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Old 01-17-2013, 01:23 AM   #1
garrettgordon14
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Default Gluten Free, Grain Free, Paleo Beer

Hey everybody, I'm new to this site, although I brewed beer a few times the last few years. Anyway I have started Crossfit and they emphasize living the "Paleo Lifestyle." It has gained a lot of popularity the last few years especially in the Crossfit subgroup. Anyway, the deal behind it is to basically eat only what our great ancestors ate; so, meat, fruits/veggies, roots, nuts etc.. There is no dairy, no grains, no legumes and no processed foods. I know things like mead, some wines, and cider are considered Paleo because they don't use the above ingredients but in order for a beer to be a beer they really need grains. My quandry is to make a "beer" that doesn't use grains in the brewing process. So I could use things like pumpkin, nuts, squash, or sweet potatoes or any type of fruit in the brewing process but no grains. Can anybody help me out to create a killer recipe that will fly as Paleo? And I I'm not interested in making a cider or lambic or wine, I want a beer I can guzzle down with my friends and they won't know the difference. Help me out

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Old 01-17-2013, 05:09 AM   #2
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I am by no means an expert, but I don't think you can have your cake and eat it too, here. Beer, by definition, is made from cereal grains.

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Old 01-17-2013, 06:21 AM   #3
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Would yr ancestors eat hops? I guess u would have to brew with herbs for bittering...again...what herbs would they have typically eaten? I think u have no chance of creating a bear that your friends wouldn't know the difference.

I do have a suggestion...y not keep/brew a few grain beers for yr grain eating friends

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:03 AM   #4
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Chestnuts + enzymes?

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Old 01-17-2013, 11:05 AM   #5
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What about a honey beer?

Is quinoa or sorghum paleo? As I think they're of the grass variety? Oh and sweet potato.

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Old 01-17-2013, 12:19 PM   #6
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Yes, the early cavemen of Europe loved their sweet potato and squash soups...

The only thing I can really see you making is a mead type drink using some herbs instead of hops. And also using natural fermentation as hunter gatherers wouldn't have had access to packet yeast. I have just made a simple mead using orange peal and rosemary. Since they didn't have pectolase, you would have to wait for it all to settle naturally too. Or just leave out the orange peal.

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Old 01-17-2013, 07:37 PM   #7
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If you want to be paleo, and only eat things your ancestors could have made, that definitely precludes the use of any added enzymes, any commercially-raised yeast, any industrially-processed fruit juice, any pelletized hops, any chemical sanitizers, any glass, metal, or plastic fermentation vessels, or...well, I guess that's enough limitations to start with!

Basically what you're going to need to do is use a combination of raw honey and very ripe LOCAL, ORGANIC fruit for your fermentables. You'll want a good size ceramic cooking vessel, which will be your kettle and your fermenter. You'll boil water in the vessel directly to sanitize, along with generous helpings of some antimicrobial herbs (hops are fine, go with an old noble variety like Hallertau or Saaz, or something wild if you can find it) then let cool down to room temperature, and dump in several pounds of pressed fruit juice and/or honey. I recommend using bananas. Some sweet potato roasted over a flame (do NOT use an oven, caveman didn't have those) could be added, too--but squished up as best you can. Let it sit for about four or five days; add the pulp of the pressed fruit, skin included, if the fermentation doesn't start within a day or two. Boil a ladle to sanitize it, and ladle out your beer into your drinking gourds; it will be thick, sweet, and extremely nutritious. But it will not even remotely resemble the clear fizzy stuff that passes for beer these days.

Of course, if you're not really paleo, and are just "grain, dairy, and legume-free", then go ahead and brew like a regular brewer, and make a chestnut beer. Go here, and sub out corn sugar for cane sugar, date sugar, honey, or beet sugar. Cheers!

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Old 01-17-2013, 08:17 PM   #8
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Garrettgordon14, I am a crossiftter, and I eat paleo as well. The short answer is no, I haven't seen anything on this board that is truly paleo, mostly because alcohol itself isn't paleo, and neither are the vast majority of ingredients. The closest you'll come to it is a combination of chestnuts and corn sugar. Check out this recipe: http://www.chestnuttrails.com/pages/chestnut-beer (without the corn sugar, you'd get very little fermentable out of the chestnuts, so it's necessary). I've made this, with some alterations, and I felt fine afterwards, and it tasted awesome.

Chestnuts are paleo, as are hops and some yeasts. Obviously, corn isn't paleo, and neither is sugar, but it's not going to have the nasty effect that other grains will since it's so refined. (Think white rice vs. brown rice) There's also the other additive ingredients, which by any definition wouldn't be paleo, but it's really just a small amount of enzymes in a 5 gallon batch, so not a big deal.

So, while no beer you make or buy will be paleo, and certainly not in "guzzling" proportions, you can minimize the harm with chestnuts and a very refined sugar as an alternate source of fermentables.

Also, learn to love apfelwein. It's easy, delicious, and as close to paleo as you're going to get with an alcoholic beverage.

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:12 AM   #9
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While I generally consider paleo as being in the same class of pseudo-science fad diets as raw, blood type, and Zone, it's a big improvement over the standard American diet, and rather than rudely insult people who choose to follow it, I'd prefer to encourge civil discussion and debate. So GarageDweller, kindly take your rudeness back to the garage.

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Old 01-18-2013, 12:30 AM   #10
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This is really ironic, today I got asked to contribute to a Detroit Paleo facebook group, not because I keep Paleo, which I really don't, but because I cook a lot of stuff that I guess would fit the lifestyle. And they're looking for people who can show people that cooking can be effortless. The person who asked be was a FB friend of a friend, who noticed that I've started to cure my own meats, cook a lot of wild game, and cook "gourmet" but effortless and quick. I'd never heard of Paleo til she approached me. I agree with igliashon that it's a lot like other faddish diets, BUT is still a lot better than most other ways people eat.

I have noticed in the last couple of days that a lot of Paleo people still drink alcohol (including the woman who hosts the PaleoDetroit group) and I get the impression that diy aesthetic of homebrewers does appeal to them.

I'll ask around and see if there's any paleo homebrewers around, and what they do.

But really, how do we know that paleothic people didn't drink fermented grain based beverages. Wild grains have existed long before they were cultivated, so how do the proponents of this diet know that they didn't drink fermented barley based beverages?

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