My attempts started years ago with NB's Cherry Stout kit. I've added things like coffee, cocoa nibs, molasses, and then gradually cut them out. Last years batch I use 1/2 the cherry extract and hopped with Moteuka. Submitted it to a competition and got the legitimate comments that it wasn't sweet enough and not 'tropical enough', whatever that meant. So this year, I dropped the cherry, added 5oz. lactose, and 1 lb of D180 Belgian candy syrup, then dryhopped with Citra and Azacca plus 1.5 lb mango puree. Used WY Munich lager yeast. It's actually pretty good, but not anything like Lion Stout, which is my favorite. I'm going to send this to a comp. to get feedback.