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Old 08-22-2011, 09:16 PM   #1
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Default First Time GF brewing tonight

So I've got a friend who needs Gluten Free. Her birthday is coming up and this is my present to her. I got this kit:
http://www.homebrewers.com/product/A...-Beer-Kit.html
it arrived this past weekend. going to be doing it up tonight.

Looks pretty straight forward. Is there anything I need to take into consideration that is different from regular brewing? I've got an ale pail that hasn't been used, so there will be no cross contamination or anything. not sure if thats something i need to worry about in the future. if so, i can just keep this one strictly for GF.

also, i've heard from regular beer drinkers who have brewed GF that the taste is horrible (please don't bash me, i'm new to this GF stuff) to a beer drinker, but when thats all you can have, its better than nothing. Is there anything I can do to this kit that will make it more enjoyable? While she has to be GF, i don't want her to have to choke it down, so if i can make this kit enjoyable with just a few modifications, that would be ideal.

Thanks a lot.

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Old 08-22-2011, 09:33 PM   #2
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The hops are cascade for 60, liberty for 5. If that makes a difference

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Old 08-23-2011, 01:46 AM   #3
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As a first time, I'd probably leave as is, or possibly use a bit of gelatin late in the primary (it's not really confirmed what it does to the flavor though).

Some people find the sorghum flavor less palatable than others. Some options would be to use less sorghum and instead use a bit of brown rice syrup (or solids).

While it's not necessary to use separate items, as long as you're following safe sanitation procedures, it's definitely more comforting to celiac people to know it's processed on items that do not come into contact with gluten.

At least you're trying something gluten free as a birthday effort, no matter what you two may think of the initial flavor, and you can use this as a starting step along with the rest of us to keep coming up with more ideas to attempt to work on flavor.

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Primary: Sake
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Waiting to be kegged, Italian Primitivo
Kegged&Ready: GF Orange&Coriander, GF Honey Lager, GF chocolate ale, GF English ale, Island mist (zinfandel), Island mist (cbry malbec).
Bottled: Infected Mead, Dry Hard ciders, Accidental Sorghumwine, various unnamed.

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Old 08-23-2011, 02:13 AM   #4
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Thanks! Ended up going to the LHBS and picking up new everything (primary, carboy for future GF w/ additions, new spoon, and a kettle). Had a gift certificate. So if she likes it, I can keep this stuff strictly for GF. If she doesn't after a few batches, I'll put it into my normal rotation.

Since there is sorghum AND honey, I thought lemon zest might be a good addition. But left this batch as is. Will do more research and stuff before the next batch.

This was kind of a spur of the moment decision (as far as not really researching it goes) as she has made mention of it when she learned I was brewing, and decided it'd be cool to try it and give it to her for her bday.

It's 5 weeks out. So after 2 weeks in fermentor, I'll take a reading, let it sit a few days, and get it bottled by week 3. That'll give it 2.5 weeks to carb/condition before I give it to her (her bday is in the middle of the week, so if the party is on the weekend I'll be golden). Worse case I tell her to let it sit another week before drinking.

If she hates it, I'll get her to give me the bottles and I'll do a woodchuck.

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Old 08-23-2011, 03:14 AM   #5
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Don't stop if she hates it. You can help us find other ways of making it better. I mean, if she was never a beer drinker in the first place, you might look at doing something else, but if you know that she drank beer beforehand, try other beers.
I like ales, but others I know like a lighter bodied lager for example. You can do half sorghum, half rice syrup, entirely rice syrup, honey additions, some grain amendments, molasses, cocoa powder... any number of things.

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Primary: Sake
Secondary: GF Czech Lager
Waiting to be kegged, Italian Primitivo
Kegged&Ready: GF Orange&Coriander, GF Honey Lager, GF chocolate ale, GF English ale, Island mist (zinfandel), Island mist (cbry malbec).
Bottled: Infected Mead, Dry Hard ciders, Accidental Sorghumwine, various unnamed.

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Old 08-23-2011, 12:17 PM   #6
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Using unflavored gelatin won't affect flavor, it will just make the beer clearer.

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Old 08-23-2011, 02:55 PM   #7
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I'm not entirely sure about that sly. Gelatin, as well as some other clarifiers, reacts with tannin. Unfortunately the term tannin is a generic overview of many, many phenolic compounds. The phenolic compounds aka tannins, are different from grain to grain. I've mentioned before that barley tannins are different than sorghum tannins, and I'm wondering (but don't have literature or the capability to test) if those sorghum tannins are what's causing the flavor tang that we consider metallic. Metallic and other flavors, including tart, bitter desired flavors, are formed by some tannins, and it's why sorghum is a good growing crop. Birds don't like some of these compounds.

If it's true that gelatin is interacting with these particular tannins (but unfortunately all tannins) then it may be possible to reduce the sorghum "tang", but there may be amounts where it also reduces desired qualities, such as body.

I've done some unscientific side by side tests gelatin vs ungelatin brews and have been feeling that the tang is less in gelatinized brews. But again, it's just me and it's not a full quantitative test, and any information should be its own post.

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Primary: Sake
Secondary: GF Czech Lager
Waiting to be kegged, Italian Primitivo
Kegged&Ready: GF Orange&Coriander, GF Honey Lager, GF chocolate ale, GF English ale, Island mist (zinfandel), Island mist (cbry malbec).
Bottled: Infected Mead, Dry Hard ciders, Accidental Sorghumwine, various unnamed.

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Old 08-23-2011, 03:03 PM   #8
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Huh, that's pretty nifty. I've never done a side by side myself so I've never really noticed. Most of my beers don't need it so I use it infrequently.

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Old 09-16-2011, 02:40 AM   #9
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Thought I would bump this back up to the top.

I ended up brewing this on the 22nd. Don't have my notes with me, so I can't speak to what the OG was. Ended up sticking to the recipe. Will post the recipe tomorrow, but it was pretty straightforward. I took gravity readings and tasted it for the first time last night after 27 days in primary. I plan on bottling on Saturday.

As far as taste is concerned, it wasn't near as bad as i was expecting. In fact, I was pleasantly surprised...it wasn't bad at all. I'm actually pretty happy with it, and look forward to giving it to her. At this point, I will highly recommend this kit.

Since its for a friends birthday, I'm going to label at least some of the beers. While I was at work today, I started working on the label. Didn't get very far, because I couldn't come up with a name until about 5 minutes ago. Sorry for the quality of the pic. This is a cell phone picture of a print out of the label for sizing purposes. When it is finished I'll post up a good file. A little about the label and the name. She has this cat and a swirl design tattooed on her ankle. I touched it up a lot (still need to fine tune it, wanted to see how it would look before i invested a lot of time) and the colors of the label itself, and the font when it gets there, are her favorite colors. The swirl design (not there yet) that is next to the cat in the tattoo is going to be kind of ghosted into the background. I was facebook stalking her tonight trying to come up with a good name for the beer (she has NO idea we are doing this) and came across a new tattoo she got. Imagine. So I'm calling it "Imagine Ale" since she'll be imagining that its a gluten free regular beer, and its not "beer beer" (NO OFFENSE).

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Old 09-16-2011, 04:12 PM   #10
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I didnt see this originally...but just as some support for GF beer, the flavor in other parts of the world is just beer.

It's not necessarily any worse or better than normal beer, but it is certainly different! Most people just dont like it because they expect the taste of barley beer, so just dont make the same mistake.

As for your beer, it sounds like it will be pretty good, and the label is a winner. I think she will like it all just fine. Its amazing what the fact that you made it can do to the taste, just ask an experienced brewer who has tried a beer they made early on that they thought was good at the time.

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