If you’re looking to make a match between chocolate and beer, then here are some amazing pairings to consider. Beer and chocolate might not seem like a great match, but there are some really exquisite combinations to consider.
Beer and Chocolate? What’s the Connection
The most common question people will ask about combining beer and chocolate is: why? Does beer even go with chocolate?
The popular belief is that chocolate and wine go together. However, it’s also true that beer and chocolate make a perfect pairing. But it must be a particular style of beer. Just like in matching wine and chocolate (you wouldn’t pair a bright Reisling or Chardonay with a dark chocolate truffle), when matching a chocolate and a beer you should look for dark beers that have rich malt flavor notes. This means you should look for Stouts or Porters. While all stouts will match well with chocolate, you will be particularly pleased with Imperial Stouts, which are also sometimes known as Russian Stouts. These are the darkest, stronger, most intense stouts that you will find.
Chocolate Stout and Chocolate Cake
Another great combination is chocolate stout and chocolate cake. Chocolate stouts can either be made with real chocolate in the mash, or else the malt is roasted to a darkness that brings out the flavors of chocolate. If you want a “real” chocolate stout, one that is made with actual chocolate, not just “chocolate malt”, then look for either Youngs Chocolate Stout, or Samuel Smiths Organic Chocolate Stout.
If you can’t locate a chocolate stout, then you can make do with a common “dry” stout like Guinness Stout. In fact, one of the more popular chocolate cake recipes is done using a common Irish stout such as Guinness. A common frosting is a cream cheese based one, like the type you would use with a carrot cake. It’s a nice complement to the richness of the chocolate stout. Alternatively, you could use a classic bittersweet chocolate glaze.
Porter and Chocolate Torte
A porter is less “stout” than a stout. That means is has less of a powerful flavor palate, less alcohol and a bit more carbonation. Porter is not that common anymore, so you will be looking in specialty shops that sell microbrews. You can find “big” micros such as Anchor and Sierra Nevada that both have a porter, or you might luck out and find a really nice chocolate Porter such as the one made by Shake.
A torte is going to be denser than a cake. Most chocolate tortes will be made without flour, they are a minimalists dream in that they will have sugar, chocolate, and eggs. If you use a bit of porter you can boost the flavor. Just be careful about adding too much liquid because then the torte won’t set right. Because this can be tricky for a novice baker, you might want to use a torte recipe that included a bit of almond flour in the mix. This will help set the torte.
Imperial Stout and Chocolate Mousse
An imperial stout is the strongest of the dark beers. The other name for this beer is a Russian Stout. The beer is actually not Russian in origin, it comes from England. The reason it gets the name is that it was a very popular with the Russians during the time of Catherine The Great. The beer had a stronger alcohol content than stouts that were made in England for the English. The story behind the higher amount of alcohol is that it was necessary because of the long transport. The higher alcohol kept the stout from spoiling during transit.
Nowadays, Russian Stout, or Imperial Stout, is made by many microbrews. Many of them won’t say that it is an Imperial or Russian. What you are basically looking for is a stout that has a high alcohol content—something along the lines of 7 to 9 percent. Companies such as Founders make an excellent stout called Breakfast Stout which also has the benefit of having coffee and chocolate.
The reason Imperial Stout works so well with a chocolate mousse is that it has that tremendous flavor profile that will resonate with the creamy, light and airy mousse. The easiest way to add the Stout is to add it to the melted chocolate. You don’t want to add it to the eggs because that could prevent the eggs from forming into a custard base appropriately.