Chief Hopper’s Coffee Dark Mild Homebrew Recipe



Chief Hopper’s Coffee Dark Mild
from Chop & Brew | Episode 73

The main inspiration for this beer was brewing something to drink during my viewing of Stranger Things 2. I wanted something thematically appropriate. I built this recipe in tribute to David Harbour’s character of Chief Hopper. In the first season of Stranger Things, Chief Hopper is a sort of dark, moody, yet very mild-mannered dude who insists on time in the morning for “coffee and contemplation.” So a dark mild with coffee seemed to fit the situation.

For recipe inspiration, I started – as many of us often do – by turning to Jamil Zainasheff’s Brewing Classic Styles, and the recipe for Through a Mild Darkly, his example of a mild style category. I first changed it up with the use of Simpsons DRC, which lends a sort of raisin-y, dark fruit flavor (think Special B). The more prominent riff on the recipe is that used coffee in the recipe. Actually, I used coffee twice – once in the mash, and again in the whirlpool. I used Peace Coffee’s Birchwood Breakfast Blend, but you could use any medium-to-dark roast coffee that you’d like.

Jamil’s recipe targets OG: 1.036 and FG: 1.011. With this beer, I ended up with a way-high OG of 1.048 – which seems to be a consistent issue with my system, obviously something to work on – and diluted with water to about OG: 1.044. I would’ve like it lower, but I didn’t want to affect the bitterness and coffee components by watering it down too much.

I’m not saying it’s the smartest decision, but the beer is small enough beer that it can be enjoyed in the morning along with Eggos, coffee, and a bit of contemplation. On a weekend morning, of course.

Chief Hopper’s Coffee Dark Mild

OG: 1.044 | FG: 1.012 | ABV: 4.2% | IBU: 20



  • 7 lbs Simpsons Best Pale Ale Malt
  • 9 oz Simpsons DRC™
  • 4 oz William Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt
  • 2 oz Simpsons Black Malt


  • 1 ounce UK Kent Goldings (4.6% aa) @ 60 minutes


  • One package Fermentis Safale S-04


  • 1/2 lb (mash) + 2 oz (whirlpool) coarse ground coffee


Mash grains and 1/2 pound of coffee into strike water to achieve 154F mash temperature. Let rest for one hour. Sparge to collect enough wort for 5.5 gallons of post-boil beer.

Boil wort, adding one charge of bittering hops at 60 minutes.

At flame-out, whirlpool to bring wort temperature down to about 180F. Place 2 oz ground coffee in muslin or other fine mesh bag and steep in wort for 15 minutes. Remove and chill to yeast-pitching temperature of low-to-mid 60s. Briefly aerate wort and pitch yeast. (I personally do not usually rehydrate dry yeast; I just sprinkle it on top of the wort.) Ferment in mid-to-upper 60s until activity slows or stops.