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Old 08-22-2013, 03:58 AM   #1
Inkguy
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Just curious (apologies if this has been covered before): why do recipes from sorghum manufacturers seem to caution on using high alpha hops for bittering? I am a huge IPA fan, but have only brewer a single GF beer - using Tettnang abd Saphir. And, since it is, for all intents and purposes, an extract beer - sorghum syrup, honey, BRS - why wouldn't an ounce of Columbus/Magnum/Citra be different than with barley?
Personally I find most people's hop tolerance far lower than mine, so I wouldn't hesitate to just dump in my normal amount (or more because of the higher wort gravity), but I have made enough bad batches in the last 15 years that I don't want to just make it my way without checking with the minds on here with far more GF experience.
BTW that GF lager was a huge hit. I also live in Miller Lite country, so I'll take it for what it's worth!!

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Old 08-22-2013, 08:53 PM   #2
KevinM
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I think it has to do with sorghum's sour, bitter, metallic, citrus flavor. Ipa and apas try to mask it by trying to overpower this with hop bitterness. I and I think others have felt that the flavors wind up clashing, and even enhancing the metallic taste.
However, I also feel that the citrus flavor of certain varieties works better to focus the citrus flavor.

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Old 08-22-2013, 09:40 PM   #3
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Having brewed with sorghum extract, rice extract, enzyme-mashed unmalted grains like millet and buckwheat, and most recently malted millet, I've got to say that I think there's more going on than just sorghum's flavor. Comparing beers I've made with malted millet vs. unmalted, I notice a big difference in hop character. I know in the boil the flavor and aroma components of hops interact with proteins in the wort, and I know malting changes the protein makeup of the grain (and presumably the sort of proteins that end up in the wort), so I hypothesize that depending on the grain and whether or not it's been malted, you might end up with a very different profile of hop flavor and aroma compounds even from the exact same hops. It seems to be the case that sorghum (and really any unmalted grain) gets much stronger citrusy flavors out of the hops; go nuts with cascade, and you get a beer that tastes like grapefruit soda, for instance. This is definitely NOT the case with malted millet--rather than that huge grapefruit flavor, I seem to get a rounder, softer, smoother hop character that's closer to what one expects from a barley beer.

In any case, the IPAs I've made with extract or unmalted grains are still plenty tasty, they just have a very different flavor profile than what you'd expect. Maltodextrin really helps balance the body, so go crazy with it.

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Old 08-22-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
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Got it. Thanks.
I am thinking my APA will look like this:
4# sorghum syrup
1.3# BRS (21oz jar)
1# brown sugar
.5# maltodextrin

As for hops, I guess .5 oz Magnum or Columbus @ 60
a blend of Columbus/Cascade/Centennial @15 and 5 (or 0)
dry hop with said blend
I'd use .75 ounces at each boil addition and 1.5 to dry hop (1oz each, total)

Any reason this wouldn't work?
I'm trying to work more GF into my brew schedule, on principal. My wife is completely gluten intolerant, but can't really handle yeast either, so I'm basically brewing for myself, but I'd like to have at least 1 or 2 batches for her. I'm not too sure I'll venture too far beyond what's available, however, so my recipes would be pretty basic.

IS saison a style that takes to GF? What little experience I have drinking them, it seems fairly well suited - dry, hoppy, fruity.

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Old 08-23-2013, 09:36 PM   #5
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That recipe should be just fine. I presume that's a 3-gallon recipe? I've done very similar brews that turned out very nicely.

Saisons are great for GF brewing. The best yeasts that are 100% GF are Safbrew T-58, Danstar Belle Saison, and Mangrove Jack's Belgian strain. The latter two will attenuate like CRAAAAAZY, so bear that in mind. Belle Saison also creates a very intense krausen, it's the only yeast I've ever needed a blow-off tube for (even with lots of headspace in the carboy), that puppy really blows up! The Mangrove Jack's is probably my fave, though, as it has a more pronounced fruity/spice flavor and ferments quicker and with less krausen.

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Old 08-24-2013, 10:07 PM   #6
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OK. Thanks for the tips!
That recipe was 5 gallons actually, with OG around 55.
Are those Saison yeasts dry or liquid, and is there and reason not to use White Labs?
Also, I'll have to figure out a good GF saison recipe, as the one I was looking at - from a brewery here - has not only barley, but wheat and rye, as well as oats; a GF nightmare! But it was AMAZING. Would buckwheat and/or millet be useful to get the earthiness the oats and rye gave? It really worked well with the yeast.

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Old 08-25-2013, 07:29 AM   #7
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In my experience, millet does give an earthy taste. But I have also seen buckwheat being compared as an alternative to Rye. Play around, if you can. See what flavours you get. Or, make a tea with several of each grain in it and see what tastes you prefer. Mix and match and go with what you like.

With regards to the oats, just use oats. If it is for somebody that is really sensitive, make sure they are Gluten Free oats. If you still don't feel comfortable oats, try using flaked millet/buckwheat.

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