Chocolate: How to add?

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Well-Known Member
Oct 30, 2007
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Lafayette, IN
I was thinking about adding chocolate to some beer. So my question is what form of chocolate works best to add to beer. The options seem to be:
Shavings of dark chocolate
Cocoa powder (either regular or dutch process)
Cocoa nibs
Something else?

What have you tries? What works? When do you add it?
i use cocoa powder. It disolves more redily and i add it in the last minutes of the boil...what is a cocoa nib?
I use cocoa powder but it is a PITA and can make a big mess if you aren't careful. I've heard lots of folks use the nibs but I haven't tried them myself so I couldn't say. Shavings might be a good way to go but will take longer to dissolve.
I've been planning a chocolate stout and have done a little research. Information I got from a microbrewery that said they did a lot of experimentation. They found they got the best flavor by adding cocoa powder to the keg, but it killed head retention and made a mess out of their kegs. Instead they add the cocoa powder during the mash. They also said that dutch process cocoa made the beer too bitter, but that doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me because dutch process cocoa is less bitter.

I was planning on adding cocoa powder to my boil and hadn't decided on regular or dutch process cocoa.
I prefer dutch processed chocolate to regular cocoa powder since it provides a smooth chocolate flavor without any of the cocoa bitterness. I usually add 4 - 6 ounces to the boil during the last 10 minutes to achieve a nice chocolate flavor.

From Wikipedia:
The Dutch process accomplishes several things:

* Lowers acidity
* Increases solubility
* Enhances color
* Lowers flavor

It's a little harder to find than regular cocoa powder, but any specialty food store should carry it. I buy mine at Whole Foods.
I thinking that the cocoa nib seem to be much less messy than the cocoa powder. When I use spices I like to use crushed whole spices for the same reason. For those that have use the nibs, were you happy with the flavor you got? How much did it take?

I'm guessing because of the fat content of all forms of chocolate (even cocoa powder is about 10% to 25% fat) I'll have to kiss head retention goodbye. I think at flame out of the last few minuets of the boil would be the right time to add them
I used cocoa powder at the last 5 minutes of boil, which definitely added a chocolate flavor.

Here is a good article from BYO about brewing with chocolate:
I'm guessing because of the fat content of all forms of chocolate (even cocoa powder is about 10% to 25% fat) I'll have to kiss head retention goodbye.

Cocoa powder [that I use] contains no fat.

From Wikipedia:

Cocoa solids is a term for the nonfat component of chocolate. It may also be called cocoa powder when sold as an end product. The fatty component of chocolate is cocoa butter.

Recipes where there is a lot of fat and/or sugar, such as chocolate brownies, benefit from the more intense flavor of natural cocoa, whereas applications such as chocolate milk or hot chocolate require the milder taste of Dutch processed cocoa.

I highly recommend using dutch processed cocoa powder for brewing. It adds a nice chocolate flavor that isn't bitter or overwhelming.
I am thinking of doing a 10 gallon batch of Stout and am wanting to split it into 2 - 5 gallons and put cocoa powder in one of them.

Can I put the cocoa powder in the secondary or should I use cocoa beans to do that?

Any other suggestions?
you can definitely put cocoa in the secondary, in fact, that will give you the most cocoa flavor. The only problem is that the small amount of fat in the cocoa powder will kill your head retention and will make a mess out of your keg if you're kegging.
This may sound ridiculous, but I was thinking about trying adding chocolate syrup during the boil. Would that screw up the flavor in any particular way? If not, I may give it a try, as it should increase alcohol and should give a definite chocolate taste.
I melted some baker's chocolate in a small amount of water and then racked to a secondary on top of that. It made a hell of a mess pouring that into the BB, but when I racked the stout there were no problems. I have this nasty looking chocolatey scum floating on top, but it isn't infected. I don't care if it looks bad, because the samples taste amazing.
Nobody has any ideas about the chocolate syrup?

Chocolate syrup tends to contain a lot of additives along with chocolate and a large amount of sugar. The common wisdom is to give chocolate syrup a pass, but I actually have seen a recipe or two out there that calls for it. The recipes I've seen call for the chocolate syrup to be added at flame-out, so I guess I would recommend adding it then.