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Best addition/alteration you've made to a chocolate stout extract kit?

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MooDaddy

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I am a big fan of stouts in general, and chocolate stouts in particular. What have you done in veering off the straight and narrow basic chocolate stout kit recipes by way of additions and/or alterations that has worked out well?
 

VikeMan

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The answer would depend somewhat on what's in the basic "chocolate" stout kit recipe.
 

VikeMan

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Ok, so that's sort of an oatmeal stout, with cocoa added.

A few ideas...
- Vanilla, which used judiciously can help fire the "chocolate" synapse in the brain.
and/or
- Lactose, to sweeten the chocolate flavors
and/or
- Peppermint, which combined with vanilla and lactose can get you a sort of "peppermint patty"
 
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MooDaddy

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"A different yeast can give you a whole different experience, even with the same kit."

Really? I had no idea. I have been using Safale S-04 - another suggestion?
 
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Yeah, yeast impart their own flavors during fermentation and conditioning. Other good options for a stout/porter are WLP005/ Wyeast 1187 and WLP002/Wyeast 1968. I use WLP005 quite often and enjoy it a lot.
 
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MooDaddy

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Much appreciated! I will take note of these and try something different next go around. Thank you.
 
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MooDaddy

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Beermeister32, Maybe a dumb question, but is there an aging time period beyond which things tend to go the other way and worsen the taste of the stout?
 

Beermeister32

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There are no dumb qusetions. I find that on bigger beers you get the benefit from aging at about 3 months. It is good to open a bottle each month to see how it is coming along.

Anecdotally, I have had a few age out OK as early as 60 days. Others not so much but were excellent after about 6 months. There are a lot a variables based on your recipe, ingredients, style and process. I'd figure 3 months minimum and you will be getting some excellent flavors!
 
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Beermeister32

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I've had a few bottled stouts that were in my stash that were brewed in December 2014 that we drank this year. I would say they were a bit long in the tooth but definitely drinkable!
 

VikeMan

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VikeMan, How much vanilla or lactose do you add?
For 5 gallons...

Vanilla: if just to enhance chocolate flavors, maybe one bean or a half a bean, split and chopped. In the beer for 2-3 days. For a stronger, obvious vanilla flavor, maybe 2 beans. Or 3 for a bomb. I get my beans from Beanilla, and YMMV.

Lactose: Anywhere from 1/2 pound to 2 pounds, in the boil. In the past, I always tended to go heavier than most on lactose. Nowadays, I feel like a lightweight when I see what some are putting into "pastry" stouts.
 
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gbbeer

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I like adding flaked barley to the build and, like others have mentioned, lactose. I haven't used cocoa powder in my stouts yet since I've had great results with cacao nibs.
 
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MooDaddy

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sibelman, I one of only two folks on the planet who doesn't drink or like coffee, my wife is the other, but that doesn't mean it couldn't be good in a stout. Thanks for the suggestion.

gbbeer, Interesting. How much flaked barley, how much lactose, and how much cacao nibs?
 

NGD

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You may want to try buying a cup of known, well liked coffee and adding a tablespoon or two to a mug. I just tried an Ethiopian variety awhile back that tasted like blueberries. I’ve also been fortunate enough to have Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee on several occasions and that stuff is like drinking liquid velvet.

You may also want to try a few extract flavorings like blueberry if flavorings like fruit are your jam (no pun intended).

edit: Just remembered a brewer buddy made a stout on his third ever brew and soaked 2-3oz coffee beans in quality bourbon then dumped the bourbon into the batch post fermentation. It turned out fantastic and the coffee flavor was almost negligible. Your imagination is your limit.
 
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NGD

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About 50 fluid ounces -- a fullish Melitta carafe -- in a five gallon batch. (Is the size of a coffee "cup" even standardized? )
I started to answer with a distinct opinion of 6 ounces. Then researched further and realized I have no effing idea what size a standard cup of coffee is supposed to be.
 
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