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Chocolate Coffee Stout

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I’ve been wanting to brew a Chocolate Coffee Stout for awhile now, but especially since getting my hands on some amazing coffee. Late last year, my fiance found some incredible coffee from a shop called Old Bisbee Roasters. This guy doesn’t roast the coffee until you buy it, and since Bisbee is only a few hours from Phoenix, we get the coffee the next day. Anyway, he occasionally gets this one variety, Bali Blue Krishna, and let me tell you, it’s like heaven on earth. I had to brew a beer with it.

 

I personally find beers with flavor adjuncts to be tough to brew. You can’t just dump some coffee and chocolate into a stout and expect it to be good. There has to be balance between the adjuncts and the base beer; it still has to taste like a stout. I’ve had too many coffee stouts that just taste like coffee. It’s a really fine line between ‘I taste zero coffee in this’ and ‘Sweet Jesus, I didn’t order an espresso’. And that to me is the difficulty of brewing any beer with non-traditional flavors.

 

So I grabbed my french press, and cold-brewed a batch of coffee overnight (1oz in 6oz water). Then I took a bottle of my American Stout left over from the Holidays, and divided four ounces between three glasses. I then carefully dosed each glass with a measured amount of the coffee. 10ml of coffee proved to be my favorite, which roughly equated to 2oz of coffee in 12 oz of water. The coffee was noticeable, but no where near overbearing.

 

Figuring out how much chocolate to use was harder. Most homebrew recipes called for 6-8oz of Cacao Nibs added in the secondary. I decided that might be a bit too much, so I erred on the side of caution, and used 4oz. So with all that settled, I brewed this up. 60min mash, followed by a 60min boil. No real surprises. I re-pitched 150ml of WLP090 slurry from my Amber Ale I had recently brewed. I set my fermenter fridge at 17C, and let it go to work. I’m noticing that WLP090 seems to take off quicker, and ferment to FG faster after each re-pitch. This was the 3rd generation, and I hit terminal gravity after only 72 hours.
DSC_7523.jpgBrewed: 03-16-13
Secondary: 03-20-13
Kegged: 04-01-13
OG: 1.067
FG:1.017
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: 53
6 gallons


13lbs 2-row
1lb Chocolate Malt
8oz Carafa III Special
8oz Roasted Barley
8oz English Crystal
.5oz Coffee – mashed
Mash @ 153
1oz Apollo @ 60
1oz Belma @ 20
WLP090 – Super San Diego
4oz Cacao Nibs – Secondary
2oz Cold Steeped Coffee – Secondary

 

After four days, I racked the beer to secondary onto 4oz of cacao nibs. Additionally, I cold brewed 2oz of coffee in 12oz of water the night before. That got tossed into the secondary as well. I let that hang out for close to two weeks, then crashed the beer to 50F to drop the cacao nibs to the bottom, and racked to keg.
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It’s been on tap for roughly two weeks now, and it’s finally coming together. The color is perfect, black as night, with a rich tan head that lasts for days. The aroma smells like pure mocha. Rich coffee and chocolate, with the coffee coming through more so. There’s some roasted malt in there as well, but it’s tough to pick out against the coffee. The flavor is rich, smooth chocolate and coffee. There’s a firm maltiness that reminds you it’s a beer in the middle, then it finishes clean on the palate. Mouthfeel is medium-full.

 

Overall, I’m really pleased with this beer. I think it will definitely continue to improve with a little age, as the coffee notes tone down, and the flavors come together a little more. If I had to change anything, I would probably dial up the cacao nibs, rather than dial back the coffee. I’d probably say 6-8oz. They impart a very subtle flavor, which is nice, but subtle. The coffee doesn’t come across as too strong, rather it’s nice for the base beer, but the chocolate could be more pronounced. Nevertheless, it’s a fine beer, and it’s excellent with dessert. Cheers!

31 thoughts on “Chocolate Coffee Stout”
  1. Aron 04.16.2013 on 11:36 AM Reply

    Awesome post as always Scott! A question though. Did you sanitize the cacao nibs and/or the cold brewed coffee in some way before dumping it in the secondary? Thanx!

  2. gagne.nick 04.16.2013 on 12:03 PM Reply

    I too am wondering about your methods of sanitation. I just brewed a cocoa coffee stout and out of secondary it tastes like a tangy, sour batch of poo. I cold-pressed the coffee, then after removing the grounds, I boiled it for 5 minutes to kill stuff… that may have been a mistake.

    As for the chocolate, I added 6 ounces of unsweetened cocoa powder at the end of the boil and another 2 ounces in secondary. Out of primary it was a delicious chocolate stout. After secondary it was a waste of my time and money. I probably just went overboard on the coffee. I brewed using about 1 pint of water and 10-12 ounces of dark roast coffee. That may be my problem.

    Awesome post! Just needed it 3 weeks ago haha.

  3. gagne.nick 04.16.2013 on 12:12 PM Reply

    Sorry for the comment spam but there isn't a way to edit my previous comment…

    I meant to ask for your mash it looks like you added coffee to it. Was that 5 ounces of grounds and did you have to use a buffer or anything to keep your pH in check? Did you notice a loss in efficiency due to a higher acidity of your mash?

  4. Lewy 04.16.2013 on 2:56 PM Reply

    I've had really good success with Cacao Nibs at 4oz in 5 gallons of finished stout for 3 weeks. Now this was without the coffee additions. But mine was a 8.5% stout.

    Cacao Nibs are a great addition, I've started to use them in more than dark beers for an interesting twist on normal beers. Your beer BTW sounds awesome.

  5. Scott 04.16.2013 on 11:49 PM Reply

    Cacao nibs went straight in. For the coffee, I boiled the water, and let it cool to room temp prior to mixing with the grounds. I also soaked my French press in star San before use.

    But I really didn't go to any extremes. It sat pretty warm in the secondary (75F, ~23C), so I don't think there's much to sorry sbout

  6. Scott 04.16.2013 on 11:53 PM Reply

    Haha, ya. I think 10oz of coffee was the problem. I used five times less, and my beer has a distinct coffee nose.

    Try 2oz, and see how it tastes.

  7. Scott 04.16.2013 on 11:54 PM Reply

    It was only half an ounce of grounds in the mash. I just did it for giggles. Since it was such a small addition, I didn't do anything to adjust for pH

  8. Scott 04.16.2013 on 11:56 PM Reply

    Ya, they have a really nice aroma that SCREAMS chocolate. I'm thinking 6oz might be perfect next time. This beer will definitely be brewed again; it's too tasty.

  9. Kyle Leddy 04.24.2013 on 4:59 PM Reply

    Great post! Any particular reason you used Belma hops? Do you think its qualities bring anything to this beer or do you just have it, so you used it sorta deal?

  10. DS 04.25.2013 on 12:36 AM Reply

    Hey. I love your blog, just like everyone else here. You get lots of (well-deserved) compliments on your recipes, your advise, your insight – in short, on your brewing skills. You deserve equal recognition for your photography skill. I don't know if it is just a hobby for you, but these are really magazine-quality shots. If depth of flavor is the key to beer, depth of field (and lighting) is the key to photography.

  11. Scott 04.29.2013 on 5:40 PM Reply

    The later =) I bought two pounds of Belma, and I just need to use it up. I'm not crazy about it, so I've been using it where it won't be noticed much.

  12. Scott 04.29.2013 on 5:41 PM Reply

    Thanks, I really appreciate it!

  13. Nate 05.17.2013 on 1:57 PM Reply

    This recipe looks awesome. I'm thinking of making a stout in mid to late summer to have around for fall. Couple questions – first, do you think this would age well? Thinking of bottling it and letting it age in bottles for a couple months. Seems like a good candidate for that type of thing. Second – I have at least a pound each of columbus, cascade, simcoe, amarillo, centennial and zythos. Any suggestions on hop substitutions? With all that, I'm trying to make recipes work without buying more. Toward that end, I was stoked to see that I have basically all the hops for your Blind Pig 2.0. That'll have to get brewed as well…

    Thanks for reading and great work on the blog.

  14. Scott 05.17.2013 on 8:49 PM Reply

    Thanks! I'd highly recommend it. I bottled off half the keg (two 12-packs), and it's aging very well. The chocolate is fading a little, so if you want to drink most of the batch with some age on it you might consider 6-8oz of cacao nibs.

    As for the hops, you could sub anything in. Just don't use something too aggressive for the later addition. Cascade would be perfect.

    And the Blind Pig, ya, that's absolutely worth brewing. It's so citrusy and floral that it appeals to serious IPA lovers, but everything melds so well that all my friends that aren't big IPA fans loved it. If you have the hops, you won't regret it. WLP001/WY1056/US05 all work well. I used WLP090 this time around and noticed no difference.

    Thanks for the comments and feedback (everyone included). It's so rewarding to see you guys brewing these recipes and enjoying some great beer as a result. And that's what it's all about, right?

  15. Greg L. 06.27.2013 on 6:26 AM Reply

    Have you thought about using Maris Otter instead of the 2 row, or maybe a combination of the two malts?

  16. Scott 07.04.2013 on 9:21 PM Reply

    I've done it for a few beers, but never a stout. It could definitely work well for this beer though.

  17. Seth Appell 08.21.2013 on 5:39 PM Reply

    If you make this again, I'd love to give it a try! It sounds divine.

  18. Scott 08.28.2013 on 9:06 PM Reply

    Oh, definitely! I'll drop you an email next time I brew this.

  19. Seth Appell 08.29.2013 on 12:18 AM Reply

    Awesome! I've had a couple of coffee stouts made with our coffee and they've all been delicious.

  20. Jason Janes 10.10.2013 on 11:50 AM Reply

    I'm looking to brew a chocolate coffee stout and this recipe sounds awesome. Question about the cold brewed coffee…Did you strain out the grounds before adding it to the secondary or dump it all in?

  21. Scott 10.18.2013 on 4:01 PM Reply

    Ya, I strained them out with a french press. So I ground 2oz of coffee, mixed it in 12oz of cold water in my french press. Then I covered it in plastic wrap in the fridge overnight. The next day, I used the plunger to strain out the grounds, and dumped the 'filtered' coffee into the beer.

    If you make this, up the cacao nibs some, I'd recommend 6-8oz. I used 4oz, and it needed a little more chocolate flavor.

  22. Aaron Learmonth 11.12.2013 on 6:04 PM Reply

    Any Idea what could be used as a substitute for English Crystal in this recipe?

  23. Jeremyl 12.05.2013 on 9:10 PM Reply

    Hey Scott, I just brewed this today but I changed the recipe a tad for what was available. I used 13lbs GWN Northwest Pale Ale Malt (similar to Maris Otter), 1lb Briess Chocolate Malt, 8oz Bairds Medium Crystal Malt, 8oz Weyermann Carafa II. and 8oz Briess Light Roasted Barley and I had an OG of 1.068. The interesting part of this is that I'm splitting the batch, half 1272, half 1217. Can't wait to see how it turns out! The wort smelled great by the way.

  24. CincyTrailRunning 12.09.2013 on 3:16 PM Reply

    Scott – I'm making this with a buddy 10 gallons, and was wondering what you thought about not adding chocolate but coffee or vice versa? The guy i'm brewing with doesn't like chocolate in his beer.

  25. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:33 PM Reply

    Sorry for the late response. C60 would be a good substitute.

  26. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:33 PM Reply

    Very cool, how did it turn out?

  27. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:34 PM Reply

    I'm probably too late, but ya, you could certainly leave out one or the other.

  28. Jeremyl 05.08.2014 on 9:44 PM Reply

    Pretty amazing actually. Still have about a case left over of just 1217 and 1272 bottles. I think 1217 came out a little better than the 1272, but I blended the two in a keg and it's really nice.

  29. Grey Ghost 11.21.2014 on 2:05 AM Reply

    Old post – did you throw the cacao nibs in whole, or did you grind them up a bit before throwing them in?

  30. […] so that means something dark or malty is first. I flipped through my past recipes until I found a Chocolate Coffee Stout that I brewed three years ago. I remembered this beer being very well received at the time, so it […]

  31. James Croy 06.06.2016 on 5:10 AM Reply

    Hey mate, recipe, write up and photos all delicious!

    Just wondering, I’m assuming that’s Dark Chocolate malt yeah?

    What English Crystal, Dark? Lovibond?

    Cheers!

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