Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Chocolate Ale: The Return of Small Batch Brewing

In the spirit of the Mayan apocalypse that came and went on the 21st I brewed a chocolate ale. Chocolate was first cultivated by the Mayans and was a big part of their culture. The might have gotten the end of the world wrong but they got chocolate right. I had my first chocolate beer when I had a bottle of Young's Double Chocolate Stout. It was a revelation in a bottle; the flavors were of an authentic stout but also very chocolatey. I've since had Ommegang's Chocolate Indulgance, Sam Adam's Chocolate Bock, and The Bruery's Chocolate Rain. Cocoa can add a lot to a beer. It really accentuates the robust flavors of dark roasted grains. The sugar leftover after fermentation combines with the dark cocoa in much the same way as as milk chocolate. I've formulated my own stout recipe around the idea of chocolate malts and

(read more after the break.)

I formulated the recipe very quickly. I wanted to maximize neutral maltose flavor so I used a base of pale malt. On top of that I wanted to maximize chocolate flavor without adding too much roast or astringency. In order to achieve my goal I turned to chocolate wheat; a newer malt from Weyermann. Chocolate Wheat Malt offers the 'intensified aroma of dark top-fermented beers as well as improved color'. With that I added some regular chocolate and pale chocolate malts. Both those malts offer roasted flavors from intense with bitter chocolate to moderate with dark chocolate. I'm hoping the cocoa powder and cocoa nibs along with the malts created a multi-dimensional chocolate flavor. I added hops at a low rate to gain the antibacterial properties and moderate the sweetness just a little bit.

1 lbs 12.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) 77.8 %        
4.0 oz Chocolate Wheat (Weyermann) (415.0 SRM) 11.1 %        
2.0 oz Chocolate (Briess) (350.0 SRM) 5.6 %         
2.0 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) 5.6 %         
0.10 oz Tettnang [4.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min 8.5 IBUs      
0.50 oz Cocoa Powder (Boil 5.0 mins)       
0.3 pkg Windsor Yeast (Lallemand #-) [23.66 ml]             
1.0 tbsp Cocoa Nibs (Secondary 7.0 days)                  
1.00 Items Vanilla Bean (Secondary 7.0 days)

Recipe Specifications:
Boil Size: 1.14 gal
Post Boil Volume: 1.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.058 SG
Estimated Color: 51.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 8.5 IBUs
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Saccharification Add 6.22 qt of water at 159.1 F for 152.0 F 60 min 
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 7 min 168.0 F 10 min

Brew Day:
This was easy enough. I brewed with a whole day off so it just kinda went. I boiled at too high a temp so I boiled off a bit too much wort; oh well. Not as much of the cocoa powder was integrated as I hoped, we'll see how it turns out.

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