Coffee Imperial IPA? Espresso ESB? Who cares when it tastes this good

For those of you who read Leeds foodie blogs such as Leeds Grub and Northern Food you may well have heard of Leeds newest independent coffee house, Laynes Espresso.

Located on New Station Street near, you guessed it, the train station, Laynes has been getting a lot of praise and having visited quite a few times I can happily heap some more on myself, it’s wonderful. Fantastically tasty, single estate espresso (meaning they get the beans from different places throughout the year, depending on where is in season) served with thorough knowledge and friendly service. It’s even pretty reasonably priced and the cakes are awesome too. It’s my favourite place for coffee in Leeds.

Well, it seems the chaps next door at
The Brewery Tap have also caught a whiff of Laynes’ impressive dark roast and as such invited them to brew a coffee beer at their micro brewery upstairs. The result is the ‘7.7% Laynes Imperial’ now on sale in The Brewery Tap on cask - a beer that when I heard the name I expected to be a coffee imperial stout, but which is actually much harder to classify.

The first thing that gives the game away is the colour; a kind of toffee orange with a hint of red, which pours with a tight off white head. On the nose there's sweet toffee malt and very little hop, a background hint of coffee but nothing too in-your-face at this point.

In the taste you get American IPA sweetness alongside that classic Leeds Brewery malt toffee character - It's so distinct and perhaps comes from a combination of their house yeast and similar malt use across their range. After the initial malt the coffee comes through and you get a fruity, almost citrussy, espresso flavour from the La Pira beans which combine perfectly with the orangey dryness of the Amarillo and Cascade hops, and an aftertaste of dry coffee and bitter/sweet marmalade.

As it warms you get a bit more alcohol in the aroma but the taste remains smooth and balanced. They've judged the coffee flavour perfectly, it's clear but doesn't overpower and the whole thing comes together nicely. If I had one small criticism it would be that it's ever so slightly thin in the body. But mouthfeel comes second to taste and aroma, which the beer isn't lacking either of.

Reading the press release regarding the launch of the beer reveals some interesting info about the brewing process, and how these wonderful flavours were achieved:

“Laynes Imperial was made like any other all-grain, whole-hop beer. Only the coffee was added between the wort boiling stage and wort cooling stage, pre-fermentation. The week we brewed it, Dave Laynes had been experimenting with fine-tuning the espresso temperature that he uses for this particular variety of coffee. He was trying to emphasise that tangy quality that you get down the sides of your tongue when you drink espresso. He decided to settle on a temperature around 92 degrees centigrade. So, after the hops had been boiled into the wort, we allowed it to cool to exactly 92 degrees. At this point, we submerged fresh coffee into the wort. For this, Dave and Carl had made the decision to use a very coarse grind. And at Laynes they use their coffee within minutes of grinding it, or not at all. This principal was of course extended to the beer.

We wrapped the coffee in muslin, making sure there was none stuck to the outside of the bags. This was so we could remove the coffee after exactly 5mins, and none would remain inside to impart a harsh bitterness”


I can attest to the fact there isn’t a coffee bitterness present, it’s really quite fruity and combined with the hops used the fresh espresso flavour really helps to create a fantastic beer. If I had to pigeon hole Laynes Imperial I suppose I’d swing between a coffee IPA and a sort of Espresso ESB, but if I'm honest it's neither, it's not really within any one style but is no the worse for it. It's just a great beer.

To tell the truth Laynes Imperial is possibly the best beer Leeds Brewery have produced and one which is crying out to be bottled - it's one which would be perfect for the beer geeks but which is unlikely to leave Leeds - in fact it'll probably only ever be available in this pub. Which is a bloody crying shame.


For more information about the beer and how it was brewed you can see the press release here:
http://laynesespresso.tumblr.com/post/8471886597/laynes-imperial

2 comments:

  1. Great write up- describes it perfectly!

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  2. Cheers Katie!

    It's a great beer. The Microbrewery plant seems to give them the freedom to produce more off the wall beers than they would at the big brewery, which im told is running at full capacity to keep up with orders of their three core beers.

    Ddi you go over and try it after being at Mr Foleys? I was a bit squiffy by the time I left!

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