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Old 10-05-2007, 02:58 PM   #1
Ryan_PA
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Default Chocolate Ale - My Approach

Below is my approach to what I hope is a great recipe. I have thought through this for quite a while, and hope I have done good research and made good assumptions. I will be brewing tomorrow morning. I am looking for a critique of the approach and suggestions.
I do not have the actual recipe I plan to brew as it is on my home machine and I am at the office now.

Building my chocolate ale
Requirements:
* I want the end product to have a noticeable chocolate aroma, with a silky smooth chocolate finish
* I prefer a beer with a moderate amount of mouthfeel, that is not cloyingly sweet or with a moderate to high hop bitterness
* I will bottle this beer as I have read this may take time to condition, and natural carbing will benefit the beer.
* The batch will be 5 gallons-all grain
* The majority of the beer should bottle condition for a minimum of 2 months (preferably 3-4)

Base recipe:
I plan to brew a basic southern brown ale, just above style guidelines for ABV, and on the lower end of the IBUs since the chocolate will add a bittering factor.
In an effort to improve head retention, I will include flaked wheat to the grain bill. There will be no heavily roasted grains in the bill, the highest color grain will be a small addition of crystal 120. I want any roasted flavor to come from the cocoa.
I plan to use Nottingham yeast.
I plan to ferment at 60 degrees. Primary for 1 week, secondary for 3 weeks. Normally, I do not use a secondary for this style, but I believe there are benefits in this case.

Special ingredients:
For chocolate flavor, I have pure un-sweetened ground cocoa from a gourmet market and chocolate extract in shipment.
I plan to add a amount of the ground cocoa to the mash (~1 oz) and some to the secondary (~1 oz). The extract, I plan to add at the time of bottling and my current planned addition will be around 3-4 ozs.
I also plan to add 3/4 cup of lactose to the boil (15 min) in an effort to soften/aid the edge of the chocolate.

References:
Chocolate extract recommendation from Denny Conn - Link
Chocolate extract source - Link
Brewing with Chocolate (BYO) - Link
Formulating and Brewing a Winning Chocolate Porter (Maltose Falcons) - Link
Cheesefood's CCA Recipe - Link



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Old 10-05-2007, 03:15 PM   #2
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This sounds very interesting. I look forward to seeing the recipe posted.


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Old 10-05-2007, 03:22 PM   #3
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My thoughts:

You'd be better served going a little heavier on the roasted elements from grain. Chocolate will not really give you anything in the finished product in term of roastiness. I'd use some chocolate malt, without a doubt, and some roasted barley.

Personally, I like using unsweetened baker's chocolate in the boil in addition to the cocoa powder. Never used chocolate extract flavoring, but that might work too. The reason I love the baker's chocolate (I used 8 oz of it in my chocolate-espresso stout) is that in addition to the flavor, it also lends an incredibly creamy, silky texture to the beer.

You're spot-on WRT to the lower IBU.

You could also (if you're into it) add some brewed/cooled drip coffee to the secondary or primary. Make sure it's good coffee, though...no folger's. That's what I did, and to this day it's one of my favorite beers.

Maltodextrin powder adds body and silkier mouthfeel without sweetness, as opposed to lactose.

Everything else sounds good. Good luck!
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Old 10-06-2007, 12:19 PM   #4
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Thanks for the feedback Evan. I will not really plan on adding the coffee, but I know that is a great complimenting flavor for a beer like this. Below is what I am currently mashing:

Chocolate Ale
Batch Size: 5.5 Gal
All Grain
Est OG: 1.049
IBU: 10.8
SRM: 15.4

Grains:
2 Row Pale - 7.5 lb
Biscuit Malt - 1 lb
Flaked Wheat - 0.5 lb
Chocolate Malt - 0.25 lb
Crystal 120 - 0.25 lb
Crystal 60 - 0.25 lb
Maltodexrin - 4 ozs (added at 15m left in boil)

Hops:
Goldings (4.2 AA) 60 Min
Goldings (4.2 AA) 15 Min

Yeast:
Nottingham

Extra:
1 oz of pure un-sweetened cocoa added to mash
1 oz of pure un-sweetened cocoa added at 15m left in boil
Irish moss
3 oz chocolate extract at bottling
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:31 PM   #5
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Small update:

My actual OG came in a little higher than anticipated at 1.053, I seem to really be dialing in my crankandstein, first time over 80% eff.

I drank the initial hydrometer sample and think I am really on to something here. It was a really well flavored wort sample (perhaps my favorite yet). The yeast was at moderate krausen within 10 hours (not sure when it took off since I was out of the house from the end of the house from noon till 10:00.

Fermentation is going strong now at 60 degrees. I am really looking forward to the final taste of this beer...

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Old 12-18-2007, 02:45 AM   #6
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Ryan sent me a couple of these - here's my review:

Appearance:
Medium brown, cloudy. Pours with a thick, light tan head.

Aroma:
Sweet chocolate and light caramel with roasted notes and an overtone that I can only describe as a fairly generic "beer" smell.

Flavor:
Chocolate malt. This tastes exactly like opening a bag of chocolate malt, inhaling the dusty goodness, then cracking a few kernels between your teeth. After a few sips, the cocoa/chocolate flavor begins to manifest itself in a pleasant, lingering aftertaste.

Mouthfeel:
Well carbonated. Surprisingly light and refreshing, especially considering the significant addition of maltodextrin.

Overall:
This is an enjoyable beer. It's light bodied and light flavored, despite the deep color and the addition of 2+ lbs specialty grains and chocolate. If I didn't know any better, I'd have guessed the grain bill as 8 lbs of 2-row and 1/2 to 3/4 lb of chocolate malt...and that's it! For a chocolate specialty ale, I'd like it to be a bit heavier in chocolate flavor, but for a sessionable English brown, I wouldn't change a thing! Another nice offering from Ryan_PA's homebrewery.
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:42 PM   #7
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Sounds really good..

O'fallon Brewery ( Ofallon, Mo )

Has a cherry chocolate ale. i wonder how I could make somethign similiar using this recipe?

If I were to do it what would some of you guys recommend as far as process flow and recipe? Thanks

ST
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Old 01-03-2008, 07:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stormtracker
Sounds really good..

O'fallon Brewery ( Ofallon, Mo )

Has a cherry chocolate ale. i wonder how I could make somethign similiar using this recipe?

If I were to do it what would some of you guys recommend as far as process flow and recipe? Thanks

ST
I looked at the site for O'Fallon, it looks like the Choc Cherry is a wheat beer. I would start with 4.5 lb 2 row, 3.5 choc wheat, .5 munich and ~ a pound of crystal 40 for the grain bill. Low AA hops and a basic wheat beer yeast with cherries added to the secondary and choc extrat at kegging/bottling. If you want to bump up the SRM to get darker I would play with carafa II addtion to the sparge.


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