Author Topic: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs  (Read 8036 times)

Offline cmbrougham

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Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« on: December 05, 2013, 07:22:06 PM »
Our HBC is going to have a chocolate-flavored/inspired beer competition in a couple months, and I've been thinking hard about making a rather unexpected chocolate beer. Seems most if not every chocolate beer I've ever had is dark, dark, dark, and I'm trying to stay away from that.

I've not brewed with chocolate or cacao nibs before, so assuming the use of nibs in secondary, what sort of color contribution would be expected if used in an otherwise light-colored beer? Or, if there is some other technique or ingredient that will help achieve this, I'm open to interesting ideas.

Offline RobbyComstock

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 11:15:50 AM »
I am brewing with them for the first time as well and it is a stout, so not sure what color they will give.  I am sure someone on this forum will have an answer or some kind of input.
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Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 12:48:14 PM »
Have you thought about using white bakers chocolate?  It wouldn't add any color.  It would add some sugar you'd have to account for.  It would be similar to using hersheys candy bars or tootsie rolls without getting the dark color.  It would also be a more vanilla chocolate flavor.

Very unique.  I use anywhere from 2 lbs. of chocolate to 5 pounds of chocolate, depending on how much chocolate flavor I'm after.

Hint**  If you use it, it does have some wax in it that makes cleaning carboys difficult.  I try to keep my fermentations in bucket fermentors when I use chocolate containing the waxes.  The wax doesn't end up in the finished beer from what I can tell.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
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Offline cmbrougham

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 01:52:40 PM »
Interesting, I hadn't considered that. If anything, I was probably subconsciously steering away from it, as a lot of what I read about using chocolate in beers suggested using it in the least processed form you could. But if it gives the effect I'm after, I'd go for it.

That does seem like a lot of ingredient for a 5 gallon (I'm assuming) batch, though! Using cacao nibs, the general rule of thumb is 2-4 oz in a 5 gallon batch (unless you were going gonzo with it). I did find a thread on another forum in which the brewer talked about crushing the nibs and soaking them in vodka or rum (depending on the type of beer), cold crashing and filtering it, and then putting the extract into the secondary. The extract is dark brown, but dropping the approximately 3 oz of extract into 5 gallons has a pretty negligible color impact. I was starting to go down that road, but I'll consider the white chocolate.

Basically, I'm going to create a cherry chocolate beer that looks like no other cherry chocolate beer I've ever seen. I picked about 15 pounds of yellow sweet cherries this summer that have been soaking in vodka and simple syrup to make a cherry cordial that I'll break out here in the next week or two. The cordial sample I tried the other day was delicious--deep, deep cherry flavor, but it's about the color of a pilsner! My plan is to brew a super light colored but richly bodied beer, and then put the cherries from the cordial into secondary; I'm guessing I'll get a little more fermentation due to the added sugar and the sugar in the cherries. When it was done, I was going to bottle with the chocolate extract (or keg, maybe, but I think this is one I want to lay down for awhile). I'm open to suggestions!

How to do you process the white chocolate for addition to the fermenter? Melt it? Chop it up? Grate it?

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2013, 03:14:49 PM »
The nibs are totally unprocessed, which means they would contain cacao butter, right? Isn't that a fat, and isn't fat bad for beer? The fat in just a drop of egg yolk can keep a bowl of whites from taking on air, ruining a meringue.  I would think that the nibs might add enough fat to the brew to affect head retention.  But I'm just guessing. I could be wrong.
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Offline cmbrougham

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #5 on: December 06, 2013, 03:32:23 PM »
That was the reason the brewer I'd mentioned cold crashed the extract; I need to find the link again, but I think this simply involved putting the extract (sans nibs) in the freezer for 24 hours. The solids and the fats precipitated out; the alcoholic extract stayed liquid. He was then able to decant the liquid, preventing the fats (or at least much of it) from making it into the fermenter. By far most of the recipes and processes I found simply called for dropping the nibs as-is into the fermenter, sort of like dry hopping. The extract process sounds much more controlled, plus you could dial in the amount of chocolate flavor you were looking for.

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #6 on: December 06, 2013, 05:40:58 PM »
The white chocolate would be chopped down into small pieces.  At 10 minutes left in the boil, turn off your burner, add the white chocolate and stir until completely melted and incorporated.  Then bring back to a boil and finish your boil.  This is how I add real chocolate candy.  The burner needs to be turned off, so that it won't scorch on the bottom, while it's melting.
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #7 on: December 06, 2013, 06:34:41 PM »
Quote
The burner needs to be turned off, so that it won't scorch on the bottom, while it's melting.

I wouldn't ever consider using something with paraffin in it.  But that's just me. That stuff is a biach to clean. No thanks. Not for me.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson

Offline Scott Ickes

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2013, 06:49:37 PM »
It's only a pain in a glass carboy.  In a bucket or a plastic carboy, scalding hot water gets it out easily.  Scalding hot water in a glass carboy is asking for a broken carboy from thermal shock though.

I use it all the time with great success.  I've got a blonde recipe that I'm going to make a chocolate Imperial blonde using the white baking chocolate.  I want to shock my friends, neighbors and brew buddies with it!
Kegs:
 Red IPA
 ESB
 Saison Solera
 Dubel (Aged in Malbec Wine Barrel
Aging:
 80 Shilling (In bourbon barrel)
Bottled
 Peppermint Patty Stout
 Wee Heavy

Scott Ickes
https://creativebrewing.wordpress.com

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Color contribution of chocolate/cacao nibs
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2013, 06:56:02 AM »
I use glass for primary and secondary. No candied beer for me. Oh well.
"To alcohol! The cause of - and solution to - all of life's problems!" -Homer Simpson