Ingredients for 6 Gallons:
- 14.25 lb (6.5 kg) Two-row
- 1.25 lb (0.6 kg) Flaked Oats
- 0.75 lb (0.3 kg) Munich
- 0.75 lb (0.3 kg) Chocolate
- 0.75 lb (0.3 kg) Carafa II
- 0.38 lb (0.3 kg) Roasted Barley
- 1 lb (0.5 kg) Lactose
- Imperial’s Darkness (at least 2 packets or a starter)
- 1.25 oz (35 g) Warrior Hops
- 52g Pasilla chile peppers (chopped)
- Batch size: 6 gallons (22.7 liter)
- Original gravity: 1.086 SG (20.7°P)
- Final gravity: 1.026 SG (6.6°P)
- ABV: 8.3% (including tincture)
- IBU: 45
- Mash at 150°F for 45 minutes
- Boil for 60 minutes
- Pitch yeast at 65°F and let rise to 67°F.
- When gravity drops to about 1.030, raise fermenter to 70°F until fermentation is complete.
- Do a diacetyl test to ensure none is present before crashing.
- Dump the trub/yeast from the fermenter or transfer to a secondary fermenter.
- 85g Cacao nibs
- 28g Guajillo chile peppers (after chopping/deseeding, you’ll have about 19g)
- 13g Cinnamon stick (chopped)
- 1 fl oz (30mL) Vanilla extract
- 8 fl oz (237mL) Vodka
- Chop the dry ingredients and add to a jar with a lid.
- Cover the dry ingredients with vodka and let sit at room temperature (closed) for about a week.
- Decant the liquid directly to the fermenter 2-3 days before transferring the beer to the keg.
- TIP: purge your fermenter with carbon dioxide to limit the risk of post-fermentation oxidation.
This is a Mexican hot chocolate stout. It’s a dark 8% beer that finished up just in time for the fall season. In this video, I’ll show you how I brewed it, discuss a few things I learned during the process, and then give you a review of the final beer at the end. Let’s brew.
Mexican Hot Chocolate is a chocolate based drink typically made with cocoa, vanilla, and cinnamon, and it can range from sweet to spicy. I brewed this beer with some chili peppers and added a vodka based tincture with additional spices after fermentation. I’ll show you the tincture towards the end.
The base of this recipe is 2-row malt, which accounts for about 74% of the grain bill. I also have some flaked oasts to give the beer a smooth, silky texture as well as some body. I have equal parts of Munich, chocolate malt, and Carafa two, which combines to make up about 12% of the recipe.
These will give some toasted chocolatey notes to the beer and also some color. To get that really dark roast flavor and additional color, I’m adding in just 2% of roasted barley. Lastly, I’ll be adding in one pound of lactose to the boil for additional body and also sweetness.
The first main step of brewing is the mash. This is when hot water is mixed with the grain to extract all these sugars and other components out of the grain to create a sweet liquid called wort.
For this six gallon batch, I’m starting with five and a quarter gallons of reverse osmosis water that’ll heat to 173 degrees, which is about 15 degrees above my strike temperature. Once I transfer the water from the HLT to the mash tun, the whole system will cool down to a strike temperature of about 158 degrees.
I’ll let the HLT finish heating up and go mill migraines to get them crushed. The mill did a pretty good job and left a lot of the husk intact. These husk will help filter and clarify the wort when I later separate the liquid from the spent grain.
The HLT has finished heating to 173 degrees. I’m turning on the pump to get this water over to the mash tun. The hot water has been recirculating through the system for a few minutes and has now stabilized at 158 degrees.
I’m not going to acidify my water because the dark roasted grains in this batch will help keep that mashed pH in a good range. I am going to add a little bit of calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, and magnesium sulfate to adjust my water chemistry. This is an optional step and will only make a small improvement to the final beer, but regardless if you adjust your water, it is important to use good tasting chlorine free water.
We are ready to dough in. I’m going to shut off my pump and the heater and begin mixing in my grains with the hot water. The key here is to slowly and evenly mix the grain with the hot water so that we can avoid getting dough balls in here, which are basically just clumps of grain that prevent water from evenly penetrating the grain.
After adding in the grain, the mash tun has cooled down to 150 degrees, which is our mash temperature for this beer. I’m going to put on the lid and recirculate this at 150 degrees for the next 45 minutes. It’s been about 10 minutes.
I’m taking a sample of the wort to check the pH. And when measuring the pH, it’s best to cool the sample down to room temperature. I always use a little bowl of ice water to sit my sample cup in there for just about a minute or two to get that temperature down. We are at 5.36.
The mash still has about 30 minutes to go, so I’m going to heat up the sparge water in my HLT. This is another five and a quarter gallons of RO that I’m going to heat to 170 degrees for the lauter step.
The 45 minute mash is complete. I’m now going to step the mash temperature up to 168 degrees for the lauter. The mash tun is now at 168 degrees. I’m going to start transferring the wort from the mash tun over to the boil kettle and on my system, I do this through the whirlpool ports.
I’m also going to open up the HLT to start sparging. The sparge process I’m doing is called a fly sparge. The intent is to keep the flow rates equal between the HLT and the boil kettle, so basically I’m adding water at the same rate that I’m transferring to the boil kettle.
It’s important to go slow here so that you can get a good, nice even rinse of the grain. For a batch this size, you should be shooting for about 40 to 60 minutes at a minimum. This will help ensure you get a good extraction and mash efficiency.
Now that we have seven gallons in the boil kettle, I’m turning on the boil heater so that I can start heating up the wort while the remaining volume is transferring. We have eight and a half gallons in the kettle. This is our full preboil volume.
I’m going to stir this up really quick and then take a sample so I can measure the preboil gravity, and this will tell us how well we extracted the grains. I’m putting a few milliliters into the EasyDens, which is a tool used to measure the density of the wort.
This only takes a few seconds and it calculates its specific gravity using the Brew Meister app. We are at 1.061.
Hot break is just starting to form, so I’m going to add a few drops of anti foaming agents so that this doesn’t boil over. I’ll usually wait until the hot break is finished and then I’ll add in my hops.
This is 35 grams of warrior hops, which will add about 47 IBUs to the beer. There are 30 minutes left on the boil.
I’m now adding in the lactose. For the final 10 minutes of the boil, I’m adding in 2.6 grams of yeast nutrient. This is optional and it’s really just cheap insurance. For a malt wort like this one, the grain will provide all the yeast nutrients needed with the exception of zinc.
There are five minutes left on the boil. I’m adding in my hop spider with the pasilla chili peppers. The boil is finished, so I’m turning off the heater and I’m going to start a five-minute whirlpool. Been five minutes. I’m going to turn off the pump and let this rest for 10 minutes so that the tube and hop debris can form a nice cone in the center of the kettle.
I’m almost ready to knock out into the fermentor. I’m connecting my groundwater to the plate chiller, which will be used to cool down the wort as it’s transferred into the fermentor, and I’ll run the outbound of the groundwater into a bucket, and I’ll use this later on for some laundry.
I’ll be fermenting this batch at 67 degrees, but I’m going to cool it down to 65 degrees for the yeast pitch. While the fermentor is cooling, I’m going to oxygenate my wort through the carb stone on my unit tank and I’ll oxygenate for 90 seconds at a flow rate of one liter per minute.
I’m taking a small sample from the fermentor to measure the oxygen concentration and also the original gravity. First, I’ll measure the gravity with the EasyDens, we are at a gravity of 1.086 and next I’ll measure the oxygen concentration.
A good goal here is about 10 to 15 ppm of oxygen. The last step for today, the yeast pitch. After the boil process, it’s very important to keep everything sanitized to prevent bacterial infections. I made a yeast starter for this batch about 24 hours ago, and I’m going to pitch the full 1.5 liters directly into the fermentor.
I’m going to allow this to rise to 67 degrees, and I’ll keep it there for about a week until we hit a gravity of around 1.030. Then I’m going to allow the tank to free rise to 70 degrees. Keep it there for two to three days until that diacetyl rest is complete. I’ll leave a link in the description regarding the diacetyl rest process.
Okay, fermentation is over and I did a quick taste test. I’m now going to make a tincture with some guajillo chiles, cacao nibs, cinnamon, and also vodka. I’m going to add 28 grams of whole guajillo chiles, but after chopping and de-seeding them, we’ll be at about 18 or 19 grams.
I’m also adding 85 grams of cacao nibs and one 13 gram cinnamon stick. Lastly, I’m going to submerge all this in some vodka. I’m trying to use as little vodka as possible, but it took about eight fluid ounces to get everything covered.
I’m going to close this up, keep it at room temperature for about a week, and then I’ll add just the liquid portion to the fermentor.
It is time for the final taste test. The beer has been caged, carbonated and is now ready for review. As you would expect. It is almost completely black. It’s opaque. I can’t see anything through it.
Has kind of a tan, brownish head of foam at the top. Very chocolatey on the aroma. Get a little bit of cinnamon too, but nothing from the peppers.
Oh yeah, those peppers are there.
There’s a little bit of heat, definitely taste the peppers followed by that chocolateyness. The cinnamon is definitely perceptible, but I think what I’m going to do, I added 13 grams to the tincture, but I think I might increase that to maybe 20, maybe double it to like 26, but other than that, I think I’ll keep the base recipe the same.
I’m pretty happy with this beer. I think the only thing that I might change is the cinnamon. I think I might increase that just a little bit, but that is it for today’s brew day.
Thank you so much for hanging out for this Mexican hot chocolate stout brew day. That’s a lot to say. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions, and don’t forget to subscribe.