We have received requests to brew a raw ale over the years. In essence, this type of beer is mashed but not boiled. After the mash is over, the wort is chilled to the proper temperature and then fermented. After getting a No-Boil Beer kit, I wanted to see if I could follow the process to experience the resulting beer. After brewing one Mistral SMaSH beer, I decided to do another one in raw ale form. Check out this video that shows them off side by side to get a good sense of the no boil process effect on a beer.
Our Raw Ale Thoughts
As beer fans, this style of beer is intriguing. Mike was taken aback by the lack of contamination in the beer. Without boiling the wort, there is a high risk for other microbes to join the fermentation fun. From what he could perceive, the beer was free phenol or medicinal flavors. He also noted that the beer was not acidic at this point either; which would have been another sign of contamination.
In the aroma, there was a significant amount of cut grass/hay. The hop aroma that is present in the boiled version of this beer was not apparent.
For the flavor, it was a combination of grass, herbs, and mint, which was detected in the aroma. The mouthfeel felt about the same as the boiled beer. Again, none of the fruity hop flavors were present in the raw ale. Strangely, none of the fruity oils from the dry hopping were present in the no-boil version. Mike suspects that all the extra protein in the beer from the no-boil process may have bound up some of those oils and they settled our after fermentation was completed.
To wrap up, I think raw ale is an interesting concept and will take more experimentation to get right. I drank a few sips and said, “Interesting.” After that, I didn’t want any more. Mike found it to be more appealing. He found it had saison-like qualities and wanted to see if this beer would change over time. Well, if you have the time, I have the beer.
Let us know about your Raw Ale thoughts. It was a worthy experiment but for my money, I am going to still with the boiling.