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Old 09-27-2013, 01:15 PM   #1
NicoleBrewer
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Default Advice for cocoa powder

I want to make a chocolate porter and I was wondering if anyone had experience with cocoa powder. I know people have said nibs work better but I have powder on hand so I want to use that. From my quick research it look like people use varying amounts in everything from the mash to bottling. I'm doing a 5 gallon batch and I want to chocolate flavor to be present but not overwhelming. Any suggestions?

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Old 09-27-2013, 01:30 PM   #2
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I've used powdered in chocolate stouts. Here are my thoughts on Hershey's cocoa powder:

  • It's high in fat content, which means it kills head.
  • It never completely falls out of solution, so you will have residual powder in every glass. I've let beers cold crash for over four months and it still won't fall out.
  • Other than that, it's delicious.

I use about 1.5 ounces in a 5 gallon batch, added at 10 mins left in the boil for sanitation. I also use a half pound of chocolate malt in the recipe to add a roasted chocolate flavor. I've made it twice, and it tastes great but has a lousy, fast dissolving head (I have since named it "Headless") when bottle conditioned. I haven't tried kegging it yet but I will next batch I make.

Cacao nibs can lend that rich chocolate flavor without all the powder and fats spreading throughout the beer. There are some good chocolate stout recipes in the recipes section here and most people use them in a similar way, an ounce or two added to either the primary or in a secondary to age for a week or two (to taste).
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Old 09-27-2013, 06:32 PM   #3
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I've made a chocolate porter/stout using 8 ounces (1 can) powdered cocoa (Hersheys and a store brand) and never had a problem with head retention. I boil it for about 10 minutes at the end and rack into the fermenter, leaving as much of the thick gunk behind as possible. After the primary I rack onto 8 ounces cacao nibs (for aroma) and secondary for 1-2 weeks.

The beer came out clear and pours a nice head. I also added 1 lb. of lactose to sweeten up just a bit since it's a beer made mostly for girls.

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Old 09-27-2013, 07:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiptasia View Post
I've used powdered in chocolate stouts. Here are my thoughts on Hershey's cocoa powder:
  • It's high in fat content, which means it kills head.
  • It never completely falls out of solution, so you will have residual powder in every glass. I've let beers cold crash for over four months and it still won't fall out.
  • Other than that, it's delicious.

I use about 1.5 ounces in a 5 gallon batch, added at 10 mins left in the boil for sanitation. I also use a half pound of chocolate malt in the recipe to add a roasted chocolate flavor. I've made it twice, and it tastes great but has a lousy, fast dissolving head (I have since named it "Headless") when bottle conditioned. I haven't tried kegging it yet but I will next batch I make.

Cacao nibs can lend that rich chocolate flavor without all the powder and fats spreading throughout the beer. There are some good chocolate stout recipes in the recipes section here and most people use them in a similar way, an ounce or two added to either the primary or in a secondary to age for a week or two (to taste).
Just an FYI, there was only about 1.4 grams of fat in the amount of cocoa powder you used.
There was almost certainly more fat in the grain you used than in the cocoa powder you used.
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Old 09-27-2013, 08:34 PM   #5
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I've done the same as homercidal (plus a vanilla bean), absolutely none of the issues aiptasia mentioned, came out great

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Old 09-28-2013, 03:10 AM   #6
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BOIL IT!

I have a Vanilla Chocolate Porter, the HBS told me to put the powder in secondary (used Ghiradelli dark chocolate powder). It tastes like raw cocoa powder, after 8 mos. My first dumped beer.

Since this experience, I make a tea out of all spices, powders, etc., or add it to the last 10 min. of boil. Lesson learned.

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Old 09-28-2013, 05:32 AM   #7
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I had to double-check my recipe to be sure, but I use 8 ounces of low fat cocoa powder at the end of the boil in a five gallon batch of my chocolate stout. Head retention is not a problem...


Cheers!

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Old 09-28-2013, 05:33 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aiptasia
I've used powdered in chocolate stouts. Here are my thoughts on Hershey's cocoa powder:

[*]It's high in fat content, which means it kills head.
...

Cacao nibs can lend that rich chocolate flavor without all the powder and fats spreading throughout the beer....
You've got it exactly backwards -- powder has minimal fats, while cacao nibs are something like 30%-40% fats.

I've never experimented on head retention with different forms of cocoa, but if indeed powder is worse, it's definitely NOT because of fats.
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Old 09-28-2013, 07:34 AM   #9
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I've had issues with chocolate stouts, they're a bit of a unicorn for me. The two times I've made them they came out tasting metallic. I can't be sure if it's the pH of the mash or my own water chemistry since I didn't measure it. I use high % of dark grains so that could be it as much as the cocoa powder I use.

I've heard the dutch method, which uses caustics, can contribute negative flavors to the beer. Like I said though I don't have enough data to say one way or the other.

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Old 09-28-2013, 08:25 AM   #10
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I used 4 oz in each portion of my split batch stout during secondary. I thought it came out great, but then again I haven't tried adding it to the boil. I'll have to give that a whirl. The chocolate especially came out in my oaked espresso portion with vanilla beans. delicious.

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