Recipe Revision: Mocha Porter Version 2

November 14, 2011

Last month I brewed a batch of a mocha porter that was a combination of two recipes I made last year, a chocolate porter and a coffee porter, after mixing the two beers together and finding it to be awesome. The recipe didn’t come out exactly as I’d hoped, so there were several issues I needed to deal with the next time I brewed it.

The main issue with the beer is that it had a bitterness that too strong and overwhelming to the rest of the flavors. It’s kind of a sharp, lingering bitterness on the back of the tongue that makes the beer less drinkable. To combat this I actually looked at a number of solutions. First up was reducing the bittering hop addition. I dropped the bittering addition from 30 IBUs, which was way too high, to 21 this time. Coupling a strong hop bitterness with lots of acidic roasted malts and coffee beans and cocoa powder means it’s easy to go overboard.

The next thing I looked at was the roasted grain in the recipe. I used a combo of chocolate malt and carafa II special. Carafa II special is a German malt that is roasted to the level of chocolate malt and dehusked. Removing the husk reduces the level of astringency you can extract from a roasted grain, so it lends a smoother roasted character than a chocolate malt or a roasted barley would. For today’s batch I dumped the chocolate malt entirely and went with a mix of carafa II special and carafa III special. That should help raise the mash pH and kill any astringency from the grain.

The last change I made for the sake of reducing bitterness was small, but important. Last time I added the cocoa powder with 15 minutes left in the boil. In all of the chocolate beers I’ve ever made, I’ve NEVER added the cocoa powder before the end of the boil. I honestly have no idea why I moved it back by 15 minutes, but it was silly. I’ve corrected that mistake today.

In addition to above, the other major concern was that the coffee flavor and aroma were overpowering all the other aspects of the beer. This time I’m planning to reduce my coffee addition to one ounce in the secondary so, hopefully, it’ll come out more subtle than last time.

Mocha Porter



Boil Volume: 8.40 gallons

Batch Volume: 6.78 gallons

Fermenter Volume: 5.00 gallons

Starting Gravity: 1.069

Efficiency: 81%


  • 10.50 lb Pal Malt
  •   2.00 lb Munich Malt
  •   1.50 lb Flaked Oats
  • 18.00 oz Carafa II Special
  •   6.00 oz Carafa III Special
  • 1.00 oz N Brewer (60 minutes, 9.8% Alpha Acid)
  • 2.00 oz N Brewer (5 minutes)
  • 2.00 oz Challenger (End of Boil, 5.6% Alpha Acid)
Water Additions
  • 4 gm Calcium Carbonate
  • 4 gm Calcium Sulfate
  • 8 gm Calcium Chloride
Wyeast 1098 British Ale yeast cake
  • Strike with 4.75 gallons at 170F
  • Mash at 156F for 60 minutes
  • Sparge with 6 gallons at 180F




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