Yodo Con Leche is back and, this year, it’s guaranteed to be better than ever because, this time, the folks of Gaslight Coffee and 5 Rabbit Cerveceria went to origin to seek out the best coffee for the beer, and they took Michael Kiser of Good Beer Hunting along with them. You can read his account and see photos and video of their travels in Costa Rica here.
To brew this beer, 5 Rabbit started out with an imperial porter—which clocked in at at about 8.5%. They made the beer with two kinds of caramel malts, oats for creaminess, three different dark malts, and a helping of dulce de leche—a creamy milk caramel from Argentina.
After the beer was done fermenting, they steeped the ground coffee in it at room temperature, strained it, and added the liquid back to the entire batch.
La Asociación de Familias Orgánicas de los Cerros Caraigres (AFAORCA) was established in 1997, stemming from the need to find alternative farming families and joint initiatives to produce organic solutions. AFAORCA represents families from communities such as Aserrí, Acosta, Homeless, Santa Maria de Dota, San Jose, and San Marcos. Currently there are 24 certified organic farm families.
Every family has their own plot or farm with an average of 3 hectares, each of which contain 1 .5 hectares of coffee on average. The crop is alternated with fruit, forest, and a variety of endemic species that provide shelter both migratory birds like staying in the area’s farms are spread over 20 locations.
The cooperative’s farmers work in harmony with nature, cultivating with farming techniques that don’t employ the use of synthetic chemicals or other inputs that may include chemical fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, or genetically modified seeds.
Welcome to my Table, here in the corner of this cafe. Today we’re sipping Yodo Con Leche – a collaboration from Chicago’s 5 Rabbit Cerveceria and Gaslight Coffee Roasters. Feel free to pull up a chair.
region: San Jose, Costa Rica
farm: Finca Las Mil Maravillas
producer: smallholder farmers
association: La Asociación de Familias Orgánicas de los Cerros Caraigres (AFAORCA)
elevation: 1200 – 2000 meters above sea level
cultivar: Caturra, Catuai, Typica
process: fully washed, patio dried
style: Coffee Imperial Porter
color: Dark Brown
ingredients: Coffee, Dulce de Leche, 2-row, Caramel, Roasted Wheat and Rye, Patagonia C-120, Pilgrim Hops, Summit Hops, English Yeast
Visually, the Yodo Con Leche pours a dark, muddy brownish black and it’s capped by a two-finger thick, bubbly mocha-colored head that settles into a thin, foamy ring that clings to the glass and shows some spotty lacing.
The beer’s aroma is pretty substantial, and loaded with a moderate booziness, chocolate malts, sweet cream, caramel, baking spices, toasted almonds, marzipan, and roasted malts.
Taking the first few sips from my tulip, my palate is coated with a full-bodied beer that is smooth and creamy, but also possesses a gentle fizzy carbonation that pricks at the sides and back of the tongue. The beer clocks in at 8.2%, which is moderately hefty for a porter, but I’m not noticing much of an alcoholic burn (though my taste buds do detect the booziness). The flavors in the glass follow the nose and far exceed it. The first flavors I notice are sweet dulce de leche (caramel and vanilla), fruits and nuts from the coffee component (dark berries, citrus, roasted hazelnut), a slight roastiness (which could be attributed to the coffee component or the malts), and the finish, which leaves behind a lightly bittersweet chocolate aftertaste
Full body; creamy mouthfeel; citric acidity; clean finish.
“Yodo,” in Costa Rica, is a slang term for coffee—as in something strong and dark. Well, that certainly fits the bill, here.
5 Rabbit Cerveceria’s Yodo Con Leche is a full-bodied, moderately boozy, and incredibly flavorful imperial porter. And, unlike most other coffee-infused porters and stouts, Yodo Con Leche is so decadent, so sweet, and is almost entirely lacking in bitterness. This is a tremendous beer for food-pairing, too, because it goes with just about everything from savory steak and pork dishes, to spicy Asian vegetarian meals, to sweet desserts.
Yodo Con Leche is just about as close perfection as a coffee-infused beer can get. Truly, it’s one of the most memorable porters I’ve had in a very long time.
I’m hoping that someday, in the not-too distant future, 5 Rabbit will release a bourbon barrel-aged variant Yodo.
Andrew is a husband, father, dog lover, craft beverage enthusiast, content creator, and niche market Internet celebrity. Formerly of A Table in the Corner of the Cafe and The Pulitzer Project and contributor to Barista Magazine and Mental Floss, he’s been writing on the Internet for years.