The wheels are turning. The Mayan God from the Moersleutel Universe is visiting the world of mere mortals. They worship him by buying tin objects, in the form of 44CL cans, wrapped in a sticker with his portrait. Zusquoid shows them his grace by giving them Xocolatl, a drink of the Gods. This drink serves the warriors among the mortals and provides energy for the civilization to thrive. Creamy in texture, like milk chocolate, but with much more intense flavor, like the purest of raw cocoa. A hint of smoke from the ceremonial fires. Cinnamon, from the baked goods. Peppers, from the slow-cooked mole, and nutty flavors from quinoa. A superfood to make mortals stronger.
Few years ago we brewed Aztec Hot Chocolate. It was time to revisit that brew, applying two years of accumulated experience, and trying to improve the game. Not only experience has accumulated, but years of investments in top-of-line equipment are also to be reflected in our beers. The label shapeshifted into a monster, a god, part of our Pastry Stout series, containing no lactose, reflecting the growth in the past years.
Several shades of chocolate, the goal is to brew pure cocoa in beer format. To achieve that a nutty base grain was selected. Layers of brown, chocolate and aromatic malts were to be used to achieve the perfect blend of chocolate, biscuit, and caramel notes.
A total of four mashes for just two batches, a low ratio of water and grain to concentrate as many sugars as possible. High temperature and short mash rest to retain dextrins and proteins for increased mouthfeel.
To push boundaries a portion of Quinoa was added to the mash in order to honor the Mayan culture just a bit more. It was our first time using this cereal but it convinced us with its nutty and full-tasting notes.
A big dose of high alpha german hops was added, to contribute to balancing bittering, at 60 IBU. No aroma hops were added, allowing the aromas of adjuncts to properly shine through.
A clean yeast strain was selected, shy fermentation profile, minimal ester, and no phenolic aromatics. Protecting the delicate body and malt flavors for the best showcase possible of the comprehensive mash schedule and grain selection.
Over 15 different peppers were tasted over several weeks. Mulato leads the show with 50% of the pepper additions, Aji Panca and Serrano intensify the pepper flavors while Cascabel adds a layer of lingering spice that builds up during tasting.
Cuban cocoa nibs were our preferred choice for this beer. Together with Krak, we selected these nibs with earthy notes and a light smoke profile. Wrapped around the base profile of 8 different malts it intensifies the chocolate-tasting notes for a rich baking chocolate profile.
Together with the peppers, cinnamon sticks were boiled granting a round spice profile that complements the caramel and biscuit notes from the grain selection.
This is a beer of layers, a beer of different elements that together come up to something of their own. The peppers fold into flavors of leather, dried fruit, and tobacco. The chocolate offers a sweet yet spicy profile. The cinnamon enhances and blends both peppers and chocolate. All this is on a foundation of biscuits, caramel, and chocolate notes. With a creamy mouthfeel, thick and full, with a balancing bitterness and light lingering spice from the cinnamon. The spicy from the peppers slowly builds up, leaving a pleasant warm sensation at the end of the can.
Jorge Tomé – Head brewer at Moersleutel Craft Brewery