Chocolate Oak Aged Vanilla Imperial Stout
Soo...Ive been putting this recipe together the last couple of days and thought I'd get your opinions on it....Im thinking of adding about 8tbsp of cocoa powder in the last 5mins of the boil. Then move it to secondary and add about 2oz of American oak chips and maybe 1 or 2 vanilla beans..good? bad? weird flavor combo? What would you change/add/take out?
Also, any info on how/how much/when to add cocoa powder... And how much/long for the oak chips would be appreciated.
The recipe is loosely based on Great Divide Yeti.
OG is supposed to be around 1.095
The only time I've used cocoa powder I put it right into the mash. I used about 500g in a 10 gallon batch of imperial stout. It worked just fine giving the beer just the right amount of chocolate flavour, not at all overwhelming but noticeable.
I can't comment on the oak chips as I've never used them but the vanilla you're fine for more than 7 days. I did a Neapolitan Stout (cocoa, vanilla, raspberry) and let the vanilla beans soak in an ounce or so of The Balvenie Scotch. Mind you, it was only one bean, scraped and chopped. Added the whole thing to the 5 gallons in secondary for a chunk of time, more than 7 days. Works perfectly! Will be doing the same with a pumpkin spiced beer–adding the vanilla to secondary. I do think one bean was noticeable but in retrospect, two might have been better. It's there but only at the end along with the warming alcohol.
One thing that might be interesting with your recipe would be to do a smaller beer with the second runnings. The last couple of imperial stouts I did we got the volume that we wanted for the imperial portion and then kept lautering to do a smaller volume of lower gravity beer. This is sort of the opposite ratio for when you do an actual partigyle brew (it's usually a larger volume of lower gravity and a smaller volume of high gravity) but it works just as well and creates a very nice small beer.
I did what I call my Imperial Chocolate Stout recently. I drained some wort out of my kettle with about 15 minutes left and dissolved 8 ounces of Ghirardelli unsweetened cocoa powder. Then with about 5 minutes left I dumped the cocoa mixture into my kettle. I then slit 2 vanilla beans and cut them into 1" sections. Soaked them in vanilla to make a vanilla extract. After primary I dumped vanilla/vodka mixture as well as 8oz of cacao nibs into the secondary. The chocolate flavor is pretty strong, not much vanilla, probably because of the nibs. I think if you substitute 1-2 oz of oak chips for nibs it may be pretty good.
I do 8oz cocoa powder at the 5-10 minute mark and dont add any more. The flavor is very present. For the oak, id start with an ounce and see what its like after a week. May need to rack the beer off them if its good before aging for a while. This is assuming you're using oak chips. I ended up using an ounce that I bouled 2 weeks before bottling, another half ounce boiled one week before bottling. Wasnt getting what I wanted so I threw another ounce unboiled four days before bottling and it was there. So yeah, one week with one ounce (I wouldnt bother boiling or steaming, you lose flavor) and be prepared to rack again.
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