I am going to be brewing the Zymurgy KBS clone, but a little nervous with some of the additions listed:

  1. 2.5 oz Belg Bittersweet Choc and 1.5 oz unsweetened cocoa nibs @ 15 mins. ***I read that adding straight chocolate to the boil will kill the head retention due to the oils. Can I cold crash the primary and skim the oil layer before racking into the second?

  2. adding 2 oz of GROUND Sumatran coffee @ Flameout. Will this be tooooooo bitter? I will also be adding 2 oz of cold brewed Kona to the secondary.

Here is the recipe for those interested: https://i.sstatic.net/tWH00.png

  • 3
    Why do you think you need to make any changes at all? Despite what you've heard, there isn't enough oil to worry about. And the recipe has been brewed as is by the author...don't you think they would have come up with another technique of that didn't work?
    – Denny Conn
    Nov 14, 2014 at 16:36
  • that is why I am coming here...I have never added chocolate to a beer before and was a tad nervous looking at the recipe
    – Bootsy7086
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:07
  • 1
    Well, then, I'd just follow the recipe.
    – Denny Conn
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:37
  • always trust your opinion, Denny. Thanks for your knowledge!
    – Bootsy7086
    Nov 14, 2014 at 20:41
  • Have you ever poured a KBS? There really isn't much head. And what is there doesn't stick around for too long.
    – kellanstec
    Nov 21, 2014 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


I would just boost the dextrins in the beer knowing that you will have additional oils from the chocolate (and the coffee). While its a good idea, I'm not sure cold-crashing/skimming would get all of the oil as a lot of it may still be dissolved in solution. Add some oats, extra flaked barley and/or dextrin malt to the mash.

With respect to the coffee choice and method:

Sumatras can be, well, simply WEIRD due to the wet processing/hulling methods they use at the origin. Professional cuppers get some really strange flavors from a lot of the producers there, which for many coffee snobs is desirable as they can have loads of character/depth. When using coffee in a beer though, what most people want is a 'roasty' flavor without being acrid. This is more dependent on the level of roasting of the beans than the origin, but I would use something that is more of a 'classic cup', such as Colombian, Guatelmalan or Costa Rican. You want to make sure you have a light-to-medium roast though ideally, as it will add some brightness/acidity and light roasty flavors to complement the roasted barley/black patent. What's also key is HOW RECENTLY it was roasted prior to cold brewing it. The closer the better. And grind the beans right before you brew with them.

I find that cold-brewing the coffee gives a far more robust and pleasant flavor than adding beans/grounds to the kettle or fermenter, so you're right-on there. Cold brew it and add the resulting extract at packaging after sampling the beer with different levels of coffee extract added.

I am a home coffee-roaster and full-throttle coffee snob along with my brewing hobby!

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