Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Cocoa Porter

My black ales in the past have turned out quite strong in roasted flavor. Though I do enjoy a stout/porter with a deep rich flavor and solid bittering, I tend to also like a black beer that isn't totally opaque. So with this beer, I'm going for a dark beer that should be very smooth and full of dry cocoa flavor.

It's taken me a long time to settle on a recipe, and it's been influenced by a handful of other recipes and sources of info. There is a lot going into it, but I think everything will blend together for a full flavored seasonal brew. British Mild malt will lend a sweeter backbone, and a hint of nuttiness. The Cara-Munich & Melanoidin malts will add caramel sweetness. Two types of Oats will aid in building a smooth body and fine head retention. Chocolate & Black malts will add cocoa, roast and bitterness. Brown Sugar should balance the malts and add an overall sweetness. In the very end, roasted Cacao Nibs and Bourbon Vanilla Beans will steep in the clearing tank to add a final kiss of sweetness.

The alcohol content will be high so that there are enough residual sugars lending to a sweeter and fuller mouth-feel. The hopping rate will be kept low to allow the malts to come through and give the roast malts and cocoa nibs room to do their bittering.

Cocoa Porter

8.25 lb. British Mild Malt
1.65 lb. Belgian CaraMunich
0.85 lb. German Melanoidin
0.85 lb. "Naked" Oats
0.50 lb. Oat Malt
0.45 lb. British Chocolate Malt
0.15 lb. British Black Patent
0.85 lb. Brown Sugar

Hops and Spice
.95 oz. East Kent Goldings, 6.9%, whole, 50min
1.0 oz. Yakima Goldings, 4.6%, whole, 15min
6 oz. Roasted Cacao Nibs, secondary 2 weeks
2 oz. Roasted Cacao Nibs, Secondary 1 week
2 whole Bourbon Vanilla Beans, 1st in vodka, then secondary, 1 week

Wyeast 1088 - British Ale (yeast cake)

Brewday Stats

Brewed: 10/15/07
Racked: 10/30/07
Bottled: 11/16/07

Water Adjustment: .75 tsp CaCl, .25 tsp sea salt in boil

H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.35 qt/lb
Mash Temp: 153*F
Mash Ph: inaccurate
Mash Out Temp: 166*F
2nd Batch Water: 2.85 gal/176*F
2nd Batch Temp: 165*F
Pre-Boil Volume: 7.25 gal
Pre-Boil SG: 1.050 (w/o brown sugar)
Boil Time: 1.4 hrs
Post Boil Volume: 6.1 gal

OG: 1.064 (on target)
IBU's: approx. 23
SRM/Color: 21-26
FG: 1.016
ABW: 5.04%
ABV: 6.3%

Calculated Mash Efficiency: approx. 78%
Cost: $48.64, .83¢, $4.97/6-pack


1. The house never smelled so malty! Absolutely wonderful!
2. This time I'm not taking the carboy out of the chilled water bath inside the mashtun. I want the temp to stay low.
3. Blow-off foam next morning before 10am.
4. The taste at racking is fairly rich with sweetness and chocolate.
5. The taste after 1 week with Nibs is more like a chocolate amaretto.
6. Adding 2 more ounces of nibs and the vodka steeped vanilla beans for 1 week.
7. At bottling, it has a very full chocolate aroma, and rich taste, and clear.

Tasting Notes

Appearance: Pours clear & very dark but super deep ruby red in front of light, 1 inch rocky head fades quickly to a ring of foam around the edge till the end.
Aroma: Sweet, clean, chocolaty, light scents of malt and roast.
Taste: Very smooth and clean malt sweetness, a rich chocolate flavor with support from well-rounded malty sweetness and roast bitterness, fairly complex.
Mouthfeel: Medium body, velvety smooth, with good moderate carbonation.
Aftertaste: Bitterness towards the back of the tongue coming from several sources (mild hops, roast malts and cacao nibs) is not too much at all, because there is also a lingering sweetness (much like dark dopplebocks or wee heavys).
Overall: Easy drinking for its very rich flavor profile, alcohol isn't noticeable until later when its effect is full and pleasant, great with a piece of pecan pie or a chunk of fair trade organic chocolate, and though I could have more, it makes for a great "one beer after dinner" beverage.


Adam said...

Sounds very interesting :-)

Look forward to hearing more about this one.

Travis said...

What was your yeast cake from? Have you ever experienced any residual flavor's from the yeast's "last meal"?

This sounds like a tasty recipe. There is a local guy here that does a great vanilla porter that has such a nice vanilla finish. He attributes this to his using fine vanilla beans.


Ted Danyluk said...

I really hope this beer turns out rich enough, but it may be on the light side. Haven't used these oat grains before so I'm crossing my fingers to get a good mouth-feel from them.

I've never detected any noticeable flavors from the yeast cake. Even when I went from a black Swartzbier to a golden lager. But about 90% of the time the yeast's next meal is either a heavier beer, or a mor flavorful one.

As long as you're siphoning as much of the beer as possible, you shouldn't have any problems. I even suck up a little of the yeast as I'm tipping the carboy, and angling the racking cane into the bottom corner. I'd say I'm only leaving behind only 2-5 ounces.

Gaius Jozka said...

if you need someone to taste test this batch of brew, please let me know. I'd be delighted. Sounds delicious.

Orange Loren said...

Oh my God! You've done a chocolate beer?? Colour me green with envy and "svartsjuk" (the word in swedish literally translated means black sickness... but really sorta means, jealous) I'd love to taste that! But then, I'm more into chocolate than ever these days ;)

Ted Danyluk said...

Jozka, I'm so glad to hear from you. I'd love to give some to you. Are you coming this way anytime soon, or during the holidays? I will put your name on a bottle...how's that?

Lauren, I am excited about this one. The color is going to be dark but translucent. The roasted cacao nibs I bought from the Spice House in Wells, and they taste very rich and not so bitter.

Anonymous said...

I'm about to take on a similar recipe but settled on Maris Otter, Chocolate Malt, Roasted Barley, barley flake, and oatmeal. Seems like adding the nibs to the secondary is the preferred method. Wondering if you crushed the nibs somewhat before adding to the fermentor to freshen up the flavor profile or if you just added as packaged. Nibs are fairly bitter...

Ted Danyluk said...


Thanks for visiting and sharing.

I think the Mild malt in my recipe definitely creates a sweetness, but one I've never experienced before in all my brews. The Maris Otter will be less sweet and clean. A good amount of chocolate malt is key, but watch the level of roast barley if you are trying for a chocolaty beer.

I did put the nibs in a bag and took a rolling pin to it. Just enough to crush'em in half to create a little more surface area. I like nib's bitterness, and I wanted them to contribute to the bittering while the hops were kept low.

Anonymous said...

Howdy from Boston, Ted!

I happened upon your blog while researching recipes for cocoa-enhanced beers. I was wondering how this porter turned out.

(love the blog, btw, your writing style is accesible and fun but still detailed enough to be a practical reference for a fellow homebrewer like myself. Thanks!)

Ted Danyluk said...

Jeff, Thank you for your comment. I'm happy you like the site and what I've been up to.

This was a great beer. I did write a detailed description above. Overall, I think I would like more body in it, and would probably add almost 1 pound of carapils.

If you've ever tried Breckenridge Vanilla Porter, this is similar in that it is quite sweet (almost like soda) with a thinner body, low bitterness, and a head that diminishes quickly (probably the oils from the vanilla bean).

The cocoa taste is full and that makes this beer a great holiday treat.

Hope yours turns out great. Let me know.

mjatallah said...

Hey Ted...

I'm working on a cocoa-vanilla infused imperial stout at the moment & was looking for some hints on how much of cacao nibs & vanilla to add and for how long. Thanks for some insight. Your beer sounds delish. I wasn't planning on putting the vanilla beans into grain alcohol first, though. What's the benefit to that - better extraction of flavor?
Looking forward to trolling around your site further for ideas & recipes. Thanks!