BJRR Golden Sour with Coffee

>> Saturday, March 25, 2017

There's a lot of NHC judging happening this weekend. As usual, I sent a few entries off including the Bourbon Barrel-aged Imperial Stout that I brewed with several friends last year. It's a big tasty beer and hopefully we'll see some good scores when it gets judged. That was the first beer that we ran through the Sugar House Distillery Bourbon barrel and right now it's housing an Imperial Porter we brewed last year based on Lost Abbey's La Cruda. "We" are Brandon, Jeff, Ryan, and Rob, thus these are the BJRR series of barrel beers. The first two beers were clean beers, but our little collaboration group was anxious to do something a little more wild.

Ryan texted me a while back when he was still living in Denver about a sour coffee beer from Black Project. He said it was an amazing beer and I needed to look into brewing a sour coffee beer myself. To be honest, I thought it sounded horrible, but he swore it was worth looking into. My concerns were whether the coffee character would clash with the acidity produced by the lactic acid bacteria. I started doing a little research and stumbled across a New Belgium blog post about their sour beer with coffee, Oscar Worthy Coffee. Reading through this post definitely peaked my interest. Not long after that, I got my hands on a couple bottles of Derde Golf, a sour beer with coffee from The Bruery. I really enjoyed this beer and it opened my eyes as to how coffee and acidity from lactic acid bacteria can work together to make an incredibly complex sour. Lastly, I picked up a bottle of Libertine's Coffeetine earlier this year. I opened this bottle a few weeks back and it pretty much sealed the deal for me. So the beer we're brewing today is based on Libertine's Coffeetine.

I did a little research and found out that Libertine uses their golden ale for the base. A little more research turned up a recipe for their golden ale on which the following recipe is based. A couple things I changed, German pilsner instead of Belgian, and I sub'd half the wheat malt for spelt malt, an heirloom variety of wheat. Another change is the use of aged hops; this keeps the lactobacillus happy by keeping the IBUs low (theoretically close to 0.0). We'll be mashing high and use a lower attenuating yeast for primary. This will help ensure long term food supply for the brett and bugs. Then it'll go into the barrel along with some Roeselare for aging. When ready, we'll dry bean with a yet to be determined variety of coffee.

We'll be brewing 15 gallons total. The following recipe is for 5 gallons, or 1/3 of our total batch.

7.0 # Avangard German Pilsner
1.75 # White Wheat Malt
1.75 # Spelt Malt
0.5 # Flaked Rye
0.5 # Flaked Oats
28g Aged Hops (60 min)
Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
White Labs WLP002 (Primary)
Wyeast Roeselare (Secondary in the barrel)

Mash at 158F for 60 min, 90 min boil, ferment at room temp.

Water Profile
Nothing fancy here, we're cutting carbon filtered tap water with RO/distilled at a rate of 1 gallon RO to 4.5 gallons tap water.

Update 11/17/2018
This beer was transferred out of the barrel and into a sanke keg for dry beaning on some custom roasted Brazilian coffee, roasted by Jeff. We're going to add the coffee after Thanksgiving, then let it go for ~2 days, then tasting daily until we get the profile we're after. The base beer coming out of the barrel was great and should serve as a great blank slate for the coffee.

I noticed I forgot to mention when this beer went in the barrel; it was April of 2017.

Update 11/25/2018
Beans added this morning!

Update 12/1/2018
This beer was kegged this morning. Aroma is very nice, lots of coffee. Flavor seems a little more subtle. The coffee seems to have softened the soreness a bit. I haven't taken a final pH reading on this beer yet. It's definitely sour, but it's not the most sour beer I've made.