top left corner

Bluefield Chocolate Ale

Brewed: 10/31/2010   Kegged: 11/13/2010
My sister (the one who got me my first Mr. Beer kit) requested that I make a "no-calorie, dark chocolate, non-beer-tasting beer" so she could try one of my beers without saying "Yuck!  That tastes like beer".  Of course, there is no way I'm going to make a "no-calorie" beer, but I can put chocolate in a beer and I can make it real dark.  I can even make it taste nothing like any beer she's ever had. 

So, I went to my favorite book "Brewing Classic Styles" and came across Jamil's "Chocolate Hazelnut Porter" recipe.  I plugged the recipe into Beer Smith, reduced it to a Mr. Beer sized batch.  Then, I tinkered with the ingredients a bit to (hopefully) make it a little less "beer-like" and a little more "chocolate-like".  I decided to add in some lactose to give it a sweeter taste.  I also increased the amount of Cocoa Powder and reduced the hops quite a bit.


Before she tried the first batch, I did not think my sister would like it, and she didn't, but that's ok.  I can drink it and the Beer Model likes it ok. 

I expect this will be one of those recipes that I tinker with quite a bit.  It will be fun to play with the ingredients.  I've never done a beer with lactose ... it will be interesting to play with that.  I might try oats in this recipe at some point.  We never know where this beer might take us! 

Of course I have so many other wonderful beers to try to brew, it might be awhile before I try another version of Bluefield.

Here are some blog entries about the Bluefield Experiment.

Bluefield Chocolate Ale --- cost $16.62

Specialty Beer
Batch Size
2.40 gal
All Grain
Boil Size   3.01 gal

Recipe Characteristics

Recipe Gravity
1.061 SG
Estimated FG
1.015 SG
Recipe Bitterness
34.4 IBU (Rager)
Alcohol by Volume
5.96 %
BU : GU   0.566        
Recipe Color
38.4 SRM
Measured OG:    1.088   Measured FG:    1.040
ADF:    54.5%   Measured ABV:    6.29%


Amount Item Type % or IBU
4 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 63.90 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 7.99 %
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80-92L (85.0 SRM) Grain 7.99 %
8.0 oz Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 7.99 %
6.1 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6.07 %
2.1 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 2.08 %
0.75 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 34.4 IBU
0.50 lb Cocoa Powder (unsweetened) (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 oz Hazelnut (Bottling 5.0 min) Misc
4.0 oz Milk Sugar (Lactose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 3.99 %
1 Pkgs American Ale II (Harvested) (Wyeast Labs #1272) [Starter 125 ml] [Cultured] Yeast-Ale

Mash Profile

Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
45 min Mash In Add 7.51 qt of water at 170.5 F 158.0 F

Batch Sparge Round 1: Sparge with 0.47 gal of 168.0 F water
Batch Sparge Round 2: Sparge with 1.63 gal of 168.0 F water

Recipe Notes
Based on Chocolate Hazelnut Porter in BCS p265.
Pitch as close to 60 degrees as possible and let raise to 65 or so through full kraussen. After that, let the temp raise as far as it wants.
Batch prime with 2.25 oz of cane sugar dissolved in 1.5 cups water and the hazelnut extract.
Brewing Notes:
10/31/2010 Brewing Day esheppy
Well ... everything went pretty well. The unsweetened chocolate really thickened this up based on the 1.088 OG. I'm assuming that the cocoa is unfermentable. I probably should have just left the lactose out. My pre-boil gravity was right about where it should have been, so the extra 27 points all came from chocolate. Pitched at about 70. Starter was pretty much at high-krausen. Guess we will see how this turns out.
I let the temperature heat up a bit last night. Really active fermentation now. Chocolate aroma is amazing. Weird black cocoa kraussen.
At bedtime, fermentation had slowed down and the chocolate kraussen seemed solid enough to perhaps suppress the yeasties from doing their thing. I top-cropped some of that chocolate. Smells and taste good! At least some of the cocoa seems to precipitated off the top. Don't know, but I think this beer may turn out ok afterall.
11/13/2010 Bottled esheppy
Bottled up. Used two cups water, 2.25oz table sugar and about a 1 fluid oz of hazlenut extract. The flavor of the sample is certainly chocolaty. Hazlenut adds a nice touch. It is very full-bodied at 1.040, but I think it will be drinkable. Probably will make nice beer-floats.
11/13/2010 B C A yankeedag
Looks interesting. How much DME to replace the 2 row?
11/15/2010 esheppy
YD ... I think about 3 lbs DME would be about the equivalent to that much 2-row, BUT ... I would not suggest making this recipe. It is too experimental at this point. At the very least, I would get rid of the lactose and cut the cocoa in half.
11/27/2010 esheppy
Put a couple in the beer fridge. Probably won't try until next weekend.
The beer model and I shared a bottle. Not bad. Very chocolaty and has a nice hazelnut flavor. Not sure if my sister will like it (probably not), but at least it is not a horrible beer.
12/05/2010 Bluefield Chocolate Ale yankeedag
3 lbs of DME... so it doesn't have a "Beer-ish" taste to it?
12/06/2010 esheppy
Well, I'm not sure I know what my sister means by a "beer taste", and since she is sort of the "target audience", that will be the final test. IMO, it is dominated by cocoa. It is beer, so I guess technically it tastes like beer.
12/25/2010 esheppy
Had a beer float with this. Sort of disappointing. Certainly not as good as the float I had with Tweedle Beetle Imperial Stout.
Well, I got my beer to Michigan and was able to share one with my sister.I was not a fan of the hazzlenut during this taste. Had another the next night in the hotel and thought it tasted fine. Think it was a matter of my mood.Anyway, Mrs.Bluefield took 5 home to Wisconsin.
she did not seem to be a fan.
02/26/2011 esheppy
Had one. Enjoyed it.
03/10/2011 esheppy
Had another last night. Must have been in the right mood, because it really tasted good.
04/12/2011 esheppy
Had one after a couple of Wits (WWW and Avery's). Tonight is a night that I'm not really a fan of the hazelnut flavor in this beer. But, still, not a bad end to the night.
04/12/2011 esheppy
The beer gets better as I get closer to finishing the glass. One thing is for sure: this beer is over carbonated.
09/12/2011 esheppy
Last liter. Nice, rich, deep chocolate. Ages well.Will have to see what we can do for the next iteration of Bluefield Ale.
bottom left corner
SheppyBrew Home Page