Molly Bloom's Raspberry White Beer

Over at Irish Craft Brewer an all grain brewing challenge was dreamed up by SBillings. As he said

The challenge is to do a 23 litre all grain brew using 3Kg of a single base malt, no speciality malt and only one hop addition.
I signed up for the challenge and got my thinking hat on.

I've been drinking a good few wheat and wit beers recently. I like Hoegaarden a lot but that's probably because it was one of the first different beers I ever tried while living in the dullest town on earth, Eindhoven. I usually find that weiss beers are a bit too sweet and cloying for my taste. I like the spiced Belgian versions much better than the German sweet ones. Although a weiss beer is nice served cold on a hot day. Hot days seem to be in short supply recently though so drinking opportunities are limited. I like the lemon zesty taste from Hoegaarden and it got me to thinking how I could make an altered version of a Belgian wit.

I turned to my always trusty Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher and read a bit about white beers. This seemed to be the base I could build the beer on. As the challenge says you can only use 3kg of base malt and no other I needed some adjunct grain to add to the plain malt to give it some fermentables and taste. An adjunct is an unmalted fermentable grain and things like rice, corn, sorghum, wheat and oats are often used. I haven't tried an adjunct mash before so I decided to try it so I'd learn something from the challenge.

I used 3kg of Maris Otter pale ale malt, 1kg unmalted Flaked Wheat and 500g Flaked Oats. I used about 240g which was 8% of the total malt in the adjunct mash. I brought about 4 litres of water to 60 degrees celsius and then put in the grains. I gave it a stir and checked it was at 50 degrees. I left it for about 15 minutes. The stuff looked like very gluey porridge. I then raised the temperature to 65.5 degrees and left it for another 15 minutes. After this I boiled it for a few minutes. The series of temperature rests is used to break down the starches in the un-malted grains to make them more easily accessible to the enzymes in the main mash. While I was doing this I brought the rest of the mash to 50 degrees. I then dumped the contents of the adjunct mash pot into the main mash tun. It splashed a bit and that stuff burns. I stirred it up, checked the temperature was 67 degrees and left it all to mash away for 45 minutes.

I took off the first runnings and then sparged with about 14 litres of water at 77 degrees. I topped up with about 5 litres of water and the gravity of the wort at this stage was 1.039.

I boiled for an hour and the only hop addition was 40g of 4.8%AA tettnang hops at the 60 minute mark. Since this was a challenge brew it would be pretty boring if I left it at that. I decided to throw a load of spices and herbs into this brew.
10g of chamomile flowers
1 star anise
1 tsp crushed cardamon pods
1/2 tsp ground cumin seeds
5-10g crushed coriander seeds
Zest of one lemon

In Radical Brewing Mr. Mosher reckons that chamomile is a secret spice used in Belgian white beers. I also added the other stuff just in case. I hope the cardamon comes out as not too overpowering. I find it has a washing up liquid taste when there's too much of it in a curry. It'll be interesting to see what character comes from them.

I cooled and pitched the beer with Brewferm Blanche wheat beer yeast. It's fermenting away with a lot of foam. I'm keeping the temperature fairly low as I want some yeast character but nothing too bubblegum which you can get with white beer yeasts.

Now the astute amongst you will notice raspberry mentioned in the title. Well they come later, I plan to secondary this beer over about 1.2kg of raspberries. I'm hoping the spices, yeast and raspberries will all combine to make a frothy summer beer with a nice blurry fruity spiciness to it.

This challenge was a great idea. I made a new style of beer and learned to do an adjunct mash. I also got to play with different fruits and spices. I think it's nice to make unusual beer that you can't get in the shops. I loved the raspberry lambic Rose de Gambrinus from Cantillon so this is inspired by that though this will be much sweeter and probably less fruity.

I've named it Molly Bloom. I can't wait to have a lot of fun making the label for it. Sandymount will feature, hopefully on Bloomsday.

4 Responses to "Molly Bloom's Raspberry White Beer" (Leave A Comment)

Boak says
May 10, 2009 at 2:58 AM

We based our witbier on Randy Mosher's, and it was great (especially second time round when we added a little lemon zest to bring out the sourness a bit more)

We mixed some of it with blackberry juice and that was pretty good too - so I'm sure yours will turn out wonderfully!

Leigh says
May 12, 2009 at 10:15 AM

nice post, i've got plans for a witbier later in the year...raspberry sounds really good.

Alistair Reece says
May 14, 2009 at 4:48 AM

Sounds grand does that!

Next time I make a witbier, I will mess around more with the spices, especially the star anise you mentioned. have also played with the idea of using juniper berries in a wit.

Bionic Laura says
June 15, 2009 at 2:17 PM

I'm not sure about the chamomile in this, you can taste it too much at the moment. Though this may change when it ages a bit.