Samoan cocoa mass in a chocolate stout: Opinions?

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Active Member
May 5, 2008
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Hey guys, I recently tried Harpoon's Chocolate Stout and enjoyed it enough to want to do my own take on it. So I sifted through the forums here to find out as much as I could on people's reflections on actual chocolate in beer. The main thing I determined is that it doesn't seem people can really agree on anything but everyone seems to get decent results, especially if they wait enough. So, I pieced together a rough recipe largely based on one by BarleyWater, linked here. Thanks for that, BarleyWater.

I initially decided I wanted to go the route of adding in cocoa powder in the secondary and then adding in some chocolate extract either at kegging or in the secondary, largely depending on when I get some. My reason for the powder is because I know it's not a fermentable, so I didn't need to worry about that, and because some off-site web-page I found linked to in one of the threads mentioned that chocolate has anti-bacterial properties which may interfere with the yeasties. Plus, I don't want to risk boiling off anything in the boil. So I figured play it safe, add it later. If it matters I probably will dilute and pasteurize it in a little water before adding into the secondary.

So here's where this thread hopefully gets a little more interesting. I recently had the pleasure of spending a year in the Pacific building outrigger canoes (beer out there is pretty much not good except for some really good stuff in NZ, if you're curious). In Samoa I happened upon a drink that I think I discovered was cocoa mass diluted in hot water. This is what I was told, I think there may have actually been some milk and sugar in there too, based on trying to make my own back here in the States. So, if you haven't already guessed, I brought some of this stuff back and I've had a bit just sitting around. Can you see where I'm going with this?

Basically I've got some 6-oz plastic-baggy lined styrofoam cups of pure, organic, Samoan cocoa mass. Since I've returned some oils have obviously evaporated, the stuff used to be malleable and now it is very solid and brittle. It also has a little of I'm assuming cocoa husks or something, I've found it works much better to strain the liquid of the 'hot cocoa'. So, I want your opinions: do you think this may be a better ingredient to add than some off the shelf cocoa powder? I don't know if I'll still go with the extract or not, probably depends on what I smell in the secondary.

Here is what I'm specifically keen on. People seem to go for powder, nibs, or chocolate bars. How might using the mass be different? Do people agree with my idea of adding to the secondary, or do you guys have a strong boiling opinion?

It will certainly be an interesting brew and I just don't want to screw it up too bad, because this is a pretty sentimental ingredient or something. If you guys didn't hear there was a tidal wave that hit Samoa pretty bad at the end of the summer; the village I was in is basically gone. So any advice is very welcome, I hope to brew tomorrow. I'm also somewhat pondering holding off to use the Samoan stuff for a second go at a chocolate stout, when I have a bit more confidence.

PS, another question related to this brew but a little off topic. I do extract brewing and was planning on steeping .5lb of chocolate malt, .5lb roasted barley, and maybe .5lb of a higher lovi crystal malt. I know that none of these grains have enzymes due to roasting but, if I were to do a mini-mash with some regular pale malt, would the enzymes in the pale malt convert the roasted sugars in the specialty grains? Does this mini-mash provide a different taste than just steeping? Thanks in advance.


Well-Known Member
Oct 8, 2005
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Oak Grove
Cocoa mass is an early stage product. It has not been de-fatted, so don't expect good head retention.