Originally Posted by gerryhz
So for this upcoming Christmas, decided to brew a Mexican inspired chocolate milk stout.
Will start boil this weekend. Any thoughts, comments? Would be greatly appreciated.
Sounds like a Hunahpu clone. There's a "tribute to Hunahpu" thread that has a lot of good recipe suggestions for what is essentially a Russian Imperial Stout with chocolate and spices. I just brewed one up last month and I have some suggestions:
1) The maltodextrin is un-necessary. You have so much going on with dark extracts that you won't need it at all.
2) Skip the LME. Liquid extracts tend to leave a sour or tinny twang in a lot of beers. Just use straight DME.
3) Use 3 lbs. Amber DME and 3 lbs. Dark DME. This will add a better range of sweetness and body to your beer. Right now, you're at a porter level of OG. You might consider doubling your DME additions to make it a big huge RIS level of OG. Adjust your hops additions to about 50-60 IBU's to compensate. BTW, your hops choices are just fine.
4) Swap out Special B (crystal 175) for crystal 60. It imparts a deep raisin/plum note to the stout.
5) Swap out Chocolate malt for coffee malt.
6) Use Thames Valley yeast or Burton Ale yeast. Much better flavor profile than S-04. Definitely make a starter or use multiple packs/tubes.
7) Don't add the chocolate to the actual wort. Chocolate has so much fat in it, it can literally kill the head of your beer. I have a stout recipe named "headless" for this very issue. Chocolate additions belong in the secondary.
8) If you don't know exactly how much hazelnut to add to the beer, I suggest adding it "to taste" rather than putting a whole fl. oz. into the beer and praying it tastes good. Different extracts can have different concentrations and strengths, so start adding teaspoon amounts to your wort after it cools, stir it in, and taste it. Keep going till you hit the flavor level you want.
9) No need to soak any of your spices in vodka. I've never had an infection from a spice addition to the secondary, and by then your beer should be at a very high ABV. I would suggest:
1/2 cup crushed cacao nibs (check your local natural foods store).
Two whole 4" sticks of ceylon cinnamon. Three would be mega-cinnamon.
Two split vanilla beans (just slice em open down the middle).
... and if you really wanted to make something tasty and special ...
1 whole roasted Ancho pepper (a nice big one), uncut.
1 whole roasted pasilla pepper, uncut (think smoked raisin flavor).
You can just toss the adjuncts into the beer after three weeks fermentation. No need for a grain bag. I let mine soak in there for two whole weeks prior to bottling. The flavor is perfect.