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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Gluten Free Brewing > Experienced with gluten problems, confused beer beginner
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:22 AM   #1
KevinM
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Default Experienced with gluten problems, confused beer beginner

First off, I'd like to thank all of you for even having this section of the forum, it's been incredibly helpful.

I had just begun to get into tasting decent beer when I found out that I had gluten reactions so I have trouble with the different styles. Pre-Gluten Free, I prefered reds and stouts, as far as I knew, and pretty much just hit one microbrewery a month to go for a sample set to try to find what I liked, what I didn't like, and the differences between them. I then had to stop, only drinking new grist or redbridge and not finding either really to my taste, recently a resturant (Jolly Pumpkin) here offered a gluten free beer (Belgian style IPA?) comprised of sorghum, rice, tapioca and chestnut. I also found that the local supply shop carried sorghum syrup and the safale/saflagers line of gluten free yeasts.

I'd like to attempt some gluten free styles, and I've been reading through the wealth of information both in the threads and the wiki, but I'm having trouble finding where a good starting point would be. Someone had suggested to create a simple ...ESB..? with WGV, or WVG... Golding hops and the Saf-ale T-58. And I'm trying that, though I think I diluted it too much and wound up with a lower OG that I needed, perhaps because I scaled down the recipe to create a gallon at a time and somehow added too much water. At this point, it's been bottled for over a week, and while alcoholic, it's lacking taste, body and enough carbonation, so I'm just using it for cooking.

Now, I'm having trouble with a great deal of the style terminology, and while I'd like to try to make the chocolate-coffee stout at some point, I'd like to start off easy and practice with one style that comes close to something I'd like to drink. Would there be any recommendations? You'll probably have to explain it to me pretty slowly.

I'm also wondering about both DKeshner and Lcasanova, how did you begin your gluten free brewing? Was it starting off gluten free or did you have prior experience to know what you were aiming for?

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Old 09-22-2010, 01:44 AM   #2
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I started by diving right into it. Okay, that's a lie, I started by making cider first and once I got used to the sanitation and cleaning and bottling I decided to give gluten free beer a shot. That said, gluten free beer is the only kind of beer I have ever brewed, I have no experience with brewing glutenous beer- DKershner does though. But I did a small test batch and figured- well that wasn't too hard. So I came up with the recipe for my Brown Ale and went on to other styles from there. Some have been great, others not so great.

Honestly, I was aiming for a beer that was drinkable and wasn't so obviously gluten free. I think my brown ale and pumpkin ales have done that and to some extent the double IPA and the blood orange hefe. That said, I've gotten plenty of ideas from others on here and some ideas from regular beers and misc posts in HBT.

My advice to you- look through the gluten free forum to see if there is a recipe for a style you would like to brew and give it a shot. Most recently I brewed an experimental Blonde and I am going to brew up another Pumpkin Ale this weekend.

Welcome aboard!

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Old 09-22-2010, 01:45 AM   #3
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Oh- I haven't tried the whole chestnut thing either. It seems pretty expensive for those chips and a 12 or 24 hour mash (I don't remember what it is) just isn't going to work for me. But it seems like some people like that kind of beer.

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Old 09-22-2010, 03:22 AM   #4
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I am just about to brew a Gluten free beer, I don't have a problem but my boss does. I have over 100 all grain batches under my belt.
I first plan to start with white sorghum extract, I would try to make pale ale type recipe with Notingham dry yeast. I need to flavor the beer some how to take the full Sorghum flavor down a notch. My favorite non-gluten adjunct is molasses it makes a great beer complement flavor. I probably will find some other items to drive up the complexity a little bit to. If you look at all the non-gluten beer recipes they are all more complex recipes with multi-flavors to hide the difference between between Sorghum and Malt as the base of the beer. Your options to hide the Sorghum is Yeast, hops or adjuncts. There not many choices for G-F yeasts, and they don't include the yeast with the big flavor profiles, like hefe, belgians or bugs so that's out of the question. That leaves high IPA hops and other additions with big flavor additions.

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Old 09-23-2010, 03:12 AM   #5
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I did try molasses in my second batch, just a ounce in a gallon batch. It seemed to give the beer a different flavor that my tester didn't like. I have another 4 gallons going of some test batches using a saflager yeast and mount hood hops. I'll be attempting to bottle 2 of those gallons at the end of this weekend with the other 2 gallons later on. I really upped the hops on the second set since I wasn't paying attention, so we'll see what happens with that.
Like you said Yodalegomaster, all the more complex recipes have multiple flavors of which I don't understand on a personal level what they do yet. Sorghum, molasses and brown rice syrup seem to be the main and I've added some brown rice syrup solids to my 3rd and 4th gallon that I have going so I'll find out a bit more about the differences between them as I taste.
Thanks for the link Lcasanova. I was wondering a bit about the steeped gluten free grains and toasting them vs the enzymatic mash. I think my main problem is understanding styles and what they're expected to be like. Despite reading about them, I just am not aware of them as I'd like, especially since I can't go, this style tastes like this. I thought I'd start with beer before cider or mead. All my prior fermentation has to do with yogurt and kefir.
I'll probably be doing another T-58/WVG since I had asked about it at the store. But I'll see if I can figure the brown ale next.

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Old 09-23-2010, 03:29 AM   #6
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There's no problem starting out simple then adding additional ingredients to see what they add and if you like it. As far as styles go, I don't know a whole LOT about all of them but I just follow the general guidelines like Gravity, IBU's, and Color to start then by my experience with them.

For grains you'll want to look around the GF forum for advice on that. Steeping roasted grains is a good way to start before you get into malting and/or enzymatic mashes- I haven't messed around with those yet myself- DKershner might be able to shed some theoretical advice on that (I don't think he's done a GF one either).

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Old 09-23-2010, 04:32 PM   #7
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I had been brewing for about 4 years before I ever tried to make a gluten free beer. Had I known they existed, I would've done it a lot sooner.

It sounds like you have gotten the basics of the brew process down, and you are ready to move on to the more advanced ingredients we use around here. At the current time, we have some good recipes around here, but I am searching for a good base to move into more advanced flavors. If you would like our help making a red or a stout, just let us know. I made a stout in the past couple weeks and am still in the ferment process with. So, it could come out well, or not so well.

As for "x style tastes like y", try the BJCP Style Guidelines. They are a homebrewing association that just does exactly what you asked.

When it comes to enzymes in mashes, only chestnuts have been tried out fully around here. Anything else would be you pioneering the way. I am looking for an easier way to go about making this beer than going all grain for the time being, but I am sure I will get there eventually. If you have any specific questions on mashing though, ask, because several people have tried it, and I am a well-versed all grain brewer, just not GF.

Anyway, we are here to help, just let us know what you want to accomplish. We try to describe the best we can what each ingredient adds to a beer, but we aren't really pros at this either. For instance, my GF and I think brown rice syrup adds a bisquick, bready flavor that quickly fades to a faint flavor in a beer.

Oh, and mead is a pain in the ass, get good at wine before you move to mead.

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Old 09-23-2010, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DKershner View Post
When it comes to enzymes in mashes, only chestnuts have been tried out fully around here. Anything else would be you pioneering the way. I am looking for an easier way to go about making this beer than going all grain for the time being, but I am sure I will get there eventually. If you have any specific questions on mashing though, ask, because several people have tried it, and I am a well-versed all grain brewer, just not GF.


Oh, and mead is a pain in the ass, get good at wine before you move to mead.
before i started brewing, ive got 10 5-6 gal batches under my belt, i read The complete joy of homebrewing by charles papazian. its all glutenous though, but the processes is there,


i find enzymatic mashes arent all that hard. ive figured out 3 things that make the process managable for the GF brewed. ive done this with 2 chestnut batches and 4 quinoa batches.

1st is the mash tun. i use a 5 gal igloo watercooler, like sport teams use, replace the stupid spigot on it witha ball valve. for one the spigot is a pain to hold down for as long as its going to take to sparge, and the ball valve is much much easier to clean and sanitize. (i also have an fitting to screw on to the ball valve thats attached to a bottling thief, makes bottling a hell of a lot easier. siphon beer from secondary to watercooler with priming sugar and then just let gravity do the rest.

second, for GF, false bottoms are a pain in the A$$. with the size of most GF grains, all they do is get stuck and piss me off. ive tossed it over my shoulder and use a large nylon grain bag instead. so line the mash tun with the grain bag put a layer of rice hulls about 2 in think on the bottom, toss grain on top of that, add water at desired temp, add amaylase enzyme ( mine is from baker and crosby) and pectinase enzyme ( LBHS).
when you sparge and it gets stuck, simply re-adjust the grain bag until flow is re-established.

home malting ( at least with quinoa) is nearly idiot proof. all about that ive posted here http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/qui...52/index2.html.


for mead. i dont find it hard at all, champange yeast, yeast nutrients (or rasins) honey, and water.

add water honey and yeast nutrients ( boil water first and let it cool) together in a jug, shake the S*** out of it for 5-10 minutes to airate it. pitch the yeast and ferment, rack in a week, rack again.
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Old 09-23-2010, 06:07 PM   #9
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for mead. i dont find it hard at all, champange yeast, yeast nutrients (or rasins) honey, and water.
Well, I guess hard isn't the right word, but nothing in brewing is particularly hard to do, just hard to perfect.

Honey is just so devoid of nutrients that it makes it the hardest ferment to accomplish well. I would call it slightly harder than a big beer with the multiple nutrient additions.
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Old 09-23-2010, 09:45 PM   #10
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Yup. Perfection is hard. But we need to a
start somewhere to reach perfection

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