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Old 11-26-2013, 01:59 AM   #1
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Default Request for Critique- Big Black Bad***

I would like to ask for comments on my recipe here.

This is an evolution of the first recipe I thought up when I started brewing, but have been too timid to try out yet. The main idea is an Imperial Oatmeal Stout with coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. I'm hoping for great head and body (who isn't eh?), and with a sweet aftertaste.

My biggest concern is the amounts of coffee, chocolate, and vanilla. I couldn't find much solid information on the amounts to use in a big beer like this. Will the amounts below be too strong/weak? I plan to taste-test and remove them when I hit my goals, but still want to make sure I add enough to start.

Fermentables:
Ale Malt 4.7kg
Oats 0.7kg
Crystal 40 0.5kg
Chocolate Wheat 0.5kg
Roasted Barley 0.3kg
Lactose 0.3kg

Mash:
50 C @ 90m (Mash-in and protein rest)
60 C @ 70m (Saccharification Rest)
70 C @ 30m (Dex Rest)
76 C @ 10m (Mash-out)

60m boil:
Northern Brewer 35g 60m
Galena 35g 40m
Kent Golding 40g 20m

Yeast:
White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale

Secondary:
2 Vanilla Beans
20g Coffee
20g cocoa powder

Calculated Results:
1.114 OG
1.029 FG
72 IBU
11.2% ABV
48 SRM

Thanks in advance!



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Old 11-26-2013, 04:57 PM   #2
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I've not much experience with this, but as no-one else has responded I'll take a whack at it. Numerous threads talk about the need to soak them in vodka or something rather than just adding them to the secondary.

Rather than adding coffee grounds, you might consider cold infusing and adding that to the secondary.

Regarding the cocoa, it looks like your plan will give an extremely subtle flavor at 20g. Consider cocoa nibs instead?

I believe your yeast selection will have trouble getting all the way to 11.2% ABV. Might rethink that yeast, IMO.



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Old 11-27-2013, 07:14 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skunkfunk View Post
I've not much experience with this, but as no-one else has responded I'll take a whack at it. Numerous threads talk about the need to soak them in vodka or something rather than just adding them to the secondary.

Rather than adding coffee grounds, you might consider cold infusing and adding that to the secondary.

Regarding the cocoa, it looks like your plan will give an extremely subtle flavor at 20g. Consider cocoa nibs instead?

I believe your yeast selection will have trouble getting all the way to 11.2% ABV. Might rethink that yeast, IMO.
I'll definitely up the amount of coffee to 200g or so, and the cocoa NIBS to 6 oz, soaked in bourbon.

I was considering using some Belgian dark strong ale yeast to finish it up, but I wasn't sure if that would give me a ton of fruity flavors.

Thanks for the advice!
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:00 PM   #4
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I'd also up the vanilla bean addition as well. If it's a big beer and you're hoping to get some mileage in terms of flavor out of them I'd at least go with three and maybe soak them in some vodka to extract the flavor. With a beer like that, two just won't cut it - it won't be very noticeable.

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Old 11-27-2013, 02:37 PM   #5
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Speaking from personal experience, adding cocoa powder in the secondary sometimes doesn't go to clear easily. You are making a giant beer and subtle flavors, are going to be hard to notice if at all. The cocoa at the end of boil @ 5 minutes or flame out. I agree with the above posts you need more cocoa, 8 oz would probably do the trick. For vanilla, I would use 3 vanilla pods scraped, chopped, then covered in the alcohol hot tub. I have found coffee being too easy to use too much, for me, I cold brewed 4 oz coffee into 8 oz water, I used espresso beans. If you do decide to also use cocoa nibs, roast them first, then crush and add to vanilla bean hot tub, otherwise they won't really be noticed. I would let the vanilla, cocoa nibs soak for 4 or more days. I applaud your bravery to take on this big beer challenge, since it seems you are a new brewer. If it were me, I would wait until I had more experience brewing, as this is going to be an expensive recipe to make, and a catastrophic loss if something goes wrong. Good Luck!

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Old 11-28-2013, 01:51 AM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys.

MindenMan, I am nervous about this beer, which is why I'm asking for advice. A beer similar to this is what knocked me out of the standardized megabrews, and I've been wanting to make it for a while. I'm probably going to wait to start on it until Feb or Mar next year, once I have a couple more (biggish) beers under my belt.

OK, so I'll prep a vodka or bourbon soak for the 3 dissected vanilla beans and 200g (~8oz) of cocoa nibs for a few days before I rack to secondary, taste it daily, and pull them out when appropriate. Coffee will be around 100g, cold infused, and added along with the vanilla and cocoa.

I read elsewhere that melting the cocoa nibs causes the oils in the nibs to damage head retention. That is why I'm a bit hesitant to add it to the boil or crush them. Is there any way to break down those oils?

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Old 11-28-2013, 02:13 PM   #7
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Fencdar, for the cacao nibs, just add them at the knockout of the boil. Trust me, it works great. My friend just won in the specialty beer category with a breakfast stout using them and that's exactly what he did. It's what I do every time too, taking his advice.



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