I know that there are a bunch of different, hotly debated opinions on how/when to add coffee to beers. I'm much too new to be a loyalist, but I am confused: I'm brewing a Russian Imperial Stout based on this one, and want to add coffee, as the recipe suggests. The recipe is confusing, however: the coffee addition is listed as 1lb, but in the brewing notes, the author mentions that s/he "french pressed and allowed to cool to room temp in press".


When a recipe calls for an addition of coffee in pounds, during the boil, do I add

  1. That weight of coffee grounds (seems like too much coffee)?
  2. That weight of brewed coffee liquid, without grounds?
  3. Brewed coffee with the grounds still swimming in it?

This is probably one of those "people mean different things on different recipes" situations, but I'm just after a general-case answer.


  • The amount of coffee you use will denote how strong the coffee taste is when your beer is finished. using one pound of coffee will yield a much stronger coffee taste than using half of a pound. – BryceH Dec 21 '12 at 20:04

You are correct in that there is some ambiguity in that recipe, but it's not where you think it is. Here's the lines from the recipe that concern me:

  1. "Coffee was Kona coarse ground beans french pressed and allowed to cool to room temp in press. "
  2. "boil 10 min 1lb Coffee"

I would take line 1 at face value: take 1lb of Kona coffee (coarse ground), French Press it (volume of water to use is not listed, use your judgement), and allow it to cool down in the press before pouring it off.

Line 2 could mean 1 of 2 things: (a) pour the cooled coffee from the press into the boil for the final 10min, or (b) pour the coffee in at flameout, and the "10 min" part just means it was in the press for 10 minutes while cooling.

The recipe READS like its option (a), but I suspect the author meant option (b). This is because a lot of advice on brewing with coffee says "don't boil it, ever." You could even pour it directly into the fermentor after primary is over.

You never see liquid quantities expressed in weight in brewing, always volume. So "1lb coffee" would never mean "1 pound of liquid coffee" it would mean, "1lb of ground coffee, brewed into liquid, strained" (unless they SPECIFICALLY told you to leave the grounds in).

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  • Dear god that is a lot of coffee for a 5gal batch....welp, here goes! – Zac B Oct 22 '12 at 14:45
  • i made a coffee stout before with 1lb of coffee and yes you don't need nearly that much (lesson learned). 1/4 - 1/2 lb is plenty. I used whole bean in secondary for 2 weeks and it came out great. – Jason Meckley Oct 22 '12 at 19:51

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