Raspberry wheat beers are a fantastic summer beer: fruity, sweet, refreshing, pink. AJ, being a man nervous about close associations with traditionally feminine colours, was not comfortable making a pink beer. But there had been endless requests from friends to make a raspberry beer.
To overcome his fear of emasculation, AJ looked for inspiration from Rick Ro$$. Normally, AJ only looks to Mr. Ro$$ when it comes to driving Maybachs and dramatizing life, but this was an exception. Look at that picture of Rick Ross. It just oozes masculinity: oversize man-glasses, an oversized man-timepeice, oversized man-fingers, face cloaked in man-beard. Yet Rick is a man of balance. Too much man is never good for a photoshoot. So there he is, holding a bottle of rosé, perhaps not the most manly of wines. The feminine bottle in the delicate yin to Ross’s huge yang. If Rick Ross can proudly drink rosé and go by “Rozay”, AJ could certainly make a pink beer.
Most raspberry beers use a very neutral ale yeast, to let the flavour of the raspberries dominate. While that does make a very refreshing beer, it is also somewhat simple. So we wanted to use a hefeweizen yeast. This will add some banana and spicy flavours to the beer, and make it a little more complex.
Just Ross looking boss.
Appearance: Dark pink (some might say red). Strong head, fairly cloudy, and strong signs of carbonation
Aroma: A tart, raspberry aroma. There is also a slight hint of hay. Don’t know where that came from, but it’s there.
Taste: It strikes right away with a tart raspberry flavour. Most of the sweetness of the fruit fermented away. Then comes an almost smokey taste. It’s difficult to describe. Somewhat like the smell of walking past wooden crates full of fruit (if you have ever had such an experience). There is also a very complex taste of spices from the hefeweizen yeast. Most notable is the clove taste, but it is also peppery, with a lemon taste as well. The high alcohol content (7%) is well hidden. The body is very heavy.
Overall: This is not your typical sweet raspberry wheat beer that manages to convince a subset of the population they like beer. This beer is heavy, tart, complex and spicy. This is most certainly not how we expected the beer to turn out, but we like it. It is not a thirst quenching beer, but it would be the perfect beer to enjoy on a summer evening while enjoying the orange and red colours of the sky (and listening to Rick Ross).
Specifics: 23 litre batch, unknown extraction efficiency, ABV 7%, O.G. 1.058, IBU 11, single infusion mash with 120 minutes at 65 Celsius.
The grain is very simple. But it also huge: 30 pounds. This is because we did a parti-gyle brew with a wheat wine. The mash was also very long (120 minutes) at a low temperature (65C) mainly to help the yeast ferment the wheat wine.
Gambrinus Pale Malt: 15 lb
Gambrinus Wheat Malt: 15 lb
(AJ stirring mash with 30 pounds of grain in it)
Fairly simple hop schedule, designed to let the raspberries come through, but provide a little bit of citrus bitterness as well.
60 minutes: 0.25 oz Columbus (Columbus is a bittering hop that keeps it citrus flavour when boiled for 60 minutes. And we wanted that citrus flavour)
5 minutes: 0.25 oz Columbus (We just wanted a little extra citrus flavour/aroma, so we did a very small 5 minute addition as well)
Washed WL380 yeast. Third generation.
Primary Fermentation: 5 days at 20C
5 pounds of raspberries added to secondary during racking. From what we read, about a pound of fruit per gallon of beer was recommended. The fruit was frozen when it was added to the secondary.
Secondary Fermentation: 20 days
Left image: 2 days of raspberries in the secondary. Right image: 20 days of raspberries in the secondary.
Notice the change in colour of the berries and beer between the two pictures.