Good morning, HBT Gang.
Here's my dilemma. This weekend I cracked open a bottle of my 1st attempt at a chocolate stout that I bottled about two weeks ago. For a green beer, it was remarkably pleasant, and I'm very pleased with myself. Had a good creamy, almost milky, mouth feel with just the right hints of a dark chocolate flavor, and very little bitterness. So I'm happy with the process and base recipe that resulted in this beer.
The problem is that a few days after tasting my brew, we got to try some Samuel Smith's Organic Chocolate Stout and my wife fell in love with it. For those who have never tasted this beer, it is incredibly sweet, with an almost milk chocolate flavor to it. Literally, tastes like Hershey's syrup was added to the beer at the pour. The ladies spent the evening making ice cream floats out of this beer if that gives you any better indication of how sweet this beer is.
I'd like to duplicate this with my stout's grain bill, but am not 100% sure on how to achieve the milk chocolate flavor without losing anything to fermentation.
My stout recipe used 5oz of cocoa in a 5G batch. My thoughts are to possibly double the unsweetened cocoa to bring forward more of the chocolate essence, and then introduce lactose (milk sugar) to sweeten it up and hopefully result in a milk chocolate-ish flavor with no ABV increase or flavor loss due to fermentation. I could probably add a sugar-free chocolate syrup at bottling and get the flavor I'm looking for, but I'm trying to do this as traditional as possible.
What do you guys think? I'm just brainstorming, not locked into one path or another, so I'm open to any ideas.