Hey making beer is gross – Chocolate Imperial IPA recipe – by Danny Vagnoni

Hey did you know making beer is profoundly disgusting? Look, I'll show you.

 This stuff is called  trub , as though I didn't already know how gross it was.

This stuff is called trub, as though I didn't already know how gross it was.

At least that's the case with homebrew. My latest batch is a Chocolate Imperial IPA, which is kind of an oddball recipe. Brewers almost exclusively reserve chocolate flavors for stouts and porters, because the bitterness of most hops conflicts with the sweetness of chocolate.

Fuck it, though. I can buy a good regular IPA. What I can't buy is a Chocolate Imperial IPA. Except for one – actually, the one that inspired this one. When I first tried Stone's Mocha IPA last year, it was executed so well I wanted more. Unfortunately, it was already out of season (so naturally I waited until it was back in season, aka now, to brew mine).

Even though Stone's Mocha IPA was the inspiration, I didn't look at their overview before putting mine together, and aside from the chocolate, they could not be more different.

 This is what chocolate soaked in flat beer looks like.

This is what chocolate soaked in flat beer looks like.

Stone's hit's 80 IBUs. IBUs are the scale brewers use to measure bitterness. 80 is what they might call "bitter as fuck." Mine is slightly less, at around 65 IBUs.

Both hit 9% ABV, which is moderate-high for an Imperial.

Stone's, however, uses floral and fruity hops – Citra, Cascade, and Amarillo. These choices give the beer an overall lighter body and fruity notes.

I specifically targeted resinous hops, hops that would leave a toffee stickiness on the palette that (I hoped) would pair well with the chocolate. I used Columbus, Nugget, and Simcoe.

It worked.

Here's my recipe!

  • 6 pounds light DME
  • 3 pounds pale DME
  • 1 pound corn sugar
  • 2 oz Columbus (1 @ 60 mins, 1 @ 10 mins)
  • 2 oz Nugget (@ 0 min)
  • 2 oz Simcoe (@ 0 min)
  • US-05 yeast
  • Cacao nibs (for steeping after active fermentation finishes)

This cross of styles kills it.

 It's finished and not gross, which is a plus.

It's finished and not gross, which is a plus.