Framboise is the name for a Belgian lambic beer that has been infused with raspberries [it literally translates to raspberries in french].  Framboise is a fantastic beverage – sadly, a fantastically mistaken one;  too often, Framboise conjures up thoughts of  cloyingly sweet Lindemans.  Rather, a traditional Framboise, such as Cantillon Rosé De Gambrinus, infuses the delightful funky and tart sensations of a Lambic with a dry raspberry flavor.

Similar to the way Krieks (cherries) are made, Framboise is made by adding fruit post-fermentation and resting for 3-6 months.  The added sugars from the fruit are fermented out, leaving a bright raspberry taste -without much of the sweetness.  While the easy-to-find Lindemans actually uses raspberry juice and sugar to flavor/sweeten, a traditional Framboise simply adds the freshest berries – at 2-3 lbs per gallon.  According to Guinard [1], Cantillon uses 25% Cherries, 75% Raspberries and .05% Vanilla.  I plan on playing around adding some Kriek to my Framboise to see what sort of effects I get.

You can tell which one I have a preference for!  While I used to enjoy a small amount of the sweeter style, my palate has changed towards the more savory side of the spectrum the last few years in both food and beverage.  I don’t want anyone to think I’m bad-mouthing Lindemans, (they won a gold medal in the US Open Beer under Belgian Lambic category) but those of you who know me understand that a) I don’t like cutting corners and b) I enjoy making things using traditional methods when trying to stick to a style.

For my Framboise, I took my 100% Lambic and aged it on 3 lbs of raspberries per gallon.  This is slightly heavy, but I love raspberries and figure I can always cut it later with more lambic, either versions 1, 2 or 3.  I aged in my 10-gallon keg a Framboise from Lambic V1, then 5 gallons each of Framboise and Kriek from Lambic V2.  The blend is TBD.  I sourced my raspberries from the local Whole Foods, as they were actually the cheapest, and I wanted something with the least amount of processing.  I put the berries in, then racked beer until the keg was full.

Racking onto the raspberries.

Racking onto the raspberries.

One thing I didn’t anticipate was the expansion of the raspberries.  It was a mistake on my part, I’ve made fruit beers before and are always amazed how much the fruit inflates – I was just too excited this time.  Anyhow, when purging the keg, several times I had beer/fruit come out – not so good.  What I recommend for the beginner (or anyone who ever ferments in a keg) is to hook up a blowoff tube via the “gas out” so there’s never any pressure build up.

I decided to try some as it stands now. I’m working on reading more about blending so I haven’t bottled just yet and when I went to rack off a sample, I noticed the fruit covered in a nice pellicle – the bugs are still at work!  The beer is delightful, and in fact, I cut it with some with straight Lambic because the raspberry flavor was still so overpowering.  I’m going to hold off on a final evaluation of this until it is blended and will check back in as it progresses.

Framboise tasting #1

Framboise tasting #1

Source:  [1] Lambic (Classic Beer Style) Paperback by Jean Guinard  (1990)


3 thoughts on “Framboise

  1. Great post, I like the idea of going high on the fruit ratio and then blending it down to taste if need be. Should be a good way to get a consistent product year in and year out as well.

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