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Chocolate milk stout flavors

I’m trying to make a chocolate milk stout next weekend. I want to add some extra chocolate flavors, because I want this to be a dessert beer. My ideas are to add extra cacao nibs to the secondary (maybe an additional 2 ounces or so), and I could also add powder to the secondary or boil. What do you guys think?

I don’t know about adding cocoa powder, but I have added 8 ounces of cocoa nibs, sanitized in vodka, to a secondary vessel and then racked the beer on top of it. Came out great! I also added a vanilla bean to the cocoa nib/ vodka mixture because I read that the vanilla helps to bring out the chocolate flavor.


Cocoa powder works well when added to the end of the boil. I would not add it to the secondary. Even adding it to the boil requires patience and a slow methodical approach. Cacao nibs vary quite a bit in potency. You may get one batch that does the job and the next batch will be barely noticeable.
For cocoa powder use the unsweetened kind. If I remember they are sold in 8oz packages and I think I added 2 of them to my last batch and still want more. You will definitely want to strain your wort as it goes into the fermentor.

Yea the variance in nibs is what scares me. I’d rather too much chocolate flavor, which can be aged away, than not enough. I have 8 ounces of nibs, not sure how much I’ll use in the secondary. And I have a big pouch of powder… unsweetened and low/no fat. Wasn’t sure if doing both would be ok, and have no idea how much powder I will add. I kinda think I’m just going to go with my gut at brew time and see how it goes.

I’ve found that toasting cacao nibs in a dry skillet until they’re fragrant can help bring out more flavor. Just don’t wait for them to start smoking!

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I was also thinking about boiling the powder in a muslin sack. I will still filter it but it should help minimize the debris.

A year or two ago, I spent some time reading posts on this subject as well as finding what I could about how commercial offerings are made. Apparently at least some of them add chocolate extract after brewing. I also found, as @iahomebrew noted above, that vanilla helps bring out the chocolate.

I was seeking to make a desert chocolate milk stout along the line of Boulder Beer’s Shake chocolate porter.

In the end, I had good success with a chocolate milk stout by adding 2 oz of Silver Cloud natural chocolate and 1 oz of their vanilla extract to a 5 gallon batch.

I added a whole pound of bakers chocolate bar for to my last attempt and was completely underwhelmed.
The reality for me is make a cup of coco and water it down to the point you feel it is still chocolatey and will not be completely hidden by malt. Then scale THAT amount up to 5 gallons.
@GoBlue59 Do not bother with coco powder in the secondary. You want it to be dissolved and creamy. Putting it in a sack defeats that purpose. Cocoa Nibs are best soaked for a month in bourbon IMO then decant the bourbon into the bottling bucket/keg

I meant a muslin sack during boil. I’ve been convinced that no powder goes into the secondary.

My plan (tentatively) is to do this:

Add 4-6oz of powder with 5-10 minutes left in the boil, possibly in a muslin sack to prevent particles from getting into the wort.

Soak 6-8 oz of nibs in a liquor. Either vodka or bourbon, to make a tincture. Maybe I’ll split half into bourbon and half into vodka? Let them sit for 3-4 weeks.

Then I will add one tsp of vanilla extract into the tincture. Add the whole tincture into the secondary to sit for a few weeks before bottling.

Ok but ask yourself this. Would you make hot coco by putting the coco in a muslin sack and removing it? Go ahead and try it before you waste your time doing it in your beer. The coco powder dissolves completely when let free. In a bag, at best, you will put out a bag of malt flavored chocolate pudding with a hint of burlap.
The best chocolate I’ve got came from 16 oz of Cocoa powder at 5min and 4 oz of nibs soaked for a month in bourbon.
I’ve done 3 oz of Cacao Liquor at flame out and not even tasted it
I’ve done 4 oz of bakers chocolate at 25 min and 6 oz of nibs soaked in bourbon and was not impressed
I’ve done 8 oz of Cocoa Powder and 4 oz of nibs soaked and was also not impressed.

Fair enough, you’ve never steered me wrong so I believe you. I will avoid the muslin sack and will add with 5 minutes left.

I still plan on doing the tincture with the bibs, but I will take your advice with bourbon too. I still plan to add vanilla to make it pop, and I think I can get the chocolate rocking

Thanks for the trust:) I do like vanilla and chocolate together. Vanilla does not age well and is fleeting. So you will find that you will want to drink beers with vanilla in them young. For this reason I think the least expensive vanilla extract is the way to go

Yea I’ve run into the vanilla fading quickly before. That’s why I’m not buying a fancy vanilla bean. It’s only there as a “behind the scenes” thing to make the chocolate “pop” a little bit.

Should I make the powder into a slurry/syrup before I mix into the boil? I’ve ready about that technique before… where you just stir the powder into some small amount of boiling water to thicken it up. I was hoping to just slowly stir the powder into the wort, just for ease. But if it will make more work for me in terms of filtering or cleanup, it obviously wouldn’t be worth it.

I soaked the cocao nibs in vanilla vodka. Don’t think it made a difference, but it sounds really cool to the rubes.

I’m thinking I’ll try the coco powder next time.

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I’m also using the Irish ale wyeast, which is supposed to go well with sweet stouts. I wanted to use the northwest ale but everyone was sold out, so I consulted the wyeast website and picked the best alternative. Making a starter tomorrow…Brewing Saturday. Starting my tincture Saturday during brew time. I’ll update how it goes and eventually how it tastes.

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As long as you don’t use a saison, wheat or abby style ale yeast you are going to end up with a traditional stout. I guess I would go for a yeast that enhances mouthfeel or the near opposite of heavy floc.

I wouldn’t worry about making a syrup with the cocoa powder ahead of time, that’s just more to clean. Just add it slow and continuously stir. I made the mistake of dumping the whole 8 oz container in and after the cloud of powder in the air cleared I had a lot of string to do. You might want to shut off the flame during this step if you are adding 16 oz.

Ok so new question:

I filtered my wort as it came out of the boil kettle into the fermenter. There was a lot of sediment due to the cacao powder (I used this instead of cocoa… hoping it’s more of a natural flavor instead of “manufactured” chocolate). I am also letting 8oz of nibs sit in bourbon for 3-4 weeks.

However, since the cacao powder doesn’t fully dissolve, even after filtering the wort, there was still some junk in there. When I go to transfer to the secondary, can I filter again? And then again as I transfer to the bottling bucket later again? I don’t want to filter out any yeast that needs to stick around for carbonation later. I’m not even sure my filter is capable of such a thing but I want to see what everyone thinks?

I wouldn’t worry about it. That sediment, like the haze of a wheat beer, is the flavor. When it comes time for serving you can chose to server it or not as it will most likely settle out.

I just worry because a friend made a coffee beer in the past and the sediment was nuts, we all ended up with “sand” in our mouths.

Would filtering it even hurt it? I can understand the mentality of “don’t worry about it”, but I’m the type of person who will. I could also put a sanitized strainer/filter into the next fermenter or bottling bucket and remove the junk… for some reason it’s a big sticking point for me. I really want this to be sediment free

You could oxidize it by filtering.

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