This brew is based on the Zymurgy recipe, which a number of local homebrewer friends are also brewing for a comparitive tasting in the new year. Changes I made were to use Willamette exclusively (1.25 oz at 60 min and 1.00 oz at 30 min for a 3.4 gal batch for 60 IBU), cacao nibs rather than cocoa as stated, and I used WYeast’s 1450 – Denny’s blend. I also [bone-headedly] forgot to adjust the chocolate, cacao and coffee amounts down for the smaller batch size so they’ll be prominent.
The OG came out dead-on at 1.092. Depending on where it finishes at, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s well over the original’s ABV. With the extra coffee also, it might do well with some age provided it turns out. Overall a pretty smooth brew day except the lack of hop spider or otherwise to help filter the hops and chocolate was a mistake – the ‘bazooka tube’ on the valve clogged entirely due to the chocolate / hop sediment mixture and we had to revert to pouring into the funnel with screen. And the screen had to be constantly un-clogged. So it took about an hour to transfer, but during this time it was WELL aerated.
The plan is to primary for a couple weeks then fill a 3-gallon secondary to the brim (with some cold brew and bourbon oak cubes) and let that rest for 6 or 8 weeks.
The ingredients (minus the yeast)
Without any particular water chemistry knowledge, I added 1/2 tsp of baking soda to help reduce the acidity from all those roasted grains. Much roasted grains.
Getting the boil underway. It was a 90 minute boil, and thanks to the lower volume it was a bit more vigorous than usual. It was brewed on a gas range stove-top. The hot break was pretty lively, hard to tell as the fluid level is so low.
Here is the cooled wort, this was at the point where the screen had clogged and nothing was passing through the valve anymore. The nibs were floating along with the coffee grounds, and chocolate smeared on the wall of the kettle.
And ready for the basement. As we were transferring I was convinced we came in well under target volume (which was 3.4 gallons) but this looks about right. Hopefully we’ll be able to get nearly 3 gallons into secondary in a couple weeks.
Jan 10, 2016 – 2.5 weeks in bottle only. Very mild carb, tons of rich coffee flavour. Some chocolate filling the back end of the palate. Pretty nice.
Jan 22, 2016 – Creamy coffee, some chocolate, not overly complex or flavourful beyond the coffee but nice enough.
Feb 4, 2016 – Coffee is coming across with a celery salt / green pepper quality in this bottle, which is too bad.
Apr 26, 2016 – Green pepper is almost gone, bottle has finally carbed, and lots of chocolate coming through. Body is full and lovely.
May 27, 2016 – Well, there it goes again. Heavy carbonation clearly due to some infection, likely brett. Body has diminished and the beer has picked up some bad flavours. Well, it was good for a short bit there.