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Old 10-11-2011, 05:09 AM   #11
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The nibs are typically roasted so they should be free of bacteria, but you don't know how they were handled post-roasting. I soak mine in vodka overnight then add them, when I do a chocolate beer it's usually one I'm not willing to take risks on.

You can get a small bottle of quality vodka for about $4.50, that shouldn't break the bank.

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:16 PM   #12
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Check this blog about brewing with Cacao nibs...found it pretty informative when planning my FBS clone.

http://barleypopmaker.info/2009/12/1...ing-your-beer/

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Old 10-11-2011, 01:23 PM   #13
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I made a chocolate stout recently using cacao nibs from Northern Brewer and I just racked on to them in the secondary. No sanitizing of them nibs used. I won't say they are bacteria free or anything inside their vacuum packed seal, but the quantity of any potential bacteria on them I feel is small enough that the alcohol in the fermented beer should be good enough to eliminate any infection. This certainly isn't gospel. I haven't done research on this. Maybe the few times I've done it with cacao nibs and other such additives I've been lucky, but I've yet to have any issue caused by racking directly on to them.

Generally I find far more creative and boneheaded ways to ruin my beers!

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Old 10-14-2011, 05:55 PM   #14
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I was going to do the same thing for my chocolate stout - I was thinking of using a bit of bourbon instead of vodka and soaking both the chocolate and the vanilla bean. Just to add a bit more flavor.

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Old 10-17-2011, 06:39 PM   #15
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I've only used them one time, but I just crushed them with a rolling pin while they were in the bag and racked on top of them. If I remember correctly I didn't really notice any chocolate flavor or aroma. I would probably try soaking them.

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Old 10-27-2011, 06:11 AM   #16
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I used 8oz's of nibs in a chocolate stout batch. I crushed them while inside of a bag and just dumped them right into the secondary and racked the beer on top of it. I left the beer on the nibs for about 5 days and had a nice noticeable chocolate flavor.

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Old 10-28-2011, 04:58 PM   #17
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I ended up giving them a soak in starsan for about 12 hours. I then poured the entire solution with the nibs inside the fermentor. No adverse reactions. Tasted after 11 days and bottled. Most the chocolate contribution tastes like it came from the chocolate malt instead of the nibs.

The vodka soak is supposed to work because of its acidity. My logic in using starsan is that its an acid-based sanitizer. It's possible I didn't give the beer enough time on the nibs, but I wanted to bottle in time for Thxgiving. I just brewed the recipe again, and I will try again in a week using a soak in vodka. (What can I say I'm a huge milk stout lover.)

Thank you everyone who responded! I took all of your comments under advisement. I'll update on the next batch.


@Teal, How did yours turn out?

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Old 10-28-2011, 06:38 PM   #18
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Vodka has two benefits: 1) it sanitizes because it is 40% (or higher) alcohol. There is no acid in vodka. 2) The high alcohol will extract alcohol soluable flavor compounds that won't extract as well in beer at 5-6% alcohol.

Star-San will certainly sanitize the surface of the nibs, but when you pour the whole thing in (including the star-san) it will make the resulting beer more acidic...and will change the flavor somewhat. How much depends on how much acid was actually added. Its not necessarily bad (phosphic acid can be used to adjust mash pH), but it will have some flavor impact. Should be interesting to see the difference with the vodka version.

I have 3 gallons of a robust porter with 4 oz vodka soaked nibs in the secondary as we speak. I used 4 oz nibs, and 4 oz vodka..soaked for an hour. I could have gone longer, but the vodka was already VERY chocolaty.

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Old 10-28-2011, 10:25 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tom_hampton View Post
There is no acid in vodka.
Just looked up the ph range of vodka. Guess I should have done that before I made assumptions. Thanks for the education haha
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Old 12-21-2011, 10:23 PM   #20
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Just thought I would update my experiences.

I did one batch soaking 4oz nibs in starsan for about 12 hours; I then added the nibs plus the chocolately starsan solution to the beer. I let the primary sit with the nibs for 2 more weeks . The chocolate taste was very subtle.

I did another using 4oz nibs soaked in cheap vodka for about 12 hours. I let the primary sit with the nibs for 2 more weeks. There was considerably more chocolate aroma and the flavor was much bolder.

Either way proved sanitary. I would suggest using the vodka method and possibly bumping up the amount of nibs or allowing it to rest longer in the ferm.

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There are actually techniques that some use that are an open fermentation where they basically ferment in a bucket covered in aluminu, alumini, aluemin... tin foil.
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