I returned to the hobby recently after a four-year hiatus, and had an interesting time with my first attempt--an extract-based hefe weitzen with raspberries in it.
Here's the recipe:
6.6 lbs (2 cans) Muntons Plain Wheat Extract
1 lb Malted Wheat (cracked with a rolling pin)
1 oz Hallertauer (85 min)
1/2 oz Hallertauer (5 min)
5 lbs Red Raspberries (frozen)
1 pkg ale yeast (sorry -- tossed package without writing down details)
1 pkg ale yeast (trying to restart)
1 t. yeast nutrient
1 gal. IPA at high krausen
3/4 c. corn sugar
You get the picture from reading that list of ingredients. I followed a fairly standard extract brew process up until I added the raspberries at the 50 minute mark in the boil. The raspberries were frozen so they brought the temp down fast and I had to reheat it to bring it to sanitizing temps. I held it at about 150 for something like 10 minutes, then pitched the aroma hops and kept it at that temp for another 5 min. I then chilled it and scooped out as much of the raspberry gunk as I could get, and poured the wort in the primary.
At this phase, I neglected to do three things that I wish I had done:
1) I neglected to strain/sparge the wort. Everything went into the fermenter.
2) I neglected to aerate the wort anything beyond the splash it got when pouring it into the water in the fermenter.
3) I neglected to add any yeast nutrient to make up for the relatively large amount of raspberry sugars.
O.G.: Unknown (forgot how to siphon apparently)
Obviously from all that it's evident I forgot more than I remembered about homebrewing.
The primary ferment started quite well; within about a day high krausen was starting, and it continued for about 48 hours. But then it abruptly stopped. No more bubbling, not even one a minute. I am not exactly sure what happened. It could have been the inadequate aeration or maybe nutrients were low or maybe the temp dropped quickly and put the yeast to sleep. Anyway at this point I racked to the secondary (checked gravity: 1.018) and hoped it would restart. No go. I then pitched another package of yeast and put in some yeast nutrient. Nada. I swirled it around on a daily basis, but nothing helped. Finally I made a new batch of beer -- this one a cross between a California Steam and an IPA -- and when it reached high krausen about two days later I siphoned off a gallon from near the top and put it into the raspberry wheat. (This was the 10-day mark for the raspberry wheat.)
This faux-krausening worked. Within a couple of days bubbles began coming through the airlock again, albeit slowly. I had to travel the following week, and when I returned it was still bubbling at a rate of about 3 bubbles per minute.
At the 20-day mark the bubbling tapered way off to about once a minute, so I decided to bottle. A week later I tried the results and they were superb! Really an excellent ale, with a clean and crisp flavor. The raspberries are assertive but not sticky or overpowering, nicely counterbalanced by the wheat. With this amount of flavor it could be a little hoppier, but otherwise I'm just delighted with the results--in part because halfway through it looked like it might be a disaster with a stuck ferment, but mostly because this beer is just really excellent. Maybe the best brew I've ever made.
Now I'm getting ready to bottle the steam/IPA. I tasted that at racking stage and the bitterness was really overwhelming. I think I over hopped it, but that's another story. It could be an excellent beer after about six months of aging. We'll see!