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Old 06-20-2012, 04:11 PM   #1
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Default Thoughts on Sorghum to Rice Extract Ratios

Been poking around this site and others for some guidance/opinions on sorghum to rice extract ratios when used as the primary fermentables. I have had limited success finding any good advice, as in:

1) how much a percentage of rice extract is too much
2) if you're gonna use a certain percentage, it's best to add this or that

Is 50/50 too much?

FWIW, I went off the (gluten free) wagon last weekend and drank some Dogfish Head Burton Baton Imperial IPA. It was without a doubt THE BEST BEER I have ever had...

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Old 06-20-2012, 07:30 PM   #2
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It depends on the style, IMO. I've never done sorghum and rice extracts as the only fermentables, though; I always add either honey, candi syrup, sugar, or molasses (usually only a very little of the latter). It may also depend on whether it's rice solids or Briess high-maltose rice syrup, too; the latter was designed specifically for gluten-free brewing, while the former is usually employed by "regular" beer brewers to lighten the color and body of styles like blondes or light lagers. I just ordered 12 lbs of the Briess syrup, so I'm gonna experiment a bit and see how it comes out. I guess there's also store-bought rice syrup, like Lundberg makes...not sure how that stuff compares in terms of sugar balance to the Briess.

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Old 06-20-2012, 07:35 PM   #3
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I've only made a few GF beers, but the best ones were 65-75% sorghum. Much less than that and the body suffers. More than that and the sweetness is a problem.

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Old 06-20-2012, 08:12 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igliashon View Post
It depends on the style, IMO. I've never done sorghum and rice extracts as the only fermentables, though; I always add either honey, candi syrup, sugar, or molasses (usually only a very little of the latter). It may also depend on whether it's rice solids or Briess high-maltose rice syrup, too; the latter was designed specifically for gluten-free brewing, while the former is usually employed by "regular" beer brewers to lighten the color and body of styles like blondes or light lagers.
In this case I am talking about the Briess high-maltose rice syrup carried by my LHBS, and yes, adding honey/candi syrup/etc. For example, fermentables for a 5 gallon batch:
3lbs Sorghum
3lbs Rice Syrup (Breiss)
1lbs Candi Syrup

Like David suggests, would body be a problem? Would a healthy dose of maltodextrin solve or help?
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Old 06-20-2012, 09:31 PM   #5
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Well, I usually aim for a higher starting gravity, like 1.055 or above. So far my best "malt base" in a 3-gallon batch was 2 lbs sorghum, 2 lbs rice solids, 1 lb candi syrup, 8 oz honey, 1 lb sweet potato, and 4 oz maltodextrin. That came out to 8% ABV, though! For your 5-gallon batch, I'd suggest adding up to 8 oz of maltodextrin, assuming you're going for something with a body comparable to a pale ale or british bitter. One mistake I've made in the past is adding maltodextrin to a beer that should be lighter-bodied; if you're aiming for something closer to a blonde or cream ale, it's okay to be light-bodied, and you might even want to replace the candi syrup with honey. Too much body can definitely be a bad thing, IMO, especially if it comes from maltodextrin.

Bear in mind that candi syrup, depending on how it's made, can add unfermentables and thus boost body and sweetness; true caramelization can render some sugars unfermentable, but some syrups are really maillard syrups rather than caramelized syrups, i.e. the darkening is from maillard reactions, not caramelization. I *think* most of the commercially-available syrups are caramelized, since you need to add a nitrogen source to sugar to get maillard reactions at pre-caramelization temperatures IIRC.

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Old 06-22-2012, 12:12 PM   #6
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Based on the success of mloster's Hop Bursted Pale Ale, I guess my question is answered... I think I'll be trying an all brown rice syrup (with candi/honey/etc. but no sorghum) batch next. Maybe a summery blonde ale?

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Previous:*Kitchen Sink Pale Ale, Annapolis Canadian Ale, *Dual Spires Black Lodge Ale, *3 Falls Blonde Ale, *5 Star American IPA, *Lucky 13 Imperial IPA, *English Pale Ale
Bottled/Pigged: Oak Aged Annapolis 90 Minute IPA(11/17/12), *Black Hops American IPA(11/25/12), *Centennial Honey Ale(12/29/12), *Rick's Rasberry Ale(1/18/13)
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