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Essentially the title. I've made a Chocolate Cherry Stout recipe and I'm trying to weigh the pros and cons of extract vs real fruit. I've never used fruit in a beer so I'm basically in the dark.

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I've never had good results with cherry extract -- the stuff tastes like cough syrup. Canned cherries (the kind explicitly intended for brewing, processed to reduce pectin haze) will produce a much better taste. You'll want to use a lot of them in an assertive style like a chocolate stout.

Oh, and remember -- the fruit will provide tartness, not sweetness. In a dark beer, you run the risk of that flavor coming off as astringent. Consider sweetening with lactose for a more familiar cherry-ness.

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We're planning on using 8oz of lactose. Do you think that's enough? It's going to be very dark and around 11-12% ABV –  Paradigm Jul 8 at 16:47
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Probably enough. The nice thing about lactose is that you can add it post-fermentation... just add a bit of water and boil to sanitize. So you can pull off a liter or so of beer, chill to serving temperature, add lactose until you're happy, then multiply to find the right amount for the full batch. –  Sneftel Jul 8 at 16:51

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