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Old 02-28-2013, 12:20 AM   #1
Feb 2012
Oakland, CA
Posts: 936
Liked 75 Times on 45 Posts

I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the last two bottles of tflew's lager. Here are some pics and tasting notes:

Appearance: hazy golden, almost orange. Voluminous creamy & sudsy white head with prolonged head retention (≥15 minutes)

Aroma: classic pilsner. Clean malty aroma with a burst of very clean hops. A very light sweet citrus undertone is the only note that would distinguish this from a barley-based lager.

Taste: difficult to tell it's gluten-free! Initially presents with fruity esters and sweetness--approaching Belgian territory, really--with more of that light citrus note picked up in the aroma; these tastes are quickly swept away by a clean bitterness and a smooth dry malt body that is typical of the pilsner style. Hop flavor reaches a crescendo at the finish, which is dominated by an assertive lingering bitterness and clean grainy aftertaste. No diacetyl. Extremely well-developed and deep flavor profile with distinct phases, which invites deeper analysis and contemplation.

Mouthfeel: despite the tremendous head, the beer does not feel overly carbonated; the body is slightly thicker than a typical lager, perhaps a bit too thick--there is a long lingering coat to the mouth after swallowing.

Thoughts: this is a very good beer, and the closest I have probably ever tasted to a barley-based lager. This could easily be passed off as a normal beer. The most impressive feature is the clean grainy maltiness--I did not think this could be achieved with standard gluten-free ingredients, so perhaps there is something to be said for the yeast employed as well as the careful lagering process. The biggest short-coming of the beer is probably the mouthfeel; second to that, the excessive head. Both are due, I suspect, to the same source: the thick protein-rich body. This thickness makes the beer feel a little too substantial to be a refreshing quencher, even though that is what the flavor suggests it should be. However, this beer is definite proof that a gluten-free beer can indeed have plenty of body, voluminous suds, and clean grain flavor. With a few tweaks to bring the body and head down to standards, this beer could compete with barley-based lagers, and probably win! Absolutely worthy of a re-brew.

For giggles, and because I have the day off, I compared it to a New Grist, which is the closest commercial example I could think of.

tflew's is on your left, the New Grist is on your right. Comparatively, tflew's appears almost orange!

Flavor-wise, here is simply no contest, tflew's lager just mops the floor with the New Grist! It's like comparing, I dunno, Pilsner Urquell to PBR. As I sit here sipping them alternatively, I'm struck by the feeling that only one of these is actually a "beer"; the New Grist deserves at most to be called a "beer-like beverage". Proof once again that homebrew>commercial beer!

And now I want a fermentation chamber so I can try my hand at lagering...

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Old 02-28-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
Mar 2010
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Posts: 577
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Sounds good, and it has me really looking forward to my first batch of 'real' lager. Also, you should probably put a link to the recipe or thread about making this (if its on here?).
That's bread yeast. Look at it sitting there, all depressed. Listless. Beer yeast doesn't look like that. It has hopes. Dreams. Something to look forward to...

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Old 02-28-2013, 03:40 PM   #3
Jul 2012
Wakefield, Yorkshire
Posts: 309
Liked 18 Times on 16 Posts

Is it worrying that my first thought was "I like those glasses"? Haha

Looks good, man. Really nice colour to it. What was he recipe? I want to try it out, as now that I have a source of sorghum I can try some of the recipes you guys have all posted.

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Old 02-28-2013, 08:06 PM   #4
Feb 2012
Oakland, CA
Posts: 936
Liked 75 Times on 45 Posts

I was hoping tflew himself would chime in with the recipe and his thoughts on the beer, but if he doesn't, I'll post the recipe he sent me.

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Old 03-11-2013, 06:37 AM   #5
tflew's Avatar
Jun 2012
Pasadena, CA
Posts: 297
Liked 15 Times on 13 Posts

Heres the recipe!

3 Gallon Batch

2.5 pounds Sorghum @ flameout
1 pound 6 oz Brown Rice Syrup
1 pound Steel Cut Oats steeped before the boil
.25 oz cascade @ 60 min
.25 oz cascade @ 15 min
Whirlfloc @15 min


Fermented @ about 55* for 3 weeks
D rest for 2 days
Lager for 4 weeks @ 35*

OG 1.050
FG 1.010

I didn't use any complicated layering fridge and just took a shelf out of fridge so I could fit a 3 gallon carboy in there for a while. For fermentation I turned the dial on the fridge to be as warm as it could, then for lagering I turned it down all the way.

I was a bit worried about yeast viability when it came time to bottle. Fortunately I decided not to add any extra yeast. As it ended up being a little bit over carbonated but still delicious.

The next time I brew this I might add a few orange peels at some point to really make it a summer beer.


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