So we’d ordered a stout for a Christmas pudding recipe, as part of an online supermarket order. But they’ve substituted it for “King Goblin” from Wychwood Brewery.

Now I’m not a beer drinker, and don’t know much about the flavour it introduces to a pudding. The ruby ale seems lighter in colour, and seems to have a similar alcohol content.

Will this make an appropriate substitution, or should we go and get some stout?


  • 1
    Posting the full recipe for your pudding might help you get more detailed and helpful answers.
    – A_S00
    Nov 7, 2021 at 1:58
  • 1
    It would also help to know which Ruby Ale.
    – FuzzyChef
    Nov 7, 2021 at 3:23
  • Sorry, I don’t have the recipe to hand, but it’s a traditional Christmas pudding recipe from Delia Smith. The ale is “King Goblin” from Wychwood Brewery.
    – AJFaraday
    Nov 7, 2021 at 20:22
  • If it's the recipe I can find, it only calls for 75ml of stout, so it's not a massive contribution to the flavour. There's also 75ml of barley wine. I think I've made that recipe in the past. If so I didn't use barley wine, but can't recall if I used all stout, or all a malty dark ale.
    – Chris H
    Nov 8, 2021 at 10:21

1 Answer 1


This is likely a fine substitution.

I haven't tried King Goblin myself, but looking around online, I see some good signs:

The description of the beer on drizly (presumably provided by the manufacturer) mentions chocolate malt, and goes on to describe it as:

an indulgently rich, full, smooth beer

The reviews on beeradvocate consistently mention flavor notes such as:

  • Chocolate
  • "Dark fruit" or raisins
  • Caramel
  • Nutty/toasty
  • Toffee malt
  • Burnt sugar

These are many of the same qualities that you'd be looking for in a stout used for cooking.

Finally, this discussion thread from a homebrewing forum describes efforts to replicate it by hobbyists, and the comments there suggest that the original beer is not terribly bitter (~20 IBUs). This is good news, as particularly bitter beer is the primary thing you'd want to avoid when using it as a dessert ingredient.

It won't be perfect, as an English strong ale probably won't be as sweet or as thick as a proper stout, but I doubt it'll be different enough to cause problems for your pudding.

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