Three brews for the price of one

So much to brew, so little time. I have at least a dozen beers I’ve been meaning to brew, but haven’t. I have recipes saved that I developed months and even years ago that I haven’t brewed. Split batches are a great way to make multiple beers at the same time. A brewer can split a batch at almost any point in the process. Brulosophy conducts several experiments by splitting batches and only changing one variable.

After mashing and sparging you can split the wort and do separate boils with entirely different hop schedules, brewers can split the batch after the boil and pitch more than one type of yeast. or as I did this weekend you can split a batch after primary fermentation. Curly’s Milk Stout was in the primary fermentation vessel for three weeks and was ready to be racked into a secondary vessel. This was the perfect time to split the batch and make my coffee and chocolate variants.

At the moment I had two one gallon growlers and threw five gallon carbons available. I am using the growlers to experiment with the chocolate and coffee. The rest of the beer will sit in the carboy. After tasting how my last batch improved with age, I think additional time to condition will be good even for the regular version.

Homebrew shops sell cocoa nibs. In the process of converting a cocoa bean to chocolate, the nib stage is somewhere in the middle. Instead of using nibs out of a bag, I wanted to use a local chocolate. I stopped by Winfrey’s in Beverly and bought some dark chocolate bark, broke up a piece into smaller pieces to fit inside the growler, and racked a gallon of beer on top of it. I have a feeling there will be little chocolate flavor, or the chocolate will be overpowering like Samuel Adams Chocolate Bock. If the beer has a similar chocolate character to Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout I will be quite happy.

Ideally I would have used a local coffee in the coffee version. After recently purchasing a mill and brew coffee maker we have several bags of different Starbucks coffee roasts. I chose to use Sumatran Dark Roast. The flavor is bold enough to not be drowned out by the flavors from the beer, while its earthy flavor would blend nicely with the English hops. Initially I was going to add one scoop of beans, enough for one cup of coffee. When I poured the beans in the growler, one scoop didn’t look or feel like enough so I threw in a second scoop. The acidity of the beer should extract plenty of flavor from the beans. Not grinding the beans should make sure grounds do not end up in the bottle or clog a siphon. Another advantage of adding the coffee now is that it should add a smoother and bolder coffee flavor like a cold-brewed coffee.

I will let all three beers age for two-ish weeks. I am going to be quite busy the next couple of weekends. I am quite interested to see how the three beers come out.

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