Belgian Chocolate Raspberry Stout


“Belgian Chocolate Raspberry Stout”
Fruit and Spice Beer – 39.5 Point Score
Brewed by Mark Flynn of Racine, Wisconsin

Best of Show at the 2016 Door County Homebrew Championship

Brewers background: “My first brew was in the early ’80’s. You boiled water and extracts, poured them into a spouted poly bag with a packet of no-name yeast, and when the bag swelled up to near bursting, you served it right from the bag. It was so yeasty, I only made about 3 batches, then went no further for about 20 years due to the fact we had no local suppliers. I pretty much stopped drinking beer entirely, because I found some commercial brews were making me violently ill, and from just one beer. When my brother started brewing with the better supplies becoming available in the ’90’s, I carefully tried some of his brews. I never had a bad reaction to homebrew, and the taste was so much better than commercial beer or the stuff we made in the ’80’s. I decided I’d start brewing again when supplies were available locally, so my wife and I opened up Racine’s first homebrew store, Hop To It, within the walls of the 165 year old grain mill we owned. We had customers buying grain from us and malting it themselves, so we figured we would make it a bit easier with a full store.
This beer that I won with was actually brewed live on facebook, and the raspberry flavor was added because friends watched the postings and suggested that it really needed some kind of fruit in it. Opinion leaned toward raspberry, and it became Belgian Chocolate Decadence. Stouts are about the only beer I like with fruit, although I made a great Raspberry IPA one year for a St. Patrick’s Day fundraiser. We naturally called it Kelly RIPA.

Running the homebrew shop, I encourage people to enter competitions to get honest feedback. In my first contest entry ever, I learned to not use bleach to sanitize, and the brews have been pretty good ever since. I rarely make the same recipe twice, but I do alter it sometimes based on judges recommendations. Our own local homebrew competition kicks off soon with a special Summer Brew category at the end of July, followed by our regular Schooner Homebrew Competition in September. We try really hard to get great prizes and swag for this event, and should get up to 800 entries.

At some point soon, we really hope to open up a microbrewery, which has kind of been a goal since we bought our building. Construction costs for this 165 year old building have been considerable, however, so build out has been rather slow. I think I have probably entered about about 20-25 contests. We figure the more medals and ribbons we amass, the more attractive our idea will be to investors. We have quite a few medal winning brews, three Best of Shows, a second place Best of Show, and even a bunch for winemaking. When I can no longer enter when I “go pro,” I’d actually like to set up a monthly or quarterly homebrew contest with the winner having his (her) brew being the beer of the month. I think that is where innovation in brewing really occurs.

I made a beer once that I thought was horrible. My neighbor said it was his favorite, and turns out it was a good 35 point beer. He kept coming over every other week wanting me to make more. Get to know the styles, sometimes it is just a style you don’t like. Build your own six packs at the liquor store and try a bunch of styles if you can not join a local brew club. You really need to enter a contest to get impartial commentary. It’s one thing if a friend says (s)he likes your beer. That could just be politeness, or it could be it is really a fantastic beer, but how are you really going to know unless you enter.

After about 200 batches of beer, I just dumped my first bad batch. Something got into it, a good healthy yeast starter just would not take off, and despite multiple yeast additions, it took forever to finish. It will happen sooner or later to almost everyone. But those good beers more than make up for it. If you can make soup, you can make beer.”

Brewing System: “Basic: 60 quart SS kettle. No pumps. No spigots. A 5 and 10g Cooler for mash and lauter tuns. 50′ 3/8″ chiller, 7.9 g primary bucket, secondary carboy. I have built better systems for customers, but I teach a lot of people how do get started, and nobody starts brewing with the Chugger pumps and all the extras. Plus, it is easy to move the system around from place to place when it is not attached to a three tiered rack.”

Homebrew Club: “Belle City Home Brewers & Vintners, Kenosha Bidal.”

Favorite style of beer? “IPA, Belgian Strong Ale”

Advice you would give to new competition brewers? “Sanitize everything. Join a club. Sanitize everything. Help steward a competition to see what judges look for. Sanitize everything. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Sanitize everything. Download a copy of the BJCP guidelines. Sanitize everything. Keep a log with a program like Beersmith. Sanitize everything.”

Recipe for the Belgian Raspberry Chocolate Stout

Batch Size: 6 Gallons
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast Type: Wyeast Belgian Stout #1388
Original Gravity: 17.4P
Final Gravity: 3.8P
SRM: 59
Bitterness: 42 IBU’s
Boiling Time: 99 Minutes

Recipe Ingredients and Details

10 lbs Pilsner, Avangard (2.0 SRM) Grain 1 64.0 %
2 lbs Chocolate Malt (450.0 SRM) Grain 2 12.8 %
2 lbs Chocolate Malt Pale (350.0 SRM) Grain 3 12.8 %
5.0 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.0 %
5.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5 2.0 %
1 lbs D-90 Belgian Syrup (90.0 SRM) Sugar 6 6.4 %
1.00 oz Cluster [7.00 %] – Boil 99.0 min Hop 7 23.0 IBUs
1.00 oz Goldings [4.00 %] – Boil 99.0 min Hop 8 13.2 IBUs
2.80 oz Cocoa Powder Spice 9
1.00 oz Goldings [4.00 %] – Boil 15.0 min Hop 10 6.1 IBUs
0.28 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins) Fining 11
1.00 oz Goldings [4.00 %] – Boil 1.0 min Hop 12 0.5 IBUs
1.0 pkg Belgian Strong Ale (Wyeast Labs #1388) [124.21 ml] Yeast 13
1.10 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days) Other 14
2.20 oz Raspberry Extract (Bottling 5.0 mins) Flavor 15

Mash Process

Single Infusion Full Body , 21.45 qt mash-in at 170, 7.3 qt mash out at 209.

Fermentation Process

2 week Primary fermentation and 2 week secondary both at 65 F. Final result, a thick, creamy, dark chocolate colored lasting head atop an almost ebony brew.

Additional Notes

If you can make Campbells Soup, you can make all extract beer. If you like to add things to your soup, you can brew partial grain/extract. If you can follow a recipe, you can brew all grain. The one extra I would not do without is a refractometer. I know where I am every step of the way. If you want to enter our contest, go to