns a brewery. Here it is. This one’s left on iTunes from Deanstroyer. Deanstroyer, that’s a great name. Anyways, Deanstroyer says: “It’s been so great to listen to somebody from the cold brew community who is educated and also has the drive to further the movement of cold brew coffee and craft beverages. It’s definitely fun to experiment and do this in our own (quote on quote) lab, but it’s great to hear all the different things people have done also succeeded with. It only makes us all better. Cold brew is the future. Thanks. Dean from Thunderking brewing company.” So right after I recorded that, I pulled up Thunderking brewing company online and found out that it’s actually a cold brew company. So, not a brewery as I originally thought, it’s actually a cold brewery but anyways, just wanted to say thanks again to Deanstroyer for leaving us a five-star review.
One more quick note before we get into today’s episode, we now have our 888 number up and running. We’ve gotten a few e-mails and comments of people saying, “You know, I’d like to be on the show, I just really can’t fit it into my schedule right now. It’d be nice if you guys could except a question, an audio question, play that and answer that.” So, we’ve set up an 888 number; you can call it at 888-620-2739, extension 6. If you call that number, it will go straight to voicemail. Feel free to leave a comment, leave a question and we’ll play it on the air in a future episode and hopefully, answer it if it’s a question. If it’s a comment, we’ll just play it. So call in and hit us with any questions you might have. Let us know what you might like to hear on the show.
With that, let’s get into today’s episode of the Drips & Draughts podcast. For show notes from this episode, you can go to www.dripsanddrafts.com/21.
Brendan: Welcome back to the Drifts and Drafts podcast. As always, I am Brendan Hanson and today I am joined by the one, the only, the pioneer of podcasting, my old roommate from UCSB, Jeff Henderson. How you’re doing buddy?
Jeff: Good, how you’re doing Brendan?
Brendan: Doing good. The reason you’re on the show today, a couple of reasons I’d say, one is because I’ve got the little boy due soon and just trying to get a few episodes in the bank in case he comes sooner than expected. So you volunteered and the fact that you have some podcast history I was excited to have you on here.
Jeff: I think if there is a podcast hall of fame, I would like to think that I’m in it. I definitely don’t deserve to be, but I’d like to think that I am in it.
Jeff: It was a couple of years, yes. It was a soccer podcast, primarily focusing on British soccer, the Premier League over there in England, the Championship League One, League Two. Mostly my friend and I created it, just so it would give us an excuse to talk every week for about an hour and a half. It was something that his wife kind of agreed to and my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, she agreed to it as well. So most of the time we would just kind of shoot the briefs and talk soccer occasionally and upload it to the internet and then watch people download it. It was a lot of fun.
Brendan: Nice. Well, you’ll be happy to know that we have some listeners in the UK so you can feel at home.
Brendan: So, a little history on Jeff and I. We went to UC Santa Barbara together, and we’ve stayed in contact since. One of the roommates that I’ve really stayed in contact with compared to the lot of the others that we had throughout the years. So, Jeff’s on today to talk coffee in beer with me. We both do some home brewing. Good thing we weren’t home brewing when we were in Santa Barbara that could’ve been problematic. We brewed beer. Carry and I brewed this beer, let’s see if I can find the date, I think I had it up here a little bit ago. In 2013, December of 2013 we brewed this beer so this is coming up on three years old. It’s a heavy dark beer that we brewed, and it’s loaded with some coffee, so we are going to talk about the beer that we brewed and then we’re also going to sample a couple of beers. Jeff, what do you think? Dive into this recipe, talk about the recipe a little bit and discuss how ours was maybe a little bit different than yours?
Jeff: Yes, sounds good.
Brendan: All right, I printed this recipe. We did a ten-gallon batch; I believe you just did a 5-gallon batch, so your rounds and everything are probably just cut in half.
Brendan: Maybe with the exception or if you changed any of the ingredients, feel free to dive in. What this beer was, was an American stout and if I can say so, it was a heavy, heavy American stout.
Jeff: Yes, if I remember correctly when I plugged this into Brewsmith, the software I use to record all of my ingredients and recipes and everything, the IBU’s shot off the chart. How dark of a beer this was. I mean, it almost kind of had a bubble thing saying, “Are you kidding me?” It’s just how dark of a beer this is. But I think it turned out wonderful.
Brendan: Yes, I always crack up because I had this on tap at my house for coming up on three years now and every time you come visit, you will always pour yourself a few tasters of this thing. You’ve just absolutely loved it from the time we put it on tap.
Jeff: I have, yes, to the point where I more or less cloned or copied your recipe. Like you were saying, I did a 5-gallon batch of it, changed up a couple of things just because if I remember correctly there was a couple of malts that I wasn’t able to get down here in San Diego, that you were able to get in the Ventura area. I love it; I have it on tap now and it’s definitely my favorite beer.
Brendan: Right on. Let’s run through the recipe for the listeners and maybe we can discuss how yours and ours differ, if at all, and we can talk about the beer a little bit. Then we can get into tasting some of these other coffee beers that we’ve got. So, this recipe we used 26 and a half pounds of pale two-row malt. For non-brewers out there, every beer has a base malt and two-row malt is a common base malt. Jeffs favorite would be Mayors Author, the English malt. This is a very common one. Next, we had added 44 ounces of flaked oats, two pounds of chocolate malt, 24 ounces of roasted barley, 18 ounces of de-bittered black barley and 14 ounces of crystal malt 120L. The 120L is a measure of how deeply that crystal malt was roasted. 120 is a darker crystal malt. As far as hops go, not a whole lot of hops in here. We used two ounces of nugget, an ounce of Willamette. How do you say that?
Jeff: I always say Willamet. But I could be wrong.
Brendan: So we used one ounce of that at two different times and that was it on hops. Then for other ingredients this is where it gets interesting in my opinion, we used five ounces of dark bittersweet bakers chocolate, we used three ounces of unsweetened cocoa nibs and then we added four ounces of Sumatran coffee and four ounces of Kona coffee. Compared to a lot of beers, this had a lot of stuff going into it. What, if anything, differed on your recipe or you were able to find all these ingredients?
Jeff: No, it wasn’t. If I remember correctly, you said I replaced the carafe. I think it was called carafe; I could be wrong on that but I always do my by percentages so pretty much like yours it’s 73% two-row, 8% flaked oats, about 7% chocolate malt, 5% roasted barley, 4% carafa, 3% C120 and then yes, I started with a nugget I think it’s 60 minutes and boil and then I did the two Willamette hops additions, I think around 10 minutes. Then at flame out, I fermented with White Labs W001 yeast.
Then as far as the coffee beans, the difference for the San Diego dark and sit as we call it, it what’s brewed down here in San Diego is I used Modern Times. They’re a pretty popular brewery here, their distribution’s kind of spread out throughout California. They also – it’s very rare, they also grind or roast their own coffee beans and they have coffee beans here for Black House coffee beans. It’s their own roast and so I used those instead of separating them like Brendan did.
Brendan: Nice, so all Modern Times coffee, huh?
Jeff: Yes, exactly.
Brendan: Well, you know it’s funny is we just had a tap room opened here locally in Mora Park and they are actually carrying some Modern Times cold brew, which is canned so I thought that was cool that they were canning and distributing cold brew now.
Jeff: Yes, it’s great, they’re really diversifying. It’s – I think they’re going to be huge eventually.
Brendan: Yes and they’ve got some amazing beers. Obviously, we’ll taste one later in the show but yes, they’ve got a great line up of beers for people listening. Let’s talk specifically about the darkness, the beer that we made. Let’s specifically talk about coffee and when we added the coffee and the purpose of when we added it, what the purpose of that was.
The recipe called for adding 4 ounces of coffee at flame out so basically, when you’re done boiling after you boil your work for 60 minutes, you cut the flame and a lot of brews will call for adding hops, this one called for adding hops and some coffee at the very end as well as the cocoa nibs and the baking chocolate. Jeff, would you want to elaborate on why or what coffee is going to do when we add it at the very end of the boil?
Jeff: Sure, yes, so as far as adding boil a little bit later, as far as a later addition, you’re going to get a lot more of those robust coffee notes. You kind of have to be careful because it could be a little bit overpowering even, so you have to watch it a little bit. If I remember correctly, Brendan did the same thing, we use coarsely ground coffee. There’s numerous ways, numerous ice forms you could say as far as adding coffee to your beer. You could just put the whole bean in. You could do ground coffee. You could do crushed coffee. You could do obviously hot brewed as well as cold brewed coffee, extra specialty brews like espresso and stuff like that.
The good thing usually about crushing it coarsely is I find that it’s usually going to add a good amount of flavor. You have to watch it and this might be a little be too sort of inside but you could get that ground or that crushed coffee, assuming it’s not bagged up, you could get it stuffed in siphon tube, which could really be a pain. But a lot of times, I would say the risk is worth it there because you’re going to add I think a little bit more flavor than just simply adding a whole bean in, which obviously is another alternative.
Brendan: Yes, I think that’s what Cary and I did. When we brewed this, we put it in a little muslin bag and just threw it in the boil kettle at the very end and just let it sit as the beer cooled.
Jeff: Yes and then as far as – like I said, we added it later on so you’re going to get a lot more of those, the robust coffee notes and things like that. You could also do an early addition so right when you start boiling your beer, you could even add coffee at that point but I have found you’re going to get some of those coffee characteristics being washed out because it’s in there, it’s boiling for an hour at least. It could be good because you could get more subtle aromas. You could get those subtle flavors but it could also wash out really what you’re looking for.
Whereas if you add it at the end of your boil, it’s not going to be around there boiling as much and you’re going to probably get a little more of those flavors that you might be looking for.
Brendan: Right, yes, I think if you added it early, it might end up working more like a hop works if you add it at the beginning. You might get more bitterness out of it because coffee is naturally kind of acidic so adding it too early, I think you could get some undesirable characteristics if you did that.
Jeff: Very true.
Brendan: I’m swirling this darkness around in my glass and it is dark. I don’t know if yours is as dark. Probably about the same considering the recipes were pretty much spot on to one another but this beer poured like motor oil. I plugged the keg up where I had cold brewed coffee on tap here at work and as I poured the coffee out of the line, when it switched into the darkness as it was pouring, it was a very obvious change. You think coffee s dark but you see this and it’s incredibly dark.
Jeff: Yes and it‘s — well and you’re brewing, you’re pouring it on nitro, is that correct?
Brendan: It has nitrogen gas in it but I just poured it using CO2. Well, I filled the keg with CO2 this morning and I just poured it out of a standard faucet so it just — it poured heavy though. It’s a — no doubt about it, it’s a big heavy beer.
Jeff: Yes and I have mine in front of me. I’ve been sipping on it for the last 15 or so minutes and yes, I love the off-white head that you get off of a good stout like this. The coffee is definitely there. Maybe something that I can’t remember if you mentioned, I know I didn’t, after this sat in fermentation and once the yeast was more or less done working. I have a five-gallon oak barrel that I aged but I put its two handles of Jack Daniels in it for about a week or so and kind of rotated it around every couple of days just to really soak the Jack Daniels up in there to get bourbon in there. Then I let this darkness sit in that barrel for I think about 45 or so days before I kegged it. I remember after it was carbonated, two or three days later taking my first couple of sips off it and just it tasted like I was taking shots of Jack Daniels. I was a little bit disheartened thinking I might have just ruined this because it’s just all you taste is the Jack. This was brewed back in April and we’re now into August and it’s so much more mellow now it’s almost ready, it’s — I love it man. I mean, it’s a fantastic beer. I remember the first beer I ever brewed was a dry Irish stout like a Guinness. It was kind of like a Guinness clone.
Brendan: I remember that one.
Jeff: Yes and it turned our pretty darn well. I remember drinking it just thinking like, “I am actually the greatest brewer in the world. I’m going to be teaching classes. I’m incredible,” and then you brew an IPA or even better, like a pale ale and you start realizing that all your imperfections, all those things that you screw up come out so much more the lighter your beer is.
If you do a big stout like this, it can really hide a ton of errors because there are so many bold flavors and strong colors and all this kind of stuff and so you can really screw up a stout and it’d still be drinkable. However, I’ve done a couple of IPAs, like session IPAs not super hoppy IPAs because hops can also do the same thing. They can pile a lot of flavors but like a pale ale, I’ve never even tried an American lager. I’m not brave enough to do that because I’m sure I would totally mess that up.
But these stouts, they’re very, very forgiving and so I try to give myself a little bit of credit when I drink this thing but I also do remember that I’m sure there’s a lot of off-putting flavors in here but it doesn’t — the Jack Daniels and the very roasted barley really, really do a good job of hiding it.
Brendan: And the coffee.
Jeff: It’s nice.
Brendan: Yes, I kind of feel the same way and I think that’s why — because Kerry and I, this was the first stout that we ever brewed. When I was making this recipe, that was my thought. I was like, “Well, all of these dark roasts and all the coffee, we’ve got a lot of margin for error. We can play around with this pretty heavily” and so we pretty much threw everything and the kitchen sink into this recipe and it shows. But at the end, I still to get a tartness that I don’t like and I think that’s because when Kerry and I brewed ours, we took five gallons and we each took half of that so we each took two and a half gallons. Then we took the remaining five gallons and we put that into the oak barrel that – we did the same process. We soaked it with Jack Daniels and we let it sit in his garage for 10 months. We didn’t keg that one until like October following our December brew.
In doing that, I think we got way too much, one, Jack Daniels out of the oak into the beer and two, we ended up getting too much oak into the beer. It’s – in my opinion, it got kind of a tart stringency to it that I’m guessing it pulled out of the oak. I’ll never know for sure, I’m not going to send this to a lab to be tested but something went a little awry in there I think.
Jeff: Yes, I almost wonder also, as far as the temperature that eliciting that oak barrel, if I rememeber correctly, you guys were just kind of keeping it in his covered garage area, is that correct?
Brendan: Right and we have– obviously the winters here get cold, so it gets down to freezing sometimes, well not cold to a lot of people, but it gets down into the the 30s, and then as we get into spring and summer, it gets into the 90s if not 100s on some days. So that oak barrel was probably flexing in and out, just absorbing all the beer and then releasing all the beer out as it expanded and contracted. The heat probably didn’t help too much. But one more thing that we didn’t mention, we got into the oak barrels and putting it in there, but we did add a second round or second dose of coffee and that was while the beer was still in fermentation. After primary fermentation once we pulled all the yeast out, we threw in another four ounces. We used kona coffee and we threw that in the fermenter. So what that second addition of coffee was going to do, our goal with that was just to give coffee aroma to the beer so that, if the beer was heavy on alcohol, which it is, or if there are any other off-smells, we wanted those to be hidden or masked with some coffee. So the beer does still have a pretty solid coffee aroma.
Jeff: Yes, exactly. You want to add either hops or coffee, you know, once the yeast had pretty much died off or become dormant, then just about anything you add from that point going on is just going to be just adding wonderful aromatics and that’s a nice thing because the yeast are not going to be, to use a stupid word, chew in or eat in or really doing anything with what you add because they’re pretty much down for the count. I did the same thing, except I cut mine in half, like you said, so I did two more ounces of the Modern Times [unintelligible 00:22:50]. Coarsely ground beans and then I, yes, came out with I’m drinking right now.
Brendan: And so that beer, you’re a fan of it, I know you loved the one that we brewed, did you try? Because eventually when we took it out of the barrel, we had, I had a keg of the barrel aged one, and I had the standard one. I don’t know if you ever tried them side by side, do you remember?
Jeff: I don’t think I did, no.
Brendan: So I got to the point, I was telling you this a little bit before the show, I got to the point where I had about a gallon or maybe less left in each one of the kegs, and I was never drinking, either one of them. That was basically for you, when you came to visit we‘re just, “Jeff, here’s your beers.“ So I got to point where I was like, “You know what, this barrel aged one is just too much for me. It’s way too much.” So I ended up blending the kegs together and now, in my opinion, it’s a lot more drinkable, I think it mellowed out the over oak-aged stout that I had, and it’s just nice now, it’s solid beer. So I think I’m– I don’t know if I’ll ever brew this one again, as is, I think we’ll probably change a few things, but this was one for the ages, I think this is a pretty stand up beer.
Jeff: I do agree. You know, I think it’s funny I just moved down to San Diego with my wife about a year ago, before while I was living in Sacramento, it might sound silly to say, we had a few more seasons there than we had in San Diego. Like Brendon said, obviously, mid-thirties and stuff isn’t cold in many areas of the world, but for Sacramento, it was cold, and so drinking a porter or taking the time to brew a porter or a stout and stuff like that, and then drinking that, it tastes wonderful. Any time between pretty much October and March, or even April. But here in San Diego it seems like it’s eternally about 82 degrees, which I’m definitely not complaining. Brewing a big stout like this you really have to like it to drink it. I found myself drinking a lot more, brewing a lot more pale ales and IPAs, and creme ales and blonde ales, and things like that just because it just sounds better here. But I really do think that this recipe could be fine-tuned maybe a little bit, but overall I’m definitely happy with it, and I think in the next year I’d probably brew this one again. But it’s probably going to last a year, it’s a big one.
Brendan: Yes, so this beer finished, ours finished at 8,7% alcohol, and then I don’t even want to guess what the barrel aged one got up to with leaving it in the barrel as long as we did. And I actually feel like ours ended up finishing higher than this, I couldn’t find our brew notes but I want to say that ours ended up being closer to 9,5 when it was done being fermented. And yes, it’s a good, strong beer. Cool, what do you think about getting, cracking open a little bit lighter beer, the Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm and sipping on that, comparing that and talking about why we added coffee to the beer. I’m going to run to the kegerator and grab that.
Jeff: Sounds good, I’m going to do the same.
Brendan: All right, we’re back from our little kegarator break, we’ve got our next beer, this a Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm but before we get into this and start talking about this beer, we’re going to talk a little bit about coffee in beer, why you add it, how you add it, the different methods that you can go through and I’m going to defer to Jeff on this, because he did a little research on this for us.
Jeff: All right. As far as why you add it, obviously coffee it brings a ton of aroma, it brings complexities, other things simply cannot bring. We enjoy these things and so coffee in beers, it’s kind of a nice little marriage there that we all tend to enjoy. Obviously the easiest way to get that aroma and those complexities and everything, is by adding the coffee. You could always sort of cheat the system and use highly toasted malts and chocolate malts, like black patent and things like that and you could get a similar flavor, you could get that creamy texture and everything, but why not just add coffee and just get right to it? As far as the forms or the methods, I would say, to add coffee to beer, you can add whole beans, which we sort of referenced, it could be ground, it could be crushed, it could be hot-brewed, it could be cold-brewed, it could be specialty-brewed like espresso, it could be even coffee extracts, which I‘ve never messed with. As far as the whole beans go, you can just place whole beans in a grain bag, you can add it during the boil, you could add it post fermentation. I’ve actually seen one of my friends up in Sacramento, he made a coffee beer and he, for presentation purposes, put one coffee bean in every single bottle and capped it. And so it’s kind of a cool presentation of a coffee bean in a beer, that’s always a possibility as well. As far as–
Brendan: Yes, that’s interesting.
Jeff: Yes, it was actually really cool. As far as ground and crush, we already referenced that, as far as it’s more or less what we do with the darkness. You can add it, usually you want to put in a bag, so it doesn’t clog up anything, adds I would say more flavor than the coffee bean does, but it’s also going to give you some color as well, it’s going to make a little bit darker, whereas the whole beans not going to really add up much as far as making your beer darker. And then you could do–
Brendan: You mind if I interject there? Speaking of whole beans we– or up in Sacramento where you used to live, there was Track Seven brewery who used to make that white stout, right? Or they probably still do because that was a great beer. So after visiting you, years ago now, I came home and I was like, “I got to try to make one of these,” so Kerry and I ended up brewing a white stout that we call The Lightness. I guess it’s the opposite of our Darkness, and we used whole beans in that one in order to not contribute any color. But it gave just incredible coffee flavor and aroma, so you look at this beer and it looks like a pale ale, but it smells like coffee and tastes like a stout, it’s kind of cool.
Jeff: Yes, Track Seven is hands down one of my favorite breweries, they had one of the best IPAs I’ve ever had and they do have this white stout like you said. I know a lot of people say it’s gimmicky and things like that to make this– I’ve heard them call it a blonde stout, or white stout, or whatever, but it’s great and really they’re not that difficult to make, as far as giving it that stout feel, but not the colors. You can just do like pretty much 90% of your grain bill is going to be like pale malt and pilsner, and then you can add some oats, and that’s going to give you a little bit of that, that mouth feel that a stout gives you–
Brendan: Body, thickness–
Jeff: Exactly, yes. And then add, i mean, I don’t want to say literally a pinch of C60, but something to give a tiny bit of color, a little bit more flavor there, but not a ton. Then like you said the whole beans often in like secondary fermentation and that’s really going to bring out that coffee and so I enjoy it. It’s weird how many people seem to have a negative reaction to a white stout. People say “Oh, it’s not a true stout.” But I’m like, “Give me a break.” It tastes good and it’s kind of–
Brendan: Right, it’s not a style.
Jeff: Yes, exactly, yes.
Brendan: It’s not a style.
Jeff: Yes, so I would say the last way, I would never make beer with coffee with either be hot brewed or cold brewed but typically I’m just going to go with cold brewed of course. So if you’re listening to this podcast, you probably already know how the cold brew as we all know hot coffee– it tends to extract flavors of the beans but then also like you’re in stringency. You could get some bitter qualities there. It could come out as tasting almost burnt and so if you’re brewing especially like a sour beer, those burnt qualities can really overpower the flavors of the beers. So cold brew is definitely a fantastic way to impact those flavors you’re not going to get that stringency and other things that perhaps a hot brew addition would add to the beer.
Brendan: Right, exactly. So speaking of adding cold brew to a beer we‘re now trying we‘re now sampling a Ballast Point Calm Before the Storm which reminds me of white stout just in the color of it and I’m just trying to guess how they added this cold brew because I’m reading the page right now. I’ll just read this for everybody. It’s a coffee ale with a touch of cream. It’s a cream ale with coffee and vanilla is what it says on the label and then the website says something a little bit different but Calm Before the Storm came from a quest for warm weather alternative to our victory at sea, Imperial Porter. Looks like more of its robust cousin. We infuse a punch of flavor using cold brewed cafe, calabria coffee and a hint of vanilla. Yes, I’m looking at this beer that is in my hands and I’m wondering how much cold brewed coffee they had or if it’s just a very light cold brewed coffee because this thing doesn’t have a lot of color to it.
Jeff: Yes, I agree. For those of you who haven’t had this beer, it’s kind of light orange, amber colored type of and it is quite light so it’s interesting. It’s not bad, it’s kind of coffee flavored. It tastes and looks kind of bright, it’s definitely not darker beer. It’s interesting how Ballast Point does this. They had their pumpkin down which is their pumpkin beer and all that was their Scottish ale beer. I think it was called Paper Down and then they added more or less pumpkin puree to it and now I believe this was just kind of built upon their– I think you said their coffee, or their cream ale, or something like that. It sounds like perhaps they more or less just added a little bit of cold brew to that and came up with this one. So I think they tend to do that, just try and make a mix and match a little bit almost like Firestone, where it’s a tinkering chemistry lab coming up with the right combinations of everything. Yes, it’s definitely not an offensive beer by any stretch of imagination.
Brendan: No, and it certainly is– I would agree to what their little description on the website said. It’s a lot more drinkable in the summer in my opinion than the darkness. I had to come into the office and crank my AC down to 65 degrees so that I can muster up the strength to drink these dark beers, try having–
Jeff: Yes, try passing your wife in the hallway with a couple of 22s and a couple of glasses and tell her, “I’m going to do a podcast” and just the look and the eye roll she give me was fantastic.
Brendan: Yes, I’m sorry if she doesn’t talk to you for the next couple of weeks.
Jeff: Yes, it’s a price you got to pay.
Brendan: You can route the calls my way. There’s a side story, I heard recently that Ballast Point, they do a lot of flavored beers, they do– obviously their sculpin is just hugely successful, their sculpin, their IPA and then they do a great fruit sculpin, the habanero sculpin and then they recently added the pineapple sculpin. I actually heard that they started doing these flavored beers because they were growing so fast. They just couldn’t– their hop contracts couldn’t keep up so they were using all their hops and they had to find a way to flavor or bitter a beer a little bit rather than just entirely hops. So they started doing that grape fruit sculpin and that just became widely successful for them.
Jeff: Yes, it’s kind of fun. They’re brewed down here in San Diego. Generally speaking I don’t buy a ton of their beer just because I feel like most of it is so incredibly overpriced. There’s so many great options down here. I don’t necessarily need to pay $14.99 for a six pack like I did with this it’s Calm Before the Storm and I’ll be sending you the receipt. One nice thing about their tasting room here, at least the one in Little Italy kind of their smaller tasting room that’s about ten miles or so from my house. They have about six or so variations where I think they’re only available at their tasting room or they’ll do one of their coffee stouts and then they’ll add coconut or add vanilla, they’ll add cinnamon, hazelnut, they’ll add a bunch of different things and they’re only available there, so that’s kind of fun and as expensive as Ballast Point is, you can go there and there are tasters. It’s a very very heavily pour for I think about $6 for four or five tasters or something like that. So it’s not necessarily as inexpensive as Russian rivers and Santa Rosa. But for the most part going to the tasting room it’s going to be a good adventure for everybody and you’re going to leave there with a ton of different beers you can sample.
Brendan: Yes, that was a fun place. You took Jeanne and I there when we were down there visiting you and we had a good time there, good food and obviously great beers too. All right man, what else do we got on tap here? Should we get another beer or is it too soon?
Jeff: I think I can probably finish this in about 20 seconds so yes, overall I don’t want to dump on Ballast Point. I think it’s a pretty good beer. It is definitely like I said, coffee forward and kind of interested in the color. I think it’s very unique that it is that amber color I was expecting it to be a little more dark especially because I really do get that coffee but I enjoy it.
Brendan: Do this real quick, yes do this real quick. Pull up their website, Ballast Point and look at the Calm Before the Storm picture and tell me if your beer looks anywhere remotely close to the one pictured on their site.
Jeff: Give me a second here. Oh, all right. I just got to the website, here there’s Calm Before the Storm and this picture does not really look like my beer at all. The picture here is much lighter than how it’s pouring in my glass. Is that same for you I’m assuming?
Brendan: Yes, exact same. The picture on the website looks like a cream ale and the one on my glass looks let’s say more like a pale ale, maybe an IPA. It’s got some color to it so maybe that’s from the cold brew if they’re adding– I’m guessing they’re adding small amounts of cold brew to lots of beer but I have no idea because there’s no further information.
Jeff: Yes, This is very interesting. We might have come across something Brendan. This is exciting.
Brendan: Yes, we’re going to have to do some further investigation. Do you get any coffee notes from this beer?
Jeff: Yes, I’m getting a little bit of coffee upfront. I’d like to say I get a little bit of vanilla but I don’t but I feel like I should. So maybe that’s just kind of a mental little thing. I enjoy it, I mean as much as I’m not super crazy about a lot of Ballast Point stuff I think this is a good beer. I don’t know if I can do more than say two to three or so without having to move along but this is a good beer I think.
Brendan: It’s drinkable for sure.
Jeff: Yes, definitely. Only coming in about 5.5% so that’s, yes, it’s not bad.
Brendan: Damn near sessionable?
Jeff: Yes, compared to what we’ll be drinking next, this is sessionable for sure.
Brendan: So I had gone to BevMo! the other day and I sent Jeff picture of four beers that I picked out–
Brendan: And we were going to taste them all and I started having second thoughts, like that’s a lot of dark beers and the fact that two or three other more bombers, 22 ounce beers and we figured we’re going to have to extend this so we may have some more of coffee beer episodes coming up in the future but if you’re all right with it, I think it’s time to get into the Modern Times City of the Dead beer. I’m leaving a little bit of my Calm Before the Storm here just so I can taste these all next to each other but if you’re ready I’d say we do it.
Jeff: Yes, let me do that in a short time about four minutes, a four step walk to my keezer and get that bottle.
Brendan: So Jeff has a keezer sitting inside of his house. Anybody who knows what a keezer is, knows that Jeff’s a lucky man. My keezer sits in the garage. It’s not too far from home, not too far from the living space, but yes, I can’t imagine my wife would ever say, “Yes, let’s put that inside.”
Jeff: And to add insult to injury, it’s actually– she has the ability to work from home. She works remotely, and so not only is it inside, it’s actually in her office. And so– [laughs] She just– I’m staring at it right now, just above the monitors across the back wall is the three-tap keezer. The only thing that I think she loved about it is every Christmas, I’ll do my Christmas ale and then I also will do usually a cider because she enjoys those and my family. We’d have them over and they would always enjoy the cider also. And so she would text me pictures throughout the day, usually the middle of December, January, early February, of herself drinking a cider during the work week. And so I was–
Brendan: Hey Jeff, come home from work.
Jeff: Yes exactly, take a long lunch.
Brendan: All right man, well I might ask you about your cider and your Christmas ale when we get back. Let’s go grab our next beer.
Jeff: Sounds good.
Brendan: All right, we’re back from our little kegerator trip, Jeff’s keezer trip, and yes, now we’re drinking a Modern Times City Of The Dead stout. This is much more comparable to the darkness, I will let Jeff read the beer description on this one.
Jeff: Yes, in my own humble opinion, this is how a coffee stout should taste. I think this is just absolutely fantastic. The back of the label– I think Modern Times does this, a lot of times they’ll kind of give you more or less kind of the malts and stuff. So they mention Two Row, Dark Chocolate, Munich, Pale Chocolate, Midnight Wheat, which I’m not even familiar with, Flaked Barley, C170, Carapils. And the way they describe it is this, they say “This groundbreaking export stout is brewed with house-roasted bourbon barrel-aged coffee.” Yes, bourbon barrel-aged coffee. “This mind-bending process imbues our coffee with incredible flavor and aroma of a freshly emptied bourbon barrel, which carries over magnificently into this rich, chewy stout. There’s no other beer like this in the world, so consider it a liquid education for your face.”
Jeff: “For continuing education, bags of this remarkable coffee are often available in our online store.” Now normally, I would think a description like that, I would just say, “God, these guys are so full of you know what,” but this beer kind of deserves to be described that way. This is a fantastic beer, I’ve never had this before and I love this. I don’t know how I’m going to drink 22 ounces of this, but I’m sure I will.
Brendan: You’ll find a way, turn the AC down.
Jeff: Yes, I’m just going to take my shirt off and just walk around in my boxers.
Brendan: Send a picture for the show notes.
Jeff: Good God, that would be ugly.
Brendan: So, coffee aged in bourbon barrels. I guess all we can do is speculate on this, right?
Jeff: Yes, I don’t even know–
Brendan: I’m wondering if it’s coffee beans that were aged in bourbon barrels? Do you think– I’m wondering if that would contribute anything, or do you think it’s cold brew?
Jeff: I was going to say, you obviously understand cold brew a lot more than I do. Is there a chance, and I know every time I cold brew it’s always been in either stainless steel or things like that, could you cold brew in a bourbon barrel?
Brendan: No, but you could do your cold brew in your stainless steel and then pour that cold brew into a bourbon barrel. That’s a whole another topic, I’ve got one of our clients up north. He is– I think he’s barrel aging some of his cold brews, and he’s also hopping his cold brews. So he’s adding hops to– if one of his coffee beans is like– what’s the word I’m looking for? Fruity. He’s adding a hop that has fruit nodes. If it’s citrusy, he’s adding a hop that has citrus nodes. I guess he’s pushing the envelope, so to say. Just experimenting. So with this beer, coffee aged in bourbon barrels. I really have no idea what they might have done here. All I can say is this beer is very dark and it’s so smooth.
Jeff: You know, it’s interesting. They say that the SRM, which is a way to measure color more or less of beer, is only 45. I would think it would be higher than that but I’m definitely not an SRM expert or anything but I would sure think it would be higher than 45. But yes, this is an incredible beer. I know you and I– did I take you to the Modern Times brewery when you were in San Diego? It’s the one, it’s kind of modern looking-
Brendan: Yes, we went to the one–
Jeff: It has those lights that are hung upside down, the lamps or something?
Brendan: Yes. And it’s got books everywhere?
Brendan: What looks to be books?
Jeff: Yes, something like that, yes.
Brendan: Cool place for sure. Is that the main one, or they’ve got a bigger brewery somewhere I’m assuming.
Jeff: Yes, I would assume their main brewery is probably in the– good God, this is already getting me– Mira Mesa or Kearny Mesa area. A lot of those breweries have the production areas up there because the land’s a little bit cheaper than the Hillcrest, North Park area, stuff like that. So that’s just kind of their tasting room, but it’s a very cool tasting room, great beer. Like I said, I haven’t had the City Of The Dead. I know for sure it’s hard to find, even down here because I was joking around with Brendan before we started recording. He had sent me a picture of the beer that he had purchased a few days ago and said, “All right, get this for a podcast.” And I had a really, really hard time finding this Modern Times beer as well as another one, which maybe we’ll just drink off the air together someday. It made me realize– it’s just because I think these are just very, very difficult to find down here. They might sell very quick.
Brendan: Yes they must. I’m guessing the only reason I found them up here was because I was a little inland when I bought them. Maybe too hot, or maybe like I was saying earlier, just too many people obsessed with IPAs, so not buying this type of beer as much. But yes, this beer is amazing. While you were talking, I was looking up SRM. I don’t know what the final scale of the SRM is, but I’m guessing it goes up to maybe 50?
Brendan: Do you have any idea?
Jeff: I was always assuming it was just 100 because most things go to 100, but if it goes only 50, then this is a deserving 45.
Brendan: Well yes, because here’s why I’m thinking that. Our darkness was SRM 40, or that’s the calculated SRM based on what we punched into the brew calculator. And then one of our IPAs that we did, like a session IPA was 3.47 SRM, so far, far, far lighter. So I’m guessing that looking at these beers, I don’t think you can get too much darker, unless you really talk about darkness being in pure pitch black.
Jeff: Right. Okay, I’m already pouring myself a second glass here. This is good, good stuff. It’s–
Brendan: Have you tried it next to The Darkness?
Jeff: I haven’t. I [laughs]– The Darkness could take a long walk off a short pier right now, I’m in love with the City Of The Dead. This is really, really good. I always feel like people sound so– if you don’t mind me saying– douchey [sic] when they try to describe beer and stuff like that. I’m getting obviously a lot of coffee in this, getting chocolate, and I think vanilla and I’m probably wrong, but almost caramels– I mean, this is just– it punches you in the mouth with all the stuff that’s coming out of here. I think that’s probably only a third of the flavors in this. This is really, really a hell of a beer.
Brendan: It’s an education for your face.
Jeff: [laughs] Yes.
Brendan: Listen to the description on their website. It’s slightly different than the back of the bottle. It says, “City Of The Dead is a big, full-bodied stout with lots of chocolate undernotes dominated by the bourbon barrel-aged coffee. The beer is dosed at one pound per barrel.” So I’m guessing that they barrel age beans based on that.
Jeff: Yes, that’s what it sounds like. That’s crazy.
Brendan: Yes, so continuing, “The beer is dosed at one pound per barrel, and has a distinctly rich bourbon coffee aroma and flavor. As the beer warms, the bright bourbon aroma settles in and the coffee base really shines. This is the first commercially bottle– this is the first commercially bottled barrel-aged coffee beer in the world.” And then it’s got parentheses, “(That we know of)”.
Jeff: For legal purposes.
Brendan: Yes, “That we know of” you got to have that disclaimer or I’m assuming, but yes, so this is very interesting. I’m guessing they barrel-aged the coffee beans? Still a question.
Jeff: Yes, that’s really for another podcast, but I am very curious to see how they make this.
Brendan: Absolutely man, so anything else you want to talk about on the air?
Jeff: No, I don’t–
Brendan: This is your time to shine; this is your story base.
Jeff: I’m peaking right now folks, no I think I’m looking also I know we had this make up black house from Modern Times as well but either we can drink that off the air sometime or I have no idea obviously of the demographics and the interest of your listeners, but if there is any desire to maybe ever do this again. I’ll be more than happy to kind of donate another 16 minutes of my life, and maybe we do a mega black house versus just a black house taste in comparison, without getting to a [unintelligible 00:52:04] I definitely enjoy being a listener of this podcast and I’m sure other folks have as well. I enjoy the work that you and Carrie are doing and I have obviously been a long-time client of you guys but I think you guys do a great work and I sure appreciate it.
Brendan: Dude I appreciate that but I think we’ll definitely have to have you back on and do some more beer reviews, because as of recently I’ve heard from a couple professional breweries who have added cold brew coffee with our help, or thanks to us or just because of the podcast. We have a pretty diverse audience, so if you want to come on here and talk beers again I am all for that.
Jeff: If professional brewers are listening to this that’s not good because they’re going to– I don’t know what I’m talking about when it comes to this. Now I’m freaked out thinking that you actually might have professional brewers listening to this. Actually and I also found a bonus beer in my fridge about 20 minutes ago, when I went to go get one of the beers that we just tasted. I have Stones milk stout but there is coffee in there as well. If its cold brew coffee and they have, this is a milk stout they have that lactose milk sugar in there, which is obviously adds a bunch of sweetness to this. Yes there is a lot of stuff out there with coffee so like I said if it’s — I will gladly come back as long as you don’t see a sharp decline in subscribers after this podcast.
Brendan: You will see man, when this one airs, I don’t know when it’s going to air, but yes I’ll send you the download, I’ll let you be the judge.
Jeff: I don’t know if I want to see that, no.
Brendan: On another note speaking of bonus beers I have a case of bombers in my garage, because I brewed a– all right man, well that was fun. I am feeling really good right now I’ve got a barbeque to go to. Apparent the dad is smoking some beef brisket tonight or something, so meeting the fam over there, yes, very lovely.
Jeff: The difference in our lives, I’m going to go give two cats baths.
Brendan: You give cats baths?
Jeff: They have flees, I got to bathe them.
Brendan: You got outside cats?
Jeff: Yes, they like being outside kind of chasing birds and so I’m going to go throw on a long sleeved T-shirt and chase the cat around the house, and see if I can get it bathed.
Brendan: In water?
Jeff: That’s the difference in our lives right there.
Brendan: Yes I just don’t have cats, I do have a cat.
Jeff: I don’t have a BBQ.
Brendan: I’m going to use some of that for sound bites, they have flees. All right man well that was fun; if you’re down, definitely got to have you back.
Jeff: Yes I’ll be more than happy to, like I said, if it’s something you’re interested in and if it’s something that your listeners are interested in, I’ll be more than happy to because I do enjoy this podcast and I enjoy like I said what you and Carrie bring to the table. I appreciate what you guys do and I’m sure I can speak for others when I say that.
Brendan: Thanks buddy, so I still got one of those and then I’ve got Carrie’s father in law Rick, he loves that we brew and all the stuff and he is all in to cooking. He goes, I want to brew a beer and I want to call it a Little Scotch in there, and at some point during the brew process I want to pour scotch in there. We’re like, “All right let’s do it”. So he brew this beer, Carrie made this sick label of this little Irish guy who was Scotch and a little Scottish guy probably not an Irish guy. I got one of those as well so I’ve got some good beers, but this porter is incredible now. I poured one and I was just like, “This beer is amazing.” I’m going to have to have you up here, we’re going to have to do an in-studio episode and you’re going to have to try it.
Jeff: I’d love it, you know when my wife and I got married nearly three years ago, I brewed a porter and then I also made a cider for wedding gifts, for folks when they’re leaving they could take a bottle of each. The porter was called for richer or porter and it was just a pretty basic porter, but it tasted, it came out pretty well, I still have maybe six or so bottles of that. Then the cider which my wife was kind of fond of it, we called it Appley ever after. That was an apple hard cider and that turned out really well. Part of me really wants to open another porter to see how it’s aging, but then the other part of me is concerned that once I open that last porter my wife will finally smarten up and leave me. I’m trying to keep a couple on the shelf just in case I’m correct.
Brendan: Do this just get an old Tupperware put one in there and just bury it somewhere.
Jeff: Will do.
Brendan: So thanks to Jeff for joining me today, if you have any questions or comments or looking for the show notes for this episode, you can go to dripsanddraughts.com/21. Thanks for listening to the Drips & Draughts podcast; I am Brandon Hudson looking forward to seeing you again next Friday.
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Mentioned in this Show
The Darkness / Imperial Stout – Homebrew – Email us or hit us up on Twitter for the recipe (@DripsDraughts / @KegOutlet)