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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Are cocoa nibs necessary?
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Old 05-30-2012, 11:39 AM   #1
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Default Are cocoa nibs necessary?

I've got a chocolate milk stout that's just about finished primary. i threw 1lb of chocolate malt and 4oz of cocoa powder in the boil. should i bother putting cocoa nibs in the secondary as the recipe says or will that make it too overpowering? i drank my gravity sample and it's tasting pretty good but i'm worried the chocolateyness will fade

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Old 05-30-2012, 01:45 PM   #2
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Nibs are more bitter, not very sweet. I would say if your beer is too sweet, add the nibs. It won't make a huge difference, but it will help a sweeter beer to be percieved as less sweet while also adding some complexity. If you're worried about the chocolate fading, I'm going to throw a whacky unconventional idea out there and say to bottle prime with a chocolatey liquid sugar solution. I've never heard of someone using cocoa powder + sugar + water to prime, but I'm sure it would work. Boil it first, strain and rack the beer on top of the cool solution before bottling.

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Old 05-30-2012, 02:04 PM   #3
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Taste after fermentation. Powder can just sink to the bottom when alcohol isn't present yet to keep it in solution. If too light on flavor, add nibs with a sliced vanilla bean (helps to bring out the chocolate flavor of nibs).

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Old 05-30-2012, 03:15 PM   #4
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I used super bitter baking chocolate bars in mine. It was the first beer I ever brewed that I didn't like and everyone else kept asking me to brew again.

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Old 05-30-2012, 05:56 PM   #5
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Is there any reason to use nibs compared to cocoa powder or baking chocolate? Nibs are so much more expensive and are a little harder to find. It seems like the flavor extraction would be better from the more processed materials. Is there any problem with cocoa powder or baking chocolate staying in suspension or giving off flavors?

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Old 05-30-2012, 06:27 PM   #6
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In my experience, no matter what you use, adding after fermentation, in an alcohol environment, helps to keep the chocolate in the beer rather than in a puddle at the bottom of the fermentor.

Whatever you use, it has to be sanitized some way. I typically will put the chocolate in a small hop sack and soak the bag in a Tupperware of cheap vodka then add the bag plus vodka to the fermentor.

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Old 05-30-2012, 07:55 PM   #7
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I did 10oz ghirardelli 100% cocao powder, during the boil in a 10 gallon batch. Talk about a massive pile of chocolate sludge at the bottom of the carboys! It wasn't quite strong enough for me so i took two vanilla beans and soaked in vodka for a week, removed the vanilla beans and soaked lb of nibs in the vanilla vodka. I heard in baking at least that vanilla inhances the flavor of chocolate Very tasty brew!

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Old 05-30-2012, 08:06 PM   #8
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If you're asking about the differences in each:

In baker's chocolate, there is some sugar added, which is obviously fermentable, so that will add to the alcohol content AND will add some chocolate flavor.

For cocoa powder, if you add unsweetened cocoa powder, there should be no sugars present, just processed cocoa, which should add some chocolate flavor.

For cocoa nibs, there's no added sugars - just a portion of the raw unprocessed cocoa bean. This will add a very bitter cocoa flavor, but it tends to be pretty subtle.

I've got a chocolate stout that just went on tap a week or so ago. 5 gallons aged for about 3 weeks on 6 ounces of cocoa nibs, which had sat for a few days in a few ounces of vodka. The stout itself had some chocolate malt and unsweetened cocoa powder as a late boil addition - so I guess the nibs technically make it a triple chocolate stout? Anyway, I felt like there wasn't quite enough chocolate to it at the end of primary, so I went with the nibs, and it's pretty much perfect where it's at now.

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Old 05-31-2012, 11:53 AM   #9
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Thanks. cocoa nibs are quite hard to find and expensive round here. does anyone know if this stuff
http://www.greatexpectations.co.nz/s...ate+Cream.html
would work to add more chocolate flavour?

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Old 05-31-2012, 12:47 PM   #10
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That's chocolate essence, right? The one recipe I've read that included it said that it'd contribute mainly aroma elements in beer, though I've never tried it myself so I can't say first hand.

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