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How to Make Coffee Beer With Cold Brew

Coffee beers continue to grow in popularity, and for good reason; coffee and beer are a match made in heaven and both delicious on their own. Beer brewers are adding coffee to everything from light hybrid beers and hoppy pale ales, to wheat beers and stouts.

Some people like to add brewed coffee to the boil, others just before packaging at the end and the rest somewhere in between. No matter what the stage, if you are using hot-brewed coffee (instead of cold brew), especially in subtle styles, burnt qualities can overpower the flavors in your beer and create an unwanted bitterness. That’s where cold brew coffee comes in to make your coffee beer delicious.

Making a good cup of cold brew coffee is a skill every home brewer should know. Because, why not? Check out how to do this here because it’s more complicated than just popping brewed coffee in the fridge.

Adding Cold Brew to Your Beer

We recommend adding the cold brew coffee after fermentation, either in secondary or prior to bottling/kegging. This allows the coffee to be added incrementally to taste to achieve your favored balance without overdoing it all at once. Simply pull a sample and start adding measured amounts of cold brew a little at a time, and once you hit the perfect balance and flavor use that ratio to add the correct amount of coffee to your fermenter or keg and then rack the beer to get an even mixture.

The point is to get creative and create something that YOU love the taste of! Experiment with the type of coffee beer you want to make and how strong you want it to be. Remember something with high caffeine AND a high a.b.v. might not be ideal.

The style of beer you chose will also make a big difference in the outcome. Stouts and porters are a great match with coffee, but also are strong-flavored as is. If you like pale ale less coffee might be in order so you can still taste the flavors of the beer. The best thing to do is simply experiment, but keep an exact record so if it turns out you love what you made, you can create it again!