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Chocolate Coffee Stout 2.0

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It’s party time! Kristen turns 30 this year, and we decided to have a bunch of family and friends over to celebrate. That also means that I need three full kegs of beer that will please a crowd. I tend to save the hoppier beers for last, 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 seemed like a great recipe for the party.

 

Just like every recipe, they’re never perfect. It’s always fun to get to revisit a beer you brewed years ago to see what you were thinking at the time, and decide what you would do differently now. My notes from 2013 said the beer didn’t have enough chocolate aroma, and wasn’t quite malty enough. So I kept the changes small and simple, and thus the grain bill looks pretty close. I added in a sizable amount of Munich malt to help contribute some maltiness, and cut the 20min hop addition out of the recipe. I also added 50% more cacao nibs than I did last time, and I raised the mash temp to 155F in the attempt in amp up the dextrines. As for the change in yeast, it was done out of laziness. This is a 12 gallon batch, and I didn’t have enough time to culture up enough liquid yeast to use my favorite WLP090.

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This brew day went really smooth. I thought I was going to run out of propane, but I chanced it and everything was fine. It took a good year to get comfortable brewing at the new house, but I’m finally starting to hit my stride again. Although, I’m planning on building a new brew stand sometime in the near future, so it’s short lived. I mashed in at 155 without much fuss, and held it for 60 minutes before sparging and boiling for 60 minutes as well. Whirlfloc went in with 15 minutes left, and I started chilling this batch immediately after flameout. Thanks to the new counterflow chiller, I was able to fill my two fermenters in under 30 minutes, which is a huge improvement. I pitched one-and-a-half packets of yeast into each fermenter, which were rehydrated in 90F water. After that I sealed up the fermenters, and dropped them in the fermenter fridge at 17.2C. Fermentation followed my usual schedule of ramping the temperatures up every couple of days until I hit 19.5C by the end of fermentation. 16 - 0305 - Chocolate Coffee StoutBrewed: 03-04-16
Dry-nibbed: 03-12-16
Kegged: 03-18-16
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.017
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: 35
12 Gallons

24lbs 2-row
2lbs Chocolate Malt
1.25lbs Munich
1lb Roasted Barley
1lb Carafa III Special
1lb English Medium Crystal
Mash @ 155F
2oz Apollo @ 60
US05 – 3 packs (1.5 per fermenter)
2oz Cold Steeped Coffee per fermenter
6oz Cacao Nibs per fermenter

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After fermentation was complete, I added the cacao nibs directly into each fermenter, and allowed them to hang out for a week before crashing the fermenters. Cold crashing is good for more than just getting yeast or hops to drop out of solution. It does a great job of getting racking-cane-clogging nibs to drop. Other than that, this was a pretty simple brew. Once the beers were kegged I added gelatin carbonation, and that was it.

 

After a week on tap there was adequate carbonation, and after about two and a half weeks this beer was tasting exactly where it should.  This beer looks beautiful in the glass. It’s pitch black with a creamy tan head that lasts throughout the pint. The aroma is dominated by coffee and chocolate. There’s little malt to speak of when you smell it, and absolutely no hop aroma.  It smells creamy, very much like a mocha. The body is medium-full, it’s chewy, but not as much as an imperial stout. This beer drinks similar to how it smells; the coffee and chocolate flavors hit you first followed by lots of roasted malts. The finish is smooth and full. I’ll be honest, I was a little worried this beer wasn’t bitter enough when I first put it in the keg. It drank a little on the sweet side when it was flat, but now that’s it’s fully carbonated it’s not as noticeable. That is probably the one change I would make to this recipe next time though. I’ll likely add around 10-12% more bittering hops on the next iteration.

 

That’s about it for now. I’ll have two more party beers posted shortly. Cheers!

29 thoughts on “Chocolate Coffee Stout 2.0”
  1. Dave Fischer 04.17.2016 on 2:15 PM Reply

    Hey Scott, I found your blog about 8 months ago, although this is my first time posting. Just wanted to say thanks for a lot a great info. I learn something every time I read.

    Back in January I brewed this chocolate coffee stout from your first post of it. Only thing I changed were the hops due to what I had available. I also added some rolled oats to the mash…it was a last minute decision and I figured ‘why not’. 4 months later theres not much left. Absolutely delicious. It seemed to keep getting better the longer it sat in bottles. Really nice recipe.

    I had a question about how you dry hop. I know you rack to a keg, toss in the dry hops and purge with co2. Do you then leave it at room temp for the 3-4 days and then cold crash before racking? And do you rack with a siphon or use co2 to push the beer into your serving keg? I’m just starting to keg and was just curious.

    Thanks again for all the great info!

    -Dave

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 6:57 AM Reply

      Hi Dave,

      Awesome to hear the recipe worked out well for you!

      As for Dry hopping. It sounds like you’ve got the gist of if it. Purge the keg with CO2, hops in without a bag. I do leave it at room temp for a few days, and then cold crash before racking to a clean keg. You don’t need to crash it fully down to serving temps. I’ve found anything under 50F usually gets to the hops to drop out nicely. Since the beer is in a CO2 purged keg, there’s no harm in crashing all the way down to fridge temps though. I use a racking cane with a siphon at that point to transfer to a clean keg. The clean keg is purged with CO2 as well.

      There’s a couple places in a process where I can pick up a little dissolved O2, but it’s considerably better than my old process.

  2. Cerveza Rudimentaria 04.18.2016 on 12:08 AM Reply

    It looks great! I love chocolate beers, I need to try brewing some beer like yours 🙂
    Cheers from Spain!

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 6:58 AM Reply

      Cheers!

  3. Chlehb 04.18.2016 on 10:29 AM Reply

    Sounds great and looks awesome. Might have to brew this once I finish all the Pale Ales and IPAs planned for the next months. Nice new blog design!

  4. Paul Taylor 04.19.2016 on 5:28 AM Reply

    This looks fantastic and has me drooling at the thought of making it. I have only ever done one flavoured stout before and I found the coffee and vanilla i added disappeared very quickly. How do you find this one stands up against the test of time and flavour degradation?
    Thanks

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 7:06 AM Reply

      The coffee does fade a little quicker than the chocolate flavor does. To be perfectly honest, I’ve never sat on this beer for extended periods of time (6 months+), so I’m not really sure how it holds up longer than that. I might fill a couple bottles from this keg to see how they taste in the fall though.

      • Paul Taylor 06.24.2016 on 5:19 AM Reply

        Thanks Scott, just realised, apart from the nibs, I have everything in stock so Ill give this a go soon!

  5. Gordon 04.19.2016 on 4:46 PM Reply

    Hey Scott,
    I really want to make this but I have a couple of questions. What L are the Chocolate, Munich and Barley malts that you used and what was the AA% on the Apollo. When I run this thru Beersmith it tells me I need around 9% if I’m using an ounce (6gal) to get 35 IBU. Thanks. Great blog and recipes by the way.
    Gordon

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 7:09 AM Reply

      Sure.

      Chocolate – 350L
      Munich – 10L
      Roasted Barley – 300L
      English Medium Crystal 50-60L

      the AA on Apollo is 15%. I use the Tinseth formula for IBU

  6. Joey 04.21.2016 on 7:38 AM Reply

    I’ve been looking to do a coffee stout and often reference your website for recipes. This recipe caught my eye when you first tried it. I may have to do a split batch and add vanilla beans to one fermenter.

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 7:10 AM Reply

      The vanilla could be fantastic. Let me know how that turns out!

  7. Daniel Bartholomaeus 04.24.2016 on 4:01 PM Reply

    Hi Scott. Loving your blog as usual. Just clarifying when you added the coffee and for how long? I am assuming after cold crash and for 24 hours…

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 7:22 AM Reply

      The coffee was 2oz of ground coffee that was added to a cup and a half (12oz) of cold water. I put it in the fridge overnight, and used my french press to strain out the grounds. That was simply dumped into the primary at the same time as the cacao nibs.

      I guess you could technically say I sat on it for 1 week, but the coffee likely mixes with the beer and carries over into the keg.

  8. Luis Guerena 04.26.2016 on 11:38 AM Reply

    what water target profile did you use?

    • Scott 05.03.2016 on 7:23 AM Reply

      For darker beers I typically add about 1.5tsp of calcium chloride and .5tsp of gypsum per 5 gallons of water. I don’t use any acid malt, as the roasted grains usually drop the pH enough.

  9. Wilby 05.13.2016 on 6:10 AM Reply

    I brewed this beer 3 weeks ago and it’s nearly gone. I rushed the fermentation, grain to glass in about 12 days, then took it to a my local Big Brew Day event. I came home with less than half a 5 gallon batch and we had 6 beers on tap so I guess it was a big hit. The coffee flavor is fantastic but I’m not getting much chocolate. Do you do anything special with your cocoa nibs? Do you crush or grind them for example?

  10. Chris moss 05.16.2016 on 4:24 PM Reply

    Hi Scott – this looks great and I’ll be brewing it soon. I saw the comment above and wondered whether you’d have any advice re: how much vanilla to add (with the coffee and cacao) without overwhelming the malt or other flavours? Thanks for all the tips and loving the new site!

  11. David 06.13.2016 on 4:35 PM Reply

    After having a deliciously balanced coffee/choco American stout from a local brewer I knew I had to try to make one. I have a 5gallon batch in the carboy right now and looking forward to it. Then only difference was my LHBS didn’t have any Apollo, so I swapped in Columbus. Thanks Scott!

    • David 08.09.2016 on 9:26 AM Reply

      Well, I’ve had this on tap for a month or so now and really like it. I think I will soak the nibs in alcohol next time I make it as I’m not getting much chocolate in the flavor. Delicious!

  12. Alejandro 08.01.2016 on 6:23 PM Reply

    Hi Scott, I want to try this recipe, but Im a little nervous about adding the cacao nibs and contaminate my batch. Do you boil the cacao nibs before adding to the secondary?

  13. Curtiss Gulash 08.28.2016 on 5:30 PM Reply

    Hey Scott – I’ve been reading the blog for a while now and am curious as to when the next update will be? I hope all is well. Thanks – Curtiss

  14. Harley 09.07.2016 on 2:54 PM Reply

    Your flash new website deserves new posts, 5 months is way to long! 🙂 Hope you haven’t traded in your home brew hobby for
    a new one… knitting or paper mache?

    Cheers!

  15. Eric 10.28.2016 on 1:53 PM Reply

    Glad to see you made it over to wordpress! Don’t forget to add the Like button so we can like your posts after we read them!

    If you haven’t already installed Jetpack, I think it comes with that, along with regular wordpress commenting.

  16. Mick webb 12.04.2016 on 11:47 AM Reply

    Good evening Scott
    just to say thank you for your work
    brewed choc coffee stout 2.0 recently, followed the recipe and now sat drinking the the best beer iv ever made, (its only been in the bottle a week) just testing!!!
    I have some other of your recipes fermenting
    your blog on water has been most helpful and made a significant diffrence to my beers
    thank you

  17. Paul Taylor 12.07.2016 on 6:46 AM Reply

    This has been in bottle for five days now and I had to crack one open last night as tonight is our local home brew meetup, I had to check it was ok right? 🙂
    Lovely, very young, but smooth, silky and rich. Mine came out slightly different to the recipe (imagine that!) as I messed up the mash and ended up with a final gravity of 1.019° leaving it very sweet, but the bitterness from the hops i put in has evened it out. Nice recipe and will certainly be doing it again.
    As previously mentioned I think I too would soak the cocoa nibs in Vodka for a while beforehand, they are coming through like a nice expensive chocolate bar but I think there could be more of that if possible.

  18. Josh 12.12.2016 on 2:20 PM Reply

    Hey Scott,
    It’s christmas time and I wanted to say thanks for doing all of the work on this blog over the years. You helped me learn and grow in home brewing. Thank you.

    Hope you are doing well.

    Josh

  19. Tito Goldstein 12.30.2016 on 11:20 AM Reply

    One question regarding using coffee in the brew. I have found that C02 reacts with coffee and turns it into an almost acidic flavor than can really ruin beers.

    Have you ever run into this? If so any suggestions. The only way I have found to avoid this was to use whole beans in secondary versus cold brew.

    • Scott 01.11.2017 on 10:31 PM Reply

      I know exactly what you’re talking about. I haven’t experienced it too much in these beers, but I’m also not using a ton of coffee either.

      How much coffee are you ‘Dry beaning’ with, and how long are you sitting on it?

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