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Brew day at Cervesera Alcoiana aka Spigha

I met Pau - the brewer at Cervesera Alcoiana - while gypsy brewing at a craft brewery not far from where he brews. Pau is partners with Toni, operating Cervesera Alcoiana and brewing the house brand Cervesa Spigha as well as a few contract beers. What impressed me about Pau was his passion for making good beer, and his voracious appetite for reading anything he can find about brewing.

So when I knew I was returning to Spain, I contacted Pau and asked if he would like to collaborate. Pau and Toni said "Let's do it." so we started talking about what specialty beer would express something about the brewery, and the region wherein it lies. The town of Alcoy in Spain is know for producing a coffee liquor called Licor de Café. We decided a Robust Porter with a Spanish coffee blend was the beer to make.

I pulled together a recipe and brewed a pilot batch. The challenge was getting both a medium roast bean from Spain that they call "Café Natural", and a special process roasted bean called "Café Torrefaco". Torrefacto is coffee beans roasted with an addition of sugar that deeply caramelizes and coats the beans in shiny blackness. The process adds a character similar to the torched sugar on the top of crème brûlée. And I wanted a touch of that character in this beer. And the pilot batch was frankly fantastic.

So with a couple tweaks to make it even better, and scale up to the volume brewed at Spigha, I sent the recipe off with enough time for them to pull the ingredients together before brew day.

There's a few people to thank for getting this beer done right in addition to Pau and Toni. First, my friend Manu Pérez Sánchez from Valencia Spain who drove us out to Alcoy (about 90 minutes from Valencia). Jackz Maertens of Illuminati Brewery (a German trained brewer) for coming along and for his assistance at the brewery. And also Mitch Steele head brewer from Stone Brewing Co. for his tips on using coffee in a big dark beer.

Ok, enough chit-chat. On to the photos.

¡Salud!
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=BCT=

Setting up the beer office at Spigha.
Setting up the beer office at Spigha.
Pau puts together the grain bill for the Coffee Porter at Spigha.
Pau puts together the grain bill for the Coffee Porter at Spigha.
Pau demonstrates dough in.
Pau demonstrates dough in.
Manu at the mash tun with me at Spigha.
Manu at the mash tun with me at Spigha.
Temperature check.
Temperature check.
Jackz and me pretending to be productive.
Jackz and me pretending to be productive.
The black grains are cold steeped for the coffee Porter at Spigha.
The black grains are cold steeped for the coffee Porter at Spigha.
Black grains waiting for vorlauf for the coffee Porter at Spigha.
Black grains waiting for vorlauf for the coffee Porter at Spigha.
Cold steeping black grains, like the surface of the moon.
Cold steeping black grains, like the surface of the moon.
Black grains added at the end of the mash.
Black grains added at the end of the mash.
Brown sugar for the kettle, proper for an old school Porter.
Brown sugar for the kettle, proper for an old school Porter.
The coffee, a blend of torrefacto and beans roasted by a local producer of Café Licor de Alcoy.
The coffee, a blend of torrefacto and beans roasted by a local producer of Café Licor de Alcoy.
Coffee beans in the grain mill.
Coffee beans in the grain mill.
Coarse ground coffee rafts in the kettle before whirlpool.
Coarse ground coffee rafts in the kettle before whirlpool.
It is Cerveza Artisanal, even the whirlpool is made by hand.
It is Cerveza Artisanal, even the whirlpool is made by hand.
Fancy food safe shovel is the oar for the whirlpool.
Fancy food safe shovel is the oar for the whirlpool.
Pau pumps the Coffee Porter to the fermenter at Spigha.
Pau pumps the Coffee Porter to the fermenter at Spigha.
A small sample before fermentation.
A small sample before fermentation.
Jackz inspects the wort and the co-brewer simultaneously.
Jackz inspects the wort and the co-brewer simultaneously, demonstrating German efficiency.
Even though trained in the land of Reinheitsgebot, Jackz approves of this unconventional wort.
Even though trained in the land of Reinheitsgebot, Jackz approves of this unconventional wort.
I leave 1200 liters of delicious Robust Coffee Porter for Pau to care for.
I leave 1200 liters of delicious Robust Coffee Porter for Pau to care for.

 

BCT-88