This beer started off life with me wanting to make an original beer. I have previously made an extract chocolate porter and wanted to make a stout version. I started off by taking a stout recipe and adding to it, you guessed it, chocolate and vanilla. The challenge in making this beer is keeping the taste nicely balanced and not making it too bitter with adding chocolate. I also had to consider how much vanilla to add and when to give a nice subtle vanilla flavour which did not overpower the beer. One of the reasons why I started all-grain brewing is that you can experiment and come up with some original beers. So for the chocolate I decided to use chocolate malt and cocoa powder. The coca powder used was low fat to prevent adding too much fat/oil into the beer which could mess with head retention. The cocoa powder would also add some bitterness into the beer so I decided to add some lactose to try and balance this out in the taste. I made my recipe on the brewpal app as follows.
4kg Marris Otter 77%
250g Amber Malt 4.9%
250g Flaked Barley 4.9%
200g Roasted Barley 3.9%
200g Crystal Malt 3.9%
25g Target Hops 1hr
25g Fuggles 10mins
100g Low Fat Cocoa Powder 10mins
50g Lactose 10mins
2 teaspoons Vanilla Paste 10mins
2 teaspoons Vanilla in primary
Irish moss 10mins
Yeast of choice (I used Thames Valley Ale yeast Wyeast 1275 with a starter)
So working out the mash I decided to go with a high mash temp to give a nice stout mouth-feel so used a single infusion mash at a temp of 68°c for 90 mins. I heated up 13 litres of strike water up to around 86°c and added it to my mash tun. I then put the lid on and let the cooler heat up and the water cool slightly. When the temp reached 76°c I added my grain. Once the grain was mixed into the water and the temp had equalised I hit my target temp of 68°c. The grain was left to mash for 90 mins.
I then heated up 20 litres of sparge water to 77°c. The grain was then fly sparged and 26 litres of wort made it into the boiler. The wort was then boiled for an hour with the additions added at the required times (as above). After the hour was up the wort was cooled and added to my fermenter and the yeast starter added. I then added another 2 teaspoons of vanilla paste and the beer was left to ferment for 14 days. I then kegged the beer into my king keg and batch primed with 100g of dry malt extract.
When I was kegging this beer it smelled great and i could detect the vanilla. This got me worried, as I didn’t want to overpower the beer with vanilla, but rather have a nice subtle choc vanilla taste. Pouring this beer out of my keg into the glass I was pleased with the carbonation and the thick creamy white head that formed. The beer gave off a coffee vanilla aroma with hints of liquorice and chocolate. The hops could also be detected but again quite a subtle aroma, so far so good. The taste of this stout was great with a usual roasted coffee taste with a subtle after taste of chocolate and vanilla. The vanilla stood out more than the chocolate to be honest. I was worried that the lactose added might make the beer a bit sweet tasting but it turned out that it just countered the extra bitterness of the cocoa powder. I was really pleased with the outcome as the beer had ended up roughly how I wanted it to taste.