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Blackberry Vanilla Stout. Need some advise

Made this recipe on BeerSmith. Going for a sweet stout with a creamy vanilla and blackberry flavor, to make one think of berries and ice cream. Not sure if I should use blackberry puree or extract. And I am also debating if I should use some flaked oats for better head retention. Using corn sugar to boost OG and lactose to help keep it sweet.

Any ideas or critiques on the recipe are welcome!

Blackberry Vanilla Cream Stout
Sweet Stout
Type: Extract Date: 12/11/2011
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.00 gal Brewer: Kevin
Boil Size: 3.67 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Pot ( 4 Gal/15.1 L) - Extract
End of Boil Volume 3.38 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 4.60 gal Est Mash Efficiency 0.0 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs 16.0 oz Dark Dry Extract (17.5 SRM) Dry Extract 5 51.3 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4 5.1 %
4.50 oz Blackberry Extract (Boil 15.0 mins) Flavor 9 -
16.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 2 10.3 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 1 15.4 %
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 13.7 IBUs
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 min Hop 10 6.8 IBUs
3.00 Items Vanilla Bean (Primary 7.0 days) Spice 12 -
8.0 oz Milk Sugar (Lactose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 5.1 %
8.0 oz Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 3 5.1 %
1.0 pkg London Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1028) [124.21 ml] Yeast 11 -
12.0 oz Corn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM) Sugar 6 7.7 %

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.058 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.046 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.009 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.4 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 4.7 %
Bitterness: 20.5 IBUs Calories: 151.6 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 38.5 SRM
Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 9 lbs 12.0 oz
Sparge Water: 1.75 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20

Sparge Step: Remove grains, and prepare to boil wort
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage

Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 3.61 oz Carbonation Used: Bottle with 3.61 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F

Created with BeerSmith

As soon as I read the title I thought it would be a good candidate for lactose. I would go with crushed berries because I prefer to use ingredients, not extracts. However you might not get us much of a candy sweetness/flavor by using the real thing, especially with berries.

I’d say a lb of honey malt on top of 1.5lb of crystal will be a bit over the top. I’d get rid of the honey malt, or at the very least trim it back some. Probably drop the crystal down a bit too. The corn sugar and lactose will also work against each other. I wouldn’t use corn sugar in a milk stout. If you want a higher OG and abv, I’d just use more extract. Also consider using lighter extract, your specialty grains should be enough to carry the roast flavor and color.

I think the lactose is an excellent addition to this recipe. It will give a litte residual sweetness to the stout and give it a little “milk stout” status. In regards to the blackberries I would advise you not include them in your boil but rather add them to your secondary or the primary. I have not used blackberries in a recipe but have used raspberries several times. I feel like raspberries have a stronger flavor and most times I am only able to obtain authentic raspberry flavor by adding it in the secondary instead of the boil. My point being that blackberries may be even more difficult to detect if only used in the boil. I typically either will heat the berries but on occasion I will simply freeze them (which causes them to burst once they they are thawed) and then add them to the secondary. In the future however I will make them a late addition to the primary (after the major fermenting occurs). My reasoning being that berries are messy, they have seeds, and I prefer bottling or kegging a beer that is almost totally sediment free. Just my two cents for what is worth.posting.php?mode=reply&f=4&t=106544&sid=c7f0b2fe0bc9576bb52fbb81d3e70a6e#

I will take that advise to heart. Blackberries in the primary! Trying for a dessert type sweet stout like Southern Tier’s Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout. Brewing tomorrow…I can’t wait.

One last thing. Do your research on the most appropriate way to add the berries to your primary/secondary. I found many sources had me boiling the berries (10-15 min) much like anything else to ensure their sterilized. I personally will do a thorough job of rinsing them in a strainer. Then I either dump them in boiling water for like a minute or so or put them in the freezer. Either method will result in them getting mushy/juicy (Note: Blackberries are more firm so I cant speak for them). Neither of my methods ensure that any/all potential contaminants are killed. I just want you to know that so you don’t wreck a batch of beer based on my advise. I’ve made about 5 beers in this fashion and they have all turned out really well. I’ve used the raspberries as I said before but also cherries. Good luck and let me know how it goes

Grains are steeping. I am going to use an Amber DME instead of the Dark. Finishing of with Willemette instead of the Cascade hops.

As for the Black berries themselves…I am freezing them. I do that with my whole leaf hops and that works for me.

I can’t wait till it is ready for secondary!

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