This time around, I really wanted to brew a Raspberry Wheat ale. I’m not necessarily fond of fruit beers, but the idea fascinates me. Besides, I wanted something for the warm weather. Since I don’t drink many fruit beers, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try a couple of things. First, I wanted to brew a small batch using the Mr. Beer keg. 5 gallons of fruit beer is too much, but 2 gallons is easily doable. Second, I wanted to try the Brew In A Bag (BIAB) method.
I believe I modified a recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, but I don’t remember for sure. I wanted a bit of a honey flavor, so I added honey malt (something I recently discovered). For the hops, I just used whatever was in my freezer, which was Northern Brewer and Kent Goldings. I figured since it was a light tasting beer, hop choice isn’t going to be a major factor in the flavor.
I went to the brew store to get my supplies. I asked the guy to double-crush my grains. He gave me a lot of grief for it, even though I explained what I was doing. He’s never heard of BIAB. He was skeptical at best. But in the end, after confirming three times that I really wanted my grains double-crushed, he got me my ingredients.
I brewed up the ale on my stove-top. I used a 5 gallon paint strainer from Home Depot to put my grains in. I used a steamer basket at the bottom of the kettle to keep the bag from the bottom of the pot. I raised my temp to strike temperature and added my grains. Then I wrapped the pot with a towel and let it rest for 60 minutes. Unfortunately, the temperature dropped close to 10° over that hour. Next time, I’ll put the pot in the oven at the right temp for the rest to maintain proper temperature. Oh well.
After 60 minutes, I raised the temp to 168° and pulled the bag and drained the excess wort which I added back to the pot. Then I brewed as normal.
The whole brew day was a bit sloppy. The sanitation wasn’t top notch. I spilled the wort when transferring to the Mr. Beer keg, so I topped it off with tap water. I added frozen raspberries that were 1 year old to the secondary. Probably not the best idea. But in the end, this was an experiment with new processes. Since it cost me about $12 to brew, I wasn’t overly concerned. But you know what? It still made beer. How’s it taste? Pretty good, if you’re into fruit beers.
6-D American Wheat or Rye Beer
Size: 2 gal
Calories: 148.81 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.045 (1.040 – 1.055)
Terminal Gravity: 1.011 (1.008 – 1.013)
Color: 5.63 (3.0 – 6.0)
Alcohol: 4.4% (4.0% – 5.5%)
Bitterness: 24.8 (15.0 – 30.0)
- 1.25 lb American 2-row
- 2 lb Midwest Wheat Malt
- .2 lb Honey Malt
- .25 oz Northern Brewer (8.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
- .5 oz East Kent Goldings (6.5%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
- 1.0 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05
- 1 lb Frozen Raspberries
- Ambient Air: 70.0 °F
- Source Water: 60.0 °F
- Elevation: 0.0 m
- 00:03:00 Mash – Liquor: 2.83 gal; Strike: 158.91 °F; Target: 154 °F
- 01:03:00 rest – Rest: 60 min; Final: 154.0 °F
- Based on a recipe found in Brewing Classic Styles.
- My final temp for the rest was 153°F. I wrapped the pot with a towel. Over the 60 minute rest, the temp dropped to 144° F.
- After the rest, I raised the temp to 168°F, then pulled the bag and drained. I finished my brewing as normal
- I guess I’m not a very good pour-er, because I spilled a bunch of wort during my transfer to primary (I used a Mr. Beer keg). So I used tap water to top it off to 2 gallons. I used an aeration stone to pump pure O2 into the wort for 50 seconds. Then I pitched my dry yeast. Fermented at 63° F.
- 3/2/2011 – I racked to 2nd Mr Beer Keg and added 1lbs of raspberries I had in the freezer. After talking to my wife, I discovered the raspberries were in the freezer since last summer. Hence the brew name, Freezer Burn.
- 3/17/2011 – I used Cooper’s carbonation drops to prime my bottles. Between loss to trub and the raspberries, I yielded 19 bottles.
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