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-   -   DC Raspberry Stout (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f68/dc-raspberry-stout-89887/)

Pelikan 11-22-2008 06:19 AM

DC Raspberry Stout

DC Raspberry Stout (Double Chocolate)

For a full review of the finished product, click here.

This recipe was over a month in the making. During that time, I read just about every article, write-up, technique, and formula concerning chocolate stouts and raspberry stouts. I even held correspondence with the brewers at Young's in an effort to get my grain bill down (they were very forthcoming and helpful; my thanks to them).

The fundamental philosophy behind this one was to create a high quality, complex stout that anyone can brew with just the basic equipment.


5 lbs Briess Light DME
32 oz. Belgian D2 Syrup

5 oz. British Chocolate
5 oz. Roasted Barley
12 oz. Flaked Oats

1.5 oz. Williamette (whole/leaf 6.4% AA, 60 min)
.5 oz. Williamette (whole/leaf 6.4% AA, 15 min)



1 Whirlfloc tablet (last 10 minutes/boil)
12 oz. Lactose (last 10 minutes/boil)
5 oz. Malto Dextrine (last 10 minutes/boil)
1/2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient (last 10 minutes/boil)
3 lb, 1 oz. can Oregon Fruit Pureť, Raspberry (last 2 weeks/primary)
2 Vanilla Beans (Secondary)
2 oz. Unsweetened Cocoa Powder (Secondary)

Boil Size: 3 gallons
Final Size: 5.25 gallons (before trub/transfer loss)

**For information regarding proper preparation of the vanilla & chocolate solutions, see the "notes" section at the bottom of this post.

***It indicates 24 IBU up top, but as brewed it works out to 30-35. This is because I added only 3 pounds of DME at the start of the boil, then added the remaining DME and D2 syrup in the last 15 minutes. I recommended you proceed in this fashion as well. It prevents the excess DME, etc, from being overcooked, and also increased your hop utilization.

After your cooled wort is in the primary, inoculate and leave it alone for two weeks. No need to obsess over SG readings or any of that. The more hands-off, the better.

After two weeks, add the 49 oz. can of raspberry pureť to the primary. Don't add it any sooner than this, as you want to make sure primary fermentation is complete before adding the pureť. The pureť will kick the brew back into fermentation for a day or so.

Two weeks after the pureť is added, get out your vanilla solution and add it to the empty secondary, beans and all. Add your chocolate mix to the secondary at the same time. Rack your brew on top of the vanilla/chocolate.

Now then, leave it in the secondary for 1-2 weeks. The goal is two fold: clear out the refuse left over from the pureť (which takes about a week), and get the vanilla & chocolate flavor dissolved into the brew. Try to get as little of the pureť into the secondary as possible.

You'll get more sedimentation in the secondary than you're accustomed to. Again, when racking try to avoid siphoning up any of the refuse. It might cost you a beer or two of volume, but the refuse significantly increases haze and sediment in the bottles (so you're not actually gaining anything).

Bottle condition/age for a minimum of 4 weeks. Don't forget to include 1 week of cold-conditioning in the fridge before sampling. Above all, avoid judging this beer before it's had a proper conditioning period. The SG samples will not taste good. Crash-cooled brews that are less than 4 weeks old will taste okay, but the raspberry really needs time to round out. After that, be prepared for something wonderful.



The vanilla beans you use should be of a very high quality. Check out the Vanilla Review to help you choose the right variety/vendor. There are so many choices, all of them good, that I don't want to impose my tastes upon your selection.

If online ordering isn't a practical option, beans can generally be found in gourmet cooking shops. Nielsen-Massey has a pretty solid lock on the retail market, so checking out NielsenMassey.com (and searching for local dealers) would be a good way to see if you have a bean peddler nearby. I've used N-M beans in the past, and they're quite good -- but the Internet vendors listed on the Vanilla Review page deal in the best of the best, and have some rather exotic offerings.

Now, onto solution preparation. Cut the beans with a sharp knife or razor blade longitudinally. You don't want to cut them in half, just expose the inside. Next, chop the beans into small sections, maybe 3/4" each, and place them into an appropriately-sized glass container or vial. Once you have your cut up beans in the container, add 2 ounces (1oz per bean) of quality, 80 proof vodka. Make sure the beans are fully submerged (if not, add more vodka and/or agitate the container), then set in a cool, dark place. The vodka soak is present for two reasons: one, to sterilize the beans, and two, to draw the flavors out. Every day or so, shake the bean container to agitate the solution. NOTE: Do not use vodka over 80 proof, as higher than 40% alcohol has a detrimental impact on the extraction process. I use Zyr vodka, as the nine filtrations and five distillations are particularly useful for this application. It also makes a fine drink.

Vanilla takes time to extract. In practice, most extracts are complete after about 5 weeks, especially for the purpose of beer (although the longer, the better -- up to 6 months before the beans are fully depleted). In general, if you get the solution started on or before brew day, it will have undergone the requisite amount of extraction by bottling time. The beans should have an absolute minimum of 4 weeks combined contact time (vodka soak [3-4 weeks] + secondary time [1-2 weeks]). Extend the 1-2 week secondary as you feel necessary, particularly if you had a short vodka soak.


There are a number of ways to add chocolate flavor and nose to a brew. My preferred method is dissolving 2 ounces (weight) of unsweetened baking cocoa into 8 ounces (volume) of quality vodka, and adding this to the secondary. Be sure to prepare this mix a few days in advance, so that the cocoa is sterilized and dissolves fully into solution. Use a glass or porcelain container with a tight-fitting lid.

*ABV & Vodka*

Because of the somewhat liberal use of vodka, your ABV will be affected. This is why I must emphasize, only use vodka that you'd gladly drink straight (ie: the good stuff). Otherwise, there's enough of it in there that bargain brands may [negatively] impact the taste. As mentioned, I think Zyr is the best for this, because it's about as pure as it gets (nine filtrations and five distillations). Mix this stuff into a good drink and you can't even detect it...it's eerily transparent. There are other good vodkas out there, of course. Even the regular fair like Stoli will do the trick; at the end of the day the vodka makes up less than 1.5% of the total volume in this recipe. Just don't go through all the trouble brewing it, then dump 10 ounces of vanilla/chocolate Banker's Club into the secondary.

In any case, my actual starting gravity on this brew was 1.066. This was due in large part to the fact that I entered the D2 into software by volume instead of weight, but either way the difference isn't huge.

Under normal circumstances this would result in an approximate 5.9% ABV when using Whitbread or similar. With the vodka, you're looking at about 6.5-6.6%. Add to that at least another half point from the fermented raspberry, and you're looking at 7%+ easily.


I used a second-gen Whitbread for this one (Wyeast 1099). I inoculated a 1 liter starter from a sample of yeast cake. I put 2 liter down (up top) because that's more or less the required minimum for a standard, shaken starter. If you're using a stir-plate, a 1 liter will get the cell counts you require. For those that don't want to bother with a starter and/or liquid yeast, Safale S-04 is essentially the same thing as Wyeast Whitbread; properly reconstitute one 11 gram packet and pitch, simple as that.


Regarding hops, you can use anything you'd like, but ideally something with an English flair (Fuggles, Goldings, Willamette, etc). It says up top 24 IBU, but this one (as printed above) works out to 30 and change. I'd say go about 30-35 ibu max, and watch late additions, as they might overwhelm the raspberry.

*Full Boil*

With a brew this complex and dark, the merits of a full boil won't be as evident when compared to late extract additions, proper yeast cultures, etc etc etc. When I brewed this one, I didn't have the equipment for a full boil, but if you do, I'd suggest going that route (every little bit helps). You'll have to tweak the recipe a bit, particularly the hop additions.

pkpdogg 12-20-2008 01:25 AM

Thanks for posting this recipe! I just picked up all of the brew-day ingredients, except the vanilla beans, which I need to get on NOW, and can't wait to get this one going. I just have one quick comment and question ...

You might want to warn people that the price tag on this one is pretty high. The Belgian D2 syrup was ~$17 at my LHBS and the puree appears to be ~$15+ via online searches. I'm not trying to be a cheap bastard, but this one was quite a step up from the extract kits I previously brewed. =P I'll help out and post a final cost once I get everything tallied up.

So your posting was ~4wks or so ago ... how is it coming along? I'd like to hear about your samplings and see if you'd do anything different after looking back at your experience.

Thanks again, and I look forward to trying this one out!

Pelikan 12-20-2008 04:24 AM

I'm transferring mine to the secondary within the next few days, so by all accounts it's coming along. Unfortunately, no samplings for another 6 weeks or so.

**Chocolate, Revisited**

The only thing I've really gone back and fourth about is the chocolate addition. There's two practical and efficient ways to add chocolate to a brew: either a cocoa/vodka mix in the secondary, or chocolate essence at bottling.

I had planned to go the cocoa route at the beginning, then thought chocolate essence would be easier, but am ultimately siding with the cocoa/vodka mix (as that's basically what chocolate essence is; making your own is somewhat less expensive, and it's easier to know/control exactly what you're putting in).

I've been debating the quantity of cocoa to add, but now that I've finally made up the cocoa/vodka mix and gauged its potency, I'm going to go with 2 ounces of cocoa dissolved in 8 ounces of vodka. 1 ounce cocoa in 3-4 ounces of vodka may do the trick, but I feel an addition that small would be overwhelmed by the raspberry. Although this is first and foremost a raspberry brew, the three flavors should form a synergy.

I've edited the original post with some elaboration on the chocolate mix, as well as adding a blurb on vodka choice and its impact on ABV.


When I was developing this one, I quickly realized it was becoming a spared-no-expense project. I never really added up the individual components, but for my own info I did a tally. The costs are approximate.

*Vodka = $12 worth
*DME = $20
*Belgian D2 = $16
*Hops = $5
*Lactose + Malto = $5
*Vanilla Beans = $5
*Oregon Pureť = $17
*Grains, Whirlfloc, etc = $5

So that's about $85. Add the costs of shipping/transportation, and you're flirting with $100 to brew this up. Quite expensive by any standard, but I designed this one to be the Rolls Royce of extract brews. Still less expensive though, when compared to buying an equal quantity of a comparable commercial offering.

Of course, no one can put a price tag on sheer brewing enjoyment. :D

claphamsa 12-25-2008 02:35 PM

wow, that looks tasty! maybe I should convert to all grain :)

Pelikan 12-25-2008 05:00 PM


Originally Posted by claphamsa (Post 1027398)
wow, that looks tasty! maybe I should convert to all grain :)

For all grain, just replace the 5 lb DME with roughly 8.5 pounds of Maris Otter or similar, depending upon your efficiency.

claphamsa 12-25-2008 05:13 PM

one big advantage of using light DME :)

blue800 01-14-2009 07:28 AM

Any reason you decided to add the fruit to the primary (after fermentation), as opposed to adding it along with the chocolate and vanilla? Is it so the second stage of fermentation doesn't blow off all the choco-nilla goodness?

Pelikan 01-14-2009 02:02 PM


Originally Posted by blue800 (Post 1063420)
Any reason you decided to add the fruit to the primary (after fermentation), as opposed to adding it along with the chocolate and vanilla? Is it so the second stage of fermentation doesn't blow off all the choco-nilla goodness?

The Oregon Fruit Pureť has an unbelievable amount of haze and refuse. You pretty much need two stages to clear it out, and even then it can assert itself if you're not careful with the transfers.

TexasStu 01-21-2009 01:13 PM

Let us know when you break down and sample some, please? :)

Pelikan 01-21-2009 06:06 PM

You guys will be the first to know. I'm putting a few bottles in the fridge this Friday (3 weeks since bottling), and will be sampling the first round on the 30th (4 weeks from bottling). I'll report in post haste.

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