a quest for beautiful beer brings me to my first post here.
I'm looking to come up with a brew similar in style to a New Holland Brewing (Holland, MI) specialty called Raspberry Black Ale. It was a beautifully dark, roasty and malty beer with an assertive but well-balanced raspberry tanginess and a wonderful buttery finish.
Someone at a local brewpub here told me that a good approach would be to modify a schwarzbier recipe with an ale yeast, but I eventually decided that even if that would be closer, a porter would be more interesting. I'm basing my recipe off Papazian's "Goat Scrotum Ale (formerly Tumultuous Porter)". I think that I'll be fine as far as that recipe goes; it's the additions and tweaks that I'm making that I have questions about.
These are my primary two questions:
1) how can I achieve a desirable amount of buttery character, one that's readily perceptible but not overwhelming? I've read that using some molasses can lend a rich buttery character, but I have a feeling that the biggest player in the process is the choice of yeast. Suggestions for yeast to use, and how to get a desirable level of diacetyl? I'm thinking about Wyeast 1187 Ringwood, 1084 Irish Ale, or 1968 London ESB.
2) This will be my first fruit beer, and I'm wondering how much raspberry to use to get an effective flavor and aroma without dominating the whole beer in tartness-- I've been roughly planning to add 3 lbs to the secondary fermentation. Does this sound like a good amount, and do I need to take steps to ensure sanitation when adding the fruit?
Long winded questions, I know, but I'm still fairly new to brewing and I think this recipe has huge potential so I wanted some specific advice from you guys, the gurus. If you need to know more about my malt/hops bill, let me know and I'll post my tentative recipe. Thanks a lot for any advice!