Homebrew DC: Coffee Porter

Photo courtesy of the little white box
courtesy of the little white box

Some people associate dark, rich beers with the winter months, but I think this recipe produces a beer that is just as good in the heat of the summer. It’s about 50 shades darker than a cream ale, but still as thirst-quenching and refreshing.

My friend Andy sent me this homebrew recipe after bringing a coffee porter to our homebrewing club. I lost the recipe for a couple months but just discovered it again, thank goodness. It is a dark, rich porter, very malty and with minimal bitterness, as you can see from the half ounce of bittering hops, boiled for only 45 minutes. The two-minute addition of Northern Brewer hops will impart a floral scent and the dry-hopping process will intensify this.

I am going to make this homebrew recipe soon but will deviate from Andy’s version below. I plan to use different coffee pods. Andy used a French style fine-ground coffee. It tasted great, but my coffee preferences lean toward a Vietnamese brand called Trung Nguyen, which you can find at your local Southeast Asian supermarket. The deep, rich flavor of this coffee will work well with the malty character of the porter. I might try another batch with something a little less refined, like coffee with chicory. You can try any coffee you like a lot and think will give you a good flavor.

This is our first recipe at RealHombrew.com that refers to dry hopping. This is the process of adding hops into the secondary fermenter to impart an interesting floral scent. The process is simple. First, let the beer completely ferment, and transfer it to a secondary fermenter. Then add your hops for dry-hopping. It might take a few days to a week to really get the hoppy flavor in there. People sometimes ask how you know when it’s done dry-hopping. I say, use a wine thief or pipette to draw out a sample and take a taste. If you want more hoppiness, let it stand a bit longer. If you think it is all right, your brew is done. Take out the hops and bottle or keg it.


Specialty grain:
1 lb Caramel Malt
5 oz Chocolate Malt

6.6 lbs Amber Malt Extract

0.5 oz Northern Brewer 45 min
0.25 oz Northern Brewer 2 min
Dry hop 0.25 oz Cascade and 0.5 oz Hallertaur

4 oz fine ground French roast grounds.  Added to boil for last 15 minutes.

Standard ale yeast, such as Nottingham Ale Yeast


Steep the cracked specialty grains in two gallons of 155-degree water for 45 minutes. Remove the grain and rinse it with a gallon of water at 160 degrees, reserving the liquid. Discard or plan to reuse the grain. Turn up the heat and add the amber malt extract. Bring it to a boil. Boil this for 60 minutes, but don’t add the hops until 15 minutes into the boil. Follow the schedule above for all the additions. Ferment for two weeks and then dry-hop for a week. Bottle or keg, and you have a great beer to bring to the next party you attend.

This post first appeared on RealHomebrew.com.

Carl Weaver is a writer and brewer for RealHomebrew.com and has been making beer and wine for more than 20 years. He is also an avid photographer and writer and just finished his first book, about a trip he took to Thailand to live in Buddhist monasteries. He considers himself the last of the Renaissance men and the luckiest darned guy in the world. Follow him on Twitter.

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