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Old 01-14-2009, 04:33 PM   #1
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Default cacao nibs in a chocolate stout

I'm interested in hearing from those who have used these before. A friend of mine who makes gourmet chocolate for a living gave me a bunch of really great cacao nibs to use in a beer, so this weekend I'll be brewing a stout that I can use them with.

I know that Sam Adams adds these to the secondary fermenter for their Chocolate Bock, and I've heard that other people on here do the same. So I'm thinking of adding 8 oz to the secondary and letting it sit there for two weeks.

My only reservation is sanitation. I know that with dry hopping, sanitation is not such a worry because the hops are antimicrobial, but this is not the case with nibs. Does anyone that has used these in the secondary have a secret as to how to do this safely, or should I just take the risk and hope for the best?


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Old 01-14-2009, 05:26 PM   #2
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I ground them up slightly with a coffee grinder to expose the insides then roasted them in an oven @350 for 30 minutes with no issues. You could also soak them in a neutral spirit like vodka for a day or so and then add them.


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Old 01-14-2009, 05:39 PM   #3
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I threw 7oz in a hop bag and let them sit in secondary for a week. I've been told that longer than a week starts imposing "smokey" flavors. I pulled it out of secondary and bottled it on Sunday and the aroma was awesome. Very distinct bitter chocolate. Definately cacao.

I didn't really do much, sanitation wise. The beer in secondary already has some hops and alcohol to help it defend itself, but giving the nibs a dunk in star-san probably wouldnt hurt them or the beer.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:43 PM   #4
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I had mine in secondary for at least three weeks and did not experience any smokey flavors.
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Old 01-14-2009, 05:58 PM   #5
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I just threw them in and didn't have a problem. I let it sit for two weeks and got a pretty chocolatey flavor.
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Old 01-14-2009, 06:33 PM   #6
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From what I have read the best thing to do is add them to the secondary. The alcohol really helps bring out the cocoa. People at Pro brewer have no worrys about it.

2 weeks is the max you should have them in though otherwise things get rather acidic but . . . . as the above say - no probs.

Just toss them in like hops I was told.

I have 8 oz waiting for a batch. they taste YUCKY!!
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:44 PM   #7
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I added 6 oz of cacao nibs in the secondary of a stout 3 weeks ago and it appears, air lock is bubbling, to still be fermenting. I feel like its been long or too long but do not want to bottle if it will make "bombs." Stout was in secondary for 2 weeks before the addition of the nibs with no bubbling.
Tasted it and did a gravity, no change in the 3 weeks but once in a while a bubble. Bottle or wait it out?
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Old 01-17-2016, 06:57 PM   #8
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Welcome aboard! Guessing as to your circumstances entirely... But has there been any rise in temps for the fermentation area? Dissolved CO2 will degas as the temp rises, showing some activity in the airlock... But another question might be have you had a static gravity reading over a few days time?
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Old 01-17-2016, 08:09 PM   #9
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There is a member here that does something I really have liked when I did it. They were soaking them in Bourbon for a few weeks before adding it all to secondary. I presume you can use neutral spirit as well. I use to just toss em in after a quick 15-20 min soak in spirit just to kind of help sanitize them a little and always had luck with at as well. I guess you really can't go wrong what ever you do.

Good luck

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Old 01-17-2016, 08:26 PM   #10
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6 oz sounds like a lot to me. I typically use 4. But as has been said, just let them sit in some cheap vodka for a bit and dump it in your secondary fermenter, then rack on top. Secondary is the best way to go because if you add in primary or at flameout, the nibs will sink to the bottom and become part of the yeast cake. In secondary, this is not a concern and the nibs are more exposed to the beer, resulting in better flavor.


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