Article

Chocolate Malt

CEPHAS.1146247Chocolate malt. Nearly all brewers have used it at one time or another and even if they haven’t, I’m willing to bet that they have at least tasted it. Considered THE robust porter malt, I would guess it is in over 98% of all commercial porters on the market — and for good reason. Although it has the lightest flavor and aroma profile compared with black malt and roasted barley, there are many more places that it can fit in a style. It is true that it can be “one-dimensional” at times, but nothing can replace chocolate malt in what it brings to a beer — namely chocolate. So what it lacks in dimensionality, it more than makes up for in adaptability. Be it a very mild milk chocolate character, to a punch in the face of 70% dark cocoa, it always brings some sort of chocolate to the party.

How It’s Made

There are a few different versions of chocolate malt on the market, ranging anywhere from the pale stuff (at around 200 °L) to the dark English (~500 °L). Using a broad brush, the English versions are usually the darkest and the American versions the lightest. Whichever you choose, be sure to account for the differing degree of color (as rated in degrees Lovibond) because 1.0 lb. (0.45 kg) of chocolate malt at 400 °L yields a different color in 5 gallons (19 L) of beer than than 1.0 lb. (0.45 kg) at 500 °L. British chocolate malt is made from 2-row malt while domestic chocolate may be made from either 2-row or 6-row malt. If you have a preference for 2-row, as I do, check the malt specifications.

Chocolate malt is made in a similar manner as black malt. Dried pale malt is roasted at 420–450 °F (220–230 °C), just as black malt is, but for a shorter time — about 2 to 2.5 hours. (For comparison, in actual chocolate production, whole dried “cocoa beans” are roasted at a relatively mild 250–320 °F (120–160 °C) for 30–60 minutes. Coffee beans — used for brewing a different kind of dark beverage — are roasted at 375–425 °F (190–220 °C) for 90 seconds to 15 minutes.)

As the color of the malt increases, so does its intensity, low to high respectively. In addition to regular chocolate malt, Weyermann makes huskless versions of its Carafa® series of malt. Carafa® is a series of dark malts that increase in number as they increase in color, Carafa I® (centered around 337 °L), Carafa II® (~425 °L) and Carafa III® (~470 °L), respectively. I think that the huskless Carafa I® is what comes across as being most chocolate malt-like, but is much smoother and has a less pronounced chocolate character than its husked cousins do. Additionally, other malted grains are made into chocolate malt. Chocolate rye (~250 °L) and chocolate wheat (~400 °L) are the two biggest non-barley chocolate malts. Although similar to chocolate malt made from barley, the rye version has more spiciness and milk chocolate quality. The wheat version has more of a pronounced dark chocolate character.

Recipe Considerations

The biggest difference between the use of chocolate malt in homebrewed and commercial examples is that commercial brewers rarely use this malt for “doctoring” the color of their beer. (Instead, black malt, black malt flour or malt color extracts are employed.) Also, commercial brewers usually let the chocolate malt add a specific character, where in homebrewed examples you’ll sometimes find a quarter ounce (7 g) buried in with a large grain bill. When putting a recipe together using chocolate malt, try and have it add a specific aspect. Think about how it combines with the other ingredients. What flavor combinations can you get out of using chocolate malt with other specialty grains? Maybe using chocolate malt together with Special B malt to get make-shift chocolate-covered dark fruits. The possibilities are limitless.

Commercial Examples

When breweries use chocolate malt, some like to use a ton of it to ensure you get a big kick of chocolate character and other breweries like to use just enough to add a chocolate note to a beer. A big robust Baltic porter can handle a lot of chocolate malt. With the robust vinous notes, it adds a big chocolate-covered dark fruit character, as mentioned before. Used as a counterpoint to the coffee flavor of roasted barley, chocolate malt really brings out the 70% dark cocoa-like character in an American stout. Used as the focal point in a smoked robust porter it brings out a lot of the darker tones that are usually missed in an everyday porter. Finally, a small amount in an English brown ale really adds depth to the dark caramel notes and a cocoa-like dryness to the finish.

Sinebrychoff Porter clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.070 FG = 1.020
IBU = 45 SRM = 51 ABV = 6.1%

From simple ingredients comes massive complexity. Robust toasty notes meet and blend with dark fruits and chocolate. The vinous, port-like character from this brute wraps everything up in a dark happy bow.

Ingredients

10.25 lbs. (4.7 kg) Weyermann Munich malt
3.0 lbs. (1.4 kg) Weyermann Vienna malt
1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) Weyermann Carafa III® malt (470 °L)
1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) Dingemans CaraMunich malt (45 °L)
10.5 AAU Hallertau Hersbrücker hops (60 min) (2.2 oz./63 g at 4.75% alpha acids)
3 AAU Czech Saaz hops (30 min) (1.0 oz./28 g of 3.0% alpha acids)
Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager) or White Labs WLP830 (German Lager) yeast (6 qt./6 L yeast starter)

Step by Step

Mash at 153 °F (67 °C) with 20 quarts (19 L) of brewing liquor. Boil wort for 60 minutes. Ferment at 53 °F (12 °C).

Sinebrychoff Porter clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.070 FG = 1.020
IBU = 45 SRM = 51 ABV = 6.1%

Ingredients

1.5 lbs. (0.68 kg) Weyermann Carafa III® malt (470 °L)
1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) Dingemans CaraMunich malt (45 °L)
2.5 lbs. (1.1 kg) Coopers Light dried malt extract
5.5 lbs. (2.5 kg) Munich liquid malt extract (late addition)
10.5 AAU Hallertau Hersbrücker hops (60 min) (2.2 oz./63 g at 4.75% alpha acids)
3 AAU Czech Saaz hops (30 min) (1.0 oz./28 g of 3.0% alpha acids)
Wyeast 2124 (Bohemian Lager) or White Labs WLP830 (German Lager) yeast

Step by Step

Steep grains at 153 °F (67 °C) with 3.75 qts. (3.5 L) of water. Rinse grains with 2 quarts (~2 L) of water at 170 °F (77 °C). Add water to “grain tea” to make 3.0 gallons (11 L) and bring to a boil. Stir in dried malt extract and boil wort for 60 minutes, boiling hops for times indicated. Stir in liquid malt extract with 15 minutes left in boil. Cool wort, transfer to fermenter and add cold water to make 5 gallons (19 L) of wort in fermenter. Aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 53 °F (12 °C).

Alaskan Smoked Porter clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.067 FG = 1.017
IBU = 45 SRM = 46 ABV = 6.4

Dark, robust and smoky when young. Turns into a porter with sherry, Madeira and raisin notes as it ages. Chewy malt, chocolate with a smoky oily finish. This is how a smoked porter should taste.

Ingredients

8.75 lbs. (4.0 kg) American pale malt (2-row)
4.0 lbs. (1.8 kg) American Munich malt (2-row)
1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) American chocolate malt
0.5 lbs. (0.23 kg) American black patent malt
11 AAU Chinook hops (60 min) (1.1 oz./31 g of 10% alpha acids)
1.0 oz. (28 g) Willamette hops (10 min)
Wyeast 1272 (American Ale II) or White Labs WLP051 (California V) yeast (2 qt./2 L yeast starter)

Step by Step

Smoke entire grain bill over alder wood. (As an alternative, you can substitute Weyermann rauchmalz for the pale and Munich malt.) Mash at 153 °F (67°C) in 18 qts. (17 L) of brewing liquor for 60 minutes. Boil wort for 60 minutes. Ferment at 66 °F (19 °C).

Rogue Shakespeare Stout clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.061 FG = 1.015
IBU = 70 SRM = 68 ABV = 5.9%

Citrus, coffee and chocolate notes all come together into a sort of chocolate covered grapefruit.

Ingredients

9.5 lbs. (4.3 kg) American pale malt (2-row)
1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) English chocolate malt
1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) English roasted barley
0.75 lbs. (0.34 kg) English crystal malt (150 °L)
0.67 lbs. (0.30 kg) American flaked oats
17.5 AAU Cascade hops (60 min) (3.0 oz./86 g of 5.8% alpha acids)
1.0 oz. (28 g) Cascade hops (10 min)
Wyeast 2220 (Rogue Pacman) yeast (2 qt./~2 L yeast starter)

Step by Step

Mash at 153 °F (67 °C) in 17 qts. (16 L) of brewing liquor. Boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops with times left in boil indicated in ingredient list. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).

Rogue Shakespeare Stout clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.061 FG = 1.015
IBU = 70 SRM = 68 ABV = 5.9%

Ingredients

1.25 lbs. (0.57 kg) English chocolate malt
1.0 lbs. (0.45 kg) English roasted barley
0.75 lbs. (0.34 kg) English crystal malt (150 °L)
2.0 lbs. (0.91 kg) Briess Light dried malt extract
4.75 lbs. (2.2 kg) Briess Light liquid malt extract (late addition)
17.5 AAU Cascade hops (60 min) (3.0 oz./86 g of 5.8% alpha acids)
1.0 oz. (28 g) Cascade hops (10 min)
Wyeast 2220 (Rogue Pacman) yeast

Step by Step

Steep crushed grains at 153 °F (67 °C) in 4.5 qts. (4.3 L) of water. Rinse grains with 2 quarts (~2 L) of water at 170 °F (77 °C). Add water to “grain tea” to make 4.0 gallons (15 L) and bring to a boil. Stir in dried malt extract and boil wort for 60 minutes, boiling hops for times indicated. Stir in liquid malt extract with 15 minutes left in boil. Cool wort, transfer to fermenter and add water to make 5 gallons (19 L) of wort in fermenter. Aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).

Hobgoblin Dark Ale clone

(5 gallons/19 L, all-grain)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.014
IBU = 25 SRM = 24 ABV = 4.3%

Chocolate and toffee malt. Firm bitterness and fruity aroma from the Slovenia Goldings hops and the Ringwood yeast. Rounded moderate bitterness and an overall fruity character.

Ingredients

7.75 lbs. (3.5 kg) English pale ale malt (Maris Otter)
2.0 lbs. (0.91 kg) English crystal malt (75 °L)
0.25 lbs. (0.11 kg) English chocolate malt
3.75 AAU Fuggle hops (FWH) (0.75 oz./21 g at 5.0% alpha acids)
3.9 AAU Styrian Goldings hops (30 min) (0.75 oz./21 g at 5.25% alpha acids)
0.25 oz. (7.1 g) Styrian Goldings hops (10 min)
Wyeast 1187 (Ringwood Ale) yeast

Step by Step

Mash at 151 °F (66 °C) in 13 qts. (12 L) of brewing liquor. Boil time is 60 minutes. Add hops at times indicated. (FWH stands for first wort hops — add hops as you are running the wort off, before the boil.) Ferment at 69 °F (21 °C).

Hobgoblin Dark Ale clone

(5 gallons/19 L, extract with grains)
OG = 1.048 FG = 1.014
IBU = 25 SRM = 24 ABV = 4.3%

Chocolate and toffee malt. Firm bitterness and fruity aroma from the Slovenia Goldings hops and the Ringwood yeast. One of a kind English brown ale. Rounded moderate bitterness and an overall fruity character.

Ingredients

2.0 lbs. (0.91 kg) English crystal malt (75 °L)
0.25 lbs. (0.11 kg) English chocolate malt
1 lb. 14 oz. (0.85 kg) Muntons Light dried malt extract
3.3 lbs. (1.5 kg) Muntons Light liquid malt extract (late addition)
3.75 AAU Fuggle hops (FWH) (0.75 oz./21 g at 5.0% alpha acids)
3.9 AAU Styrian Goldings hops (30 min) (0.75 oz./21 g at 5.25% alpha acids)
0.25 oz. (7.1 g) Styrian Goldings hops (10 min)
Wyeast 1187 (Ringwood Ale) yeast

Step by Step

Steep crushed grains at 151 °F (66 °C) in 3.4 qts. (3.2 L) of water. Rinse grains with 1.5 quarts (~1.5 L) of water at 170 °F (77 °C). Add water to “grain tea” to make 2.5 gallons (9.5 L), add first wort hops (FWH) and bring to a boil. Stir in dried malt extract and boil wort for 60 minutes. Stir in liquid malt extract with 15 minutes left in boil. Cool wort, transfer to fermenter and top up to 5 gallons (19 L) with water. Aerate and pitch yeast. Ferment at 68 °F (20 °C).