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Raspberry Wheat - When To Put In/remove Berries

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benc

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Hello all, I'm just starting out at brewing, and yesterday I put down a kit and kilo wheat beer that I'm going to make into a raspberry wheat. I've looked at a number of recipes/posts on here and other brewing sites, but I can't decide when it's best to add the raspberries, how many racking stages to use, and whether or not to use finings. I could really use some advice if anyone could please help me out!

The consensus seems to be to add the raspberries in the secondary, so my current model is this:

Day 0: 23 litres wheat beer started (this was yesterday - 18th March 2012)
Day 7: move wort to secondary, on top of 2kg raspberries in grain bag
Day 14: transfer wort to tertiary, away from raspberries; add finings
Day 21: bottle (possibly after a couple of days' cold-crashing - I'm using a fermentation fridge)

The tertiary racking is to get the wort off the raspberries, to limit the amount of debris that they may introduce; the finings are there to take out the possible additional debris. The cold-crash is partly because I've never done one before, and am curious, plus I also have a pale ale in the fermentation fridge, which is staying in its primary for the duration, and might benefit from a cold crash.

I'm wondering if one week is long enough for the wort to be on the raspberries, or whether they should be on for longer to get a fuller taste. The beer will be for my wife's birthday, and she'd like something perceptibly sweet. I'm trying to strike a balance between having the wort on long enough to pick up the raspberry taste, but not so long that the yeast decimates the fruit sugar. (I guess this will happen sooner or later though, as there's always some yeast around.)

Also wondering whether the tertiary/finings/cold crash combo is overkill.

(The raspberries are frozen ones from Woolies; I'm planning to thaw them, then heat them at 75C for 15 minutes, and crush them a bit with a potato masher to get the juices flowing.)

Any thoughts on my approach, and alternative strategies, would be highly appreciated!

Cheers :D
 

benc

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Thanks for the link! Good advice; maybe I'll go for two weeks in the secondary before I rack to a tertiary. Also wondering about throwing some lactose in when it comes off the raspberries if it's a bit tart for my wife's liking . . .
 

Matt89

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I have a raspberry wheat that is nearly 2 months old and is still too tart for my palate, I pasteurized raspberries and mashed them up and strained 1.5kg juice/syrup straight into fermenter

My suggestion would be to keep the raspberries whole in a bag and not to heat them just give them a good spray with starsan to get rid of any nasties

Edit- bag depends on whether you are kegging or bottling?

Add the bag after about 4 days of vigorous ferment and don't worry about racking. After you reach your FG, let it clean up for a few days then CC until ready to bottle/keg

Findings aren't too necessary as a wheat isnt supposed to be crystal clear

Thanks for the link! Good advice; maybe I'll go for two weeks in the secondary before I rack to a tertiary. Also wondering about throwing some lactose in when it comes off the raspberries if it's a bit tart for my wife's liking . . .
 

Wolfy

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Any thoughts on my approach, and alternative strategies, would be highly appreciated!
I would follow (and have done so myself in the past) the advice from JZ in his book, and add the fruit just as you notice the active part of your fermentation slowing down, that way there are still a large number of active yeast cells (usually this will be after a few days not a week).
In addition I'd not boil the fruit, especially if it was frozen - but it depends if you like the 'fresh fruit' taste or the 'boiled berry' taste, which I think are quite different.
I'd also add the finings ontop of the beer on the raspberry, and cold chill it (after tasting the beer on a regular basis) when it has almost enough berry flavor for your tastes.
And use the 'tertiary step' as a bottling bucket, even if you keg, so that you filter out most of the fruit (but do this after the finings have been added).
 

Trippers

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I would ferment the beer out and rack it into a clean fermenter (dont splash it) with about 500gms of frozen raspberries straight out the pack. leave it for a week and see what ya think. Ive done this many times in the past and it always comes out nice. You can then always up the amount of raspberries if its not enough in the future.
 

Wolfy

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... with about 500gms of frozen raspberries straight out the pack
I used "5kg Blanched ripe/fresh Raspberries" in my Raspberry Ale, so I presumed 2kg was a nice conservative number to start with, but 500g is lower again. ;)
 

barls

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1 and 1.5 in my two batches. it does depend on where you get your raspberries from
 

pyrosx

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The beer will be for my wife's birthday, and she'd like something perceptibly sweet.
Just a thought, but i've never found frozen raspberries to actually be at all sweet. I'm talking more from a cooking background here than a brewing one, but raspberry desserts usually involve a SHIT load of sugar to get them up to dessert-sweetness levels - on they're own, they're really just a whole bunch of red and tart...

Maybe you could look at mashing higher than usual, or including some spec malts in the beer - that sweetness will then sit better with the raspberry flavour? Or yeah, like you mentioned, back sweetening with lactose could work too (not that me and my lactose intolerant guts would touch that option with a 10 foot clown pole though)
 

petesbrew

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Just a thought, but i've never found frozen raspberries to actually be at all sweet. I'm talking more from a cooking background here than a brewing one, but raspberry desserts usually involve a SHIT load of sugar to get them up to dessert-sweetness levels - on they're own, they're really just a whole bunch of red and tart...

Maybe you could look at mashing higher than usual, or including some spec malts in the beer - that sweetness will then sit better with the raspberry flavour? Or yeah, like you mentioned, back sweetening with lactose could work too (not that me and my lactose intolerant guts would touch that option with a 10 foot clown pole though)
+1 to this,
Framboises taste awesome, but yeah raspberries have more tart than sweet. Bought a Mort Subite Framboise recently and they even list sweetner on the ingredients.
Mind you, it will still be awesome. I've used between 1-5-2kg berries in the past in mine and they give the beer a good deep pink tinge.
It's a personal challenge of mine to make a beer which my wife will drink. So far I've only had "it's nice but I wouldn't drink it". (She's a wine drinker after all).

What yeast comes with the kit?
 

benc

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Thanks so much for all the advice guys! Lots of useful ideas and procedures here. I think fermenting out (or at least giving it a week) and putting the wort onto the raspberries (in a grain sack) in the secondary will be the go for me this time: I've got a Pale Ale in my fermentation fridge at the same time, and it's going to be easier if I synchronise the events of the two brews as much as possible (mainly to get them cold-crashed at the same time if need be). I can taste-test from time to time when it's in the secondary and when the raspberry-ness seems right, that'll be time to go into a tertiary, where I can start some lactose-based tweaking, and eventually bottle. Ultimately, this is the first fruit beer I've done (also the first wheat, first kit+kilo, and my sixth brew ever), and whatever I do now, it'll be a study in what I'll do differently next time! This will undoubtedly be informed by the great advice I've received here - thanks again :)

By the way, this is the recipe I followed:

"Thomas Coopers Brewmaster Wheat
1.5kg liquid Wheat malt
Wheat grain pack (500g)
15gm Nelson Sauvin/US Citra hops Start of Boil
10gm Nelson Sauvin/US Citra hops End Of Boil

Make to 23 litres."

I'm using Safbrew WB-06.

I'll let you know how it goes!
 

petesbrew

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First time I did mine I added cascade, and it didn't match too well with the berries.
I usually do mine Belgian inspired, with Styrian Goldings, Saaz, or a combo of both, but hopping it pretty mild. It's all about the berries, not the hops, with fruit beers.

Make sure you take a pic of the beer in hte glass, and good luck.

ps. As an experiment, if you can get your hand on a Lambic (sour beer), save some dregs and add a few drops each to a handful of bottles, leave for a few months, then try them next to one of the normal ones.
 

benc

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I ended up introducing 2kg of frozen (and then thawed) raspberries in a grain bag to the primary on day 8, with 100g of lactose dissolved in water. By this point the SG (which started at 1042) had bottomed out at 1013 so I assume that it had fermented out. A taste-test on day 11 revealed it to be very tart; I added 200g lactose on day 11, and 200g more on day 15 (dissolved in water each time). I transferred to a secondary on day 15 as well, and did another taste test. The sweetness/tartness balance is nice now, but it seems a little bit watery. I'm wondering if this is because of the extra water that I used to add the lactose when back sweetening; I'm not sure how much I added in total, but it could have been as much as a litre.

Is there anything I can add at this point to make the taste a bit less watery? Alternatively, I'm intending to bottle in about a week, so might the wateriness be less noticeable when the beer has carbonated in the bottles? (I generally wait for 3 weeks before sampling the bottles.)

A question about fruit sugars. I used frozen packet raspberries, so I know the total sugar content in the 2kg I added: 140g. Though this is just described as 'sugars' on the packet - I don't know what types they are, or whether they're fermentable. I was expecting a vigourous secondary fermentation when I added them, but the SG stayed at 1013, and I didn't notice any significant bulging of the cling-film on the top of my fermenter. Is 140g a small amount of sugar to add to 23 litres of wort? Maybe raspberries don't have much in the way of fermentable sugars.

Final question! When I'd added a total of 300g of lactose, I saw the SG measurement rise from 1013 to 1016. Is this due to an increase in wort density due to the dissolved lactose? (My SG measurements are adjusted to 15 degC so I don't think it's a temperature effect.)

>ps. As an experiment, if you can get your hand on a Lambic (sour beer), save some dregs and add a few drops each to a handful of bottles, leave for a few months, then try them next to one of the normal ones.

What happens when you do this? Don't think I'll be able to afford to buy a Lambic beer any time soon :) Does the sourness attenuate with time?

Many thanks guys :D
 

petesbrew

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>ps. As an experiment, if you can get your hand on a Lambic (sour beer), save some dregs and add a few drops each to a handful of bottles, leave for a few months, then try them next to one of the normal ones.

What happens when you do this? Don't think I'll be able to afford to buy a Lambic beer any time soon :) Does the sourness attenuate with time?

Many thanks guys :D
It'll make it a bit more sour. It's more of an experiment with flavours than anything scientific, but for me it gave a lacklustre knk framboise some funky character.

Can't answer any of your other questions. But I wouldn't add anything else to sweeten, or thicken it.
RDWHAHB.
 

barls

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tried my saison that has raspberries in it the other day. bloody nice
 

benc

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It'll make it a bit more sour. It's more of an experiment with flavours than anything scientific, but for me it gave a lacklustre knk framboise some funky character.
Ah, I get you; hadn't quite cottoned to the idea that the drops are added to existing bottles! That will be an interesting experiment if I get the chance to do it.

Good advice :)
 

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