Craft Beer · Homebrew · Stout

Cocoa Depression

Brewdog recently brought back Cocoa Psycho!  Their strong, smooth imperial coffee stout is one of Claire’s favourite beers.  I’m not sure we actually noticed it had gone away, but received an email on 21st November telling us of the return in a very limited batch.

By a lucky coincidence, we had just bottled our second Grainfather brew – a clone (or near enough) of Cocoa Psycho.  The recipe was again taken from Brewdog’s DIY Dog download, with a few changes of our own.

dsc_0003Grain bill (for 12l):

  • 4.1 kg Maris Otter
  • 0.6 kg wheat
  • 0.1 kg dark crystal
  • 0.75 kg black malt
  • 0.3 kg smoked malt

Hops (and others):

  • 45 g of Cascade at 60 mins
  • 15 g of Cascade and 5 g of Cenntennial at 15 mins
  • 40 g of coffee beans at 5 mins
  • 40 g of cocoa nibs at flame out

OG 1068  FG 1012  ABV 7.4%

There were two big differences between our recipe and theirs – firstly, although we got the FG spot on, their OG was 1098 (leaving the beer a hefty 10%); secondly, we added all our coffee and cocoa at the end of the boil, whereas they split theirs between there and secondary fermentation.

Regarding the first of these, I forgot to add 1 kg of roasted barley into the recipe – the Grainfather doesn’t really help with user errors like that.  The second, we tried keeping it simple – seeing how much of that coffee taste we can get from an earlier addition.

Results-wise, I think we’re both pretty happy and it got a good response with our local home brew club.  The beer isn’t as punchy as I remember Cocoa Psycho being, but there’s a initial hit of in your face smokiness, then plenty of coffee coming in afterwords.  And it’s a bitter beer.

It’s the first time we’ve used smoked malt and I would definitely use it again.  I know it can go badly when misused but in moderation it gives a lovely sense of depth.  It’ll be interesting to see how the beer ages – does smoked malt play into a barrel aged flavour?

Next brew – brewing like a monk in preparation for the Lenten season!

P.S. The name, the beer was a bit lower than it should have been.



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