chocolate stout recipe for modifcation?

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Im looking to take a chocolate stout and put some dark cherries in the mix
in the secondary.

Questions are:

1 - good stout to start with? My experience with chocolate mostly lays in
Young's Double Chocolate, which I think is too heavy on the choco to get
what I want

2 - How long to keep the fruit in the secondary, Im thinking not a full 3 -
4 weeks, probably 2? Probably depends on how much of the flavor I want in
it? And should I make an effort to break the skin of said cherries or not,
Im thinking breaking the skin will make it easier for the brew and the fruit
to interact.

3 - I ran across a recipe I was considering to use, it was a chocolate stout
but had oats in the recipe. Would this add an oatmeal flavor, or just
thicken the brew up? If it is/can be used as mostly a thickener, this would
be good knowledge have for the next I attempt stouts after this one.

Thanks for all the help, you guys always seem to have good advice,
especially when Im too lazy to go to the homebrew store and ask.



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