Author Topic: Chocolate & Chili  (Read 1519 times)

Offline unclebrazzie

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Chocolate & Chili
« on: April 08, 2016, 12:18:09 PM »
Right, I've been meaning to to brew a mean chocolate chili stout for quite some time now, and I think it's about time I started properly planning this.

Couple of things worry me in this.

One is how to get "proper" chocolate into the beer. I want a dark chocolate flavour, as well as the thick velvet mouthfeel of a proper cup of hot chocolate. I mean the proper, non-Newtonian stuff te Spanish use to dunk their churros in.
Another is the chili. Sure, I want hotness and fire, but not to the exclusion of all else, and also not to the detriment of the chili flavour itself. I want that meaty, fruity flavour which comes with a good quality chili.

I've got about 3 dried Carolina Reapers, which, while ridiculously hot, also have a very nice flavour once your mouth has stopped violently dying in the middle of your face. I also have some ground and whole dried Espelette peppers, and about two dried anchos (I think they're anchos, how can I tell?).
Chocolate-wise, I can easily obtain cocoa in whole nut form, nibs, or powder.

By no means should this become a clown beer. Yes, it's got everything going against it, but should really be something intended for people who are, simply put, crazy about beer, chocolate and chili.

Anyone here who's got meaningful(*) advice regarding the addition/inclusion of either or both of these ingredient?

*) and for argument's sake, let's assume we already have "Just don't do it" already covered.
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2016, 01:33:50 PM »
Cocoa nibs are probably de rigueur for chocolate stouts. Consider adding a small amount of vanilla bean to round out the chocolate flavor.

Those carolina reapers are probably too spicy for the amount of flavor you need to extract. I can't see how you'll get enough flavor to justify the heat. I'd opt for the ancho or preferably try to source dried guajillo and use those or guajillo in combination with ancho and possibly the smallest sliver of a reaper if you want it in there.

My favorite beer in this style comes from a small brewpub in Denver. It's actually what gets called a mole stout so it has cinnamon in it but you could easily omit it. Take a peak at the recipe here: https://beerandbrewing.com/VlOCax8AAFANy3x6/article/copper-kettle-mexican-chocolate-stout-recipe
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Offline toby

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2016, 01:41:51 PM »
I would do cacao nibs soaked in 100 proof white rum for the chocolate.  Depending on how big the stout is, I would go with anywhere from 2 to 4 oz (the bigger the stout, the more cacao it can stand).

For peppers, the key (and the heat) is in the ribs and seeds, especially with something like a Ghost, Reaper, or Scorpion.  Here's a good tip:
http://www.instructables.com/id/Remove-the-Heat-of-a-Pepper-not-simply-de-seeding/?ALLSTEPS

Personally, I prefer things like Ancho or Serrano in stouts (Luchador or Huna are really good pepper stouts, although Huna adds cinnamon to the mix).  I don't mind a mild heat, but I prefer the flavor of the chiles instead.

Offline FaradayUncaged

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2016, 04:33:28 PM »
Very intrigued by this as I enjoy things like Mayan Mocha Stout, but I've never experimented with pepper additions (even though we usually grow them in the garden every year).

For chocolate, I've used cocoa nibs as already mentioned, with about half an ounce per gallon.  Recently, on a bigger stout I've also added bittersweet chocolate.  That's still aging so the jury is still out but before going into secondary it tasted quite nice.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2016, 06:48:03 PM »
I seem to be the only one who offers this up, but dark chocolate bars (youngs double chocolate stout uses a bar in the kettle) and pure cocoa powder in the boil kettle (easy to use like dry malt extract), even if it has evaporated milk its not going to hurt anything.  Also the obvious chocolate malts and of course cacao nibs.  making the tincture is a definite plus in a secondary, soaking it in rum for a few days and pitching it all in Rum and all.  IMO if you don't pitch the rum in, then the extracted oils and the flavor is lost to the sink.  And that doesn't seem like it would be worth the effort.  I suppose it wouldn't be terrible to just boil some water and kill the heat, toss in the nibs and let the oils extract that way then pitch it all into the secondary.  To me using nibs would be like using coffee beans.  They are cacao beans fermented, dried, roasted, cracked.  Not crazy far from coffee.  Steeped in water or soaked in alcohol would be the best ways to add the flavors to the beer.

** Another Chocolate stout link https://www.homebrewersassociation.org/forum/index.php?topic=26477.msg343269#msg343269
« Last Edit: April 08, 2016, 06:53:12 PM by JJeffers09 »
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Offline cblitzstein

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 03:14:59 PM »
The problem with chocolate is its solubility.  I've read that even Youngs has admitted to using chocolate extract to enhance the flavor in their stout.  I have used cocoa nibs in vodka to start but have tuned in the final chocolate flavor with chocolate extract.

I know, it's not the natural way, but nobody ever complained when they drank the beer.


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Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2016, 05:54:55 PM »
The problem with chocolate is its solubility.  I've read that even Youngs has admitted to using chocolate extract to enhance the flavor in their stout.  I have used cocoa nibs in vodka to start but have tuned in the final chocolate flavor with chocolate extract.

I know, it's not the natural way, but nobody ever complained when they drank the beer.


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First off though, ethanol is a solvent.  The insoluble fat or cocoa butter in the powder or bar are partly solidified in the beer because of the alcohol, boil, etc.  That is why you should add the chocolate to the boil kettle.  The heat and break down of the insoluble fatty acids helps create the emulsion so there is not a chocolate powder floating on top.  Although hop oils are insoluble as well but no one ever worries about those do they? No, because they are boiled... but then the dry hopped, why doesn't the oils cause issues there? That is because ethanol is a solvent.  There is sure enough a percentage that is left insoluble but it has never created a bad beer IMO.  It would have to be EXTREMELY high amounts of chocolate or a STUPID amount of hops to cause that problem wouldn't you think?
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Offline cblitzstein

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2016, 06:37:18 PM »

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First off though, ethanol is a solvent. 
[/quote]

Lots of things are solvents. Water is a solvent. That's not the issue. The issue is the solubility of the solute. Cocoa does dissolve in ethanol but not in large amounts. Couple that with the fact that there's between 3 and 10 percent ethanol by volume and you have little liquid for the cocoa to dissolve in.

As for boil, as soon as the temperature d ops, excess solute drops out of solution.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2016, 07:08:31 PM »
Right the excess will drop out, or fail to make the emulsion but how much excess would/could there be in a <1oz/gallon? Then the increased solubility from ethanol.  Idk, I do not see your point.  I think it is exaggerated
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2016, 07:48:39 AM »
Lots of stuff to ponder here. Will follow-up as and when the plan develops.  Thanks, y'all!
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Offline unclebrazzie

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2016, 08:19:57 AM »
I was pondering chilies again last night.

I remember a passionfruit-habanero IPA I tasted at Borefts last year, which excellently highlighted the fruity flavour of the habanero. Think about it: chilies are really just another type of berry, and while their fiery pungency can easily (and often vociferously) distract you from the idea, they really do taste somewhat fruity, with a meaty/fleshy aspect added to that.

One thing I'm considering is roasted bell peppers. Raw, bell peppers taste vegetably. A bit acidic, and with maybey hints of acetaldehyde (especially the green ones). Roasted, they turn fleshy and meaty. Richer and a bit fatty even. Lots of oily juice leaks from them, which has got me worried about head retention, but I'll sort that out later. First, I need to contemplate flavour. That meaty flavour, I think, would to really well in both a big fat impy stout, as in a weird pale hoppy brew.

Habanero adds fire to that flavour, but has a wonderful, lively fruity flavour when fresh. This, I think, would do wonderfully in a summer ale. Need to find me some fresh habaneros (and other fresh peppers) in Belgium though. Those canned/pickled versions just won't do.


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Offline jeffy

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2016, 10:08:24 AM »
I was pondering chilies again last night.

I remember a passionfruit-habanero IPA I tasted at Borefts last year, which excellently highlighted the fruity flavour of the habanero. Think about it: chilies are really just another type of berry, and while their fiery pungency can easily (and often vociferously) distract you from the idea, they really do taste somewhat fruity, with a meaty/fleshy aspect added to that.

One thing I'm considering is roasted bell peppers. Raw, bell peppers taste vegetably. A bit acidic, and with maybey hints of acetaldehyde (especially the green ones). Roasted, they turn fleshy and meaty. Richer and a bit fatty even. Lots of oily juice leaks from them, which has got me worried about head retention, but I'll sort that out later. First, I need to contemplate flavour. That meaty flavour, I think, would to really well in both a big fat impy stout, as in a weird pale hoppy brew.

Habanero adds fire to that flavour, but has a wonderful, lively fruity flavour when fresh. This, I think, would do wonderfully in a summer ale. Need to find me some fresh habaneros (and other fresh peppers) in Belgium though. Those canned/pickled versions just won't do.
Try roasting some poblano peppers instead of bell peppers.  I use them with a touch of habanero in a witbier that turns out nicely.
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Offline homoeccentricus

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2016, 12:41:54 PM »
I was pondering chilies again last night.

I remember a passionfruit-habanero IPA I tasted at Borefts last year, which excellently highlighted the fruity flavour of the habanero. Think about it: chilies are really just another type of berry, and while their fiery pungency can easily (and often vociferously) distract you from the idea, they really do taste somewhat fruity, with a meaty/fleshy aspect added to that.

One thing I'm considering is roasted bell peppers. Raw, bell peppers taste vegetably. A bit acidic, and with maybey hints of acetaldehyde (especially the green ones). Roasted, they turn fleshy and meaty. Richer and a bit fatty even. Lots of oily juice leaks from them, which has got me worried about head retention, but I'll sort that out later. First, I need to contemplate flavour. That meaty flavour, I think, would to really well in both a big fat impy stout, as in a weird pale hoppy brew.

Sorry, I don't see the combination working. Maybe it's one of those confusions about the meaning and purpose of beer and food pairing: you drink the beer with the food, in some cases you pour the beer into the food, but you don't put the food in the beer ;)
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Offline euge

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2016, 01:22:48 PM »
I favor dried chile de arbol as an addition. One per gallon thrown into the last 10 minutes of the boil gives off a pleasant heat without being overwhelming.
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Offline csaunders

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Re: Chocolate & Chili
« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2016, 02:54:45 AM »
I've been meaning to play with Chocolate and Chili in the near future. However my partner and I recently made a few beers that used cocoa nibs in them and found that 100 - 150g wasn't nearly enough. For both we soaked them in Vokda for about 2 days then pitched the whole things in.

Hers also had coffee in it, and the coffee was the prominent flavour so that could be a bias. The one I made was a salted chocolate stout and I found that the cocoa nibs were super subdued.

I recently did some sensory stuff with cocoa nibs, and feel that you could probably get some decent flavour extraction if you were to add them during a 15m whirlpool or hot steep. This is what I'm planning on doing next time I try to use them and hopefully it'll work out a bit better.