Raspberry Chocolate Stout

A dessert beer in one of the most obvious forms.  A full bodied stout recipe turned into a beer to make even St. Valentine happy. With the addition of a little raspberry concentrate at the end of boil you can twist an ordinary stout into a beer with a pleasant, but not overpowering fruit flavor (cloyingly sweet). The cocoa powder addition helps to accentuate the chocolate flavors already present from the specialty malts in the recipe. Stouts with fruit are brewed both seasonally and year round at brewpubs across the country since the 1980's.  The flavors of raspberry, cherry, and other fruits are obvious pairings for chocolate forward stout recipes to try this with. Last summer I brewed a Tart Cherry Porter with fresh fruit from my local farmers market that turned out very well, but the concentrate is very easy to work with and tastes great.

Simple grist bill of American two row, flaked barley, crystal 45, pale chocolate malt, and roasted barley. Bittered to balance with super galena. One and a half cups of cocoa powder and twelve fluid ounce of raspberry concentrate added at end of boil. Fermented with Safale US-05.

8/28/11 Update: This batch of beer was entered in the Delaware State Fair competition into the Fruit Beer category 20. As well as featured at my brewery in plannings first tasting event where I described it as follows: "Lava Cake Stout, brewed with organic cocoa powder and raspberries this, dessert in a glass has an aroma bursting of fresh raspberries and chocolate. The complex flavors of dark chocolate are layered with crystal malt, pale chocolate malt, and a touch of roasted barley with just enough raspberries in the finish."

#1- Raspberry right off the bat, some chocolate sweetness, very slight roastiness.
#2- Raspberry and chocolate aroma initially. Toasted and caramel malt. No hops or fruity esters. Clean.
#3- Raspberry and dark chocolate evident right away. Underlying dark grain and low hop aroma as well.

#1- Dark brown bordering on black. Tan head.
#2- Near opaque black. Medium, fizzy tan head, medium to short retention.
#3- Pours low beige head. Falls fast. Color is black.

#1- Tart raspberries up front with some chocolate dryness. Low bitterness leading to additional fruitiness and cocoa powder. Raspberry prominent. Low roast with more chocolate as it warms.
#2- Tart raspberry to start. Chocolate supports with caramel malt. Earth hops. Well fermented, low residual sugar. Balanced beer with dry finish and subdued chocolate.
#3- Tart raspberry fruit with low level of chocolate. Moderate level of roasted grain. Not sure if chocolate is from powder or grain. Medium hop bitterness to balance.

#1- Medium body with medium carbonation.
#2- Medium body and carbonation. Low creaminess. Slightly warming.
#3- Medium carbonation. Medium to light body. Carbonation is soft and creamy.

Overall Impression
#1- Pretty good. Raspberry was spot on but overshadowed chocolate. A bit of roast from roasted barley would also help this beer tremendously. Also needs more body. Not bad.
#2- Nice beer. A longer lasting head with some residual sugars cold make this even better.
#3- First, a blend of fruit and spice (chocolate) better entered in cat. 23. That said, well made. Good use of raspberry but chocolate gets a bit lost in the dark grain flavors. Still, well done!

#1- Recognized    30/50
#2- Certified        35/50
#3- Certified        30/50

Overall 31.6/50---Very Good (30-37)

One thing I've learned from this To Style Series is how subjective judges can be. In hind sight if I had entered this beer into category 20 fruit beer with a base style of Porter instead of Stout and called it a Raspberry Porter with no mention of cocoa powder the beer may have fared better. Picking the best base style is important in many categories. Also, picking the right category is important. I think this is a fruit beer, but one judge mentioned it should have been entered in category 23 spice/herb/vegetable category because of the cocoa powder. I disagree, but this illustrates how important category placement can be and that if you say an ingredient is used in a batch, even just to play a supporting role, since you mentioned it it then becomes a major player in the minds of the drinker.

Entering your beers into competitions helps you get insight into your beer you otherwise wouldn't have. Most times judges offer constructive feedback about your beer and this will always help you to become a better brewer. 


  1. What was the Batch size? Thinking of Chocolate stouts myself...

  2. This particular batch was 6 gallons.