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So I brewed a oatmeal stout three weeks ago and just racked it to the secondary. I am planning on adding coco-nibs to it but have never used them before so I was just looking for some advice on how long to leave them in there. I was planning on kegging this beer when it gets to be two months old. Should I wait and add them with two weeks before kegging? This is kind of what I was thinking, maybe the flavor is a little fresher this way??? Or could I just add them now and let them sit in there for a little over a month?

Any field experience with these would be welcome seeing as I have none.

FYI: I don’t think that it matters but I’m using the 4oz Ghana variety that Northern Brewer sells.

I usually only leave them in there for two or three weeks but I don’t think it would hurt to leave them for longer. I would suggest putting them in a small container and filling it with just enough vodka to cover them and let it soak for a couple days. Then add the whole thing to your beer to age. There are volatile componds to the chocolate that are not soluble in water but are soluble in alcohol. So if you use a neutral alcohol like vodka you will get better extraction of the flavor and aroma qualities of the nibs. I have had great results with this method.

Same here. I put them in vodka at the same time my beer stouts go into primary, then add them to secondary at the racking…they stay in secondary for the entire time…then bottle, then enjoy.

Oh, best to use the ones that have been roasted, not raw, if you have the choice. i get mine at whole foods. I do a very course grind just before I put them in the vodka…more surface area.


+1 to soaking in vodka and then pouring the whole thing in. You’ll love the result, I’m sure. They give a beautiful chocolate flavor.

So I decided to go the vodka route since that seems to be the consensus and because I’ve had some vodka sitting around looking to get used. The nibs smelled great coming out of the bag and they seemed pretty well ground up so I just tossed them into a pyrex container with the vodka. I’ll wait a handful of days and then pitch them in. Thanks for the input everyone. I think this one’s gonna be a keeper

Cocoa nibs are fantastic, especially in porters and stouts.

+1 to the vodka method, though I have added them straight to secondary with no issue.

In terms of how long to leave them in, they don’t break down or anything and you’re not going to get ‘too much’ chocolate flavor. In my experience, they seem to give all they have in the first 6 days and then the flavor doesn’t really change (though I have only gone 3 weeks total).

It is important to have the correct expectations for this project though. They are very bitter. Figure with dark chocolate bars anything over 76% or so cacao tends to be a bit much for people and nibs are, well pure cacao… 100% cacao. There is no sweetness imparted by the nibs. You will get a really deep dark chocolate flavor and a pronounced bitterness with a bit of a nutty flavor too. I did an imperial stout with 4 oz of nibs and its a chocobomb, 2 oz in a stout is a nice balance between roastiness and chocolate but if you’re looking for lots of chocolate… go big.

Almost forgot, throw a split/eeded vanilla bean in with the vodka and nibs. Not only a fantastic addition for complexity’s sake, it will be a little more like what most people expect from a chocolate beer.

I’ve got a NB milk chocolate stout going now. In primary for 3 days now. I will vodka my nibs a week before racking and let them stew. I also added two TBSP madigasgar vanilla to my boil at 15 min. along with 4 oz lindt 100% cacao (melted) and 1 lb malt syrup.

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