Author Topic: Using real chocolate  (Read 1672 times)

Offline craigg

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Using real chocolate
« on: June 15, 2010, 07:22:37 PM »
Anyone have any experience using bakers chocolate in either a stout or porter recipe?

We have both coming up, and would like to know the particulars of when to add, what form is used (i.e. powder or bar or syrup) and how to best get it into solution.

Any insights are appreciated/

Offline pyrite

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2010, 08:26:44 AM »
I've used organic cocoa nibs, but that really has no real sugar chocolate flavor, they have more of a raspy faint chocolate flavor.  For coco nibs I added 16oz (dry hop method) to a 5 gallon beer and aged it for 8months, and the taste of cocoa was really evident, so good..

Also if you want to use cocoa nibs in the boil, they add a bitterness to the beer.  You can substitute some bittering hop additions with cocoa to get a chalk like raspy bitterness.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2010, 08:28:23 AM by pyrite »
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Offline EHall

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2010, 08:50:53 AM »
I've used cocoa powder in the past, I mixed it with corn sugar and some water to make a syrup then added it during the boil. Gotta say I wasn't that impressed with the flavor... I agree with above, the cacao nibs in secondary give the best chocolate flavor.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2010, 10:34:36 AM »
I used 8 oz of Nestle's low fat, unsweetened cocoa powder (per 5 gallons) and 4 oz cocoa nibs (per 5 gallons) in a Stout.
Aged on the powder almost 3 or 4 weeks, and on the nibs for the last 2 weeks.  Rationale:  Cocoa powder was targeting flavor and cocoa nibs was targeting aroma.
It is hard to overpower the roast with the chocolate, IMO.
If served below 50 F--the cocoa is absent from flavor and aroma.  It must be warmed up above 50 F to even pick up the roast or cocoa.

Would I do it again?  I'd probably pick a different cocoa powder to try.  Cocoa nibs, yes, but only in the last 2 weeks or so in the secondary (not in the boil).

I'd also find ways to lower the roast character of the stout to allow the chocolate to play a more prominent role.  I'm intrigued by what I've read about cold steeping the dark grains (see recent threads referencing G. Fix and Mary Gruber [sp?] of Breiss) to reduce the astringency and unpleasant roast characteristics.

I'd love to hear other tips if anyone's got them.

Offline craigg

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2010, 03:03:38 PM »
Thanks guys
The brewing efforts we have coming up are these
1) I'm remaking a cherry porter recipe, upping the cherries from last time, using a heavier dose of chocolate malt and a lighter dose of black patent  (4:1 ratio), and was considering adding chocolate to see if I could get a more luscious mouthfeel and hint of chocolate to go with the roasty background that offsets the fruit.
2) My brewing partner is going after a clone of the Founders Breakfast Stout.

Neither of us have used chocolate before in any recipe. When I talked to my homebrew supply guy, he suggested melting down the bar form of bakers chocolate and adding it to the bottling bucket, skipping both the boil and the fermenting process.  All around it sounds like somewhere late in the process is best. 

Any other experiences are welcome and appreciated - thanks!!

Offline enso

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2010, 03:32:22 PM »
I have tried many forms of chocolate.  I would recommend cocoa powder in the boil and/or cacao nibs in the fermenter.  Do not use chocolate bars, bakers or otherwise.  They make a mess and really do not add anything better flavor wise.  You will be dealing with all the excess cocoa butter (fats) which will not be beneficial to your beer anyway.  Did I mention the mess?

Even with cocoa powder be forewarned that you will have a large amount of sediment in the end.  The flavor of the chocolate will be retained but the solids will settle out of solution as it sits.  So account for this and perhaps shoot for a little more volume going in then you would normally.  I have used about 4 to 8 oz. of cocoa powder in the boil.  Added near the end.

One more point I will mention on chocolate in beer.  If you add cacao nibs to a beer that is not very roasty or dark you will notice a very earthy (dirt) flavor in addition to the chocolate.  It can be picked out on roasty beers too but it is subtle and melds better.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2010, 07:39:17 PM »
I agree (personal experience) with everything Enzo said.

Feedback on my Black Forest Stout entry included comments like having a "metallic" favor/aftertaste, astringency, etc.all correctly ascribed to the cocoa nibs.

I'm still debating whether or not using cocoa nibs again in the future--the aroma is nice. 
But I can do w/o the flavor/bitterness issue that the use of cocoa nibs creates.

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2010, 07:26:48 AM »
I successfully blended Cacao Nibs with everclear and let it sit in cool dark area
for a couple weeks.  Then just added it to secondary with Great results.
Rationale;
The everclear in small quantities would Not alter the final beer much if at all
The alcohol would sanitize any nasties on the nibs
The alcohol would help break down the cocoa butters/oils
The liquid slurry would disperse easily through the secondary

Would I do it that way again???...Yep
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Offline craigg

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #8 on: June 17, 2010, 04:47:24 PM »
quantity?
ratios?
What sort of beer/style?

my curiosity is piqued :)

Offline dean

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2010, 08:15:12 PM »
Do not use chocolate bars, bakers or otherwise.  They make a mess and really do not add anything better flavor wise.  You will be dealing with all the excess cocoa butter (fats) which will not be beneficial to your beer anyway.  Did I mention the mess?


+1  The wax will plug your screen or braid when you go to transfer plus you won't be happy with what little flavor it provides.  I think the yeast may consume it and the flavor is practically non-existant.   If you use a siphon tube you might be alright during the transfer from BK though....  :-\

Offline 1vertical

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2010, 09:38:55 PM »
quantity?
ratios?
What sort of beer/style?

my curiosity is piqued :)

It has been quite some time since that beer. it was a chocolate stout and a mighty good one when all was said and done.
I remember I used a wide mouth pint jar and it was about 2/3 full of a THICK slurry. I kept adding small amounts of
everclear to keep it liquified because the nibs kept absorbing the everclear.  That partial pint of slurry was added to 5 gallons of beer.
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Offline dak0415

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2010, 06:41:40 AM »
Ok, I've been watching this now for a while and I am forced to add my .02.  I read somewhere (old brewing wives tale) that something in cocoa inhibits yeast performance in some way.  I tried cocoa (always the Hersheys baking cocoa powder, baking cocoa powder is defatted, the bars are not) in the last 5 min of the boil.  1 oz by weight per 5 gal.  It was ok.  I then tried varying amounts in secondary, wetted by vodka so it would dissipate without clumping.

The base recipe was always a mocha porter, so I was looking for more of a subtle flavor to complement the roasted barley.  The best has been - 2 oz by weight in secondary for 7 days.  I guess the vodka helps extract the flavor.  The effect was a very smooth cocoa flavor, but it did leave a lot of crap in the keg.  Very popular at Xmas time.

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Offline dean

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2010, 07:16:11 AM »
I haven't tried cocoa powder, that sounds good dak0415... and I want to make a nice holiday beer, got a recipe you would share?   8)

Offline denny

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2010, 11:08:31 AM »
In the few chocolate beers I've done, I take a tip from Rogue and use chocolate extract.  Easier to control and IMO better flavor.  Starkay White is an excellent one.
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Offline richardt

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Re: Using real chocolate
« Reply #14 on: June 18, 2010, 11:15:43 AM »
Good to know.  So many resources say to avoid using extract (esp. imitation vanilla, for example) because it makes the beer taste bad if more than an ounce is used.

I found the cocoa powder and the nibs to be a bit of a pain and underwhelming with the results.  Dumping in a few ounces of cocoa extract seems a lot easier to me.  Anyone recommend any particular brands besides Starkay White (which I've never heard of before)?