The Brew Process: Cacao Nibs vs. Cholaca

Quick Need to Know for Chocolate Types:

Bean: un-roasted seed from a cacao pod
Cocoa Nibs: roasted, de-hulled cocoa beans
Cocoa Powder: mostly pure cocoa solids which cocoa butter (fat) has been pressed out of
Cocoa Mass: Ground up nibs. A thick pasty substance resembling thick melted chocolate
Criollo: A variety of T. cacao that produces complex flavored chocolate
Forestaro: The commonly grown variety of T. Cacao that is easy to grow
Cholaca: Pure liquid cacao

Cacao can be delivered in various forms of chocolate as identified above. Though all of these can technically be used in the brew process, Cacao nibs have been the most common for brewers up to this point when making a chocolate beer. Well guess what brewmasters?! Our pure liquid cacao offers not only an easier brewing process, but actually adds more flavor to the beer!

To begin with from a process perspective, it is much easier to add a liquid to a liquid as opposed to adding solids to liquids. Or more accurately, removing liquids from spent solids such as cacao nibs. While most brewers have found ways to proactively deal with this issue, in large amounts, solids like nibs can clog or even damage equipment such as hoses, pipes, valves, pumps, and drains. Cholaca in it’s pure liquid form, poses none of these issues and virtually no extra clean up is needed. Additionally, Cholaca allows for nearly immediate results for flavor assessment and adjustment as opposed to waiting for the flavors from a solid to infuse. This is also useful when performing benchtop sensory trial when determining how much cacao flavor you may want in a particular beer. “With the attention to quality that brewers have regarding their hops, grain and even water, I’m surprised by the poor quality of cocoa that goes into some beers. We’re hoping to change all that,” say’s Ira Leibtag, CEO of Cholaca.

As a result, Cholaca is rapidly growing as a “brewmaster favorite!” Cholaca has currently partnered with over 60 breweries to create all kinds of chocolate beer, with many more prospects in the works. Stay tuned for all brand new chocolate beer releases in 2017 featuring Cholaca as the “special chocolate ingredient.”

Plus, check out just how much these brewmaster’s love using cholaca below…

Cacao nibs are bulky and expensive, and if added directly to a tank, must be enclosed in a sanitized mesh bag, which is not optimum for infusion into the finished beer. If not enclosed as such, they may clog hoses, ports, pumps, valves, etc. Cholaca, being liquid, infuses more readily, requires no bagging, and thus requires less to be added and is therefore cheaper. Jason Yerger

Ghostfish Brewing

Cacao Nibs take up to two weeks to impart the desired flavor into the beer, with Cholaca we can get our desired flavor overnight. Cacoa Nibs are also more difficult to work with; they must be added to the Fermenter in bags and the bags must be pulled out through the doorway before any cleaning can be done. Any by-product from the Cholaca can be rinsed down the drain. If anything the chocolate flavor we get from the Cholaca is cleaner and more predictable than the cacoa nibs we have used in the past. Max Filter

Renegade Brewing

Liquid is quicker to infuse in brew and easier to introduce as liquid vs nibs. Cleanup afterwards is nonexistent with liquid and you also don’t need to use a large amount of liquid vs. nibs where it involves a large amount to equal liquid (liquid is pre-pasturized).” We just loved using Cholaca in our Blood Orange Chocolate Porter! Dan Ditslear

300 Suns Brewing Company

What we like better about Cholaca is the flavor. With just nibs, we tend to get a more waxy muddled chocolate flavor in the beer. With Cholaca, and the fact that the entire nib is liquidized, we get a much more complex and depth of chocolate flavor that actually tastes like a 95% dark chocolate rather than chocolate flavored wax. Its a simply superior product that allows for maximum flavor extraction and use in the beer. Will never go back to nibs. The aroma is superior as well. No need to touch it up with flavors or extracts. Bret Kollman Baker

Urban Artifact Brewing