Specialty Coffee Beer

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Specialty Coffee Beer is a catch-all term for any beer brewed with coffee other than Coffee Stout, which is popular enough to be considered a separate style. While technically any kind of beer can be brewed with coffee, darker beers such as Porter and Belgian Dark Strong Ale are the most common base beers.

Brewing with Coffee

There are a number of ways to introduce coffee flavors into beer, including:

  • Adding whole beans or grounds into the mash, boil, or fermenter
  • Adding brewed coffee to the fermenter

Competition Styles

The BJCP considers coffee beers as a subset of Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer and does not contain a more specific guideline. The GABF style guidelines recognize one coffee-based style guidelines for all coffee-based beers, including Coffee Stout.

GABF Style Listings

Coffee Flavored Beer

6. Coffee Flavored Beer
GABF Style Listing (2007)
Coffee beers use coffee in any of its forms other than or in addition to hops to create a distinct (ranging from subtle to intense) character. Underhopping allows coffee to contribute to the flavor profile while not becoming excessively bitter. The brewer should list the classic or experimental style of the base beer, to allow for accurate judging. Beer entries not accompanied by this information may be at a disadvantage during judging.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.030-1.110 (7.5-27.5 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.006-1.030 (1.5-7.5 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 2-9.5% (2.5-12%)
Bitterness (IBU): 15-40
Color SRM (EBC): 15-50 (10-100 EBC)