Back by popular demand for the third year in a row, I crammed in a double brew day back in May so I could have some Fraz(zled) Wheat raspberry hefeweizen on hand for the coming summer months. Though last year’s 2.0 version didn’t do so hot in competition (“too much raspberry flavor overpowers the base style”), it sure was greatly appreciated by anyone who was able to snag a bottle. This is the only seasonal brew I’ve done each year I’ve been brewing, starting off as an extract version in 2010, moving to all-grain in 2011 and of course again this year as well.
Who would like a tart, raspberry banana bomb of a wheat beer on a summer evening in Minneapolis?
Man, it’s FINALLY warming up here in chilly Minnesota. It has taken so long to get to this point that coincidently I had a lot of time to brew these past few months. Further motivation was provided by the fact that my wife and I will be going to Europe very soon (my first time), and I don’t anticipate having much time to brew until maybe late-June, but more likely not until mid-July. As a result, I hit it hard in March/April, having brewed something crazy like five batches in seven weeks. Considering I did a total of only eight batches in all of 2010, this spring has indeed been quite intense. (more…)
Reading around online, there seems to be varying degrees of paranoia regarding the importance of sanitizing fruit before adding it to a fruit beer. When considering the challenge that lay ahead of me in turing my bavarian weizen into Fraz(zled) Wheat 2.0 (with REAL raspberries, this time), I decided to err on the side of caution and make a concerted effort to sanitize the raspberries instead of tempting fate.
I bought six 12 oz. bags of frozen berries from Rainbow at $4.85 per bag, which has nearly doubled the materials-cost of producing this particular batch of beer. I couldn’t believe how much more expensive raspberries are compared to blueberries! And I actually like blueberries a lot. Got me thinking about ditching the raspberries next time and doing a blueberry wheat…
To sanitize, I poured all the raspberries into a kettle, brought them up to 160* and held them there for 15 minuets. I had to be careful and stir them enough so as to not scorch them on the bottom of the kettle before they melted into liquid form. Then I took a funnel, poured them into another sanitized primary fermenter (rather than a smaller secondary fermenter) so there would be enough headspace for the berries. Syphoned the batch onto the berries and that’s it! (more…)
I had my last pre-Euro-trip brew session on Saturday 4/16. This was the fourth straight weekend I had brewed in anticipation of the lengthy self-imposed sabbatical that lay ahead, as I’d prefer to have all of my beers out of fermenters and bottle-conditioning while we’re across the pond. When you factor in my cover band‘s gig schedule into the mix, this effectively means I won’t have another opportunity to brew until MAYBE late June, but more likely not until mid-July. And by then it’ll already be time to start thinking about doing beers for the fall.
I’ve had a lot of fun hanging out with different friends at each of the four brew sessions this past month, and Fraz Wheat 2.0’s brew day was no different. Dave, a work colleague who is very interested in brewing and hop-growing, stopped by to help me through this brew day. We were quite speedy, completing most of everything in under six hours, and correctly at that. A new record. Thanks Dave!
By far, the most popular beer I did in my first year of brewing was the raspberry wheat I brewed last summer. In response, I wanted to re-brew it for this summer, and a little earlier this time so it could be enjoyed all summer long.
Don’t think this means I’m doing the same recipe, though. I’ve learned so much about brewing and thus refined my process quite a bit over the last year, so I’m expecting this batch to turn out exponentially better than the first version. Where the 2010 batch was an extract brew, the 2011 version is an all-grain. Where the 2010 batch utilized raspberry extract syrup to impart raspberry flavor, 2011 will utilize a few pounds of actual raspberries. I think this will be a substantial improvement, as the raspberry extract syrup mainly just imparted aroma in the 2010 batch and not much actual raspberry flavor. 2011 will be different.
Here’s my recipe: (more…)
OG was supposed to be 1.046 by the recipe (Northern Brewer Raspberry Wheat extract, partial boil). My OG came in a bit light at 1.042 but I had no idea what to do about that yet at this point. The FG landed at 1.012 when I bottled two weeks later (7/10/10). I didn’t do a secondary fermentation for this batch, as I’d heard that isn’t completely necessary with wheat beers. Well ok then! Less transferring = less opportunity for infection. I’m game. (more…)