Each month we release a new recipe for our Beer of the Month. They are always recipes that we have personally brewed ourselves, and have to pass a taste test amongst all of the staff here (tough job we know!). The recipes will be easy to make and we will gladly assist new home brewers in the production of these beers. They will all be 5.5 gallons in size. We find that after fermenting and racking a 5.5 gallon batch turns into a standard 5 gallon batch pretty quickly.
At the start of every month we will post the recipe in store, as well as on our website, Facebook, and Instagram. We will also have a set price for the recipe that will include a discount of up to 25%!
Cocoa's for Cobblers
Hot Chocolate Stout – 5.5 Gal - OG 1.054 – FG 1.011 – ABV 5.3% - IBU 27 – SRM 39
December is Devon’s month here at KJ. She waits with little patience for the holiday month to come around. To keep her spirits up in the summer she watches “The Holiday” on repeat, by October she’s got Hallmark movies playing around the clock. By November 25, the tree is decorated, and the ugly sweater bonanza has begun. December is her Super Bowl. As part of that, she decree’s that the December Beer of the Month be hers, and boy do we agree, she came up with a banger this year.
This month we’re making a spiritual successor to one of our originals: Coffee’s for Closers. Instead of coffee, this is all about the CHOCOLATE. We want a rich, chocolatey stout with a tiny bit of heat. The beauty of this recipe is that at 5.2% it’s still really sessionable. This one took a few tries, but we’re very happy with the balance we found. To get the full Cocoa’s for Cobblers experience we highly recommend adding all the optional extras: The Cocoa Powder, The Habanero Extract, and the Lactose. The cocoa powder adds even more chocolatey goodness to the beer. The Habanero adds a tiny bit of heat that complements the richness of the beer, and the lactose smooths it all out and gives it a great mouth feel.
These are optional because some can’t have lactose (yours truly), others don’t like even the hint of spice (or maybe the Habanero extract is slightly delayed in shipping because Connor forgot to order it…maybe) The cocoa powder is NOT optional. In fact, for the first 45 recipes sold we will be including a free addition of gourmet high fat cocoa powder from Veliche. Which if you know your cocoa powder, you know this is the gooood stuff. Once we run out, we recommend sourcing higher quality cocoa powders from your local market.
We hope your love for this beer is as pure as Devon’s for the month of December!
Double Roasted Crystal
De-Husked Carafa 1
Boil Schedule (minutes)
East Kent Golding
East Kent Golding
English Ale 2 – Escarpment Labs
Extras – Sold Separately
Cocoa Powder (get the good stuff)
¼ Cup in the final 5 minutes of the boil.
1 ounce at bottling to make it a HOT chocolate stout (does not make it that spicy we promise)
¼ Cup at final five minutes of boil
1 tsp for last 15 minutes of boil
150g (1/2 cup) at bottling for priming
Important Tips on Brewing
Be extra cautious when it comes to cleaning! Once you have stopped boiling your wort everything that gets in contact with the beer MUST be sanitary.
The temperature of your mash is ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL. Not being in the 150-155f range can drastically affect your beer. Make sure you correct the temperature ASAP once all of the grain has been added to the mash.
Always let your beer ferment for 10 days! Do not disturb it, do not open the lid. It is absolutely natural for the airlock to stop bubbling after a few days, it is still fermenting though.
Oxidization:Airspace is always something to consider. When undergoing primary fermentation airspace is needed so that the beer can bubble up and ferment vigoursley without leaking out of the container. The fermentation creates a layer of CO2 that remains in the pail due to the airlock. Once primary fermentation is over, and the lid has been opened, the layer of CO2 dissipates, and oxygen replaces it. At this point airspace can ruin your beer. When racking into carboys make sure they are filled to the top, or you blast CO2 inside to prevent oxidization. Ask us for details on this!
Before bottling, make sure you use a priming calculator (many can be found online) to verify the amount of sugar that needs to be added.
Mashing -> converting the grain into a fermentable liquid.
Bring 6 gallons of water in your brew pot to 156°F. This is our strike temperature. Turn off the heat to the pot.
Wrap the muslin/nylon bag around the brew pot and slowly pour all the milled grains into the bag. Stir them in while adding to prevent clumps. The addition of grain should drop the temperature down to 150-155°F.
We want to mash the grain at 155°F for 60 minutes. It is very important to hold the temperature at 155°F. If the temperature rises above 155°F it hurts the fermentation, or if it dips below 149°F it can lead to a thinner tasting beer.
The first 15-30 minutes are essential for the success of your brew. The temperature HAS TO BE IN THE RANGE OF 150-155°F. Sometimes adding the grain to the strike water does not lower the temperature enough, in this case add a little bit of cold water to bring the temperature down. Cover the pot with your lid and let it sit.
Most brew pots will be able to maintain 155°F without adding heat for 20 minutes, we recommend checking the temperature every 15 minutes, and if it drops add more heat to bring it up. We recommend opening the lid and using a thermometer in the liquid.
After 60 minutes, bring the temperature of the mashing grain up to 170°F and hold for 10 minutes. This is our mash out.
Time to remove the grain. Lift the bag full of grain out of the brew pot. Let the liquid in the bag dribble into your wort. Once that is done, put the bag inside of a brewing pail, or another empty pot. There will be about 4 gallons of wort in the brew pot, we need to get it to 6 gallons before we can begin the next stage.
Run warm water through the grains in the bag, aim for 170°f – let it run through the grains and add to the brew pot. Add until you reach 6 gallons.
PSA: It is natural to think that the grains need to be squeezed to get all the liquid out of them, DO NOT DO THIS. Aggressively squeezing the grains will lead to tannin extraction and a doughy taste in your beer. Lightly pressing the bag is fine, but do not try to squeeze every last drop out.
Boiling -> Hop addition time
Bring 6 gallons of your wort to a rolling boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes, this is called the hot break.
Add 1 ounce of East Kent Golding hops and set a timer for 60 minutes, keep the wort boiling (212°f) and uncovered.
With 15 minutes left, add 1 tsp of Irish Moss, and if you’re using a wort chiller add that too.
With 10 minutes left in the boil, add 1 ounce of East Kent Golding, and if you are adding Lactose, add ¼ cup of that now.
With 5 minutes left, add ¼ cup of cocoa powder to the boil.
When your timer goes off, turn off the heat, and then proceed to the cooling stage.
Now it’s time to cool the beer down to 75°f (20-25°c) as quickly as possible.
We love using a wort chiller for this, it can get the beer down to temperature in 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, you can immerse the brew pot in an ice bath or wait it out. The longer it takes, the greater the risk of infection
Fermentation -> Turning the wort into beer
After the boil is done it is time to be extra careful regarding sanitation. We recommend using a no-rinse sanitizer called Starsan. Mix ¼ tsp of it with water in a 500ml spray bottle. Before we touch any part of the beer, we spray it with Starsan.
Transfer the cooled wort into your fermenting pail or carboy. Run it though a strainer to catch any hop or grain residue.
It is also an important time to take a hydrometer reading. It should be around 1.051 give or take a few points.
Your choice of fermentation vessel is important. During primary fermentation, it will bubble up quite a bit, you want to be sure there is airspace for it to work away. Otherwise, the pressure of it will push out the airlock.
Make sure the wort has been cooled to at least 25c!!! Adding yeast at a higher temperature will likely kill it.
Once the beer is in the fermenter, pour in the entire package of English Ale 2 yeast from Escarpment Labs.
Put the bung and airlock in the hole (make sure there is water filled up to the line in the airlock). If using a pail, make sure the lid is sealed tight. Put the pail in a room that is in the range of 20-22°C.
Let the beer ferment for 10 days. It will do the majority of the fermentation in the first few days, but letting it sit will help with clarity and settling flavours.
It’s now been 10 days; time to proceed to the bottling stage. First, take a hydrometer reading. It should be somewhere between 1.010-1.013
Lately, we have been of the opinion that secondary is an unnecessary step. Unless you are kegging, we recommend skipping secondary and going straight to the bottling process. Clarification can occur in the bottle rather than in a carboy, and the risk of oxidization is greatly reduced.
Bottling -> We’re getting close to Beer Time now.
Rack the now fermented beer into a bucket.
At the same time, mix the priming sugar with 300ml of boiling water and add to the beer. Stir it in VERY gently.
Make sure to check out a priming calculator to verify the correct amount of sugar. Too much sugar and your beer will end up foamy, or even start blowing the caps off! Too little and the beer won’t be fully carbonated.
If you are adding Habanero Extract - add 1 ounces of it now just prior to bottling. The Habanero typically takes a couple of weeks to kick in fully, so if it tastes like it isn't there - just give it a bit of time. Originally we added two ounces to our beer and after 2 weeks it got very spicy! 1 ounce is the preferred amount.
Rack the beer into your bottles or growlers. Then, let them sit for 2-3 weeks at room temperature. Chill and enjoy!