Winter is well on its way to Australian shores. Lucky for punters across the country, our latest limited release, Island Life, is a winter jacket in beer form. This Coffee and Coconut Stout is infused with single origin, dark roasted Sumatran coffee beans from our mates at St. Dreux Coffee Roasters. Caramel and cacao notes are perfectly balanced by the freshness of tropical coconut. Add in the dark toffee flavours from the muscovado sugar and you have one helluva winter warmer.
Grab a few tinnies of Island Life in bottle-os and venues across Australia from Friday, 14 May. If you're desperate for a taste, Head Brewer Shaun Blissett is here to make you even more impatient.
What made you decide to kick-off dark beer season with a coffee stout?
“There’s something to be said about a nice stout as we head into winter. I love coffee and so am, of course, also a big fan of coffee stouts. Trying out different methods of getting coffee flavour into beer is super interesting to me. At Wayward, we’ve worked with everyone from Campos and Toby’s Estate to North Wollongong’s Delano Specialty Coffee. Everyone has a different opinion on the best way to integrate coffee into beer, and with each collab we’ve tried something new — including dry hopping with coffee, cold infusions and slow drips.
For Island Life, I wanted to try something different altogether. This time around, we integrated an espresso flavour into the brew. Espresso is brewed hot and quick, and so extracts the true flavour out of the beans. Since the Wayward brewhouse is equipped with a unique cold whirlpool, we can actually adjust the temperature to extract the exact coffee flavour that suits our beans of choice."
How did you choose the ideal beans for this brew?
"My mate Jaydon at St. Dreux in the Sydney CBD hooked us up with these amazing beans grown in Sumatra. I gave Jaydon some words off the ‘flavour wheel’ in terms of what I wanted to achieve in the beer: chocolate, dark roast, non-acidic and deep burnt caramel. The St. Dreux team did some roast trials, from super light to super dark, and perfectly achieved those flavours.
It's important to remember that, when making a coffee stout, we don’t want it to taste like we just dumped a bunch of coffee into a dark beer. The flavours should be integrated to make it a really delicious and well-balanced brew. We want the coffee to complement or enhance the stout, not to create a whole other set of flavours on top of it. So choosing the correct beans that will balance out the brew is a very delicate process."
How did the coconut come in?
"The coconut is all part of that balance, too. To counteract the heaviness of the coffee, we worked with our flavour consultant (who works with us on our W Seltzer flavours) to choose a taste that would complement the coffee. We decided on fresh coconut, which rounds out the chocolate and balances the toasty notes of the coffee. Using the natural coconut extract as opposed to coconut flesh also helped us ensure the beer stays nice and creamy, since fresh coconut can affect head retention in the beer."
What else is special about this brew?
“Since it’s a 7% ABV beer, we wanted to lighten it a bit on the palate, so we used muscovado sugar — it contains natural molasses so you get those dark toffee notes that pair really well with a stout. It’s just another layer of integration between the raw ingredient and the finished product.
We also used my favourite malt in the whole world: DRC (Double Roasted Crystal). We use it in most of our dark beers. It has the ability to create that gorgeous dark colour but without the bitterness; instead, it offers a sweet, smooth crystal malt flavour. In case you were wondering, my second favourite malt is English Caramalt."
Why is this tropical stout perfect for winter?
Stouts are obviously synonymous with winter, and high ABV dark beers are always good for these cooler evenings ahead. At 7%, it'll act as a beer blanket, warming you from the inside out. At the same time, the coconut offers those tropical feels, and goes really well with the chocolate flavours in the stout. We could all use a holiday in Hawaii right now, but since that’s not an option, at least we can drink this beer while we wait."