American Homebrewers Association (AHA) Executive Director Julia Herz shares the story behind her homebrew recipe, Cherry Chica Stout.
What’s the story behind this homebrew recipe?
I constructed Cherry Chica Stout in the 90s with the co-owner of the former What’s Brewing Homebrew Shop in Boulder, Colorado. I walked into the store looking to brew a unique stout with fruit, and co-owner Paul Gatza wrote out this recipe for me. Fun fact: Paul would go on to be AHA Director and is now Senior Vice President of the Brewers Association Professional Division.
I’ve since homebrewed this recipe many times, earning 1st place in 1998 and 2000 in the Hop Barley and the Alers Reggale & Dredhop Competition. The Alers are my Boulder-based homebrew club that AHA Founder Charlie Papazian helped create, so it’s fun to think of this recipe having had contact with so many past AHA Directors.
Fast forward to today in 2022. I brewed 7 barrels of Cherry Chica with Shawnee Adelson (Executive Director, Colorado Brewers Guild) and Marni Wahlquist (Head Brewer, Odell Brewing – Sloane Lake). It will be served at the Colorado Brewer’s Guild Collaboration Fest (April 2nd) and Odell’s Sloan Lake location.
Getting to brew this stout recipe on a pro system was a dream for this homebrewer!
What can homebrewers expect from the finished beer?
This beer has notes of roast, medium-low bitter, medium-high tannins that bring some grip, medium body, and a tart puckering sour pie cherry punch. Considering the 7% (estimated) ABV, it drinks relatively light, with the carbonation helping dry out the beer finish. I particularly love the tan collar of foam from the roasted barley and the dark, opaque nature of the beer’s color, with rust-colored hues.
If you find the beer is too tart for your liking, dropping a maraschino cherry into the glass of a fresh pour can work wonders. I now brew this stout recipe with 7-8 pounds of cherries, down from 10 pounds of the original recipe.
Please homebrew this beer, and you are guaranteed to impress when pairing this cherry stout with crumbled blue cheese and raspberry preserves on rice crackers. Duck with cherry sauce and cherry cheesecake are other all-star pairings.
- 11.5 lbs dark liquid malt extract
- 2.5 lbs pale liquid malt extract
- 1 lb English Crystal 150L
- 0.5 lb Roasted Barley
- 0.5 lb Black Barley
- 1 oz Magnum hops (45 min)
- 0.5 oz Magnum hops (15 min)
- 0.5 oz Magnum hops (end of boil or dry hop)
- Water Additions: 2 tsp Gypsum, 0.5 tsp Irish Moss
- English Ale Yeast
- 8 lbs frozen pie cherries pitted (added to secondary)
Yield: 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.088-ish
Final Gravity: 1.025-ish
Bring your brewing water to 170° F and shut off the heat. Steep the specialty grains for 30 minutes. Next, stir in the liquid malt extract until fully dissolved. Be sure none has collected on the bottom, as this can cause burning. Turn the heat back on and bring it to a boil. Once the boil starts, follow the hopping schedule as listed in the ingredients. Chill wort below 70° F and ferment with an English ale yeast, following the manufacturer’s suggested fermentation temperature. After primary fermentation, rack atop cherries in a secondary fermenter.
Join for Less Than a Pint
Subscribe for only $4.99/month
Members get discounts on beer, food, and merchandise, plus a subscription to Zymurgy magazine online, and unlimited access to medal-winning and clone recipes for just $4.99 a month.