I recently tried a "White Stout" at Track 7 brewery in Sacramento, CA. It completely hit me off guard when I saw the color of it and tasted coffee and chocolate.

Trying to replicate, my brother and a couple friends just brewed a batch of what is now a pale "stout".

Current plans are to pull the yeast off about 7-10 days in and add vodka soaked cacao nibs, leaving them for the remainder of fermentation.

About 24 hours before racking to kegs, we plan on adding whole coffee beans to the fermenter. Idea being that the whole beans will provide the coffee flavor without imparting too much color.

Has anyone experimented with adding coffee and/or chocolate flavor without imparting too much color?

  • FreeWill Brewing in Perkasie, Pa have a Pale stout that is one of my favorites. As far as I know, no coffee or chocolate is used in the making.
    – uSlackr
    Feb 28, 2015 at 14:57

4 Answers 4


This peaked my interest awhile back, there are a lot of articles of big breweries doing this Unicorn of brewing.

From what I've found it's really expensive to do right (without chemical color stripping).

My research lead me to an experiment for extracting coffee flavor but not color. The trick is to basically rinse off the oils from ground coffee (espresso fine grind) using ice water. I did this with a French press using 7.0 pH RO water. The result was clear coffee flavored water. After a successful sample, I left the press over night to see the effects. In the morning it was SRM 20. So.... Cold rinse good, steeping up to room temp bad.

My estimate was it would take several pounds of coffee. As far as application I would do it with the finished cold uncarbonated beer, Randal style.

I suspect coco nibs would behave in a similar way, if racked on them they will leach color too.

Hope this helps.

  • I ended up putting whole beans in the fermenter as I was cold crashing. It provided a ton of coffee flavor without adding any (or any noticeable) color.
    – brendo234
    Mar 9, 2016 at 0:18

This is a tough question because most of the easy answers will earn flames from the purists.

It can easily be argued that a beer that gets its flavor from vodka extracted augments is really just a cocktail that happens to use beer as its base liqour.

Still, if you don't mind creating the wine-cooler of beers, I'll try to help you get where you wanna go. I think you are on the right path using vodka extraction to seperate the flavor and aromatic compounds from the color contributing parts, but I'm not sure you will want to add anything but the tainted vodka to your brew. The nibs and beans themselves might still share color even after most of their flavor is in the vodka.

You might also try boiling off the extracting alcohol to strengthen the flavor of your extract and get rid of some of the harsh alcohol. That way you can add less of it during secondary fermentation, minimizing its affect on the final color.

You might also try letting your extracts sit still long enough for the different compounds to seperate out into layers; then extract each with a pipette and do some taste testing. You may get lucky and find that flavors you want are in a layer that is relatively free of color.

Why aren't you also vodka extracting the coffee? Seems to me that ground coffee infused into vodka would yeild a poor man's kahlua which again might be settle out into layers when left alone. Again, with a little luck, you could find a fairly clear layer that is strong in the coffee taste that you are looking for.

Keep in mind that all of this is advice is pure conjecture. I have never tried any of this in my brewing. I take tremendous pride in the flavors I craft into my home brew. Artificial flavorings and extracts have always been an option, and have sometimes been a very tempting option when a recipe fails; but so far, I've managed to avoid these questionable practices and still produced more than a few mighty fine tasting brews.


I hope this is not too self serving, but check out the white stout recipe is in the book "Experimental Homebrewing".

  • Where on your site is the white stout recipe? Feb 27, 2015 at 19:15
  • 1
    It's not on the site. It's in the book.
    – Denny Conn
    Feb 27, 2015 at 20:35

Henry Taylor I dont think you understand the process of steeping the cocoa nibs in vodka. You are only using enough vodka to soak them, so we are only talking a few oz at most. 3oz vodka diluted in 5gal+ wort is about a <.5% addition. Good luck trying to boil that mess haha.

Soaking the nibs in vodka insures they will be sanitized since they will be added at high krausen or soon after. The whole coffee beans are added late and only 24hr before racking to the keg and that isnt enough time for infection to take over.

By no means are those additions artificial or extracts. They are very much ingredients as is corriander, honey, lemon peel ect. you get my drift. So chill out before you do some childish rambling of nonsense and bite your tongue.


  • 2
    Mitch, this would be better as a comment to Mr. Taylor's answer, fwiw. Also, please watch the non-constructive commentary in the future.
    – jsled
    Sep 29, 2015 at 15:02
  • I thought me opening my reply with "Henry Taylor" would be toward his answer. Imho I felt he was leading the op in the wrong direction with negative influence and condescending. On a side note, I was google searching white stout recipes and came across this site and I felt so compelled to answer the way I did that I had joined so I could have an account to reply with. Sep 29, 2015 at 20:50
  • StackOverflow definitely distinguishes between an Answer (to the original question) and a Comment (either to the Question or to an Answer). Just something to keep in mind for the future, and I hope you stick around and contribute!
    – jsled
    Sep 29, 2015 at 21:13
  • The question itself is not a question but a call for comments. Nov 28, 2015 at 17:19

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