How to brew a Chocolate Lager?

Today, we will make a really fudgy, brown, chocolatey, flavorful, and warm lager. Lagers have been popular since the 1500s. They have figured out a way to use weather to their advantage. They would try to cellar lagers and ferment them at colder temperatures.

We don’t want to overwhelm it with chocolate flavors so we will use it just in the mash. We know it’s going to attribute a little bit more bitterness so you have to be careful with the hops you are using. Our chocolate comes from the local chocolate factory and we always recommend supporting your local stores and brew shops.

If you’re into lagers try out our new recipe How to brew American Light Lager

The Process

Put 8 gallons of water and start your mash. Another special thing that we are doing with this lager is fermenting it at a super high temperature of 80 F. We made this lager using Saflager W 34/70. It’s not a traditional way of making a German-style darl lager. But we didn’t want to wait 3 to 6 months to drink this beer.

Cacao nibs needed to be grounded before adding. We are using the seed of the cacao plant. The cacao plant is a fruit which they ferment and typically roast. This one is not roasted because we want all the fruity qualities added.

A branch of cacao plant with cacao fruit
Credit: https://www.rainforest-alliance.org/tags/cacao?page=1

Grain Bill

All grains used are German grains

  • 4 lbs. Vienna
  • 2 lbs. Munich Light
  • 3 lbs. Pilsner
  • 1.5 lbs. Munich Dark
  • 5 lbs. Caramunich
  • .12 lbs. Victory

If you are a homebrewer and your homebrewing always goes perfectly then you are lucky. Nobody ever has a perfect brewing day.

You can add 4 oz of cacao nibs and sprinkle them on top. Our boil will be 90 minutes. After 30 minutes of the boil, we are going to add our 60 minutes hop additions.

Adding the hops

Adding a cup of hop pellets in brewing beer
Credit: https://www.mashed.com/205506/the-biggest-mistake-youre-making-when-brewing-beer/

We are using hops called Tettnanger known for their subtle spiciness, along with balanced herbal and floral notes that work really well in lager styles. This is the only hop additions we are making in this beer.

In the last 15 minutes of the boil, we added a whirl floc tablet to help clear up a little bit of the proteins. The beer should come out pretty clear. Maybe the first pours might not be as clear but after that, you are good to go. If you have problems with beer clarity and haziness be sure to check our Homebrew Clearing & Clarity Guide on some great tips and tricks you can use.

We need to make sure we are fermenting really warm at around 80 F. And its really going to take 3 days. You might need to take a sample and make sure that you have reached the gravity you want.

Once we are done fermenting we put it in our keg. We cold crushed it for one day for about 40 F and added some gelatin to it.

You will feel that it really has that distinct lager aroma to it. Nice and malty but not too sweet.

Mistakes were made, things were learned, but overall we are doing great. Cheers

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