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Chocolate Cherry Stout

I’m starting to brew my beers for winter and was thinking about doing a Chocolate Cherry Stout. I’ve got a few questions I was hoping to get some help with.

My thought was to first start off with a solid Chocolate Stout recipe base. I’ve included what I was thinking below. I’m a little concerned I may have too much Chocolate Malt and cocoa powder which will cause this to end up being overly sweet.

This is going to be my first time with using fruit. With the cherries, I’ve read in the forum it’s about 1/2 lb per gallon for whole cherries and around 25% less if you use puree. Is using an entire can in the secondary for around two weeks going to be overkill? I was also thinking of trying to find some tart/sour cherries to use as opposed to sweet cherries or puree. Does the 1/2 lb per gallon rule of thumb hold true for both tart/sour cherries as well as sweet cherries or will I need to make adjustments based on which variety I use?

The flavor profile I was going for was to have the chocolate and malt flavor be most prominent with the cherries being a little more of a subtle and complementary flavor.

Thanks for everyone’s help and advice in advance!

Malt and Fermentables

  • 3.3 lb Light Malt Extract Syrup [40%]
  • 3.3 lb Light Malt Extract Syrup (late addition) [40%]
  • 1/2 lb Roasted Barley [6%]
  • 1/2 lb Chocolate Malt [6%]
  • 1/2 lb Crystal 80L [6%]
  • 1/4 lb Black Patent Malt [3%]


  • 2 oz East Kent Golding – 60 min
  • 1 oz Willamette – 10 min

Misc Ingredients

  • ½ Tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient – 10 min
  • 1/2 lb Cocoa Powder – 1 min
  • 1 can Cherry Puree (3 lb 1 oz) – secondary two weeks


  • 2 packets US-05


  • Est OG – 1.057
  • Est FG – 1.015
  • Est ABV – 5.6%
  • 39 SRM
  • 39.9 IBUs
  • BU:GU = .71

I’m interested to know how this turns out. Please post a review when done. I’m very close to brewing a Neapolitan Stout (Chocolate/Vanilla/Strawberry). I’m still getting advice from fellow home brewers as to how much vanilla and strawberry to add.

Recipe: I’m not a big fan of roasted barley in fruit stouts. I think the roasty/burnt cigarette flavor clashes with the fruit. I’m not a big fan of black patent either, but I’d chose that (and especially de-bittered black, if you have the option) over roasted barley any day. Personally, I’d go with straight chocolate malt (pale and/or regular), or chocolate malt and a little black.

Chocolate: I’ve found that I like Watkins Chocolate or chocolate extract better that cocoa powder. It just works better. [And for point of reference, I’m not usually an advocate for extracts … I think fruit extracts are aweful and you get much better results with real fruit. But with chocolate, it’s the opposite, IME]. Oh, and cocoa powder and chocolate malt aren’t sweet, they’re actually pretty bitter. In this recipe your sweetness will come from the LME and crystal (and a little from the Watkins, if you go that route).

Fruit: I don’t think that 1/2# per gallon is too much in a cherry stout. I usually do at least that much, if not more. I think 1 can of puree will be about right. Don’t waste your time with sweet cherries. They ferment very clean and don’t leave as much cherry flavor as the tart ones. I’ve tried as much as 2# per gallon of sweet cherries and it still didn’t have enough flavor. Good luck.

I get my vanilla beans and extracts from these folks these are pure extracts with no alcohol.

I use the 2x Madagascar and add 1 tsp in 5 gallons plus 1 bean in the secondary I also have some of the other beans to try in my future beers.

The recipe is based on the NB kit and Jamil’s Black Forest Stout.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like my LHBS has de-bittered black patent. Would dropping the roasted barley to something around 1/4 lb lessen that potential burnt or overly roasty flavor? Or in the alternative, would dropping the roasted barly and upping the Chocolate Malt to around say 1 1/2 lbs be better?

I’m definitely planning on staying away from fruit extracts. Sweet cherries are in full swing down here in NC but I’m having some trouble finding tart or sour varieties. I’m probably going to stick with the 1 can of puree in the secondary.

Personally, I think you’ll like it better if you drop the rb completely and replace it with pale or regular chocolate malt. Keep or leave the black as you see fit, but I wouldn’t go much over 1-1.25# total for the roasted malts. And don’t get me wrong, I love rb in a dry stout, just not so much in fruit or sweet stouts.

The idea of fresh local sweet cherries sounds tempting, but I think you’ll be happier eating the cherries and brewing with the puree.

Might want higher IBUs. I remember my first stout (also a cherry stout) being very underwhelming and I was later told by a veteran brewer that the hop bill was way too low. Something to consider.

I am very interested in this beer. I was wondering (in case anybody else has made this), could you (or should you) put in a can of cherry pie filling into the secondary (assuming you started with a chocolate stout. If the pie filling was a good idea, would one can be enough? I’ll hang up and listen.

Back when I was brewing extracts, I made a few batches of Raspberry wheat using pie filling added to the primary. Came out really well. Wish I could buy pie filling here, it was much easier than using fresh or frozen fruit.

Was one can enough?

I was using a very light wheat beer as a base, so yes one can was enough. Might need more for a stout.

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