Brewing a well-balanced fruit beer, such as this raspberry blonde ale recipe, is no easy feat. You want enough fruit flavor to be able to taste it, but not so much that it overpowers the beer. And how do you even get fruit flavor in the beer in the first place?
An easy way to add fruit flavor to your beer is to use a fruit extract, but many homebrewers prefer to work with whole fruit to get a more natural flavor. The fruit is usually added to the secondary fermenter for several days to a couple weeks. For best results, blanch the berries in hot (160˚F) water for a minute or so before adding them to the fermenter. This will sanitize them and reduce the likelihood of introducing foreign microbes to your beer.
Another alternative is to use raspberry fruit concentrate, though this will likely introduce significantly more color and fermentables to the beer than the whole fruit. This will result some some kind of beer-wine hybrid (which may not be a bad thing!).
The recipe below is based on an American blonde ale. When brewing fruit beers, lightly colored and lightly hopped beers work well as a “clean slate” to showcase the characteristics of the fruit. That said, raspberries work well in other styles too, including porter, stout, and lambic.
Ready to give this raspberry blonde ale recipe a try? Happy brewing!
Raspberry Blonde Ale Recipe
(five-gallon recipe, partial mash)
3.3 lbs. wheat liquid malt extract
2 lbs. light dry malt extract
1 lb. American two-row malt (milled)
.5 lb. flaked oats
1 oz. Saaz hops at :60
1 oz. Saaz hops at :30
1 packet Safale US-05: American Ale Yeast
2.5 lbs. frozen raspberries
Steep the two-row malt and flaked oats in 1 gallon of clean, chlorine-free water at 148˚F. After 30 minutes, strain the wort into a five-gallon brew pot. Add enough water, along with the malt extracts, to make a three-gallon boil. Boil wort for 60 minutes, adding hops according to schedule above. At the end of the boil, cool wort in an ice bath and/or with an immersion wort chiller. Pour about two gallons of distilled water into a clean, sanitized fermenter. Add the wort to the fermenter, plus enough distilled water to make 5.5 gallons. Stir well to aerate, pitch yeast, and ferment at 68˚F for about 7 days.
After primary fermentation, prepare the raspberries by blanching in hot (160˚F) water for a few minutes, then add them to the secondary fermenter. Rack the beer on top of the raspberries, then wait 2-3 weeks. Rack the beer one more time before bottling or kegging to separate it from the fruit…and enjoy!
Want to learn more about adding fruit to your homebrewed beer? Read: A Simple Guide to Making Fruit Beers!
Do you have a raspberry blonde ale recipe you’d like to share? Just leave it in the comments below.
David Ackley is a writer, brewer, and craft beer marketing consultant. He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the Institute of Brewing and Distilling and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.