I have nothing against cakes, tarts, pies, or delightful frozen treats. But sometimes, okay maybe more often than not, I simply want to drink my dessert. And I’m not talking about milkshakes or hot chocolate, although I do love those things too. I’m talking about beer: rich, creamy, chocolate, milk stout brewed with cocoa powder and bourbon soaked cocoa nibs to be exact.
For some people this might sound a little crazy, but certain beers are perfectly acceptable as a form of dessert, in the same way that many people enjoy dessert wines. I am truly fascinated by the diversity among different beer styles. There is a huge range in color, flavor, and style, and so much to explore beyond the thin, yellow, fizzy stuff that dominates the shelves of many grocery and liquor stores.
While I’m still relatively new to brewing, I like to experiment with different styles and ingredients. The “milk” part of this recipe comes from lactose sugar that’s not fermentable by brewers yeast. This gives the beer some added sweetness and thick mouth-feel, creating the perfect combination for chocolate, and a perfect beer to have with, or for dessert.
Just as there are different styles of beer, there are also different ways to brew beer at home. I brew using a method called “Brew in a Bag” developed in Australia. I chose this method for three reasons. I am sort of a purist and like to do things from scratch as much as possible. BIAB is an “all-grain” brewing method which allows me to use grain (malted barley) instead of malt extract. While there is nothing wrong with extract, and people make great beer using it, I like the added control and flexibility that using grain gives me.
The second reason BIAB is appealing to me is that it requires far less equipment than other all-grain brewing methods. This is important since I am short on storage space. Lastly, my condo community doesn’t allow any sort of gas burners (indoors or out), so I am limited by what my electric stove top can boil. BIAB happens to be perfect for small batch (2.5 gallon) all-grain brewing. For more information about BIAB, check out this forum.
The inspiration behind this beer is a seasonal brew called Moo-Hoo made by Terrapin Beer, Co in Athens, GA. They use cooca nibs from the amazing (and local to Nashville) Olive and Sinclair Chocolate Company. I found a “clone” recipe posted in a homebrew forum and made a few adjustments. The original recipe is linked to below.
Style: Sweet stout
Type: All-grain, Brew in a Bag
Size: 2.5 gal
Original Gravity: 1.063
Final Gravity: 1.024
Alcohol by Volume: 5.2%
Chocolate Oatmeal Stout
6 lb Pale 2 row
.5 lb Chocolate Malt
.25 lb Roasted Barley
5 oz Crystal 80L
.5 lb Flaked Oats
.5 lb lactose sugar @ 10 min
2 oz cocoa powder @ 15 min
2 oz cocoa nibs
2.5 oz bourbon
.25 oz Nugget @ 60 min
.5 oz Willamette @ 30 min
Safale US-05, 1 packet, no starter or re-hydration.
Please note, this is a simplified explanation of the brewing process. I highly recommend reading through the BIAB forum for more thorough instructions regarding this method.
Bring 4 gallons of water plus 2 cups to 152 degrees F in a large pot. Turn off heat. Secure grain bag around edge of pot and slowly pour in milled grain and stir. Hold water temperature at 152 degrees F for 75 minutes, checking temperature with thermometer and turning heat back on in short intervals to maintain temperature if necessary.
Remove the grain bag, give it a squeeze, and let as much liquid drain back into the pot as possible. Bring the liquid (wort) to a rolling boil uncovered, and add the .25 oz of Nugget hops. Set a timer for 60 minutes. When there is 30 minutes left in the boil, add the .5 oz of Willamette hops. At 15 minutes to go, add the cocoa powder, and then the lactose sugar when there is 10 minutes left in the boil. Total boil time is 60 minutes.
At the end of the boil, remove pot from heat, place sanitized lid over the pot, and cool to 65 degrees F. You can place the pot in a bath of cool water, or use special equipment made for cooling wort. When the wort has cooled, transfer to a sanitized carboy or fermentation bucket. Aerate the wort by vigorously shaking the carboy for five minutes, pitch yeast, and seal with an airlock.
As the beer begins to ferment, place the cocoa nibs in the bourbon and allow to soak for 4 days. Once primary fermentation is complete (3-5 days), add the nibs and bourbon to carboy and allow fermentation to reach final gravity.
When the fermentation is complete, you have the option of either kegging the beer, or allowing the beer to condition in bottles.
Recipe adapted from here.All images and text © Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
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Have every added coffee to this recipe?
Yes I have.
I skip the adding of flavours until After final racking.
I soaked Verona Coffee Beans in bourbon for a few weeks and I have found that a 100:1 ratio is my favorite,
but a 1250:1 for the cocoa nibs.
That is to say, 2-3 drops per pint.
If you don’t have A measuring flask, just add drops to your pint Until it’s to your Liking and stir.
Be warned- the coffee extract tastes amazing and will have you up all night if you indulge too much :)
Hi, i have a question, did you a priming when bottleling? How much sugar or dextrose you haved use?
Thanks in advance.
was gonna try this recipe out looks decent but I was wondering what the AA % was of your Nugget/Willamette hops. Cheers
I wish I had more detailed notes about the AA % for the hops, but unfortunately forgot to write the numbers down. I’m keeping better notes these days, so hopefully this wont happen again. Good luck with the beer! This has always been one of my favorite batches.
This recipe sounds delicious. I am fairly new to the brewing process, only done a couple wines and a cider so far. With this recipe/process, am I adding anything to the bottles for carbonation or is it perfect when it comes out of the carboy?
You would need to add some type of priming sugar to the bottles or bottling bucket to mix with the beer prior to bottling/capping. The other option is to keg it and force carbonate it, but I only deal with bottles.
This was my first time ever brewing beer (with the help of my brewmaster friend) and we just tasted the result–delicious! He let it sit for a little too long before bottling so there’s a bit of a weird bite in the aftertaste and he had the wrong type of yeast on hand when we were actually brewing the stuff so it apparently turned into a Belgian chocolate stout…but still great! And I got to bake a lot of stuff with the leftover spent grain. Thanks for the inspiration :)
Glad to hear your beer turned out! I might have to try making a Belgian chocolate stout at some point. Happy brewing :)
This was fantastic Taylor!! Thank you so much for sharing with me. I am very glad I stopped Nathan from drinking it, thinking it was his.
Thanks! So glad you liked it! I have a few bottles left. I’ll safe some for you and you can hide it from Nathan :)
Is it supposed to be .5 lbs of Crystal 80L or 5 oz of Crystal 80L? .5 oz doesn’t make sense. Brewed this on Saturday (decided to go with .5 lbs of Crystal 80L). I must have had a lot of evaporation during the boil because my OG was 1.080 and the total volume was around 2 gallons. Looking forward to seeing how it comes out.
I just checked my original notes, and 5 oz is correct. This is only a 2.5 gallon batch, so I didn’t want a full 1/2 lb of Crystal 80L. (I don’t know, the 3 oz difference may not have had that big of an effect). 1.080 does seem high, but if your final volume is 2 gallons, that would make sense.
I hope yours turns out as good as my batch did.
Milk Stouts are my favorite beer. I just made cupcakes using a Double Milk Stout from Southern Tier I thought I would share with you. http://lifefoodandbeer.com/if-you-are-here-for-the-aa-meeting/
I also used Terripin’s Moo Hoo for cookies!
I love that you brew your own beer! I’m been debating it for a while, I love the fact that brewing is so much like cooking…I just may have to dive in.
xxoo – jessica
This beer is right up my alley! I keep telling my husband that we need to start brewing beer!
BREWING BEER IS SO FUN!!! I love that you posted this :o) We’ve never specifically made a chocolate stout but we just finished brewing what we’re calling a chai latte milk stout. I’m so excited to carbonate and see how it tastes! This is giving me inspiration for a chocolate stout. YUM!
Stout beer ice cream floats are on of my favorite ways to have beer for dessert. Great post! You may have just inspired me to finally try brewing.
My husband is an avid beer brewer. He has just finally gone all grain, now that he has all the equipment to brew big batches of all grain. He does it in our garage on a propane burner. It has been working well and the mess is out in the garage! I will have to share this recipe with him and ask why he has not done the BIAB method! He makes a good chocolate espresso stout if you like a hint of coffee with your chocolate!
What a great post! I’ve been into darker beers lately and have been wanting to learn more about them. This was very informative, not to mention crave inducing. Thank you!
fukin sweet!!! this makes me love you guys even more, since I’m an avid home brewer, ANND have yet to try a chocolate ale!! props on going all grain!! wouldn’t have it any other way.
if you’re looking for a sweet pumping pie ale, let me know!! I’ve got a recipe!
I’ve never tried home brewing before but it sure sounds like fun. I enjoy beer occasionally and am a chocoholic so the two combined sounds like a winner. I’ll have to check this out. Thanks for sharing!
What a neat idea. I have friends who home brew and they always seem to enjoy it. Im not a big creamy beer fan… I dont know what it is… but I have plenty of friends who would LOVE this. Thanks for sharing your technique and insight.
yum had never even heard about chocolate flavored beer. now this is something I will have to try. thanks!
I just did a post on a friend’s chocolate stout — Clearly we need to brew a batch of this and do a comparison tasting. Unless you want to swing by the SF Bay Area with a few bottles? His is much higher on the dark malts, including a pound of Black Patent, with no lactose sugar and no actual chocolate (or bourbon – fantastic touch!)
Any thoughts on using cocoa bean hulls in place of cocoa powder and nibs? Details on my friend’s stout are at http://www.plantandplate.com/2013/03/brewtastic-san-benito-brewing-co/
I think I’ve heard of people using the cocoa bean hulls, but I don’t have any personal experience with them. I’m sure someone has done it though. As far as differing amounts of dark malts go, I think your friend’s batch (nice post btw), was a 5 gallon batch with a different brewing process. The recipe above is for 2.5 gallons, so the amounts of certain malts will vary by batch size, recipe, and brewing process.
Is this as super complicated to execute as it sounds though? and does it need a lot of specialised equipment?
Once you have made a couple of batches, it really isn’t that complicated. You do need some equipment, and can buy a kit with everything you need, or buy the essentials separately, which is what I did. You might want to check out this link that has some good information about getting started: http://www.homebrewersassociation.org/pages/lets-brew/get-schooled/get-started
Beer is totally a dessert. I am glad someone has come out and said it. Full of calories and sweetness, what else could it be? Love teh addition of chocolate, though. Makes it really obvious.
How awesome! I actually have had a chocolate stout ice cream float at the Flying Saucer – yum!
I can’t believe you actually made beer from scratch! WOW double WOW hehehe. I can’t make it because I can’t find all those ingredients, I have no idea where to start looking… If I have a regular beer and I but it in the stove, add chocolate, do you think it could work? Thaanks!
All of the ingredients can be found at homebrew supply stores. If you don’t have one in your area, then you can find the equipment and ingredients online. Adding chocolate to a “regular” beer on the stove wouldn’t be the same, and I don’t think the result would taste very good. It might be a fun experiment though :)
I think I would try it with black and regular beer, I agree with you, it can be a fun proyect to try hahaha. If I actually try ill post you back :)
I just sent this to my boyfriend and told him we need to start brewing! Needless to say I think he thought I mean’t “immediately” and “right this second” because I believe he is on his way over. Haha.
Long time I had one of those – maybe I should change that:-)
I will take a case, please.
Sending this recipe to my hubby! He loves home brewing and a good stout!
Lovely! And so much satisfying than just opening a can of Bud.
My mother recently discovered a love for milk stouts, which is funny to me because I pegged her much more as a lighter wheat beer kind of person. Love the post!
yes! so glad some craft beer made it to a cooking blog, let alone a HOME BREW!!!! keep’em coming!
Hi there! I never heard about beer for dessert but it seems like an awesome idea, and looks delicious. This actually reminds me of some of the gorgeous Belgian and German beers, with so many textures, colours and flavours, like the cherry or strawberry ones would also be great for dessert. x
My husband likes to dabble in beer making, I will send this to him!
If you ever get a hankering to expand westward with your brew experience, there is a really nice drop-off point at Exit 42 :)
Haha! Yes, Exit 42 makes an excellent drop point. If there was an easier way to ship beer I would definitely send you some.
I know what you mean about drinking your dessert! Sometimes nothing is more satisfying! This sounds awesome.
Agh! Terrapin Moo Hoo is my favorite beer! I get so excited when I see it on the shelves come fall. I have made marshmallows with it that are pretty darn good. I love that you had replicated it–I bet it’s awesome!
When I lived in London one of the local pubs served a chocolate beer and it was great! I’m so glad that yall are getting into brewing because this is a great treat!
This look amazing! I don’t know if I’ll ever get into home brewing, but I do love the consumption part!
Taylor this sounds delicious!! I love a good chocolate stout, especially in the winter. And I agree it goes well with or as dessert. I’m excited to see you brewing some new specialty batches!
If I can muster the will power to save some, I will hold on to a bottle for you.
Say whaaaat?! Love this idea!!
You earn extra awesome points for posting a beer on your blog!! My husband brews beer and is obsessed with it. I’m not a huge beer fan generally, but I LOVE chocolate stouts!
This looks amazing! And, like the perfect drink for the end of a long week.