Gowanus Brewery

Raspberry Bushes Doing Fine by Jeremy
August 19, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: raspberry wheat

The raspberry bushes I planted at the beginning of the summer are finally starting to take off. Well, all but one, anyway.

The healthiest of the five bushes is about three feet tall now and, as you can see in the picture, is about to put out the first harvest of raspberries. Three of the five are doing nearly as well and should fruit at around the same time, so in total I might have enough yellow raspberries to do the yellow raspberry beer I wrote about at the beginning of the year. The fifth plant, the one closest to the swimming pool, has not grown much since it went in the ground. It is still alive, though, so I assume if it survives the winter it will do better next year. We shall see!


Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale – Reviewed by Jeremy
May 5, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, raspberry wheat, review

The verdict is finally in on the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale: damn good.

Sunday was our first warm sunny weekend day this season, so I celebrated with a couple hours of yard work and a nice long bike ride down to Brooklyn’s famous Prospect Park. By the time I got back from the bike ride, I was tired, hot, sweaty, and looking for just one thing: an ice-cold, refreshing beer. I found it in the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale.

Just as planned, it’s light, tart, and dry. The wheat and raspberries are present in the aroma and flavor. The mouthfeel is thin but, at least for those bottles that are carbonated well (not all of them are), champagne-like.

A drawback I’m realizing to a beer that is so thin is that, once it warms up and loses that carbonation, it becomes really unappetizing. That’s no big deal, though. This type of beer is at it’s best nearly frozen anyway.

Raspberry Wheat – Bottled and Labeled by Jeremy
April 22, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: all-grain, beer, label, raspberry wheat, yeast

Whipped up this label a few minutes ago and finished bottling the Raspberry Wheat Ale before that.

I haven’t had the free time lately to put more creative energy into my labels, which is why the last few have been so similar: background picture + cool font. It’s boring, but it’s the beer that’s important right!

Anyway, I tasted the raspberry wheat again while bottling and it still tastes very good. Any concern I had over using too few raspberries went out the window tonight. Overall, the beer is dry, light-bodied, and the raspberry flavors stand out pretty well. I think the primary reason halving the amount of raspberries you would typically add worked out so well is that I used an American wheat yeast, which ferments dry and clean. German wheat yeast produces rich flavors like bananas and cloves and would compete with the berries. Of course, I’m still curious how this beer would have tasted with five, or even ten, pounds of raspberries…

Raspberry Wheat Progress by Jeremy
April 8, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, raspberry wheat, yeast

The Raspberry Wheat Beer has been busy.

The raspberry sugars triggered a nice second round of fermentation that hasn’t quit after three days. This picture is was taken about 12 hours after adding the raspberries, even if it’s not clear, the beer was already looking bright red. Also, the new fermentation is producing a clean, full, white foam at the top of the carboy, just what I’m going for in the end product.

So, everything is on track and looking good. The only thing left to do to close the book on this recipe, besides entering it in a comp somewhere, is to get my hands on some yellow raspberries. They’ll add a great twist with a slightly different raspberry flavor and intense bright yellow color. I can’t find these for sale retail, so I’m ordering plants to grow them myself. They are early fruiting, but still I don’t think I’ll get a harvest until mid to late summer.

Yeast Starter Worked Out Well by Jeremy
April 7, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: raspberry wheat, yeast

Fermentation for the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale was healthy and more complete than the last batch.

The final gravity was 1.014, an improvement over the previous batch, which stopped at 1.016. I don’t have any concerns or complaints about it. It just worked.

Since I added raspberries to this beer in secondary and they are a potential source of contamination, I decided to sample and save yeast from primary, instead of secondary, like I did last time. The drawback is that the yeast sample contains wheat, barley, and hop sediment, in addition to the yeast. In all likelihood, contamination won’t be a problem, so I may take another sample at the end from secondary and use that for future batches.

The Raspberry Wheat is On Point by Jeremy
April 6, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: all-grain, beer, raspberry wheat

I took a quick sample while transferring the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale to secondary and, incomprehensibly, it’s perfect. Light and dry with a perfect gold color.

At this point, I’m just sampling what will be a backdrop to the raspberries that hopefully won’t turn out to be a syrupy-sweet mess. My aim is to produce a final product that’s crisp and refreshing, which is why I added only 2.5 pounds of raspberries instead of the usual five pounds home brewers add to a batch of fruit beer this size.

Anyway, it’s supposed to be something you reach for pool side on a sweltering summer day and, based on this in-between tester, I think it’s well on its way.

Raspberries Added! by Jeremy
April 5, 2008, 12:00 am
Filed under: beer, raspberry wheat

Just sent the Gowanus Raspberry Wheat Ale to secondary, added the raspberries, and it looks outstanding.

I’m using Cascadian Farm organic red raspberries, which don’t have any additives whatsoever. I added four 10-ounce bags, or approximately 2.5 pounds. Most fruit beer recipes recommend five pounds of fruit, but I’m going for something a little more subtle. The beer itself is already really light and I don’t want the raspberries to be too overpowering.

Unfortunately, these aren’t the berries I ultimately want to use in this recipe. There are yellow berries out there that taste slightly different and are intensely yellow. Those are two unique twists that I think will make a great hook for this beer at competition. That only catch is that these berries aren’t really available at supermarkets yet, so I have to grow my own. I already put an order in for a four or five plants and I should get the first harvest in July.