Dark Star Cherry beer label

Dark Star Cherry Stout

Pronounced "Daaaaaaark Staaaaaaar CherrReeeeeee"
Recipe copyright (C) 1993 Forrest Cook and Jonathan Corbet
Microburst Brewery: Forrest Cook and Jon Corbet.


7 Gallons
Brewed July 13, 1993
Bottled July 19, 1993
Start heating approximately 2 gallons of cold water in a brew pot. Keep in mind the fact that you will need room for the malt and the cherries.

We add 2 Tbsp of gypsum to the wort to soften our local water.

Heat the water to approximately 90 degrees F.

    1/2 Lb of ground chocolate malt
    2 X 3.3 Lb cans of John Bull hopped dark malt extract
    2 X 3.3 Lb cans of John Bull premium hopped stout extract
Now is a good time to prestart your yeast (see below).

Bring the wort to a slow boil and keep it there for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Beware that boiling wort may have a tendency to foam up and boil over, making a sticky mess.

Turn off the heat.

Gradually add 1 Oz of cascade leaf hops to the wort as it cools. These hops are more for aroma than bittering since the wort is already hopped.

Add 12 Lbs of very ripe clean, pitted or sliced dark red bing cherries, preferably from Ed the Dead Head's Colorado western slope relatives :-)

Cool the wort. We take the brew pot and put it into a sink full of cold water. The idea is to get the temperature of the wort plus the water in the bucket to a decent temperature for yeast to grow in.

Pour the warm wort into a sterile brewing bucket, add cold water to get the desired volume, approximately 7 gallons in our case.

You might want to take an initial specific gravity reading here, make sure to stir up the wort before measuring. Our batch started at 1.060 @ 89 Degrees F.

Yeast instructions:

For the dry yeast that comes with the malt: Put about 1/8 cup of lukewarm water into a sterile cup. Add the dry yeast to rehydrate it. Cover the cup. After about 15 minutes, add several tablespoons of cooled wort to the yeast slurry. Cover again. This should be foaming nicely within a half hour or so. If that fails, try pitching the dry yeast directly into the cooled wort. When the cooled wort in the bucket is in the 70 to 90 degree range, add the live yeast slurry.

This is the only critical part:

Add the live yeast to the room temperature wort within a short time, you want the yeast to get a head start on any wild yeast or other airborne bacteria that the wort has come into contact with.

Put a fairly tight fitting lid on the bucket and let 'er rip. You should have a nice brown-red foam on the top of the liquid within 12 to 24 hours.

Stir the cherry mass into the fermenting beer with a sterile spoon about once every day or so. After about 2 to 10 days, the main fermenting will have died down.

Transfer the beer into a sterile carboy. We have had good luck with putting a funnel and strainer in the carboy and scooping pans of the brew from the bucket into the strainer. Make sure to squeeze the juice out of the cherries. I put all of the fermented cherries into the compost heap. The next day I noticed tracks, I guess the neighborhood raccoons had a big party :-)

Put an air lock on the carboy and let it finish fermenting. This usually takes a week or two, the lock should virtually stop bubbling. Don't rush this part or you may overcarbonate your bottles (boom).

At this point, you can take the final gravity reading, make sure to stir up the wort before measuring. Our batch ended at 1.035 @ 68 Degrees F.

Boil 1/2 cup of water and add 7/8 cup of corn sugar to prime (carbonate) the bottles. Mix thoroughly into the beer. If you don't mix thoroughly, you may have some flat bottles and some VERY foamy or explosive bottles.

Bottle the beer into sterile bottles. Wait at least one week, open and enjoy! Our recipe is almost 3 months old and is really getting good. This stuff should last for several years but is probably best in the 1 to 3 month time frame.

Brewing Terms:

wort - The sugary base that is fermented into the beer.
carboy - One of those big glass bottles that are usually used for
	drinking water.  We use cleaned 7 gallon "acid" carboys
	that are available from homebrew suppliers.


Homebrewing of beer is legal in most states, I think it's still illegal in Utah. It is a good idea to read a few books on homebrewing, there are some potential hazards in the process such as exploding bottles and carboys (don't let the hops plug the release hose). Can you say glass grenades? This is only a basic guideline, you are responsible for being a safe brewer. Beware, this beer may be a gateway to even darker beer usage.


For a good time, read Charlie Papazian's book "The Complete Joy of Homebrewing", available at most fine brewing supply stores. Charlie says: Relax, don't worry, enjoy a homebrew.