So remember how I made a raspberry porter a few weeks ago? The last time I made this recipe, I used cherries and added them to the boil. Unfortunately, all the cherry flavour and colour was lost in the fermentation (apparently yeast like the flavours and colours, too, and metabolize them to nothing). The porter was good, but not cherry at all.
This time, I learned from my mistake, and added the fruit after the main fermentation had calmed down. A week later, I tried the beer.
Lesson of the day: Cherries and raspberries are different fruits. Raspberry is much more powerful, and will overwhelm anything you use it in, if you use it in the same proportions as, say, cherries.
So this beer is pretty much alcoholic raspberry juice. It smells like raspberries, and has that intensely tart flavour. It does not taste like beer, and doesn’t even taste like a good lambic (it would need another year of fermentation for that!)
Before I do anything to change it, I let KEL, my sweet toothed friend who loves raspberries (and truth be told, for whom I brewed the beer) try it. She screwed up her face and agreed–it’s not very good.
So what to do? I contacted my brain trust on the Beer Advocate discussion board. They, as ever, had a variety of opinions. Some of my research suggested I add more cocoa and toss the raspberry porter in a secondary fermenter. I thought maybe some lactose powder (to add sweetness and some body) and cocoa. This could work, but it coudl turn into a hot mess and complete waste of 5 gallons.
Other people suggested blending this with another beer. It would work if I keg my beers, because I could mix them in the kegs. But I bottle, so the whole process of mixing already existing beers with this new beer is just crazy.
So now I’m thinking I’ll brew a strong, chocolatey porter, and blend the two at the time of bottling. As it is, the porter is undrinkable. If I make a strong chocolatey half batch, I might be able to salvage it. I could make a full batch, but I don’t have a 10 gallon bucket in which to mix them. Actually, come to think of it, I do have a 10 gallon pot that could, in a pinch, be used as a bottling bucket. But that’s a lot of beer, and it’s still a roll of the dice whether this will turn out to be anything more than a colossal waste of time and ingredients.