Finding new and unique tasting craft beer isn’t too hard. There seems to be something new every day. But have you considered creating your own unique beer flavors at home? Here’s how to use a french press to add flavor to craft beer.
It sounds complicated but with the use of a french press, you can be exploring new flavors in no time at all.
First things first, you’ll need a french press. You can get one on Amazon here.
Most are 32oz and will cost $15 and up depending on features, quality, etc. The low cost ones should be fine for what we are doing.
Understanding The French Press
It is typically made from a large glass beaker and a lid with a plunger. The plunger has a filter on the bottom of it.
The concept is simple. Coarse coffee grounds are placed in the bottom of the french press. Hot water is added. After a few minutes, the plunger is pressed down to hold the coffee grounds in place while the coffee is poured.
The french press is simple and very effective at making really good coffee. But we are here to talk beer so let’s get to that part.
Why You Would Want To Use A French Press To Add Flavor To Craft Beer
Craft beer is good. Ok, it’s really good. But what compels most of us to continue to try new beer is the idea that it could be better.
And that “better craft beer” is somewhere out there. So we search, trade, wait in lines and age beer in hopes of tasting the best.
Using a french press to add flavor to craft beer is the same concept. While the stout you are drinking might be delicious, would it be better with coffee or coconut added?
The french press allows you to make any flavor combination that you want. You can use the french press to make an orange, vanilla and maple syrup stout or a jalapeno banana pale ale. The options are endless.
It is the easiest way to create a new and unique tasting beer.
How To Use A French Press To Add Flavor To Craft Beer
Let’s get into the details of actually making your own infused beer with a french press.
Here’s what you are going to need and/or have access to:
- French Press – You can pick up a french press on Amazon.
- Craft Beer – Any style but I recommend stouts.
- Adjuncts (aka ingredients) – More on this later
- Refrigerator – You’ll need to keep it cold.
The process is really straight forward, the fun comes in learning how much of each ingredient to use and what pairs well.
- Pour 1/2 to 3/4 of the beer into the french press; refrigerate the rest for later.
- Add in the ingredients – as much or as little as you want.
- Place top on the french press but do not depress the plunger yet.
- Put it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove and press plunger down then return to the refrigerator for at least another 30 minutes.
- Pour the infused beer into a glass and take a sip. Depending on the flavor, you may want to add some of the base beer you saved at the beginning.
Since the beer is sitting out, it will lose nearly all of the carbonation. For this reason, dark beers do best with this.
If you want to use an IPA, blonde ale or other lighter beer, you can always dramatically shorten the infusion time to just a a few minutes. It will infuse less of the flavors but will also prevent the beer from going flat.
Ideas To Try
There’s an endless list of possible adjuncts you could use but here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing.
Dark Colored Beers – Stouts, Porters, Brown Ales, Etc
Light Colored Beers – IPAs, Pale Ales, Blonde Ales, Lagers, Etc
The options are nearly endless; make sure to comment below and let me know what you’ve tried.
My Experience Using A French Press
I’ve wanted to try this for a while and I finally tried it after I was selected as one of the participants in a firkin event at Streetside Brewery. For this event, I got to pick adjuncts to add to an Imperial Stout called Demogorgon – a Stranger Things reference. They even called it “A Day In The Upside Down”.
I love the Stranger Things series and wanted to make a Chief Hopper inspired beer which caused me to add donuts and coffee. And it was amazing; the donut sweetness really came through and created a “donut dipped in coffee” flavor.
After the event, I wanted to re-create this at home. So the next day I picked up some Little Debbie mini-glazed cake donuts and some New Holland The Poet – an oatmeal stout.
My wife had made some coffee in the french press so I used those coffee grounds and added crumbled donuts to it. I poured in a little more than half of the beer and then placed it in the refrigerator for about an hour. About halfway through, I depressed the plunger.
It doesn’t look too appealing in the french press but believe me, it does the job.
I poured the infused beer into a glass and loved the way it tasted. It took on a ton of the donut sweetness and it had a strong coffee finish. I liked it enough that I did not mix in any of the beer that was left in the bottle.
Instead, I poured that beer into the french press and made another batch.
This experiment was a huge success and I look forward to future opportunities to use a french press to add flavor to craft beer.
Related Article: Craft Beer Brewed With Donuts
Craft beer truly is an endless world full of unique flavors and styles. This is even more true when you consider how you can use a french press to add flavor to craft beer.
You can make any kind of beer you want – maybe a gummy bear saison or a cayenne lager.
Only your imagination can limit the flavors that you’ll be able to create. I’d love to know what creations you plan on trying.