Raspberry Wheat Beer 2008

Written by Damon on October 21, 2008

While my Belgian Blanche Beers sloooooowwwly ferment, I thought I might share my thoughts on this year’s Raspberry Wheat Beer. I’ve got a few other beers in various stages of readiness, but they aren’t ready yet.

My first Raspberry Wheat beer was very fruity in spite of being a very dry beer. It had a very low initial gravity (1038 OG, my lowest ever), but the raspberry flavour was quite obvious. The whole effect, in spite of the low initial gravity and light body, was more like how I would imagine Raspberry Champagne (if there were such a thing).

Comparison of Raspberry Wheat Beers

I mashed this year’s Raspberry Wheat Beer at a much higher temperature, 154º F (68º C), than last year’s version, 143º F (62º C). I wanted to see how the additional sugars would effect the perception of fruit flavour. My impression is that it didn’t make any difference, but remember I’m comparing this with a beer that I made a year ago.

Another difference is that the fruit that I used this time around spent about a month in the freezer before being added to the beer. I also thoroughly pulverised the raspberries the first time around, whereas this time I added them mostly intact. Again based on a probably faulty memory of the original beer, I’d say that this year’s beer wasn’t as fruity as last year’s beer.

Aside from the above differences, the two recipes were basically the same. Trying the Raspberry Wheat Beer this time around, I notice the taste of the Crystal a lot more than in last year’s beer. I think it might be because I’m better able to discern specific flavours than a year ago rather than any change in the process. I’d like to try a little more Crystal, possibly even doubling it, to make the beer a little more complex. The Crystal certainly did not clash with the flavour of the raspberries.

Future Raspberry Wheat Beers

My impressions of this year’s and last year’s Raspberry Wheat Beer leave me wanting to try a few more experiments with fruit beers like:

  • frozen fruit vs fresh, pulverised fruit
  • sweet-mashed fruit beer vs dry-mashed fruit beer
  • fruit frozen for 1-month vs fruit frozen for a couple of days

The first and last experiment will be pretty easy to do. I’ll just make a little extra wort and ferment it in a smaller container before adding the correct proportion of fruit. The middle one will require tow mashes. The best I can do is make the two beers a few days apart and try to keep everything else equal.

Unfortunately, given the season, these experiments will have to wait until next summer…but I’ve got a lot of mushroom beers on the way.