This was a quick brew to serve at a homebrew festival…I roughly followed past recipes, and used zest from 5 Valencia oranges soaked in 4 oz. of vodka for the orange flavoring (added at kegging). It was my first brew back on my batch sparge system (while my Anvil Foundry was temporarily down). I had some major efficiency issues–I suspect maybe a poor crush for the grains–and thus had to improvise heavily with extract. The brew definitely didn’t go as planned, but at least it got done. My subsequent brews in the old mash tun went much better, thank goodness, and now I’m back on the Foundry!
2022 Orange Summer Wheat Ale
6.5 lb. red wheat malt
3.25 lb. 2-row pale malt
6 oz. Viking dextrin malt
8 oz. rice hulls
0.8 oz. Sterling hop pellets (7.5% alpha), 60 minute boil
1 tsp. WLN1000 yeast nutrient (White Labs)
1 pkg. German Ale Yeast (SafAle K97)
1.043 s.g., 1.011 f.g., 4.3% abv, 21 IBU, 4 SRM
Full volume mash, no sparge, 152°
Claremont tap water, Campden tablet added to remove chloramines
I added 8 gallons of water to the mash tun, letting it settle to 157° before adding the grains and 8 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH. The mash settled around 152° initially, and I let it sit for 75 minutes before vorlaufing and collecting the runnings.
In total, I collected 6.3 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.027, for barely 45% mash efficiency. This is some of the worst efficiency I have ever had, and I’m not sure why. I suspect either I had a poor crush with the high volume of wheat malt, or perhaps the wheat malt didn’t have the enzyme potential expected (which doesn’t make complete sense to me), or some other factor. In any case, I had to improvise major-time and add 1.5 lb. of extra light Briess DME to bring the gravity into a tolerable range.
I brought the runnings to a boil, boiling for 60 minutes and adding hops and finings per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I turned off the flame and chilled down to ~70° before transferring to the fermenter.
I brewed this beer on 10 April 2022. Starting gravity was 1.044. Once I pitched the yeast, I fermented at ~65°.
Prior to brew day, I zested 5 fresh-picked Valencia oranges and put the rind into a 4 oz. bottle topped up with vodka. On kegging day, I strained out the zest.
I kegged the beer on 23 April 2022, and added the orange tincture at that point.
Final gravity was 1.010, for 4.5% abv.
I force carbonated, and it was served at a beer festival on April 30. I couldn’t attend, and got the keg back. Two weeks later, I transferred to a pinlock keg for serving. I didn’t have my usual ball lock quick disconnect handy, so I had to do the less-than-desirable task of transferring directly into the keg and then purging it with CO2 via the pressure relief valve.
The beer is cloudy and a sort of muddy reddish orange color. The head is white and persistent.
A fairly pleasant orange and orange blossom aroma is prominent, but not much else.
Orange and doughy malt flavors, with a moderate level of bitterness.
Light body, moderate carbonation, dry finish. There is a somewhat unpleasant astringency on the finish.
Would I Brew This Again?
This was a very disappointing version of my normally likable orange wheat ale. The orange character is nice, and K97 is an awesome American wheat ale yeast, but the astringency and muddy coloration keep this from being a winner. So many things went sideways on this brew that I have no doubt my next iteration will be far superior. All blame goes to technique flaws, not the recipe itself. This batch is not a complete dumper, but it comes very close.
According to my records, this is the fifth time I’ve made Raspberry Belgian. It is one of my favorite recipes, without a doubt. The process is a fair bit of work, and it’s not the cheapest thing to brew, but WOW, are the results worth it!
My approach to this has morphed considerably over the years, and there are inevitably some variations in ingredients and process. So, every time is different, even if they’re all more or less in the same flavor space.
As before, the key to this recipe is using fresh/frozen raspberries. Tons and tons of raspberries–4.5 pounds, to be precise. I used just frozen ones this time, which I thawed and pureed before adding to the fermenter. Canned purees just don’t “pop” in the same way. For souring, I tried out the Lactobacillus Blend from Omega Labs, which is what the local shop had on-hand. Past versions of the recipe used acidulated malt in the grist, which was a hold-over from the original “bacteria-free” version, and I decided to just ditch that because it was unnecessary.
Raspberry Belgian 2021
6.5 lb. Viking Pilsner Zero Malt
2.5 lb. white wheat malt (Great Western)
1 lb. flaked wheat
0.5 lb. Carapils malt (Briess)
0.5 lb. rice hulls
0.5 oz. Magnum hop pellets (10.1% alpha), 60 minute boil
1 pkg. Belgian Wit Ale Yeast (WLP400), prepared in 1L vitality starter
1 pkg. Lactobacillus Blend (Omega Labs OYL-605)
72 oz. frozen raspberries, pureed
1.048 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 18 IBU, 4 SRM, 4.8% abv
154° full-volume mash, 60 minutes
Overnight kettle sour
Claremont tap water, no adjustment
Way back in May, I made a starter for Pannotia White IPA using WLP400, but it was suuuuper slow to kick off. Worrying that it was dead, I got some Whiteout (Imperial Yeast), but kept the WLP400 starter going just in case. After a day or two, it was off to the races, and so I harvested the results to save for a later brew–which turned out to be the raspberry brew!
I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 160°, and held the mash at 154° for 60 minutes with recirculation. I added 7 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the mash pH. I raised the temperature to 168° for a 10 minute mash-out, and then removed the grain basket.
In total, I collected 6.25 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.038, for 61% mash efficiency. This is a bit low, but that seems to be the case for these adjunct-heavy beers (and my mill seems to be not quite tight enough, after inspection of equipment).
Next, I boiled the runnings for 5 minutes, before chilling down to 95°. I added 25 mL of 88% lactic acid, to get the pH down to 4.4, and then added the lacto culture. Because I’m using the Foundry, I just let the runnings in the kettle, and set it to maintain temperature at 90°. I did this step on 14 August 2021.
After 25 hours, the pH was down to 3.5, right in my target range. I called this perfect!
While getting the soured runnings ready, I made a SNS (shaken-not-stirred) starter for the harvested yeast culture.
I boiled the runnings, adding hops and yeast nutrients per the recipe. After 60 minutes, I chilled the wort, transferred to the fermenter, and then chilled down to 66° before pitching the yeast starter.
I started primary fermentation on 15 August 2021, holding at 66°.
On 19 August 2021, I added 72 oz. of pureed frozen raspberries, and raised the temperature to 68°.
On 22 August 2021, I brought the beer out to ambient, around 75° or so, to finish up.
I kegged the beer on 28 August 2021. At this point, it had a final gravity of 1.013, which works out to 4.0% abv. With the extra sugars from the fruit, actual abv might be a touch higher.
The beer is gorgeous! I pours with a pink, frothy, and somewhat persistent head. The beer itself is dark pink, and moderately (but not overly) hazy. I think it’s looking clearer than might be usual, because I’m using a floating dip tube. I wouldn’t mind a little extra haze, if it helped augment the mouthfeel and flavor.
Raspberry is prominent, with a bit of tartness also.
The beer is moderately sour, but not over the top. The sour character is clean (one person who tasted it described it as a sour patch kid–that’s a high compliment in my book!). Bitterness is perceived as low. The raspberry comes through very nicely. There might be a slight wheat flavor, but in general I don’t think the malt is terribly perceptible. I’m a bit surprised that the Belgian yeast character doesn’t come through more, either.
This beer has a light body and effervescent quality, with a tart, modestly sour, and dry finish.
Would I Brew This Again?
This is a wonderful beer! It’s incredibly drinkable, especially during warm weather. I wouldn’t mind a touch more malt character and a little bit more prominent Belgian yeast character…I would be curious to see if it’s genuinely no Belgian character, or if that is just being covered up by the raspberries. Perhaps I’ll try fermenting at a higher temperature next time, to bring out the phenols more prominently. Those are truly minor issues, and really just in the category of optional tweaks to consider.
I last brewed this recipe awhile back, and it was high time to make it again! It’s basically the same recipe as before, just modified slightly for the efficiency of my current system and on-hand ingredients. It’s super simple, but really tasty!
2021 Orange Summer Wheat Ale
6 lb. white wheat malt (Briess)
3 lb. 2-row malt (Viking Xtra Pale)
8 oz. caramel 10L (Briess)
8 oz. rice hulls
1.5 oz. Mt. Hood hop pellets (4.6% alpha), 60 minute boil
1 tsp. Fermax yeast nutrient, 10 minute boil
1 pkg. American Hefeweizen Ale yeast (WLP 320)
1.044 s.g., 1.011 f.g, 4.3% abv, 26 IBU, 4 SRM
Full volume infusion mash, 152° for 60 minutes
Claremont tap water
I made a 1L shaken-not-stirred starter around 4 hours before pitching. It took off pretty well!
I mashed in with 7.25 gallons of water at 158°, to hit a mash temperature of 152°. I added 5 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust the pH.
After a 60 minute mash, I removed the grains.
In total, I had 6.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.040, for 72% mash efficiency.
I brought everything to a boil, adding hops and finings per the recipe.
After 60 minutes, I chilled down to 66° and transferred to the fermenter. I pitched the yeast, and let it ferment at 66°.
I brewed the beer on 13 February 2021, with a starting gravity of 1.045.
I had 5.5 gallons in the fermenter, and fermented it at 64° to 66°, as I moved it in and out of the house and garage.
While I started the beer, I zested three Valencia oranges that I had picked, putting the zest in 3 oz. of vodka. This steeped for 3 weeks, and then I strained it to add to the keg.
I kegged the beer on 27 February 2021. It had great flavor and aroma on the base beer, even before I added the orange extract.
Final gravity was 1.010, down from 1.045. So, it had an estimated abv of 4.6%.
Pale gold color and hazy, with a thin white head that is moderately persistent.
Fresh orange zest, with a faint doughy wheat character behind that. Really awesome!
Orange juice flavor at the forefront, with a bread dough malt character behind that. Bitterness level is moderate, perhaps a little higher than works for this beer. Yeast character is very clean, with no noticeable esters.
This is a really, really nice recipe…the orange character is absolutely perfect. It’s a bit more bitter than I envisioned in the early tastings, so when I brew this again I’m going to back it down to 20 IBU. Interestingly, as it has aged a bit in the keg that overly bitter edge has been reduced. Otherwise, I wouldn’t change a thing.
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!
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For a variety of reasons, I haven’t been able to blog about every single batch I brewed in 2018. Many of the ones that didn’t make the cut were repeat brewings of successful recipes. Because I’m not likely to get all of them with full blog posts at this stage, I’m giving myself semi-amnesty by listing them with brief comments.
Cerveza de Jamaica 1.1
This was a rebrew of the first version, which I really liked. Version 1.1 was modified very slightly to add a little more hibiscus and a little more orange peel, and the result was an incredibly tasty beer!
Double IPA / Hoppy Blonde Ale
This was an experiment with parti-gyle techniques, co-brewed with a friend. The double IPA ended up at around 7.8% abv, and was fairly tasty. The blonde ale rounded out at 4.6% abv, and was also pretty nice. The experiment was a lot of work on brew day, but a fun attempt.
Raspberry Belgian 2018
I rebrewed a house favorite recipe for a beer festival, and thus didn’t really get to taste the final result (sadly). Everything on the process was tasty, though, so I’ll be doing this one again too.
Bavarica Session IPA
This one was pretty disastrous! The flavors clashed horribly (never again will I use Munich malt in a session IPA), and I dumped most of the batch.
Grab Bag IPA
Basically to use up a bunch of ingredients. Nothing memorable here, although it was pretty drinkable.
Grapefruit Wheat Ale
I don’t have many notes on this, other than that I used Amoretti grapefruit craft puree for some of the flavoring.