Tuesday, August 19, 2014

How I stopped worrying and learned to love the fruit!

Raspberry Porter!

For years I have been planning to brew a chocolate porter. I found a recipe in Zymurgy (July/August 2007) for a chocolate -cherry porter shortly after I started brewing, and I filed it away against the time when I could actually make it happen. It sounded great, but got lost somewhere in my pile of recipes that I had also saved against the time when I could get around to brewing them.  Oops!

Finally, last year I bought a can of raspberry puree, with the intention of making a chocolate raspberry porter--something in flavor that I imagined would be like the muffins of the same sort.  This year, I finally got to make the beer, and it turned out to be both better, and easier than I imagined.

Step 1: Brew the base beer

I had to start with a recipe, and found one on the internet that sounded interesting.  Not the Zymurgy recipe, but another porter recipe, which I adapted a bit. Here it is:

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
10 lbsPale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) (3.0 SRM)Grain157.4 %
2 lbs 8.0 ozMunich Malt (9.0 SRM)Grain214.4 %
12.0 ozCaramel Malt - 60L (Cargill) (60.0 SRM)Grain34.3 %
9.6 ozMelanoidin (Weyermann) (30.0 SRM)Grain43.4 %
8.0 ozChocolate Malt (450.0 SRM)Grain52.9 %
0.70 ozNorthern Brewer [9.70 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop626.5 IBUs
0.50 ozNorthern Brewer [9.70 %] - Boil 30.0 minHop79.6 IBUs
0.28 tspIrish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)Fining8-
1.0 pkgSafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml]Yeast9-
3 lbs 1.0 ozRed Raspberry Puree (12.0 SRM)Extract1017.6 %

Gravity, Alcohol Content and Color

Est Original Gravity: 1.093 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.023 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.3 %
Bitterness: 36.1 IBUs
Est Color: 25.5 SRM
Measured Original Gravity: 1.069 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.8 %
Calories: 231.5 kcal/12oz 

Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash InAdd 19.94 qt of water at 166.9 F152.0 F60 min
Mash OutAdd 10.05 qt of water at 206.2 F168.0 F10 min

Sparge: Fly sparge with 1.47 gal water at 168.0 F 
What I wasn't thinking about was that this was already a high gravity recipe at 1.069--high for the style, anyway.  On top of that, I was going to add Raspberry Puree that would add more gravity points on top of that  to make it even stronger.  Oh well, it would be a Raspberry imperial porter, I guess!

So I brewed, and I fermented. And it finished at about the right final gravity, 1.020.  The biggest trick was managing the temperature using a cooler and regular additions of ice to keep it under 70 degrees. The flavor and mouthfeel weren't quite what I imagined, being a bit thinner and less roasty than I anticipated.  However it was good!

Step 2:   Secondary on Raspberry! 

For almost 3 weeks, the beer sat on raspberry puree. When I finally kegged it the gravity was 1.016, so another few percent of alcohol! I put it on CO2 at about 2.6 ATM for a couple of weeks, and it carbonated nicely.

The results

The beer has a really lovely raspberry flavor and aroma, but is not particularly sweet. It is really delicious, but does not have the chocolate overtones I would have liked, nor does it taste particularly like a porter. I think next time I brew it, I will change the base to be lower in gravity and use a robust porter as the starting point so it will have more of a standard porter starting point. Mind you, this is not a bad beer, but I expect if I were to enter it in a competition as a Raspberry Porter, I would get dinged because it did not taste like a porter, although the raspberry aroma and flavor are wonderful!
This was actually not my first, but the first I did to really go with a bold fruit. Last year I co-brewed an apricot Saison with my friend Mike, and that also came out well, but apricot is such a mild flavored fruit, it was almost hidden.

Please reply with your fruit beer experiences. I would love to hear what you have done that has worked, or not!