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Old 12-15-2013, 02:15 AM   #1
Rusty99
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Default Need help getting Started! GF Ground 0

Hi new here, I need help getting started both brewing and brewing GF. I was diagnosed with a gluten allergy about a year ago and have tried all the GF beers on the market and Not impressed ( especially for the price ) I have been doing some reading on brewing. I am more confused now than ever? I need some ideas on what equipment to buy ? kit? put my own together? Also looking for a lite ale recipe to get started with that is not 100 percent sorgum but easy to follow. Any help getting started would be great, Thanks


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Old 12-15-2013, 01:53 PM   #2
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The equipment is the same as brewing regular beer. There is lots of debate whether a secondary fermenter is necessary and worth the risk of exposure to oxygen and introduction of bacteria. I use one because I go at least 3 weeks total (1 week in primary and 2 to 3 weeks in secondary) so I like to get the beer off of the trub. Your choice. I would look for a starter kit on sale and fill in as needed. My suggestion is to get a starter kit that includes the 5 gallon secondary fermenter (PET better bottle). The kit will come with bottle kap tool etc. I would also use a plastic bucket for primary fermentation rather than a carboy because the plastic bucket is easy to clean and primary fermenters are you biggest cleaning chore.

Example: http://www.midwestsupplies.com/plast...arter-kit.html
If you have a LHBS I would support them.

The boiling kettles that come with some of these kits are not usually very good. I would buy separately and get one that is at least 4 gallons.

I would make sure you end up with an auto-siphon and a thief.

You will need a cleaner and a sanitizer. I use Oxyclean from the grocery store for cleaning and I have sponges that I only use for cleaning brewing equipment. I use Star San for sanitizing.

I think a lot of people try homebrewing but don’t stick with it. I expect it is easier to stay with gluten free brewing because my experience is that you can brew better gluten free beer yourself then you can buy anywhere. That is a lot harder to say for a barley beer brewer because there are so many excellent beers available just down the street.

There are lots of recipes on this site. If you do a lot of experimenting, you may want to buy a 3 gallon better bottle carboy so that you can do half batches.

My advice would be to stick with a basic pale ale before venturing into darker and more complex territory. You will see a lot of us trying to diminish the sorghum syrup and get closer to a barley beer taste. Fact is you can brew a great beer that is hopped the way you like it without much trouble. I brewed 7 batches before I stumbled on a recipe and advice from this forum that made the biggest impact on my beer so far: Belgian Candy Syrup (inverted sugar syrup, not rock candy) and maltodextrin.

For a 5 gallon batch you can use a base of 6.6 lb sorghum LME, 1 lb Belgian Candy Syrup and lb maltodextrin (corn based) and do just fine. This will provide an OG of about 1.054

I experimented with a bunch of dry yeasts and ended up with Safale US-05 as my go-to yeast. Some of the others like Nottingham and Windsor just did not do well with gluten free fermentables in my experience.

You can offset some of the LME with brown rice syrup, or add some other things like steeped crystal malt, honey, and spices like coriander and orange peel.

One thing, you don’t get a strong fermentation from gluten free fermentables. I use some yeast nutrient to help things get going and my experience is that it is better to go on the warmer fermentation side.

Good luck!


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Old 12-15-2013, 02:35 PM   #3
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I have had best results using a mix of sorghum, brown rice syrup ( from brewers warehouse), some form of Belgian candy syrup depending on the style and little buckwheat honey adds some maltiness. IMHO you will be disappointed just using a malt base of sorghum. The beer will be very one note, have a twang and little head.

You can make a better beer than what is offered commercially with these ingredients but to get close to barley flavor you will need to use grains which is where I am at now.

Maltodextrin will also be your friend to add body and head retention.
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Old 12-17-2013, 04:10 AM   #4
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Thanks for the replys, is there a tutorial somewhere as to what to add when etc?? I am definitely interested in supplementing the sorgum with other things interested in honey I have also read that the buckwheat gives a good flavor do you buy it toasted or toast it yourself?
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Old 12-17-2013, 11:33 AM   #5
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I recommend getting "How To Brew" by David Palmer. You can read a large portion of his book on line. He walks you through the basics and gives a lot of theory.

Most recipes will identify when to add ingredients. A lot of people add fermentables late in the boil that they want to retain some flavor like honey and candy syrup. A large majority of us don't have full boil kettles so we have to do partial boils. A good practice is to add a quarter or a half of the fermentables late into the boil so that the boil gravity is in a reasonable range for the bittering hops. However, many recipes just dump it all in in the beginning and it works out fine.

Grouse and Colorado Malting Company are two places to get gluten free malted grain. "Crystal" is best for steeping because it has starches already converted to sugar. You can get both millet and buckwheat crystal.

I would just jump in and do a simple batch. Gives you a chance to get the process down and it is always better to plan your next homebrew while drinking a homebrew! :-)
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:26 AM   #6
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Thanks, Great info I will ck out the book
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:56 AM   #7
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Chris, I believe you meant John Palmer. But that's not my point. The book is available online at www.howtobrew.com. Seems like OP is in the same spot I was in about 3 months ago.

As my starting point I got a starting kit from my LHBS, and a Brewer's Best GF Ale kit. It is quite similar to the recipe posted earlier in this thread, with exception being it has some bitter orange peel, and a few other spices. But it has a worksheet with instructions included. My start up cost was under $200 including hardware, ingredient kit and bottles. It is decent enough for a first brew, and I learned a lot from just jumping in to the process.

But I think you are in the right place HBT is a good place with many helpful people.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:57 AM   #8
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Yes, thanks for the correction. Should not trust my own memory :-)
Yes, as I stated, a version of the book is available on-line but there are some differences. For instance, the recipes are changed in the on-line version from the book version I have. He splits the frementables in the book so that he does not have a high gravity boil, then adds the rest to pasteurize before adding water to final volume. There are other fundamental differences. I like my hard copy version and have lots of sections ear marked for quick reference. I wish he would do one for GF brewing!

Actually, the Brewer's Best kit was the one that changed my thinking and made me receptive to maltodextrin, Belgian Candy Syrup and spices like coriander and orange peel . I was brewing pure extract lagers up until then and just varying the hops. I bought the Brewer's Best kit to support my LHBS and my friends liked it better than my other batches. Now I have gone far beyond that with help from this forum.

I got started from a gifted bare bones simple kit and ended up adding a lot of stuff as I went along. Definitely don't have to have the extra stuff to make great beer but if you are going to end up buying it anyway, not a bad idea to get it in the original kit.

I agree, just jump in.
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:01 PM   #9
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I know it's a little overkill but I started about a year ago and the first thing I did was read every thread in this subforum starting at the oldest, granted I wasn't really busy at that time in my life.

Start at the oldest and flip though some of the threads. The titles are pretty good about descriptive and for the most part they don't wander off topic, there is a lot of information in there.

Also, take the time to read the stickies. They give a good overview of the ingredients and answer the first questions that most GF brewers come here with to start: "Can I just brew normal barley and use Clarity Ferm?" (quick answer is no)

Good luck and welcome to the obsession!
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Old 12-20-2013, 05:34 PM   #10
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+1 on what glutarded said about the colorado malting co.


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