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Old 12-15-2009, 04:52 AM   #1
fatduck
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Default Help me understand GF Brewing!

I don't post a lot, so let my preface this with this. Thanks!

Okay, here's the deal. I work at a homebrew shop, a big one. And lately I have been getting a lot of questions about GF brewing. The only thing I can do is shrug.

I know we have sorghum LME, but I don't know how to suggest its use. Hops are GF right? What about yeast, the liquid especially has some gluten in it, right?

Any advice info that would help me help people with gluten allergies would be great. I just want to be able to help everyone make better beer.

Again thanks to this community!

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Old 12-15-2009, 05:47 AM   #2
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The Sorghum Extract is basically used in place of regular Malt Extract. Yes hops are GF. As far as yeast, I think most, if not all, are under the limit for ppm to be GF (someone that knows for sure please chime in), however, SafAle yeast are completely gluten free, so I would suggest using those. I've heard using just Sorghum extract can end up being fairly sweet, so increasing bitterness and using GF grains for steeping is ideal, however it will still be decent beer without extra steeping grains.

Also, if people are brewing a GF beer for someone, and they have brewed other beers on the equipment, tell them to sanitize the crap out of EVERYTHING, even preboil. I don't know if that would reduce the gluten still on equipment or not, but it can't hurt. If someone was very allergic to gluten and wanted a GF beer, I wouldn't use used equipment for that. But people that are not highly allergic, it should be fine.

Hope that helps.

This site has some GF grains, although with shipping the price ends up being pretty steep.
http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free/

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Old 12-15-2009, 01:55 PM   #3
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Gluten basically comes from barley, wheat, oats, and rye. Gluten is measured in parts per million and anything under 20ppm is classified as "Gluten Free'. Some people are OK with this and some are much more sensitive. The only yeast I know of the is GF is the Danstar cause it says so on the packet.

I made a beer with just the sorghum extract and I thought that it came out rather well, much like a real German hef. My gluten intolerant friends thought that it was a really good GF beer too, much better than anything commercial she had bought. The thing to remember is that just as with a barley and wheat beer a sorghum beer will be a different. A good beer but different.

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Old 12-15-2009, 02:48 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fatduck View Post
I don't post a lot, so let my preface this with this. Thanks!

Okay, here's the deal. I work at a homebrew shop, a big one. And lately I have been getting a lot of questions about GF brewing. The only thing I can do is shrug.

I know we have sorghum LME, but I don't know how to suggest its use. Hops are GF right? What about yeast, the liquid especially has some gluten in it, right?

Any advice info that would help me help people with gluten allergies would be great. I just want to be able to help everyone make better beer.

Again thanks to this community!
Welcome! You could always point them in the direction of the Homebrewtalk forum

The other two guys made some good points and I'll probably reiterate: Us gluten free brewers cannot use the malt extract or the grains that other brewers are used to using- we have to use the sorghum syrup or a gluten free brown rice syrup. As far as specialty grains go, we going to have to make our own, which involves roasting/malting and roasting. Furthermore- as far as I have confirmed, the Danstar and Lallemand (sp?) dry yeasts are gluten free. One of the liquid yeast labs had 2 gluten free yeasts way back when but they have stopped producing them. I've heard you can use a liquid yeast and just harvest after primary, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with that.

A basic gluten free recipe would replace any malt extract with sorghum syrup and any specialty grains with gluten free grains that have been roasted. Use the same hop schedule or bump it up. I've noticed that some gluten free beers have a residual sorghum-y taste, but I'm working on getting rid of that. Some others might know...

Just some quick links

Gluten Free Beer: Good News & Bad News


Gluten Free Brewing Observations

Do you work perhaps at Midwest?
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Old 12-15-2009, 06:38 PM   #5
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Since you're a brewshop, here is system/flow-chart I would recommend you do to keep things easy.


Couple of points:
-Replace all LME with a combination of sorghum LME and rice/tapioca extract
--I would use a ratio of 3 to 1 for light-bodied beers, and 6 to 1 for heavier beers...fudge the numbers in between.
-Specialty grain equivalents are not set in stone, just based on my empirical testing.
-Hops are gluten free
-Liquid Yeast vs. Dry Yeast argument is still up for debate. For a total newb or somebody making it for a friend give them dry yeast, for a bit more experienced brewers, let them make the choice themselves.

PS
I made this chart myself using Lucidchart, feel free to let me know if you think there are any edits it needs. But I think this could serve as a great starting point for new GF Brewers. Are you allowed to request something of your own to be made sticky?

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Old 12-15-2009, 08:18 PM   #6
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One of the liquid yeast labs had 2 gluten free yeasts way back when but they have stopped producing them.

Do you work perhaps at Midwest?
You are thinking of Wyeast. And yes, now no Wyeast yeasts are considered GF. White labs are below the european standard for GF (there isn't an American one), as described in the above flow chart.

And I am going with Northern Brewer.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:18 AM   #7
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I've noticed that some gluten free beers have a residual sorghum-y taste, but I'm working on getting rid of that. Some others might know...
I'm sorry I just don't see any reason to do that. Sure it tastes different than a barley beer, but it is still beer. Just a little different flavor. I say that we hold sorghum based beer on the same level as others and embrace the flavor differences, not try to hide them.
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Old 12-16-2009, 01:23 AM   #8
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It's all good. I don't mind the flavor but I'd like to get rid of it if it's possible. Maybe some people like it but I could do without it.

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Old 12-16-2009, 03:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisbarnes5000 View Post
I'm sorry I just don't see any reason to do that. Sure it tastes different than a barley beer, but it is still beer. Just a little different flavor. I say that we hold sorghum based beer on the same level as others and embrace the flavor differences, not try to hide them.
Most people who have had barley based beer before don't like sorghum flavor, but those who haven't like it fine. That is why you find most people trying to disguise it.

There is something to be said for sorghum on it's own, but it is mostly used to get celiac disease-having folk back to drinking as 'normal' of beer as possible. I don't think anyone here will fault you for making sorghum beer that tastes like sorghum, but for many the challenge is to make barley-tasting beer without barley.
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Old 12-16-2009, 04:20 PM   #10
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Have a look at my post here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/can...92/index3.html

This is my first G/F batch, nothing much to it, and it is delicious. Beer is a "big tent" - there is enough variation in (excuse the term) "normal" beers that there is no compelling need to worry about whether sorghum based beers taste like them or not. Mine stands on its own, and there was nothing all that special about my process or recipe. The key has been to be patient (where have I heard that before) and let it age. The citrus flavor that was very prominent early on faded away first, and the somewhat bitter aftertaste is mostly gone also, leaving only a slightly bitter savor (not a bad thing).

There is no real need, in my opinion, to make special allowances for sorghum taste or worry much about whether it tastes like a barley based beer. In my opinion, it stands just fine on its own.

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