Chocolate Stout – an experiment

I love chocolate. I love stout. I love chocolate stout, it’s a perfect marriage of two seemingly incompatible flavours. Well, I say I love chocolate stout, but I guess I’ve only tried a couple. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout is the gold standard chocolate stout, but off the top of my head, I can’t think of any NZ craft choc stouts. So let’s make one shall we?

My brewery is currently disassembled, as I’m rebuilding the room and I don’t have a lot of space, so I’m going to cheat and use extracts, so I can do the cook up in the kitchen (only need a 20L pot for extracts). I don’t have a specific recipe, but reading a few forums I decide that it’s basically a case of make a plain stout and chuck some chocolate in. Simples. Somewhat surprisingly, Coopers Stout kits are only $12 in the supermarket, so I purchase a couple, with the intention of doubling up. I also get some stout extract/enhancer and some better yeast. And obviously the star ingredient, a big ol’ bar of dark chocolate.

It’s a while since I did an extract brew, so I have to look back on my notes from previous brews. I’ve never used enhancer before, so I need to do a little research to discover when exactly is the best time to enhance the beer. Instructions on the enhancer bag suggest you boil and then sieve it, but fuck that I can’t be arsed. I’m going to be cold-crashing anyway, so that should take care of any particulate still floating around at bottling time. So I boil up two cans of extract and a bag of enhancer (which has a combination of DME, lactose and other sugar/carbs in it), some extra lactose for good measure, and at the end I throw in a whole bar of Whittaker’s 72% Cocoa Ghana dark choc, and a couple of cups of cocoa powder.

  • 2 x cans Coopers Stout extract
  • 1kg Mangrove Jack’s Irish Stout Enhancer
  • 100g Lactose
  • 250g 70% cocoa dark chocolate
  • 100g cocoa powder
  • Safale S-04 English Ale yeast

This lot produces a starting gravity of 1.0633 (whoo hoo!). It might even finish up being an imperial stout if it all goes according to plan.

Into the fermenter it goes, at 19.5 degrees, and fairly enthusiastic bubbling is occurring not much more than 24hrs later. This slows down within a couple of days and has all but petered out after a week. 10 days later and we’re all done, I reckon, so it’s time to throw in some Jell-O and crash the temperature.

The taste at this stage is extremely encouraging. Pretty sure I got the chocolate levels just about spot on. It smells more chocolatey than it actually tastes, like liquid gateau. The cocoa, now stripped of the sugar that usually softens its taste, leaves a slight bitter aftertaste but it’s a perfectly acceptable alternative to a hoppy bitterness. Can’t wait until this bad boy is ready to drink…

ghana

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