Advice: Raspberry stout

Hi all,
I’m going to be brewing a raspberry stout around this holiday season. I have very little experience brewing beer in this style so I am hoping you all have good recommendations. I am looking for hardly perceivable hop flavor, maybe a little in aroma. I would like it to be slightly chocolate flavored. My only idea right now is to add the raspberry concentrate at bottling, but I need some serious direction on a simple grain and hop bill. Anything is appreciated.

If you typically brew kits, you can get a chocolate cream stout kit from NB: ... xtract-kit

You can leave out the lactose if you prefer your beer to be less sweet. The kit will get you everything you need except the raspberries, which you can simply add. But not to the boil.

If you use whole berries, freeze them first. Once the beer is finished fermenting, place the berries into a sanitized bucket and rack the beer onto it, then leave it at least two weeks (a month is better) before you rack to a bottling bucket and bottle.

If you use canned puree, do exactly the same as stated above for whole berries, but skip the freezing step.

If you decide to use extract, add it to the bottling bucket along with your priming sugar.

Good luck!

Keep in mind that Raspberry extract and raspberry concentrate are two different things. Concentrate is fermentable (it’s basically concentrated raspberry juice) and so if you are going to add it at bottling, you’ll have to do so as a substitute for priming sugar. And your amount should be based on how much carbonation you want, not how much raspberry flavor you want. I’m thinking if you want to add flavor at bottling, it’s extract you should be looking for.

I have used raspberry extract in the past with reasonable success. I strongly recommend using only 1/4 to 1/3 as much as the instructions dictate on the extract bottle. It turns out decent that way. If used at full strength, it can turn into a Robitussen bomb.

I would love to try real raspberries someday. I’d start with 1-2 lb per gallon and see where that gets you. If you go this route, I know for sure that the raspberries will ferment dry and very tart, so you’ll want to add an extra pound of lactose (unfermentable sugar) per 5 gallons to help balance that out. If you just use extract, then you won’t need the lactose.

My practical upper limit with fresh or frozen raspberries is 1#/gallon. You can get a lot of flavor at this level, but they add an incredible amount of acidity if you go much more above this. Even at 1#/gallon, there’s noticeable tartness.

I’ve only used raspberries in light beers, and I’ve found that even 1#/gallon is high. But that might be different in a stout, the flavor has to fight with other strong flavors to stand out.