Sunday Session Gluten Free Show
I just listened to the Sunday Session’s gluten free brewing show, which aired this weekend. Nice timing, as I am going to brew my first gluten free beer the next time I have a free Saturday.
Some of what I gleaned:
1. People seem to be using a lot more honey to balance out the sorghum than I expected. Sam Calagione reported that Dogfish Head's Tweason’ale gets just over 50% of its fermentables from sorghum; the rest is from the buckwheat honey and the strawberry juice. The one gluten free recipe given in the show called for 6 lbs of sorghum and 5 lbs of honey.
2. They seemed to find that less is more when balancing hops to sorghum. I was under the impression that hops could be used to cover sorghum bite. As it turns out, most of the brewers they interviewed suggested that you want your IBUs to be low, and might even consider only late hop additions. Tweason'ale, if I remember correctly, comes in at about 15 IBU.
3. One brewer suggested staying away from noble hops, because the spice you can get from those hops tends to not go with the sorghum. Any comments on that one? They also suggested being careful with strains of yeast that will leave spicy esters behind.
4. Lots of talk about testing and gluten reduced beers. I get the impression that this is going to be a risky proposition for some time. The tests mean something, but no matter what the numbers say, all that matters to the celiacs in your life is if they are going to be able to leave the bathroom the day after drinking your beer.
5. And good news for people who need gluten free beer, demand is high, so we can expect more craft brewers trying their hand at a gluten free brew.
Any other comments on the content of the show, or comments on what I have written?
As I said above, one recipe from the show, for a pale ale. For (10?) gallons (volume not specified, but 10 makes sense after entering into Beer Calculus):
6 lbs sorghum syrup
1 to 5 lbs honey (the brewer said that he started with 3, but had ramped up to 5 with good results)
1 lb dried rice extract
4 oz. maltodextrin
2 oz Cascade hops, 6.4% alpha acid
60 Min. boil
60 min: add 3 lbs sorghum.
30 min: add 3 lbs sorghum, 5 lbs honey.
20 min: add malto., rice extract
15 min.: first hop addition, 1 oz. cascade
5 min.: final hop addition, 1 oz. cascade
One packet gluten free dry yeast, re hydrated.
Sorry for the lack of more technical brewing instructions. They are given over the entire show. They did not specify an O.G. for this recipe.
1. Weird that they use so much fermentables, I'd imagine it would be closer to a cider with that thin a body.
2. Couldn't disagree more. Some of the best beers I've done have been continually hopped ipa's (60/45/30/15/0).
3. Not much experience with this so can't comment.
4. Yeah this is really hit and miss. I had the wold top brewery's against the grain beer, not a worry. Twice I've had the St Peter's gluten free and been horribly sick both times. My sorghum based beers have been great, as have billabong, schnitzer brau and O'Briens.
5. Excellent. Even if the market was flooded, I'd still be brewing my homebrew though.
After reading your response, I am going to go back and see if that was a recipe for a larger volume. It came out as a huge beer when I plugged those numbers into Beer Calculus, so I may have misidentified the volume.
My Gluten Free Ale
It was extremely well-received. I haven't had a chance to do another go 'round with it, but it was remarkably easy to brew and I got really good results.
Here is my follow-up tot he original post:
St. Ange Brewing - Brewing and Beer Information and News: Gluten-Free Brewing Experiment - Notes On the First Batch
And here is the original post:
St. Ange Brewing - Brewing and Beer Information and News: Gluten Free Brewing Experiment - Introduction and GF Pale Ale Recipe
I toasted some unmalted gluten-free grains to add some nice toasted and bready flavors, and I would definitely do so again, but probably for longer. I rinsed the grains and then set them in the oven at 250 for an hour, then bumped it to 300 for another 45 minutes or so. I'll probably do 250 for an hour and a half and then 350 until I get the color I want next time. Note I baked the grains moist, as well.
My fermentables were 5.5 lbs of Malted Sorghum Extract and then some demarerra sugar I had laying around (but not much - certainly not above 15-20% of the malt bill). the hops I used were EKG, but I would not shy from a well-hopped pale ale using American hops for this, either.
If I did it again, I'd probably do a 10 gallon batch using twice as much toasted grain and 15 or so lbs. of sorghum to see how it would turn out. I'll probably forgo any added sugars and let 'er rip.
Personally with that much honey I find that some amount of aging really helps smooth out the beer.
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