Homebrew – chocolate-vanilla porter

Sitting in my downstairs closet is this carboy, full of what I hope to be a good dessert-ish beer. Or just a good beer in general.

It’s the first stage of what I hope to be a delicious chocolate-vanilla porter. The beer is currently going through its first fermentation stage and when I rack over to my secondary carboy, I’ll be adding two or three Madagascar vanilla beans to see what kind of vanilla flavor I can infuse into the beer. This was my first use of a “True Brew” recipe kit – I needed to stop by my local homebrew store and wanted to pick something up and figured I’d give it a try.

The kit is a little different than other porter kits I found online, mostly because of the small grain bill. It only came with six ounces of chocolate grain malt, which I soaked during the brew process for 30 minutes to try and get as much out of the grain as possible. Otherwise, this is pretty much a straight malt beer – about three pounds of liquid extract and two pounds of dried malt extract.

To get the chocolate flavor, I used three ounces of semisweet baker’s chocolate at the very start of the boil. I really didn’t know how much would be a good amount, but I knew I wanted to get a chocolate flavor out of it, aside from what I’d be able to glean from the grains. By letting the chocolate essentially act as a “bittering hop” (full 60 minutes in the boil) my hope was to break up any potential oils that would make the beer go funky. During the boil time, the wort very much had a chocolate smell to it, so I’m anxious to see what it tastes like when I try a sample prior to the secondary.

I also tried to up the ABV slightly in the beer by melting leftover Cooper’s carbonation drops (essentially straight sugar) in the boil. According to the kit, the gravity of the beer should be around 4 percent ABV, but with my addition of the chocolate and carbonation drops, I should be able to hit 5 percent.

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