Pale Coffee Beer


Racking Big Daddy Barleywine v2 into a Balcones 5 gallon Whiskey barrel

I love coffee.  It’s my second addiction, only slightly trailing brewing beer.  In the years before beer, I can recall a presentation I did at a work-related training workshop.  I’d been absorbing as much from about grinders, pots, super-autos, roasting… completely obsessing over the Aeropress.  I’m certainly not the only brewer to attempt to meld the two together.  Coffee and roast flavors play a large role in many of my favorite beers.  These flavors are typically found in the darker beers: stouts and porters.  The darker roasted malts have a depth of bitterness that needs to be balanced, but can be very enjoyable when positioned with other flavors.

I’ve attempted one previous coffee beer, a somewhat OK clone of Jester King’s Weasel Rodeo, which was a collaboration with Mikkeller.  I even purchased some weasel coffee to infuse the beer.  The result was quite tasty; but lacking in residual maltiness to balance out the strong coffee and bitterness that came from the darker malts and the cold-brewed coffee.

This time around, I’m taking a different approach: brew a base beer that’s not bitter. No dark malt; a pale instead.  I was inspired by this recipe post.  I’ve tweaked it up a bit for my taste and grains.  Having not tasted a pale blonde coffee beer before does mean this is highly experimental, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know.  Let’s see how this comes out:

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
6 gal 60 min 44.3 IBUs 4.8 SRM 1.052 1.012 5.3 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Blonde Ale 6 B 1.038 - 1.054 1.008 - 1.013 15 - 28 3 - 6 2.4 - 2.8 3.8 - 5.5 %


Name Amount %
Vienna Malt (Weyermann) 10 lbs 86.96
White Wheat Malt 1 lbs 8.7
Carapils (Briess) 8 oz 4.35


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Columbus (Tomahawk) 0.49 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 15.3
Simcoe 0.5 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 12.9
Simcoe 0.5 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 12.9


Name Amount Time Use Type
Calcium Chloride 2.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 2.20 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 1.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Whirlfloc Tablet 1.00 Items 15 min Boil Fining
Vanilla Coffee Bean 3.00 oz 3 days Secondary Flavor


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
American Ale (1056) Wyeast Labs 75% 60°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 152°F 60 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


3oz of whole vanilla coffee bean to secondary per 5 gallons 4 days.

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