New Brew News - Cold Brew Mills & Hills

By Iain Smith

How does an award-winning imperial stout brewed in collaboration with Brouwerij De Molen, infused it with a gourmet coffee blend from award-winning Scottish roastery, Artisan Roast, sound to you?

Say hello to Cold Brew Mills & Hills – coming next week in keg and bottle.

We love Mills & Hills, it has a special place in the hearts of everyone at the brewery - being brewed with our good friends from The Netherlands, being the first beer brewed on 40BBL brew kit and frankly, being delicious. This year we wanted to do something new with Mills & Hills – to play with the recipe and introduce a new dimension of flavour – coffee.

We immediately thought of approaching Edinburgh-based roastery, Artisan Roast to see if they’d be up for working together – their coffee is some of the most interesting and exciting in Scotland - and we were delighted that they were keen to team up.

We spent an afternoon with Piotr Kozuch, the man in charge of getting the amazing flavours out of Artisan Roast’s ethically-sourced beans, where we were introduced to the process of cupping (formal coffee tasting). We sampled five different single-origin coffees and blends alongside bottles of Mills & Hills before settling on Trigonometry, a blend designed by Piotr specifically for cold brewing.

The cold-brew process involves steeping coffee in cold water over a long period, usually a minimum of 24 hours. Compared to brewing using hot water, less oils, fatty acids and caffeine is extracted from the beans by water at colder temperatures, meaning the resulting brew is far more mellow than traditional brewing methods.

Having previously used espresso during the brew process and experimenting in the brewery, we were confident that cold-infusion would be the best method to get smooth, complimentary flavours into Mills & Hills and Trigonometry’s flavour profile was exactly what we were looking for. The coffee has a lovely red-berry and biscuity character, which balances nicely against the sweet dried-fruit and molasses flavours of the base beer.

“Given the amount we get through in the brewery, coffee is a flavour we’re all very familiar with and enjoy,” explained Malcolm Downie, Fyne Ales head brewer. “The flavours in Artisan Roast’s coffees are outstanding, and I was delighted when they were up for working together. Their Trigonometry and our Mills & Hills – it just works incredibly well.”

The next stage was to run trials with Trigonometry and the freshly-fermented Mills & Hills. Drawing beer straight from the tank, we cold-infused three sample bottles - one with finely crushed, one with coarsely smashed and one with whole beans, tasting at intervals to determine how flavours were progressing. The outcome was opting for a full week of cold-infusion using whole beans, which we felt offered the most nuanced, soft and rounded flavours.

“Scotland is making a reputation for high quality coffee and ales," added Artisan Roast's Gustavo Pardo. "It was a great experience working with Fyne Ales to combine both in one delicious product!"

The beer has now found its way into bottles and a limited number of kegs, which you can expect to see out and about from this weekend – including at Craft Beer Revolution in Edinburgh from 23 November!