Project Barista: Siren’s new coffee-inspired beers for 2018

Drinks: Beers, Drinks

After an initial launch in 2017, Siren’s Project Barista has returned with four new beers, continuing the craft company’s exploration of coffee and beer.

‘We’re huge coffee fans and there has always been a strong link between the worlds of beer and coffee. In fact, our core range Breakfast Stout – Broken Dream – has been using locally roasted coffee since 2013!’ Siren’s Paul Reaney told Imbibe.

‘However, we noticed that coffee tends to be used in the same way, in the same style of beer, quite often – balancing sweetness in porters and stouts. We wanted to take the concept further and see how else we could use coffee beans, with fruitiness, acidity, nuttiness and all the amazing flavours you can pick up.’

The beers

Siren’s first Project Barista expression is Cold Brew, a 5% cold-steeped schwarzbier. This dry and light brew has had all its dark grains cold steeped overnight to develop coffee and chocolate notes without the oft-associated burnt and bitter flavours. Amarillo and Ekuanot hops bring some fruitiness to the lager with Climpson & Sons Brazilian coffee coming through with fudge and caramel notes.

The big hitter of Project Barista, at 9.5% abv, is Breakfast Shake, an imperial wheat being described by the brand as a dunkel weiss-imperial stout hybrid. Using German wheat beer yeast to bring in banana notes, Siren adds to this 13 different malts to drive rich coffee and chocolate flavours. Cacao husks and cacao nibs further these chocolatey associations. Climpson & Son’s Brazil espresso then adds a real nuttiness to the beer.

Bringing back a brew from last year, but with some moderations, the 6.2% CapHeine Sour is making its second appearance. Siren has taken out the raspberries for its 2018 edition to allow the hibiscus- and berry-led coffee to shine and have kettle soured the beer to a pH of around 3.5 before the boil, with further acidity coming from the coffee post-fermentation. Described as the least obvious coffee beer of the series, this sour beer comes through with bold berry and floral flavours.

The final beer is Siren’s Affogato – a 6% coffee and ice cream ale. The base beer is fermented to leave a touch of residual sugar and then loaded up with lactose to create an icecream-like body and perception of sweetness. Vanilla and Cypress wood are added for flavouring, as well as complexity, to balance the brew.

‘All this works with the coffee to create a unique, style-defying drink that we hope will fascinate and delight,’ Reaney said.

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