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Old 07-23-2013, 03:40 PM   #1
Zainyolprospector
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May 2013
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I'm making my first stout. Hoping to let it age for a while so it'll be prime and ready for this late fall winter.

I'm trying to figure the best way to maximize the chocolate flavor. I've heard of cocoa powder, nibs, and cocoa essence. What do you guys think would be the best option/strategy? I'd appreciate the help.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 05:12 PM   #2
zzARzz
 
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I have a friend who used cocoa powder in a Mr. Beer kit and I found it a little chalky in the mouthfeel, but it was likely he used too much and I know he didn't make a syrup with it first. That said, I've never used powder in a brew myself. If you do decide to use powder, try to get Dutch processed cocoa powder as I've found (when I'm baking, not brewing) that I prefer it's richer, smoother flavor to standard cocoa powder and it would be easy enough to incorporate it into your priming sugar as a chocolate syrup when you bottle. You can get it from spice stores if you have one nearby or from Amazon.

If you're doing extract or AG, I've always had a lot of luck with using Briess Chocolate and Dark Chocolate Malts as specialty grains as well as using ground up nibs in my mash if I want chocolate to be the star of the brew.

There's a great article about using cocoa in all its forms from All About Beer here that should give you an insight into what form/method would be best suited for what you're creating.

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:19 PM   #3
Zainyolprospector
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Very helpful! Thank you

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 06:29 PM   #4
Ster
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So if using cocoa powder.. you would make a sugary syrup when bottling as opposed to adding during the last few minutes of the boil?

 
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Old 07-23-2013, 07:08 PM   #5
zzARzz
 
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Well, there's about 100 ways to do everything in brewing, so it's really a matter of what works best for you. If I was less concerned about subtler flavors in the finished beer and only wanted chocolate for the most part, then adding it at bottling as part of the priming simple syrup would give the most pronounced flavor, as it does when adding flavor extracts like in a raspberry wheat ale or something like that. But if I wanted a more "natural" flavor that makes chocolate only a part of the whole (allowing more of the roasted, coffee and caramel qualities to shine through) then I would add it earlier, such as in the mash, boil or as a dry hop in the secondary.

Really the only rule I would say is not adding too much of anything. More flavor can be added at bottling with a chocolate priming syrup, for instance, if a more pronounced flavor is desired than was produced by the other methods, but once it's in there it's impossible to take away.

 
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