It can be done! Haters be silenced
I always laugh at inexperienced gf beer drinkers who complain that gf beers don't taste like a traditional beer.
Firstly, gf beers as everyone here understands are made of entirely different grains. Do they complain when their chicken doesn't taste like steak?
Second, when speaking in terms of history, gf alcoholic beverages including beer have been produced long before wheat beers and we could make the argument that a traditional beer cannot be segregated to wheat based beers.
I am a long time gf beer appreciator and first time homebrewer. I recently made a blonde(isn't) ale from an Irish Red kit that I converted to gluten free. Aside from poor head retention ( which I think is attributed to uneven carbonation ) the beer tastes amazing. Its aromatic, a little rough around the edges which I like, and I prefer it over most commercial brews, except Greens! So it can be done and done well. I welcome anyone to post success and failure stories on this thread
Every one of my gluten free beers has been a success, though some have been better than others.
I think some people just expect gluten-free beer to taste identical to barley based beer (and try to modify it along those lines), instead of trying to work with the flavors in the GF beer to make the ingredients taste their best...
successes and failures
What a great topic! I too, prefer my GF homebrew to anything on the market here on the East Coast, with the exception of Green's. Green's Quest is my personal favorite.
My biggest failure to date was a Pumpkin Pie Spice IPA. It resulted in a drain pour, even after extended aging in hope of the flavor mellowing. I am 1 out of 3 on fruit beers as well. Frustrating.
My successes have been in the Pale Ale, IPA, and Pilsner styles. These make awesome beers; being gluten free is just an added bonus. I have also brewed several variations of a Blonde Ale that have turned out delicious.
My approach thus far has been to replicate sound brewing processes and sound recipe design. We as GF homebrewers are working in relatively unchartered territory. I try to be as sanitary as possible. I try to use as fresh of ingredients as possible. I have found that throwing an assortment of different ingredients in a batch just to hit a target SRM does work, but there is a risk of those ingredients losing synergy.
I have two temperature controlled freezers. I use one for ales, and one for lagers. Temperature control alone has resulted in much tastier and consistent results. Generally, I ferment my ales around 64F and my lagers around 55F. I bottle lager at 35F until they are consumed.
I use full boils now that I have a 15 gallon kettle. I use an immersion chiller. I pitch at fementation temperature. I routinely leave the beers in primary for upward of a month. I think GF beers benefit from some extra time on the yeast.
I use a stir plate for my yeast starters and try my best to pitch the right amount of cells. I aerate with pure O2 before pitching. I add gypsum to almost every batch, along with Irish Moss if I want really clear beer. I use diammonuim phosphate in my yeast staters and boils.
My point is that these are all small inputs, but they add up to solid results. The only thing different about my beers than traditional beers would be the main fermentable: sorghum. I personally like sorghum and thinks it makes fine GF beers. For some time I was partial mashing GF grains that I had malted myself. Truth be told, the end result was not worth the time and energy investment. Now I have been sticking to roasting GF grains and then steeping them in what will become a wort primarily of sorghum. I could not be happier with the results.
Sorry to be longwinded, but I agree 100% with the original poster.
Great feedback from my fellow explorers! I am certainly not as advanced in experience and equipment as you guys but I am slowly building my toolbox. I just finished a sort of orange infused blonde ale last night ....er this morning. Ill put the recipe up soon. It may fail miserably but I based it off of an adapted Irish red that I did last time. On the shopping list: a wort chiller. That batch took til 5 am to cool! I get up at 530 to go to work!
Well done! I would be interested in seeing the recipe.
For me at least, homebrewing is a journey. I have added some nice equipment over the past three years. Good beer can be made with the most basic of the basic equipment, but certain upgrades do save time and make the process equally enjoyable.
I am thankful for this forum. It is hard to put a price on the knowledge gleaned here.
Here is the recipe I did. Again its my first brew and I adapted the times to a gf recipe. I did however like the end product more than bards, dogfish, redbridge and maybe new grist....but never Greens!
1lb buckwheat groats
8oz of quinoa
(Toasted for 30min and steeped for 30min)
3lbs sorghum syrup (Austin homebrew)
1oz glacier (60min)
1 oz US Goldings (30min)
Nottingham ale yeast
Whirlfloc tablet (10min)
It is a bit bitter but has an earthy and slightly twangy character about it. Not chemical like redbridge thank God. Ill try post a pic soon.
Oh forgot, in carboy for 3 weeks and was ready in the bottle for 3-4 weeks
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