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High OG on chocolate milk stout

This is only the second batch I’ve made. The OG calls for 1.051 but mine is 1.061. I saw in reviews that some people add 4 ounces of either Hershey syrup or powder. I added 4 ounces of Hershey syrup. Is that giving me the higher OG? Is that going to be a problem?


The syrup could add that many gravity points if this is a one gallon batch. May just be a measurement error if this is a five gallon extract batch. Sometimes difficult to get all the extract mixed evenly for an accurate SG sample.

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It’s a 5 gallon batch.

Different types of chocolate additions at different times will yield different results. Some say to stay away from chocolates like that because of the fat content and preservatives. Fat can inhibit head retention and some say it can spoil your beer. I have heard of guys brewing with syrup, but most common is bakers chocolate in the boil or cocoa nibs in secondary(assuming there will be a secondary). I can’t confidently say you WILL be fine, but I’ve heard of folks using it and not having any issues. I just dumped 4 oz of cocoa nibs into secondary of an Irish coffee chocolate stout (Mocha Stout), but have never tried the syrup. I didn’t like the “fat” possibilities.

And yes, you will increase gravity by adding more sugar density to your wort.

Here’s a good read:



I measured again 4 days later and it’s still at 1.023. I took a taste and it was very bitter. 3 questions:

  1. What’s making it so bitter? Too much sugar still?
  2. Should I put in more yeast?
  3. I haven’t put in the cacao nibs or moved it into the secondary yet. Will the nibs sweeten it up enough and get rid of the bitterness?


1: Not sure why it would be bitter. My guess is that fermentation is still so young that you are tasting byproducts of that. The yeast haven’t had nearly enough time to clean up after themselves.
What hops did you use for bittering and at what weight/time?
2: Putting in another batch of yeast now is kinda tricky. The problem you will run into is that there is no oxygen, little nutrients left, and there is a presence of alcohol now. I would start by increasing the temp and rousing the yeast by giving the carboy a swirl… if you fell that maybe your fermentation has come to a stand still and the yeast have given up.
Some have results with champagne yeast because they are ready to pitch into an environment which has very little nutrients and the presence of alcohol. Champagne yeast and wine yeast can tolerate these conditions.
3: The flavor profile of the cocoa nibs may round off the edges, but I wouldn’t think they will completely get rid of the bitterness. How long Have you been in primary for? I wouldn’t transfer anything into secondary until 2 weeks of primary. You can put in your cocoa nibs then if you’d like. Some wait even longer. There is no hard fast rule on when to add them. I just wouldn’t add them to primary when it’s still bubbling so you don’t lose any aroma during the release of CO2.

One thing I always have to ask is are you using a hydrometer to check SG or a refractometer?

I used 1 ounce of cluster for 60 min and then another half ounce for 30 minutes (as the directions said). I’ve been in the primary about 10 days.

I used a hydrometer. I’ve never heard of a refractometer until now. Which is better?

They each have their advantages. A refractometer uses a smaller sample but the presents of alcohol gives a false reading. One must use a table or calculator that takes in to consideration the Original Gravity and Final Gravity to determine the Specific Gravity. The hydrometer readings are pretty much strait forward but you do need to consider temperature.

Can’t really judge a beer till it’s done the OG is high because it’s only been 4 days in the fermenter. Cover it with a blanket and leave it alone for at least 2 weeks maybe longer for a stout. Stouts and porters need time IMO

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It has been 10 days in the fermenter, not 4

I would still leave it longer. You may have under pitched your yeast which may cause it to quit. If you want to pitch more yeast make a starter and pitch at high kraussen

One more thing. The temperature on my carboy sticker thermometer is 64. Is that a good temp?

The right fermentation temperature is dependent on the yeast you are using. What yeast did you use?

The bitterness could be from the Hersheys syrup. Hersheys syrup has a very pleasant bitterness when tasted by itself. This bitterness will mellow with aging in the bottle.

Bitterness could also come from the steeping of the grains. What temperature for the steeping and length of steeping time? What is your brewing water source?

This could possibly be the answer because I wasn’t totally clear on the directions. I used tap water. The directions say to steep for 20 min or until the water gets to 170 degrees. I steeped as soon as i put the pot of water on the stove and continued until the temperature got to 170. I didn’t time it but it was probably 30 min.

Also my yeast was safeale s-04

S04 ferments clean at low temperatures. I also start out steeping cold. Tap water even with chlorine or chloramines won’t cause bitterness. The flavor will be like chewing, or even sniffing a band-aid. Tap water if it very high pH (8+) may extract tannins during a steep, but the flavor is not usually described as bitter. The flavor would be mouth puckering astringent. Like chewing a tea bag boiled for a few minutes.

Let the fermentation go in the primary for at least three weeks. Plan to have your bottles warm conditioning for at least four weeks before sampling the first one. I think with long term conditioning the bitterness will disappear. This beer may be great in six months.

Thanks so much for the help! One question. Do u steep until it gets up to 170 even if it takes over 30 min?

I steep to 165°f since my well water has a pH of 7.4. pH 6.0 or there-a-bouts is the danger zone for extracting tannins and silicates from grain husks.

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