Recipe: German Chocolate Cake Stout

With some thought and planning, big dessert stouts are well within reach of extract brewers. Here's a recipe featuring vanilla, pecan, cacao, and plenty of toasted coconut.

Jester Goldman Oct 5, 2020 - 4 min read

Recipe: German Chocolate Cake Stout Primary Image

EXTRACT
Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.112
FG: ~1.036
IBUs: 25
ABV: 10%

STEEPING GRAINS
1 lb (454 g) roasted barley
1 lb (454 g) chocolate malt
1 lb (454 g) melanoidin malt
1 lb (454 g) crystal 120L
8 oz (227 g) Carafa Special II (dehusked)

BOIL INGREDIENTS
11 lb (5 kg) amber liquid malt extract (LME)
1 oz (28 g) Magnum hops [11.2% AA] at 60 minutes
1 cup (24 cl) shredded coconut at 60 minutes
1.5 lb (680 g) lactose at 15 minutes

YEAST
3 packs Fermentis Safale US-05

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SECONDARY ADDITIONS
1 lb (454 g) of toasted, shredded coconut
3 vanilla beans, sliced into long strips
1 tsp (5 ml) pecan extract
1 lb (454 g) cacao nibs

DIRECTIONS
Crush all steeping grains and place in a nylon grain bag.

Start heating 4.5 gallons (17 liters) of water in a large pot that can hold at least 7 gallons (26.5 liters). While the water is heating, dip the grain bag in and swirl it to thoroughly soak the grain. Heat for 30 minutes without exceeding 155°F (68°C)—turning down the heat as necessary.

Remove the bag and rinse the grain with 2 quarts (946 ml) of 165°F (74°C) water.

Take the pot off the heat and add half the LME. Stir the wort until the extract is fully dissolved, then place the pot back on the burner. Bring to a boil.

The boil will last 90 minutes, so wait 30 minutes before adding the bittering hops and coconut. After the hopped wort has boiled for an additional 45 minutes (75 minutes into the boil), temporarily remove the pot from the burner and stir in the remaining LME and the lactose. Resume the boil for another 15 minutes, then take the pot off the burner and add water to top it off to 5 gallons (19 liters).

Chill the wort down to pitching temperature—about 65°F (18°C); I highly recommend a wort chiller. Once the wort is cool, make sure to thoroughly splash it when transferring it to the fermentor to provide the yeast with plenty of oxygen.

Proof the packets of yeast in warm water for 5 minutes, then pitch it into the fermentor. With a beer this big, it’s a good idea to use a blow-off hose during primary fermentation. Ferment at room temperature, about 72°F (22°C), for three or four weeks.

Once the fermentation slows, carefully rack the beer into secondary, adding the toasted coconut, vanilla beans, pecan extract, and cacao nibs. Let it sit for two weeks before racking one more time.

This is a good time to taste the beer to see whether the flavors are hitting the balance you want. At this point, it’s still possible to add any of the individual flavors if they’re not quite to target. This includes adding more lactose if you don’t think it’s sweet enough.

Once you’re happy with the balance, package the batch with about 0.4 oz (12 g) total dissolved priming sugar and give it at least a month or two in the bottle to age. Then you can break one out, sit back, and enjoy your just desserts.

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