Raspberry brandy – differences in production
Due to the low sugar content in raspberries, only a small amount of alcohol is produced during fermentation, so that raspberry brandy is normally made from them. To do this, the raspberries are distilled together with a neutral-tasting alcohol.
The characteristic smell and taste of the raspberries must be discernible in a reasonable strength in the distillate. Not only raspberry brandy but other spirits as well must not be colored or flavored. The use of fruit with pits or cores is not permitted for spirits. A spirit must contain at least 37.5 % ABV. Only ethyl alcohol with an agricultural origin may be used for making spirits, for example Primasprit (neutral alcohol), however under no circumstances may any brandies or distillates from a licensed distillery be used. The fruit or plant parts must not be fermented, or only partly fermented. Since the last change to the law, spirits have to be identified as a “distillation product”.
- The most frequent method is maceration with subsequent distillation. To do this, the raspberries are marinated in alcohol for several days to weeks. The complete raspberry preparation including the berries is subsequently distilled once, and the distillate is adjusted to the desired drinking strength. As well as the amount of fruit per liter and maceration temperature, the steeping time and alcohol content during maceration also have an effect on the taste of the later raspberry brandy. In principle, the shorter the maceration time and the lower the alcohol content, the less raspberry taste the spirit will have. However, the longer the steeping time, the warmer the maceration and the higher the alcohol content, the more distinctly unwanted flavors will arise. This can also result in the spirits tasting bitter, because the high alcohol content will dissolve out the bitter substances from the seeds of the raspberries as well. In short, these factors among others determine whether the raspberry brandy is good or not. Normally an alcohol that is around 40 to 50% ABV is used for macerating, for a period mostly lasting several weeks.
- With better raspberry brandies, the infused raspberries are not simply boiled as well, but rather steamed – i.e. distilled in the vapor space – because over-boiling the fruit also gives rise to unwanted flavors. When infusing or macerating, the alcohol content us usually also around 40 to 50% ABV. No dilution takes place before distillation.
- The highest quality and hence most expensive raspberry brandies are made completely without prior maceration. i.e. the fresh or frozen raspberries are placed in the vapor space of the kettle for distillation with the unflavored alcohol below. The alcohol content also influences the result with this variant. It is true that high-proof alcohol is usually used here, but in a direct comparison, the taste of such spirits is slightly rougher and coarser than with wine strength, i.e. around 12% ABV, in the kettle. In this case, the raspberry flavor is the finest, both from the smell as well as the flavor perspective. Off-flavors hardly ever occur. When the raspberry brandy is being enjoyed, the fresh, pure raspberry flavor emerges most clearly with this method. Even painstakingly produced raspberry brandies (from fermented raspberry mashes) have no greater flavor.
Naturally, the quality of the alcohol that is used must not be forgotten for all three variants, because this affects the results the most. By the way, there is a rumor that wild raspberries produce better raspberry brandy than frozen berries from the supermarket. However, there is a risk when picking the fruit that it is not perfect, or that small insects or worms are gathered unintentionally as well.
We are also unable to confirm the assertion that the flavor of a raspberry brandy deteriorates over time due to oxidation, especially when bottles are half-empty. However, we make our spirits exclusively with vapors in the flavor basket and with 12% ABV, which is perhaps the reason for this.
So-called “superfood” has been offered in supermarkets for some time now, with not only exotic berries but also freeze-dried raspberries or even raspberry powder. Out of sheer curiosity, we distilled freeze-dried raspberries. Even we were quite astonished by the outstanding result.
Seminar and stills
It goes without saying that raspberry brandy will also always be made as part of our seminars and courses. We also make numerous variations, e.g. with ginger, lemon, mint and so on.
Are you looking for distilling equipment or stills for making raspberry brandy? The Piccolo or Vetro equipment are suitable above all for spirits makers who like to experiment. A distillation process takes 20-30 minutes, so you can try many experiments in a short amount of time with only a small amount of materials. The distillation will yield around 200 ml of raspberry brandy.
Spirits Starter Set
Basic equipment for the distillation and dilution of spirits.