Burning Hills Cacao Stout

It has been a long time since I brewed up a stout from scratch (four years, to be precise), so it is high time to get back into that game. I’ve done a few just-add-malt-and-water kits, which turned out quite well, but I wanted a bit more of a challenge. I have been looking for something with some body, so a milk stout seemed like just the ticket. And I like chocolate milk, so some cocoa powder came into play too (baker’s chocolate and the like have too much fat to brew well). The whole recipe is named to commemorate the unseasonably dry weather and associated brush fires…because why not?

I am excited to try a few new things with this recipe (which is a modification from several I found on-line). First, I’ve never brewed with lactose before…it is supposed to give body without adding much in the way of fermentables, and the only slightly sweet taste of the powder seems consistent with that. I’ve also never brewed with cocoa powder; given the small amount, I don’t expect a huge chocolaty flavor, but just a hint is what I am aiming for. Finally, I spotted a new dry yeast at my local home brew shop–BRY-97 American West Coast dry yeast from Danstar. Apparently it’s only been out for a year or so, and this is the first time I’ve seen it stocked anywhere. Given the clean flavor profiles of the liquid West Coast Ale yeasts I’ve brewed with before, this seemed like a good match for my beer. If I have success, I might move the BRY-97 into regular rotation when I can get it.

Burning Hills Cacao Stout

  • 1.5 lbs. 80°L crystal malt
  • 0.25 lbs. black (patent) malt
  • 0.25 lbs. chocolate malt
  • 0.25 lbs. roasted barley
  • 6 lbs. dark dry malt extract
  • 1 lb. milk sugar (lactose)
  • 2 oz. Cascade hops (whole)
  • 1 oz. cocoa powder (Hershey’s unsweetened)
  • 0.5 tsp. Irish moss
  • 1 pkg. BRY-97 American West Coast dry yeast (Danstar)


  • Steep grains in 6 quarts of water at 155-160°, for 45 minutes
  • Sparge grains with 2 quarts of water
  • Top up brew kettle to 4 gallons, bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add dry malt extract. Bring back to boil, add hops.
  • After 45 minutes, add Irish moss. After 55 minutes, add lactose. After 60 minutes, turn off heat and add cocoa powder.
  • Cool wort and transfer to fermenter. Top up to 5 gallons and pitch yeast (already rehydrated per package directions).
  • Starting gravity was 1.060 at 74°, which adjusts to 1.062 at 60°.