I attended the Portland Fruit Beer Festival earlier this summer and was inspired. So for my next homebrew, I wanted to take advantage of Oregon's amazing summer berries. I decided to make a Raspberry Wheat ale, which is light, tart, and very refreshing—an ideal combination for summer!
I did a bit of research on how to integrate the fruit. Most sources recommended adding the fruit as part of secondary fermentation. I'm a big fan of Vertigo Brewing's Razz Wheat, so I contacted Mike Haines (Vertigo Co-Founder and Brewer) for some tips. Vertigo uses a different method for integrating the raspberry and Mike was kind enough to share it with me. I used Mike's method, which I highlight in my instructions below. Please note, the recipe below IS NOT Vertigo's Razz Wheat recipe. Here's what I put into my beer:
0.75 lbs. clover honey (5 min. - late boil addition)
2.0 lbs. raspberries (added to fermentation bucket 4 days into primary fermentation)
Yeast: Safale US-04
Jul 5: Brew day. This was the easiest of all my brew days because I didn't use any steeping grains. I used my trusty home made wort chiller to cool the wort and pitched the yeast at 75 degrees F. OG 1.05. 6 hours later, I noticed some bubbling in the airlock.
Jul 6: Active fermentation has begun. The airlock is bubbling every second!
Jul 7: Went to a local berry farm and picked 2 pounds of fresh raspberries (Coho variety). Brought them home, heated them up to 160 degrees F in a saucepan, cooled them down to 70 degrees F, and then dumped the berries (now in slurry form) into the fermentation bucket.
Jul 12: Racked to secondary. Gravity = 1.012. Took a quick taste. It has a nice pinkish / orange color and raspberry aroma. The flavor has a nice raspberry tartness, but isn't too sweet. I'm very encouraged by this initial taste.
Color at time of bottling
Jul 25: Bottled with 2/3 cup dextrose. FG = 1.012. Based on the calculations of Beer Calculus, the stats of my brew are:
Bitterness: 36 IBU
Calories: 145 per 12 oz.
Aug 4: First carbonated taste. Aroma of raspberry. Flavor of tart raspberry, with grassy hop bitterness in the middle. By adding the raspberries into primary fermentation (instead of secondary), the sweetness was reduced, but I still got the great berry flavor I wanted. I added the honey very late in the boil hoping to taste some of it, but I did not. Next time, I'll double the amount of honey. It needs a bit more time to carbonate fully, but I really like this!
More updates coming soon....
On a related note, my Homebrew #7—a Cherry ale spiked with lactobacillus is now in the fermenter! This should take about a year to complete. I hope my patience will be rewarded! More details coming soon...