Beer Style: Fruit Beer (20A)
Recipe Type: extract
Yield: 5 US gallons
I've been playing with raspberry wheat beers for a few months now, and am drinking my third batch. You don't need to go all-grain, but you do need to sanitize the fruit somehow. There are two main choices:
Add the fruit to the hot wort after the boil, when the temp has cooled to perhaps 170F, and keep the fruit/wort at 160-190F for at least 15 minutes to sanitize the fruit. If you let the temp get too high, or boil the fruit, then you will set the pectin in the fruit and get very hazy beer. This method works well for frozen fruit, which has generally been turned to mush by ice crystal formation. Sanitize the whole fruit with a food-grade sanitizing solution (perhaps by soaking in Everclear or 100-proof cheap vodka?), then add the fruit to the secondary and strain out during the priming/bottling process.
I use the first option, which has the advantage of being easy and pretty bullet-proof. The disadvantage is that you lose some of the aromatic qualities of the fruit by heating it.
Here is my current wheat-raspberry recipe (many thanks to Kathy Henley of Austin, TX for getting me going in the right direction). Sorry, but I don't take specific gravity measurements.
Boil 2-1/2 gallons of water, add malt extract and boiling hops, and boil for 55-60 minutes. Turn off heat, add finishing hops, cool to 190 F and add the frozen fruit and vanilla. Let sit covered for 20 minutes, maintaining temperature at about 170 F and stirring occasionally. Cool to below 100F, add to carboy pre-filled with 2-1/2 gallons of water, straining out and pressing the fruit to extract most of the juice. Pitch the yeast, ferment at 70-72F, transfer to secondary after two days, then ferment completely out (about another 7 days). Prime with 3/4 cup corn sugar and bottle.
24 oz of raspberries gives a fairly subtle beer, with a mild tart raspberry underpinning that all of my friends loved. 36 oz of berries give a more assertive, but not overwhelming, raspberry flavor. Note that Belgian ale yeast will give stronger "clove" overtones when fermented at temperatures of 75-78F, and milder flavors at 70-72F.
Source: Tom Childers