Raspberry Belgian 2020

I’ve brewed this beer at least three or four times, and I keep coming back to it as one of my very favorite recipes. It’s crisp, it’s low alcohol, it’s flavorful, and it’s well out of my usual brewing styles. I wouldn’t want this year-round, but it sure is a nice treat every once in awhile!

deep pink beer in Belgian wit glass, held aloft against green tree leaves

My personal take on this recipe–which started out as a clone of Funkwerks Raspberry Provincial–has evolved since I first brewed it in 2017. Every batch is a bit different, especially in the souring strain and the type of raspberry puree added. It never fails to be a great beer.

Raspberry Belgian 2020

  • 4.75 lb. pilsner malt (Weyermann)
  • 2.5 lb. pale wheat malt (Weyermann)
  • 1.75 lb. acidulated malt (BestMalz)
  • 0.5 lb. Carapils malt
  • 0.5 lb. flaked oats
  • 0.5 lb. flaked wheat
  • 6 oz. rice hulls
  • 0.35 oz. Magnum hop pellets (13.2% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.5 pkg. (~5 g) of Wildbrew Sour Pitch (Lallemand)
  • 1 pkg. Whiteout Belgian Wit Yeast (Imperial #B44)
  • 36 oz. raspberry puree

Target Parameters

  • 1.048 o.g., 1.013 f.g., 15 IBU, 3 SRM, 4.5% abv
  • 155° full-volume mash, 60 minutes
  • Overnight kettle sour
  • Claremont tap water, no adjustment

Procedure

  • I mashed in with ~8.5 gallons of water at 160°, to hit a 155° mash temperature target. After 60 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected the full volume of runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.7 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.033. This was way below my target (and only 57% mash efficiency), so I added 0.75 lb. of extra light DME to bring the gravity up to 1.038.
  • I boiled the runnings for 10 minutes and then chilled to 115°. I added 1 tbs. of 88% lactic acid, to bring the pH down to ~4.4.
  • Once the kettle temp was down to 105°, I added 5 g of the Wildbrew Sour Pitch, stirred gently, and left it on a heating pad in a warm garage.
  • I started the souring process at around 10:30 am on 18 July 2020, and it was down to ~3.35 by the next morning. The sour level was right where I wanted it, when I sampled a little.
  • I boiled the beer for an hour, adding hops per the schedule as well as some yeast nutrient.
  • I chilled the wort and put it into my fermenter, bringing the temperature down the rest of the way in my fermentation chamber. I pitched the yeast, and let it ferment at 66°. The starting gravity was 1.046.
  • I pitched the yeast on 19 July 2020, and added fruit puree on 23 July 2020.
    • To make the puree, I took frozen raspberries (purchased fresh a few weeks prior, sorted, and frozen) and thawed them out. I had 72 ounces by mass, which was around 130 ounces by volume of whole raspberries. 12 ounces by weight should make around 6 ounces of puree by volume, so I ended up with around 36 ounces (a quart) of puree. To make the puree, I heated the raspberries in a double boiler, mashing them up. I heated the mixture to between 150° and 170°, with the bowl sitting in near-boiling water. I let it sit for 15 minutes and then chilled in an ice bath, before adding the puree to the fermenter.
  • I kegged the beer on 1 August 2020. Final gravity at that time was 1.020, for 3.3% abv; I wonder if the yeast hadn’t completely fermented out? I usually agitate the fermenter when I’m using the various Belgian wit strains, because they do tend to stall out without babysitting. Oh well…I figure that any final fermentation will hopefully wrap up in the keg.
  • I added 3.2 oz. of corn sugar boiled for ~2 minutes in 1 cup of water, and then sealed up the keg (adding a touch of pressure to make sure the lid was seated).
  • Carbonation level maxed out at around 24 psi at 72°, which is not terribly great as a level of carbonation for this style. That’s only 2.2 or so volumes of CO2, and I was aiming for 3.0 at least. I used my CO2 talk to top things up.
  • On 9 August 2020 (the same day as the tasting), I decarbonated a sample and measured gravity with both hydrometer and refractometer, getting a final gravity of 1.017. This works out to ~3.8% abv, and if I were to guess, around 4% abv when you factor in the sugars from the raspberry.

Tasting

deep pink beer in Belgian wit glass
  • Appearance
    • Right now (second day on tap for the keg), this beer has a gorgeous deep pink color, with a prominent haze. It pours with a frothy white head that subsides to a relatively continuous thin blanket.
  • Aroma
    • This beer smells like fresh raspberry. I get maybe a little bit of the citrusy Belgian wit yeast character behind that, but the raspberry is front and center here.
  • Flavor
    • What else? Raspberry! More seriously, the beer has a pleasant (but not over-the-top) tartness, with a berry and citrus character. The malt is pretty subdued, and largely overwhelmed by the fruit and sour notes. But, raspberry definitely dominates.
  • Mouthfeel
    • Crisp and light bodied, with a nice smooth finish. Carbonation is high, which gives a pleasant and spritzy character to the beer, but the heavy amount of suspended yeast and the malt bill keep it from being too thin.
  • Would I brew this again?
    • This is one of my very favorite summer beer recipes. It has evolved considerably from the original clone recipe, and it has further evolved from my initial few attempts. It’s such an interesting beer, and is a good reward for the above-average amount of effort and above-average ingredient cost. The only minor change I might make would be to ditch the acidulated malt–it’s a holdover from the original recipe, which used this malt alone to get the desired sour character.
  • Overall
    • 9/10
This entry was posted in Belgian sour, Belgian wit, fruit beer, session beer, sour, sour beer, tastings and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Raspberry Belgian 2020

  1. Pingback: What’s Brewing? August 2020 Edition | Andy's Brewing Blog

  2. Pingback: Claremonter Weisse 2020 | Andy's Brewing Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s