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I recently brewed an Imperial Stout with some coffee additions. While I didn't boil the coffee for long (warm steeped 3oz beans and pitched grounds and two cups of brew at flameout), it did lend some unpleasant bitterness to the beer. Unlike hop bitterness, this isn't as pleasing to the tongue. The flavor isn't awful--the beer is still drinkable--but I'm wondering if I should expect it to fade with age. I just completed a 13 day primary, and ended up pretty close to FG. I kegged the beer, and have set it aside to age at 66 degrees (F) for up to a month.

Will the coffee bitterness fade during that time, or should I consign this beer to the "only bring it out after the guests have had a few" shelf?

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I have a similar brew sitting in my basement "waiting" to get better! It was an experiment in brewing with coffee and I added too much "brewed" coffee. The flavour has mellowed slightly over 6-8 months, however that harsh bitter taste still persists. I'm hoping more time might help! Next time I will cold steep only. –  David PGB Nov 7 '12 at 14:00
    
for future batches, add whole beans to secondary 1/4 to 1/2 lb. you get the coffee flavor without the overwhelming acidity –  Jason Meckley Nov 8 '12 at 16:09

2 Answers 2

A friend of mine said he had cold brewed coffee using a french press. This makes it less bitter and you still get a lot of the good coffee flavors [http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2012/05/how-to-cold-brew-coffee.html]. Still will have to adjust the overall amount you add though and keep the balance with the hops. His beer he made this way turned out pretty damn good.

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+1 I did this as well and the results were fantastic. I also recommend a dark roast with low acidity. I used sumatra. –  Dustin Rasener Nov 8 '12 at 2:18
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This is a great idea, but you don't even really need a french press. You can mix the water and the grounds, leave them in the fridge overnight, then pour through a coffee filter. Also once your cold steep coffee extract stuff is done, pull four 2oz samples of the base beer, and add different amounts (usually in tsps.) of the extract. taste them all, then scale. then add .75x that amount to the whole batch (as you can always add more, but can't take it out!) –  Pietro Nov 8 '12 at 15:01

It will mellow some, but not much. I find that when I make a coffee beer recipe I have to do several test batches to get the level of hop bittering correct in order to complement the coffee.

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