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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Extract Brewing > Chocolate Mocha Stout: A Bridge Too Far?
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Old 09-29-2010, 12:49 AM   #1
filbert
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Default Chocolate Mocha Stout: A Bridge Too Far?

After cranking out three or four very acceptable (if straightforward) batches, I'm starting to get creative (everybody, together, "Oh, that's dangerous!")

I'm contemplating for the upcoming holiday season a chocolate-coffee-stout, and would like some suggestions/warnings regarding the idea.

I would use the following LME's:
Briess Traditional Dark, two 3.3 lb cans;
Briess Golden Light, two 3.3 lb cans (a cup or so held back for bottle conditioning at the end--and possibly some invested in a yeast starter.)

The yeast will be Vierka Dark Munich dry yeast (I had success previously with that yeast with a dark featuring one Briess Traditional Dark and one Briess Sparkling Amber, so I thought I'd try it with a beer with a significantly higher SG).

Hops will be either or both Cascade and Kent Goldings (I've got both as pellets). I'll probably go for a fairly mild hoppyness, as I and most of my beer-drinking friends both tend to prefer less aggressively hopped beers. But since I'm using quite a bit of malt here I expect and want it to be a very full-bodied, rather mild brew with any sweetness offset by not only the hops but also the chocolate and the coffee.

My thought is to add an ounce of solid unsweetened dark chocolate to the wort at the end of the boil, let it melt/stir it in, and then add a quart or so of cold-brewed coffee (just Folger's, nothing fancy there) before adding the yeast and going into the primary fermenter.

My main questions (other than--is this a good idea in the first place?) is should I attempt a yeast starter? I've read here that higher SG batches do better with a starter, especially if you're using dry yeast.

Am I adding the right kind of chocolate and coffee, at the right times?

Will blowoff be an issue? I've not had a problem with blowoff previously, but then I haven't really tried anything this exotic, either. I'm planning on a five gallon total batch size, in a six-gallon carboy. I just have airlocks (and a wife that would NOT be happy if I made a sticky mess in the basement where this will sit for a few weeks.) I could probably rig some kind of blowoff tube, but since I'm naturally lazy, I'd rather not. <grin>

Mainly, I'm looking for first-reactions from folks--"woah, that will be a mistake!" or "Hmm, that sounds interesting" or something in between, in addition to the specific questions above.

Cheers!

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Old 09-29-2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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My main questions (other than--is this a good idea in the first place?) is should I attempt a yeast starter? I've read here that higher SG batches do better with a starter, especially if you're using dry yeast.

Am I adding the right kind of chocolate and coffee, at the right times?
When using dry yeast, I don't make a starter. When using liquid yeast, I do make a starter.

Have you put this recipe into some brewing software like Beersmith to see what the predicted OG is?

I've never added whole chocolate to a beer - only powdered coco. This strikes me as being a challenge, with the possibility of scorching, etc. But can't speak from personal experience.

I think you are right about the idea that stouts like this are about balance - malt, bitter, sweetness, roastiness.

Have you steeped speciality grains in your other beers? If not, this might be a good beer to try that on, with crystal malts, roasted barley and chocolate barley. If you'd like to try that, many here could help you devise a recipe.
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Old 09-29-2010, 06:25 PM   #3
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Thanks for the response . . .

No, I haven't looked at brewing software. I'll have to see if my better half/family CFO will sign off on the software purchase. <grin>

The scorching issue was why I was thinking of putting the chocolate in at the end of the boil, before I begin to cool down the wort. Plus, I've had this unsweetened baker's chocolate in the freezer for a year or so and I thought this might be a good use for it.

I also haven't considered specialty grains yet, either. One of the things I was kind of thinking about is how far I could push the limits of LME-only brewing (again, mainly because I'm lazy and that's what I'm comfortable with, so far.)

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Old 09-29-2010, 06:44 PM   #4
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Thanks for the response . . .

No, I haven't looked at brewing software. I'll have to see if my better half/family CFO will sign off on the software purchase. <grin>
try Beer Calculus
free web based brewing software.
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Old 09-29-2010, 07:48 PM   #5
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Careful with the Dark Chocolate, If I remember right it is high in fat and will kill any head retention ..... I'm at work so I'm unable to look it up ...

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Old 09-29-2010, 09:25 PM   #6
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I also haven't considered specialty grains yet, either. One of the things I was kind of thinking about is how far I could push the limits of LME-only brewing (again, mainly because I'm lazy and that's what I'm comfortable with, so far.)
Filbert, I'm going to take this as an the opening to introduce you to the wonderful world of extract plus steeping grains brewing. The really wonderful part is that its no more difficult than brewing with extract only - its as easy as falling down.

The advantage is that you use light extract to provide the base of your beer, and then use a combination of specialty grains to add flavors and colors. And because you are using speciality grains, the flavors are fresher and you can adjust them or combine them in any number of combinations.

Here's the sticky on how to do it http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/begi...g-howto-99139/

Here's an example of a stout recipe (its one of mine, a milk stout http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/sing...tout-149551/):

Step #1 Steeping Grains
Heat your water to 155 and steep the following grains in a grain bag for approximately 30 minutes
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L
0.75 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)5.25 lb light dry malt extract

Step #2 Add Malt Extract
Add 5.25 lbs of light dry malt extract and stir like crazy. Bring the pot to a boil.

Step #3 Add Hops
When the pot begins to boil, add 0.75 oz of Simcoe hops and boil for 60 minutes.

Step #4 Add Lactose
At the 55 minute mark, add 1.00 lb Milk Sugar (Lactose) and boil for the remaining five minutes.

Turn off heat, chill, etc. just as you would otherwise. For this recipe, you could use Windsor dry yeast.

This will give you a much better tasting stout, because of the roast barley, the chocolate barley and crystal malt and isn't hard at all.
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Old 09-29-2010, 11:50 PM   #7
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Thanks Pappers, Sleepy, Jacob . . . I may take a run at it this weekend. Still trying to decide exactly what I'll take a run at, but I'll let you know . . .

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Old 09-30-2010, 12:12 AM   #8
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Quote:
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try Beer Calculus
free web based brewing software.
So far, I like Beer Calculus a lot . . .
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Old 09-30-2010, 04:54 AM   #9
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I have had great success using cacao nibs to add a chocolate flavor to brews. No issues w/ head retention IME.

Add some sugar to a tiny bit of H2O, cook it down until amber or dark amber, cool and store. Finally add it at flameout and you will add a wonderful toasted marshmallow undertone to accompany the chocolate, not to mention a slight boost in alcohol content.

Chocolate extract (like vanilla extract and alcohol based) is available and is well suited for use at bottling.

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Old 10-01-2010, 06:23 AM   #10
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I'm looking to brew a very similar beer, but with the addition of orange peel.

Yum.

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