Homebrew Recipe: Coffee Porter

look on Flickr”>A Pint Don't Cost Twenty DollarsWhen talking about homebrew beer, patient the question of cost often comes up. Isn't it more expensive to make quality beers at home? My answer is always, "It depends." There are lots of variables, depending on how much equipment you want to buy, what you want to make, and what type of beer you typically buy. Beautiful Girlfriend thought it would be interesting to make some comparisons on this subject, and I agree.

When people ask me what they should get as an introductory equipment kit, I recommend something like MoreBeer's basic kit. This is perfect for a few reasons. First, it has everything you need, aside from bottles and a stock pot, to get started making great beer. You likely already own a good stock pot that can hold a couple gallons of liquid, and you can get your buddies to save you their beer bottles – pry-offs, not screw-tops – so there should be no extra expense.

Second, it is pretty cheap. $70 is not a lot of money to spend on getting started in a hobby you may very well find rewarding. This low price also means that you won't be out a lot of money, in the event that it is not something you enjoy doing. If you buy an ingredient kit at the same time, you will be in the hole for about $100 for your first batch. You can certainly buy more equipment than this initial kit has, but you do not need it. You can always add more later if you want to get more advanced. I say keep it simple, at least to start.

I went to the store to price some popular retail beers to do a price comparison. I looked specifically for 12-packs and assumed a 5% sales tax in my calculations. I also assumed that a new homebrewer would buy $100 of equipment and supplies, and then would buy $40 ingredient kits. You can certainly pay much more for ingredients, but you can also pay quite a bit less, so this is a good amount to estimate for. For reference, an ingredient kit comes in a box with all the consumables you need, including bottle caps.

A Pint Don't Cost Twenty Dollars by SimplySchmoopie

health care
on Flickr”>More PorterAndy sent me this homebrew recipe after bringing a coffee porter to our homebrewing club. I lost it for a couple months but just discovered it again, therapist
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 a different coffee. 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 online 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.

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, rinse it with a gallon of water at 160 degrees, and turn up the heat. 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.

More Porter by Christopher Lehault.

31 comments for “Homebrew Recipe: Coffee Porter

  1. Steve Verkaik
    August 12, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I am new to Homebrewing. My daughter recently tried my first attempt and liked it. She asked me to make a coffee porter for her wedding reception in January.
    This looks like it would be a good choice. The recipee looks quite simple, but being new to this I have a few questions. Is a coffee porter carbonated, and if so what do you rec using? This may sound like a stupid question, but like i said, I am new to this and I have never had a coffee porter, let alone made one. Thanks in advance for your response.

    • Carl
      August 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm

      Hi Steve. Good question. I have not included carbonation information in any of the recipes here, and have left it out deliberately because people have different methods of doing this. I force-carbonate everything because I keg my beer. It’s just easier and quicker than way. Since you are new to this, I assume you are bottling your beer.

      Likely in your first batch you made you used 5 ounces of priming sugar. You will do the same thing with the coffee porter. If you want to get technical, a true porter would be less carbonated than an American IPA. American beers tend to have more carbonation in general. If you want, instead of using the full 5 ounces of priming sugar, you can back it off to 3.5 ounces and get something more like what you might get in England.

      It’s up to you, though. If I were you I would use the whole packet of priming sugar. It’s easier that way. If you want to get a sense of the carbonation difference, have a Samuel Adams Lager (or almost any American beer) next to a British brown ale or porter. You will notice a definite difference in carbonation. Whether you go for it or not is up to you. It will taste great no matter how you carbonate it.


  2. Ziesta
    February 13, 2013 at 9:30 pm


    I am also new in Homebrewing and I would like to know if its a 19l recipe. Also, what did you used at the end, corn Sugar?

    • Carl
      February 13, 2013 at 10:46 pm

      Good questions. This is a 19 liter recipe. That is equal to five gallons, approzimately. For carbonation you can use corn sugar. I force carbonate my beer with carbon dioxide, though, which is much quicker.

  3. Richard
    February 25, 2013 at 2:54 pm


    Is that extract dry or liquid?


    • Carl
      February 26, 2013 at 10:22 am

      Hi Richard. Good question. This recipe uses liquid extract.

  4. ziesta
    March 6, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Carl, thanks again for the recipe. I am about to do the dry-hop. What is the best way? Is that to simply siphon the beer to a secondary and add the hops? Thanks!

    • Carl
      March 21, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      Sorry I missed your comment until now. You got it – just siphon it into the secondary and add the hops. Nothing magical about it. I wish I could tell you a special trick, but this is it!

  5. ziesta
    March 21, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    Just tried the recipe and it’s very good, I recommend it to everyone!

  6. April 12, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    Can you also put more beans in the secondary for a stronger coffee taste…..if so how much would you recomend.

    • Carl
      April 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm

      Hi Jason. You sure could add more beans into the secondary. I do not know anything about cold brewing, though, so I can’t tell you how much to add. I would recommend adding more to the boil. The big difference is that cold brewing imparts less acidic coffee flavor than traditional hot brewing, but I do not know if the ratios are the same. Sounds like a good experiment to try!

  7. David Rankin
    October 9, 2013 at 8:51 pm

    Hey Carl, I’m going to give your recipe a go this weekend. How tight are the quantities? For example, I had to order the Amber malt extract in even pound increments and would prefer not to have a fraction of a pound left over. Would adding 7 lbs. change the recipe dramatically? Perhaps bumping up the bittering hops a hair might balance out the additional “maltyness”. What do you think? Any suggestions? Regardless, I’m looking forward to it. I have a White IPA and Hefeweizen on tap right now. Time for the Fall Porters and Stouts!

    • Carl
      October 10, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Good question, David. The reason the amber malt extract is in such a weird weight is because often you see this packaged in kilogram tins. So each can is 2.2 pounds, and for this recipe you would use three of them. You can do two things to accommodate. What I would do is buy seven pounds of extract and take out about half a pound. The other thing you can do is just go with seven or six pounds and adjust the recipe slightly. I would probably not worry about adjusting anything else, to be honest. You can plug all this into BeerSmith if you have that software and see how the final beer changes.

      The malt extract is being increased by 6% when you use seven pound versus 6.6 pounds. Calculating an adjustment based on this seems like a long run for a short slide. Just my take on it. If you want to adjust it, boiling the bittering hops for 60 minutes instead of 45 might do the trick.

      Let us know what you end up doing and how it turns out. Cheers!

      • David Rankin
        October 13, 2013 at 11:52 am

        I just finished up and we are in the primary. What I ended up doing was going with the full 7 lbs of Extract and I bumped the bittering hops to 0.75 oz.. Additionally, I used 5 oz of fresh ground medium roast coffee. I’m counting on the additional bittering hops and coffee to offset the sweetness from the additional Extract. I entered the recipe in my BeerSmith and there wasn’t a ton of difference between your original recipe and my modified version. I ended up with an O.G. of 1.055 (roughly) and think that I’ll be able to get to about 1.012 for the F.G. That should put me at about 5.5% ABV which will make for a nice brew. I’ll let you know how it finishes up. I’m shooting for tapping the keg on Thanksgiving Day. Happy Brewing!

        • Carl
          October 14, 2013 at 6:40 am

          Awesome. Let me know when to be by for beer and turkey!

          • David Rankin
            November 29, 2013 at 11:27 pm

            Everything turned out well. I have a 5.6% Brew that has a big time coffee flavor! This is one that if you like iced coffee would be right in your wheel house. I have found that it’s a great after dinner brew and even did an experiment with vanilla ice cream. Nice adult float! Regardless, thanks for the recipe. I’ll keep this one in the rotation.

          • Carl
            December 1, 2013 at 8:57 am

            David, thanks for the feedback. I like the idea of a beer-ice cream float. Maybe it is time for me to make a keg of this again. Enjoy!

  8. October 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve counted 3 gallons of water used. Do I need to add any water to the fermentor to top up or does the extra bulk come from the 6.6 lbs liquid extract?

    • Carl
      October 14, 2013 at 6:39 am

      Good question. The intent is for you to top up your fermenter to five gallons. You would have a sweet, sticky mess otherwise! Thanks for clarifying!

  9. October 16, 2013 at 9:41 am

    when you throw the grounds in do you use a hop bag or just loose?

    • Carl
      October 16, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      I would throw them in loose. Coffee grounds are probably too fine to stay in a hop bag and will easily settle to the bottom of your fermenter if they get there. You could make a sock from filter paper, possibly, but that sounds like more work than it is worth.

  10. David Rankin
    October 16, 2013 at 4:43 pm

    I have my grounds loose in the fermentor and plan to rack to the secondary after 2 weeks. I plan to pay close attention to the depth of my racking cane so as to leave as much sludge/grounds behind as possible. Once dry hopping and secondary fermenting finish up (about a week later) I plan to rack to a keg. I recently purchased a plate filter and plan to filter any grounds/hops or any other fines prior to drinking the beer. If you don’t have a filter the only way I have been able to “clear up” beer is extended time in the secondary and the use of a coagulant like Irish moss. I’m about 30 batches into this Homebrew hobby and finding hints/tips/tricks through trial and some (very little) error. Hope this helped. Enjoy!

  11. November 29, 2013 at 9:43 pm

    Good lord I like this beer!! This is day 2 of drinking it and I have to say this recipe is a winner. It’s been bottled for three weeks and it’s ready to go. I used about 5 – 5.5 oz of French roast because that’s my favourite coffee type when push comes to shove. This beer is very assertive. I’ve only only brewed one other coffee beer and that beer lacked not only carbonation but was too mellow for my liking. My December is looking up now so thanks for this and I’ll be repeating this recipe many times.

    • Carl
      December 1, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Glad you liked it. I recommend sending me a bottle so I can make sure it came out okay too. 🙂 Enjoy!

  12. Terry
    January 23, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    if I was using Dry Extract would it be 6.5 lbs of Dry extract also..?Terry

    • Carl
      January 26, 2014 at 8:13 am

      Hi Terry. Good question. If using dry malt, the conversion ratio is about 80%, so you would need about 5.3 pounds of dry malt. I would probably measure 5.5 pounds or a little under and go with that.

  13. Alex
    July 2, 2014 at 9:07 pm

    Carl… my brews have been made from kits so far. This is the first time experimenting with grains and such. A couple questions if you don’t mind: 1. Does the 45 and 2 minute marks indicate the addition of Northern Brewer hops at 15 and 58 minutes into the boil? 2. How much yeast should be added to the wort, I’m guessing an amount found in a typical sachet you find in brew kits.
    This sounds like an awesome recipe. I’ve been a stout and porter lover for years.
    Thanks for any info!

    • Carl
      August 31, 2014 at 11:47 am

      Hi Alex. Sorry I missed your comment earlier. Yes, you are right – the 2 min and 45 min designate how long they are in the pot. Spot on.

      The typical sachet of ale yeast would work fine. You can also use a liquid yeast and grow it in an Erlenmeyer flask. That is what I do normally.

      Let me know if you like the beer!

      • February 23, 2015 at 11:14 am

        Hi Carl… boy, I didn’t see your reply. My apologies.
        Thank you for the info, much helpful. I did make the beer and it came out nice except I dry hopped it for too long (7 days) and the hops overpowered the coffee flavor (I’m not a big fan of hoppy beers)
        I’ve decided to give it another go and will start in a day or two. This time I’m planning to dry hop it for a couple of days but will draw a small sample after a day to see where it’s at.
        Will let you know!

        Thanks again.

  14. Joseph
    November 7, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Is this a 5 gallon recipe?

    • Carl
      March 2, 2016 at 1:29 pm

      Yes, it is a five-gallon recipe.

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