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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Raspberry Ale
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Old 01-24-2009, 04:07 AM   #21
The Pol
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Fruit extracts are generally very "chemical" tasting. They are not very popular. You can get some good purees that are commercial, or just use fresh.

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Old 01-25-2009, 10:09 PM   #22
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Time may take that edge off. That's why after trying extract once (loving the simplicity), I decided that if I was taking the time to do this beer, I wanted to use fresh fruit.

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Old 03-06-2009, 12:42 AM   #23
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I've gotten in the habit of making a Raspberry Ale every fall for the holidays. This past year I used black raspberries but red are fine also. Red are much cheaper to buy off-season but they are about the same price when you buy them in season.

I use about 5 3/4 to six gallons of water to start. A lot gets left behind during racking because the product is so cruddy during brewing. This leaves you a decent amount to bottle by the time you are done. Since you really do have two stage fermentation (the fruit sugars will ferment in the second stage) this extra water does not seem to appreciably affect the strength of the beer. I always use spring water but use whatever you prefer.

In the primary, I used 3 lbs of Munton extra light DME and 3 lbs of Carlson dry rice solids. The brands are not important - but to get a nice pale base color that will show the raspberry color you need to use real pale extracts. Rice is about colorless and flavorless, which makes it well suited for this brew.

Therefore also no steeping grains. The lack of steeping grains will keep the color very light but it will also affect head retention. It will take longer for you to get a nice head that holds up a while, but that's OK because for this brew you really need to let it age. Opening one that is a week in the bottle will probably produce disappointment.

I use a light hop load for my raspberry ales (in contrast to most of my brews) because a lot of hoppiness can mask the raspberry flavor. For my last batch I used just 2 oz of Mount Hood 3.8%, half at 15 minutes and half at 45 minutes.

The specific hops chosen is much a matter of personal taste. I just made a red ale using Amarillo hops (along with Williamette) and I have a feeling that Amarillo's strong and fairly distinctive flavor might really complement the raspberries. Next fall, I will probably try this.

I normally use about 3 lbs of fresh raspberries for a five gallon batch. You can buy them fresh in late summer just about anywhere but I like produce stores. They usually have the best prices and the freshest inventory. Grocery stores are usually higher priced. I like fresh but frozen will also work, if you miss the season. I've used more but as I keep piling up those six ounce containers, little dollar signs start spinning in my head. If you are in a place where they grow raspberries they might be cheaper. Black ones will give a more distinctive color but the flavor is about the same either way.

I give the basic brew a week or two in the fermenter, then rack to a secondary and add my fruit. I pasteurize the fruit by putting it into a pot with enough water to cover the fruit and bringing it to about 160F for ten or fifteen minutes. Stir it to keep it from scorching. Then it all goes into the secondary. I use a sanitized wide mouthed funnel to pour this "fruit slurry" (even without boiling it will become semi-mush) into the secondary.

I tried to buy a suitable wide mouth funnel but was not satisfied with anything I found. The handiest one I have can be easily duplicated - I use the top of a two liter soda bottle.

Even with four pounds the raspberry flavor has never been overwhelming. Using real fruit results in a lot more evolution of the flavor over time. Extracts seem to be much more stable in taste but also seem to have an artificial feel in their taste - hard to describe but that's how it felt to me.

Anyway, after a week or two in the secondary, I siphon the carboy out into a third stage to allow it to clear (it will be very cruddy at the end of the second stage). I give it yet another week or two to settle and clear, then bottle.

I have this in fermenters for a total of about five or six weeks. I started my current batch in late September and bottled it in early November. It was acceptable by Thanksgiving but really was in it's prime by Christmas, and is still improving. It takes a good month or six weeks to really hit its stride but the results are great. The raspberry flavor is a presence but not the dominant taste, and the brew is nicely astringent.

One more point - using extracts (normally just dumped into the bottling bucket along with your priming sugar) does not give you any kind of unusual coloring in your beer. This is a drawback in my opinion but the process is much easier - I just do two weeks of primary, then bottle. If you use extracts, you would not use extra water (described above). You could use a second stage even with fruit extract if you like to do that - in my experience rice solids result in a "loose" trub and take longer to clear compared to what we are used to with barley malt.

I've used both extract and real fruit and in my opinion the extra work (and cost) in using real fruit is definitely worth it.

Good luck with this - let me know how it turns out.

I'm still a newb at brewing here and would like to try this recipe out. I am not sure if my local brewing supply store carries the rice solids would substituting with the extra light DME be ok for this? I was also wondering how you carbonate the beer, if you use sugars which kind do you use?
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Old 03-06-2009, 01:04 AM   #24
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You could easily switch to a light DME. This would give you are richer tasting basic beer (the substrate) and the only problem might be that the raspberry flavor might not come through as strongly. I went with rice solids to allow the raspberries to shine through but they will still be featured even if you use DME. The color will be slightly darker too but it will still be a very interesting color.

In any case, I would bet that your guy has the rice solids. They are not real exotic.

I should have mentioned the carbonation - sorry! Nothing out of the ordinary, 3/4 of a cup of corn sugar, same as usual.

Good luck, let me know how it goes.

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Old 03-06-2009, 03:35 AM   #25
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I opened another bottle of my rasberry wheat, and with time it is much better. Still has a berry flavor, but very small, you taste it as soon as you drink it. i will do it again but with fresh berries.

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Old 03-13-2009, 06:40 AM   #26
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I just opened a bottle the other night being one week. It needs more time. Next time I will use the fresh stuff. the extract reminds me more of cough syrup then fruit.
I recently bottled a batch with rasp. extract and after 16 days I sampled one. My first impression, cough syrup, just as you described. Hopefully it will mellow because I'm serving it at a party in 2 wks.

Frozen berries are more work but really the only way to go.
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Old 06-22-2009, 06:49 PM   #27
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We bought a house two years ago and I noticed some unkempt raspberry canes in the back corner of the lot. The previous owners never cultivated them properly. They turned out to be the golden variety.

This year I did things right. After I pruned the canes down to about 2 feet just as they were budding this spring those things EXPLODED. I can't wait to see how many pounds of berries I get from them. The new canes for next year's crop are already over 8 feet high! I am going to train those babies across the entire back of my lot.

Has anyone ever tried this recipe with golden raspberries?

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Old 01-04-2010, 06:50 AM   #28
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Could you substitute black berries for raspberries?

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Old 01-12-2010, 02:51 AM   #29
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I was wondering about using fresh raspberrys,with a beer kit from NB (American Wheat), do you crush them first or do you use them whole, and how long do you let them boil. Or do you just steep them first. Thanks

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Old 01-13-2010, 11:29 PM   #30
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You should be able to substitute black berries for raspberries.

I used fresh raspberries - take a second look at the original post for a discussion of managing them. It's easy.

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