Earlier this year we told you about our local Lubenham-based joinery friend and home-brewer Martin Clarke who began to make 'coffee infused stout' with our single origin Sumatran coffee beans in his Grainfather brewer.
Well, Martin has just won 1st prize for his Coffee Stout in the Stout section of the Anglian Craft Brewers 2023 Home Brewers Competition! And also got an honourable mention in the whole competition! That’s out of 120 entries.
The competition was judged by the Beer Judge Certification Programme who support the home-brewing community. You can actually apply to be a ‘Beer Judge’ with the BJCP! Not bad work if you can get it!
What is stout?
Guinness is stout so we are maybe more familiar with it that we think ;) Stout is a type of beer that's typically dark, rich, and robust in flavour. It originated in England and is known for its dark colour, often derived from roasted malt or barley. Stouts can have a variety of flavours, including coffee, chocolate, caramel, and sometimes even hints of fruitiness or smokiness. They tend to have a creamy texture due to the use of unmalted roasted barley, which also contributes to their distinctive taste. Stouts come in different varieties, such as dry stout (like Guinness), oatmeal stout, milk stout, and imperial stout, each with its own unique characteristics.
Stout is brewed using water, malted barley (often roasted or kilned to achieve its dark colour and distinct flavours), hops (for bitterness and aroma), and yeast (to ferment the sugars into alcohol). Part way through the brewing process Martin adds whole coffee beans in a cheesecloth bag - it's mesh-like structure allows the flavours out but keeps the beans in.
Coffee and stout make a fantastic pairing due to their complementary flavours and characteristics. Stout, particularly the rich, dark varieties, often contains roasted malts that impart flavours like chocolate, caramel, and coffee. When coffee is added to stout, it enhances and deepens these existing roasted notes, creating a harmonious blend of flavours.
The bitterness of coffee can also balance the sweetness of the malt in stout, adding complexity to the overall taste profile. The natural acidity in coffee can help cut through the beer's richness, providing a pleasant contrast.
Moreover, both coffee and stout can have bold, robust profiles, making them a natural fit for one another. The combination allows for a merging of flavours that enthusiasts of both beverages tend to appreciate. Overall, the roasted, bitter, and sometimes chocolatey notes of coffee align perfectly with the characteristics of stout, creating a delightful and complex drink.