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Old 11-11-2012, 11:28 PM   #1
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Default Cacao nibs and infection?

I brewed a chocolate milk stout according to the NB recipe today, should be good. I generally don't do secondary, even when dry hopping. The cacao (chocolate) nibs are supposed to be added following the primary. Apparently the wort is so well colonized with the yeast at that point that the chance of infection is greatly reduced. Interesting...

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Old 11-12-2012, 02:43 PM   #2
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The other issue there is that after primary the wort has a substantial alcohol content and very little in the way of consumable sugars... not exactly a great breeding ground for bugs.

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Old 11-12-2012, 03:31 PM   #3
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if you're worried about infection, soak the nibs in some vodka or even everclear (pure grain alcohol) for a day or two - some do weeks. that'll disinfect them, and will even draw out some of the flavors. pitch both the nibs and the alcohol into your fermenter.

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The other issue there is that after primary the wort has a substantial alcohol content and very little in the way of consumable sugars... not exactly a great breeding ground for bugs.
well, some bugs... others, like brett, can live in there.
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:12 PM   #4
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well, some bugs... others, like brett, can live in there.
Hence the lack of any reference to the modifier "nothing." Again, although brett and a few others can live in there, they won't exactly cause much, if any damage, due to the lack of food after primary. The soaking in vodka is good advice to be safe.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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Some things like fruits can harbor enough bacteria and yeast that adding directly into a secondary without treating can be considered somewhat risky. Cocoa nibs are fairly dry and likely don't have a colony of bacteria of fungus of any size. There is nothing wrong with using a safe sanitizer to help further reduce the risk.

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Old 11-17-2012, 03:51 PM   #6
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Done. I keep a bottle of grain alcohol in the shop for making violin varnish, so I soaked the nibs in it overnight and dumped them into the carboy yesterday. They'll be in there for two weeks, hopefully that should be enough for them to do their job.

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