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Old 06-15-2011, 08:28 PM   #1
mrkstel
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Default GF Chestnut/Oat beer

I've been away from the GF brewing for a while. But decided to give chestnuts another shot. A friend and I have been wondering about combining light roast chestnuts with GF quick oats. If you've tried chestnut beer before, you probably noticed that it ferments out pretty dry and thin. Our theory is that the oats will give it some body and head retention, while the chestnuts will lend flavor and color. We'll add additional fermentables in the form of BRS and minute rice. Here is what I have for a preliminary recipe:

5 gallon batch

5 lbs Chestnut chips, Light
2 lbs Brown Rice Syrup
1 lb GF Quick Oats
1 lb Minute Rice
1 tbl Amylase
0.5 oz Magnum (60 min)
1 oz Amarillo (5 min)
Whirlfloc
S-04 yeast

If my math is correct, that should give us a SG of 1.040 - 1.050 (depending on how well the chestnuts yield) and ~30 IBUs. I might also add some lemon and/or orange zest at flameout and make a summer beer out of it. I'm a little worried about the getting conversion using the amylase powder. I haven't had a lot of luck with it in the past. I'll probably do a 24 hour mash and have some honey or corn sugar sanding by in case I need to bump up the gravity. Thoughts?

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:54 PM   #2
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ive used chest nuts in 2 beers before. i had luck with the 24 hour mash with the addition of amalyase enzymes. on a further note, ive read it somewhere, but chestnuts are more similiar to fruit than nuts, in that they have a high amount of pectin in them so you will want to add pectic enzymes to your mash as well. when i added oats to the dark raost chestnuts, i got a really good flavor. besides that i cant really say much more, ive never used minute rice in a brew. and i think you have good thoughts about keeping sugar on hand. i believe that your best best would be to use the honey, as the corn sugar will dry things out. you may also want to put 6-8oz of maltodextrin in this as well, when i did my batch, i forwent the malto and the end product had a great flavor, but it had a really watery mouth feel.

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Old 06-21-2011, 06:20 PM   #3
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I brewed this recipe this past weekend. As expected, the starches didn't completely convert. However, I tried a new technique of mashing overnight in slow cookers on an external temp control. It didn't work as well as I had hoped. One pot (digital control) shut down sometime overnight and the mash cooled down to 120F. The other one overshot the temp and hit around 167F. So it's no wonder that I didn't get conversion. Anyway, I ended up with 6 gallons of wort from the chestnuts, rice and oats at 1.017. I added the two pounds of BRS as it was heating on the burner, boiled it down to 5.25 gallons and added 2 pounds of honey at 5 minutes. The hop additions are the same as described above. Gravity was 1.053 after cooling. It's not a pretty beer. But chestnuts usually have that muddy water look to them until the fermentation is finished and the pectic enzyme has been able to break down the pectin. I pulled a sample last night. SG was 1.012 and it actually tasted pretty good. Fermentation is winding down and I expect it to be finished in the next couple days. I'll give it at least two weeks to clean up flavors and clear, and then into the keg.

Dirtbag, you said that you have had some luck with the 24 hour mash? Are you simply mashing in a cooler or are you using some sort of RIMS that allows you to keep the temp constant for that long of a time? In the past, when I have tried it in a cooler it cools down to 120ish overnight. I gather that at that temp, no conversion is taking place, defeating the purpose of a long mash.

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Old 06-21-2011, 06:30 PM   #4
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For those keeping track, here is the actual recipe brewed:

5 gallon batch

5 lbs Chestnut chips, Light
1 lb GF Quick Oats
1 lb Minute Rice
1 tbl Amylase
2.5 lbs Brown Rice Syrup (60 min)
0.5 oz Magnum (60 min)
2 lbs honey (5 min)
1 oz Amarillo (5 min)
Whirlfloc
S-04 yeast
Pectic Enzyme (in fermentor)

The chestnuts, rice and oats were mashed for 12 hours in slow cookers with amylase. Though my temp control didn't work and temps were very inconsistent.

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Old 06-21-2011, 07:58 PM   #5
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looking at doing a Chestnut brew, keep us informed on how it turns out.

I was thinking of adding BRS also.

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Old 06-24-2011, 05:23 PM   #6
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per the 24hr mash. i bring my volume of water to a boil. then add it the grain in a igloo cooler. let it sit with lid off. the temp will come down from 212F to 160F. at that point add enzymes (i tend to double the suggested amounts). then leave it overnight. during the night the temp will SLOWLY drop to around 120F. the enzymatic processes will hold the temp around 120F. so this is one way and my preferred way, since im pretty lazy.

the enzymes will continue to work as long as they are not denatured. ie over heating them, or adding them when the mash is still to hot.


the other way to do this, and ive dont it in the pasty and its a bit more work. is to heat the mash water to ~10F+ your initial mash temp, so if your starting mash temp is 130F, heat the water to 140F. add it to your mash, but, dont fill it full, youll be adding more water. let it sit for half your desired mash time. then heat more water to hotter than your next mast temp. and add water to reach your second desired temp ~165F.

ie: start 4 gal at 140F, mash w/ added enzymes for 8hours, then add 1 gal of 180F water slowly to reach 165F and mash for another 8hours.

just remember that you have 2 different types of enzymes in a amalyse mix, alpha amalyase and beta amalyase, one has an optimal temp of 130F and the other has an optimal temp of 160F. too cold and they crap out, too hot and they denature. find a middle temp and they go slow but they still go.

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Old 08-02-2011, 08:28 PM   #7
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I thought I should probably give an update on this. Fermentation was completed at the 3 week mark but it was still pretty cloudy. So, I racked it to secondary with a little extra pectic enzyme. While racking, I gave it a taste. It was horrible!! Nasty bitterness. I've had this happen with a couple other chestnut batches and they never recovered. So, I put the secondary in the corner, planning on dumping it later. (I know, I know, never dump your beer. I expect Revvy in here momentarily to bitch-slap that further in to my skull) Well, I promptly forgot about it. Then, a few days ago (~six weeks since brewing) I needed an empty carboy and I remembered the beer in the corner. Luckily, before I dumped it down the drain I tasted it. It was pretty fricking good for a flat, warm GF beer. So, I kegged it and sent it over to my GF buddies fridge for carbing. He brought a sample over last night and it is really quite good. In fact, it taste a lot like an American Wheat/Rye that I have on tap right now. Add a slice of lemon or orange and it would be quite refreshing. There is still something in the finish that gives it a slightly cidery/soda pop quality. It's not unpleasant, it's just not quite beer. Overall though, it turned out to be our best chestnut attempt yet. I just wish it didn't cost $50+ for a four gallon batch.

So, in closing, if you are gluten intolerant, like American Wheat/Rye beers, and have some cash to burn, give this recipe a try. Just be sure to allow at least six weeks for aging before you even consider drinking this beer.

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Old 08-31-2011, 12:40 AM   #8
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mkrstel- My SWMBO has just been put on a gliadin-free diet. Chestnuts and oats are the only options her doctor approves. Reading that chestnut beer ferments so thin, oats were my first thought to add body as well. Your update doesn't mention how much the body was improved. What is your take on body/mouthfeel of this batch?

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Old 08-31-2011, 01:03 AM   #9
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This beer has been a fickle bitch. It was great for about two weeks. Thin, but overall pretty good. After I posted my last update, it continued to change and get more and more bitter. It is nearly undrinkable at this point. I'm going to try to add some lactose to sweeten it up and hopefully balance the bitter. But my hopes aren't too high at this point.

In regards to your question about adding body. To do it right, you would need to find a way to get the oats to mash and that would give the beer some good body. Short of that, I guess the best options are to use either some maltodextrine or lactose. I'll add some lactose tonight and post back with how it turns out.

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Old 08-31-2011, 01:19 AM   #10
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Thanks for the reply. Wouldn't amalyase work to convert the oats? Please do update when you more to share. I'm interested in whether this is worth a try.

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