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Old 11-13-2012, 10:27 PM   #1
Bricks41
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Default Vanilla/Chocolate vs. Coffee/Chocolate?

I have a RIS that was supposed to be a Kate the Great clone, but due to the unavailability of several grains, I had to freestyle pretty much the entire recipe. So… seeing as though SWMBO is named Kate (Katia) and IS Russian, I’m going to call it “Kate, the Russian, Imperial Stout” I also plan to bottle with 11.2 oz bottles and cover with wax to assist with aging.

OG was 1.108 and I used WLP099. Fermented cold (60-64F) and it went absolutely bonkers… blew off almost .75G. I have about 4-4.25G left after adjusting for trub loss. Estimated 11.5% ABV +/-

It’s in the 3rd week of primary, not sure where the gravity falls at the moment, but I know I need to start thinking about the next step. I need opinions and advice.

3 choices are:

Vanilla & Chocolate
Coffee & Chocolate
Leave it as is

I would add a few ounces of chocolate (2-3 oz) to the secondary and rack on top. Any suggestions on what kind of chocolate to use? Should I use more or less? I’m looking for a nice accent.

If I use vanilla, I will cut two beans, scrape and probably soak them in 100 proof vodka for several days and add everything to the secondary with the chocolate.

If I use coffee, I plan on cold brewing 4 oz of coffee in approximately 20 oz of water and adding it at bottling. Since we are out of Blue Mountain coffee, I will probably use Kona. Blue Mountain is also $35/lb, so I want to make sure the technique is sound before I venture into that arena.

I made a small stout (OG 1.047) off of the same bed and plan to use coffee at bottling. I guess that will be my trial run, but I don’t think it will be ready for consumption in time.…

Or should I just leave it alone and let it ride, as is, with some aging in the secondary? Guess this option will depend on how the sample tastes.

Thank you in advance!!

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Old 11-13-2012, 11:38 PM   #2
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Well, cacao nibs are going to give you an amazing chocolate aroma but a more subdued contribution to the flavor. The Vanilla is a great combo as vanilla really pumps up the perception of chocolate and lends its own amazingness.

I'm not a fan of the coffee/vanilla combo, personally, so I would maybe try out your coffee technique on the smaller stout and see how you like it- try to think about the flavors in the RIS, though, and how they'll play with coffee.

I can tell you for certain, though, 2 beans + 8oz cacao nibs soaked in vodka is perfect for a stout with bold flavor in it already, although the chocolate may get covered up (nibs are subtle) you could add some extract at bottling if you need it. My chocolate stout is fairly low gravity but has a big big roasty character to compete with the sweetness of lactose and vanilla, and that amount balances perfectly.

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Old 11-14-2012, 12:41 AM   #3
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I was originally leaning towards the vanilla/chocolate combo. Coffee was thrown in the mix due to my love of Founders Breakfast Stout. Would I need to soak the nibs as well? I know the vodka helps open up the vanilla bean.

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Old 11-14-2012, 12:52 AM   #4
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Yea, I believe you will need to soak them just because I don't know how they're handled after roasting. They will absorb some vodka so check on them periodically so they stay submerged.

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Old 11-14-2012, 12:53 AM   #5
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Instead of nibs, you can use 8 oz. of cocoa powder per 5 gallons. It gives an amazing aroma and flavor of chocolate and really blends well with vanilla. It does make the trub a bit sludgy though.

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Old 11-14-2012, 02:50 AM   #6
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Pulled a sample. Day 17 in the fermenter - OG 1.108 Current 1.023 which I think is pretty good! Tastes great, a bit hot which is expected at a bit over 11%. so far, so good.

Since it is .001 higher than my expected FG, I think I will transfer to the secondary this weekend for some added flavor.

I'm thinking I will go for vanilla/chocolate. Does the powder empart any graininess at all? Right now I'm leaning towards nibs for the subtle note.

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