I agree with the plate chiller. The Terminator is the best piece of equipment I own.
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Chocolate would not be an appropriate substitute for corn sugar in this recipe. However, if you want to add chocolate flavor to it I have had excellent results using this coca powder (http://www.savoryspiceshop.com/spices/cocoablk.html) at the end of the boil followed by using cocoa nibs from the same company in the secondary.
Just to check, are you correcting for alcohol content in your refractometer reading? An uncorrected FG reading of 1.044 corrects down to about 1.024ish, methinks.
Us women generally have more sensitive palates than our male counterparts. I read it in a book, so it must be true!
Otherwise, drinking beer and writing down what you think is a great way to get the thought process going. The BJCP has tons of great resources on their website - use them!