Russian Imperial Stout with Cacao Nibs

Friends who knows me personally would know that I used to be an avid homebrewer. Alas, with chocolate making in full swing these days, there simply isn't time for beer brewing anymore! Thoughts of using cacao nibs in a beer kept surfacing whenever I roast up a batch of aromatic cacao. If cacao nibs can be used to brew tea to great results, why not steep it in a beer during secondary fermentation? I can already imagine the complex flavours it can impart to a roasty porter or even a mildly fruity English brown ale.

Well, lucky for me, a great friend of mine happens to be looking for ingredients to give his (already super delicious) Russian Imperial Stout a boost. John from Brewlander is one of the best homebrewers in Singapore, having won multiple awards in our local homebrewing competition. Last year, his RIS got a whole snaking queue really excited. This year, he is looking for a special ingredient to up the game even further. So here we are! Cacao nibs.

We tried a few infusions with the beer sample he brought over. The Tumbes cacao has a very nice roasted almond and biscuity aroma when given a medium roast. In a lighter roast, we found bright cherry notes. Blend them together, and you get the best of both worlds. That's exactly what we did. Finishing with a touch of fruity Sambirano Valley cacao, the RIS sample ended up with a nice fruity-tart character along with a subtle nutty and chocolaty note in the finish. All these showed up in just a few minutes steep! We are really excited to see how the flavours will show up in the actual steep and develop in a few months' time. Only time will tell. Good RIS, like chocolate, is made of good quality ingredients, techniques and TIME. 

John wrote a post on this collaboration in his blog. Geeky homebrewers out there, this is worth a read if you are considering adding cacao nibs to your beer. 

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