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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Late cocoa addition, mistake?
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Old 12-04-2012, 04:55 PM   #1
SteveHeff
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Default Late cocoa addition, mistake?

I brewed a chocolate oatmeal stout about 1 month ago. So far, so good, but I think I may have made a mistake with an addition of cocoa powder during bottling.

During the last 15 minutes of my boil, I added 3 oz of cocoa powder. I allowed the beer to sit in my primary for 5 days and then moved to my secondary. The beer than sat for 3 weeks in my basement before bottling.

When I bottled, I boiled my corn sugar, I added 3 more Tbs of cocoa powder to the boiling sugar. I wanted to sanitize the cocoa powder, figured this was the best way to do it. It thickened up the mixture a bit, but it mixed in with the beer pretty well when I moved it to my bottling bucket.

Here's the problem: I think that I may run into a settling of the powder in the bottles. I wanted there to be a slightly more upfront chocolatey taste but I really wanted to avoid the chalkiness of the powder. Has anybody ever done this before? What kind of results should I expect when I start cracking bottles?

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Old 12-04-2012, 05:12 PM   #2
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Wow, only 5 days in primary. When I made a chocolate stout, I added 12 oz during the last 15 minutes of the boil. It turned out pretty good. Not an in your face chocolate flavor, but it is definitely there. Not sure if you will get much flavor from the 3 oz at bottling, and you are right it will settle out in the bottles.

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Old 12-04-2012, 06:12 PM   #3
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Not exactly on topic, but note that cocoa powder is full of fats/lipids that are going to kill your head/head retention. Those fats occupy the surface of the beer, leaving no nucleation sites for CO2 foam.

Don't be alarmed when your final beer has zero head. That's normal with the cocoa powder.

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Old 12-04-2012, 06:37 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. I was thinking about the lipids AFTER I added the cocoa and I didn't know if that would have any effect. At least I know that I should expect no head retention and I should be careful when pouring from the bottom of the bottle. As for next time, I'll just add all my powder at the end of my boil vs. doing it this way. Also, 5 days in the primary, it had a VERY aggressive fermentation for the first 2 days. I'm not upset with the numbers (1.060 og, 1.018 final) and I pitched with a heavy starter, too. I'll post the results in a couple weeks, I'm curious to taste how this went.

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Old 12-04-2012, 11:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TopherM View Post
Not exactly on topic, but note that cocoa powder is full of fats/lipids that are going to kill your head/head retention. Those fats occupy the surface of the beer, leaving no nucleation sites for CO2 foam.

Don't be alarmed when your final beer has zero head. That's normal with the cocoa powder.
Is this where cocoa nibs come into play to limit the affect it has on head retention?

I would love to hear on this because I made a chocolate porter and it has a decent little head on it, but nothing worth noting to be honest.

I used a similar technique, I added 8 OZ of Cocoa powder to half gallon of wort, boiled it separate from my main boil, then threw it in just prior to flame out.
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Old 12-05-2012, 03:08 PM   #6
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Raw cocoa nibs still have the fats, but you can roast/bake them for 15-20 min at 220-250F and about 75% of the fats are cooked out of the nibs. You also end up with more chocolate flavor in your beer than you would with raw nibs.

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Old 12-05-2012, 03:35 PM   #7
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You will very likely have a cocoa sediment in your bottles. A careful pour should suffice to keep it out of your glass.

I wouldn't get too hung up on the head. I drink lots of beer that have very little head in the glass and still taste great. Yeah, it's not as cool looking, and for a beer that's big on aroma, it would be nice to have those bubbles offering up aroma for a long time, but a gentle swirl will release more aroma too.

Maybe next time try some nibs instead? I used 8 ounces of nibs in my latest batch of chocolate porter with a 1/2 cup of bourbon to give it a slightly more complex flavor. If you soak the nibs in the alcohol (which I didn't) you are likely to pull even more aroma and flavor out of them.

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Old 12-05-2012, 11:15 PM   #8
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Well, i just cracked one of my 22 oz. bottles. No grittiness through the first 16 oz. I'll finished off the bottle and come up with definite results. Tasty, what I was expected without having an overly bitter cocoa-ness, but still is sweet enough to finish as a dessert beer.

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Old 12-09-2012, 04:24 PM   #9
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Oh yeah, head retention is horrible. It looks great for all of 20 seconds before it makes for a fast escape.

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