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.