This is my second attempt at a mint coffee beer. You can read about the first attempt here. After deciding that the first beer was decent, but needed more mint, it was time to give another go.
The inspiration for this recipe came from a whim – dropping a tea bag into a cup of coffee. The peppermint tea changed what was an ordinary cup of coffee into something special. So – why not make a beer out of it? Plus, Amy likes brown ales. It’s a double win!
A mix of chocolate and lightly roasted malts were used for this recipe. A touch of rye increases the body of the beer – important for a dark beer. This is especially the case since a previous home brew project (a chocolate mint stout) left Frank wanting something more substantial.
For this recipe, we’re using a very special variety of hops: Mintras. The hops imparts both an herbal and a minty quality. The mint notes should compliment the real mint used in this recipe. The particular hops used are whole cone hops. This is unlike the hops used in most brewing – which uses hop pellets. (The includes commercial production. It is a special event when a brewery uses whole cone hops.). Hop pellets still do the job – contributing their floral notes and bitter flavors. However, using whole cone hops is always something fun to do.
True to the recipe’s name, we used ground coffee and a fresh mint. The mint was the same kind as what is available at your local market. We opted for fresh mint – as opposed to mint extract in the primary.
Since the mint goes in at the end of the boil, we’re able to kill any of the particular foreign bacteria that could ruin the fermentation process. Using mint extract for the secondary fermenter helps keep out some of the various bacteria that could spoil a beer.
As with our other brewing attempts, we fell a bit short of the target original gravity: 1.050 vs. 1058. The result will be a beer with a smaller alcohol content than intended. The final gravity clocked in at 1.010.
Six weeks later, the brew is ready to enjoy. Sampling it, the mint comes off the nose and the coolness is felt on the tongue. The flavor contributed by the mint is almost indistinguishable, but that’s OK because it still works. The body is balanced by the carbonation. The coffee notes however are lacking.
Mint Coffee Brown #2
Of course, the amount of the the add-ins used, and their timing are always a variable. Another way to experiment with this recipe is to tweak the amount of rye used. This will make a small difference in the alcohol content, but a larger difference in the body of the beer. In a future iteration, let’s add more coffee.
This is Frank’s second attempt at a mint chocolate stout. This version has a small tweak compared to his last attempt. What’s the tweak? It’s not more or less mint and cacao. It’s not a different ABV. It’s a modification to what’s called the “body” of the beer. You know you’re a beer geek when you’re using such articulate language to describe a beer. And onto the recipe!
As with all chocolate stouts, there is blend of lightly and darkly roasted malts. Check out the below. It is a prototype of what could arrive at your door for our all-grain mint chocolate stout homebrew recipe. Note the variety of grains used.
As with our other mint recipes, we’ll be using fresh mint (put in at the end of the boil), and mint extract (put into the secondary fermenter). There are contamination benefits of using an extract in the secondary – in that the extract is already pasteurized so there’s no risk of contamination from foreign organisms. For our own test, we used fresh mint in the secondary carboy as well. To stave off bacterial infection, I soaked the mint in iodophor before it went into the secondary.
To add a chocolate flavor to the brew, we’re using cacao nibs – which are delicious in beer as well as for a snack. To keep foreign germs at bay, the cacao can be added at the end of the boil instead of going straight into the primary fermenter.
The wort was rich and sweet – as is to be expected. The mint was there – noticeable, but not overpowering. In my experience, add-ins present in the wort can disappear over the six weeks it takes for wort to change into beer. This is why sampling the wort with add-ins can be misleading.
We off the mark a good deal withthis stout. Frank noticed a pattern on the short-comings for achieving original gravity: higher alcohol beers are the ones that come in most distant from the target. Perhaps this has to do with the smaller surface when the grain is in the pot. As we continue to brew, we’re refining our list of best practices. This will not only get us closer to our target ABV and final gravity, but allow us to share with you the best way to brew. (Yeah! That rhymes!)
Living in the micro brew capital of the world, our mutual friend Kyle Kiesel knows a thing or two about beer. He approves of our second iteration of the mint chocolate stout, noting:
It’s easy to drink.
The brew is indeed a crowd pleaser. The dark roast suggests a hint of coffee of the nose. The body is rich and thick – with the mint character adding yet another level to the beverage. And for that, I’m inclined to agree with old Kyle, the beer is good! I look forward to this beer being one of our first offerings.
Mint Chocolate Stout #3?
We may not necessarily need to do a third iteration of this beer. The only possible change is the amount of malt added. Otherwise, as a sweet, chocolaty, minty