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Old 12-31-2009, 08:49 PM   #1
rshwayder
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Default Cacao Nibs: How to prepare for secondary?

I'm about to make my 5th batch of beer. I'm going pretty experimental this time, and I'm planning on adding either 4 or 8 oz of cacao nibs during secondary fermentation.

The question is, how do I prepare them? It seems like there are three options:

  1. Do nothing. Assume they are clean enough when packed to go right into the beer. Problem: Seems scary. I don't want to destroy a batch.
  2. Heat 'em up. Either boil them in some water or put them in the oven. Problem: Seems like they would melt and become a syrup.
  3. Use alcohol to clean them. Maybe swish around a little bourbon to sanitize them so they can be tossed in. Problem: I'm not 100% sure this would sanitize them, and I also don't want to impart too much additional flavor with the bourbon.
  4. Other. Any other thoughts you have are more than welcome.

Any thoughts or advice?

Thanks!
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Old 12-31-2009, 08:59 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by rshwayder View Post
I'm about to make my 5th batch of beer. I'm going pretty experimental this time, and I'm planning on adding either 4 or 8 oz of cacao nibs during secondary fermentation.

The question is, how do I prepare them? It seems like there are three options:
  1. Do nothing. Assume they are clean enough when packed to go right into the beer. Problem: Seems scary. I don't want to destroy a batch.
  2. Heat 'em up. Either boil them in some water or put them in the oven. Problem: Seems like they would melt and become a syrup.
  3. Use alcohol to clean them. Maybe swish around a little bourbon to sanitize them so they can be tossed in. Problem: I'm not 100% sure this would sanitize them, and I also don't want to impart too much additional flavor with the bourbon.
  4. Other. Any other thoughts you have are more than welcome.

Any thoughts or advice?

Thanks!
I just added them to the secondary when I made a chocolate Milk stout. There were no issues with an infection of any kind. I tried one of the brews and the cacao bitterness is still there a little bit but I am sure it will mellow with time
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Old 12-31-2009, 09:29 PM   #3
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i got an infection when adding mine without any other steps. I would consider soaking them in vodka first.

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Old 12-31-2009, 09:38 PM   #4
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Those things are fermenting on the forest floor when they're harvested. I've also heard of people getting infections when using those untreated in secondary.

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Old 12-31-2009, 10:00 PM   #5
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Those things are fermenting on the forest floor when they're harvested. I've also heard of people getting infections when using those untreated in secondary.
I had no infection in my stout. I guess it is possible. I also added real raw bananas to the Banana Bread Ale I made and no issues their either
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Old 12-31-2009, 10:28 PM   #6
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i made a banana milk stout with nibs and real bananas



no infection, but beer was REAL acidic

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Old 12-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #7
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I would suggest maybe adding some cocoa at the end of the boil maybe 4oz and then maybe no more than 4oz of nibs in secondary to balance things out. They are real deal dark chocolate flavor. Go ahead and try one.... you'll see.

I didn't get an infection with mine by just throwing them in but a little vodka soak wouldn't hurt anything.

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Old 12-31-2009, 10:49 PM   #8
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This is how I did it.

Put them in a coffee grinder and busted them up a bit. I know they are already cracked, but I thought this might extract more of the stuff from the center. Roasted in a 350 oven for about 30 min.

I brewed a Russian Imperial stout with these back in January of 2008. Just had the last bottle a few months ago. Cocoa flavor was still very noticeable.

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Old 01-01-2010, 07:36 PM   #9
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Thanks all. It looks like I should at least plan on sanitizing them to be safe. I'll decide between the oven and a little vodka/bourbon later.

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Old 01-11-2010, 10:33 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhavoc View Post
i made a banana milk stout with nibs and real bananas



no infection, but beer was REAL acidic
wow that looks like it would be good
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