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Sadu

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Hi Everyone,

I'm an all-grain brewer and have some celiac friends asking about gluten free beers. I'd like to do them a solid and make them some nice beer that won't kill them.

Ingredient availability is a big issue in New Zealand. I can get sorghum syrup and unmalted sorghum grains. Everything else is harder to find. I don't really want to get into malting grains initially, but possibly later on.

So I was thinking of starting with a simple sorghum based lager.
1 Can of Sorghum syrup
Motueka hops to 35IBU
water with some Calcium Chloride to make it feel not so dry
34/70 lager yeast
1.050 gravity
clarity-ferm to reduce sorghum-twang
Ferment to a lager schedule aiming for something summery, crisp and dry.

Will that make a nice beer?

I thought starting out with just sorghum would let me get a handle on that flavour, then I can add some other "specialty" grains next time. I can probably get unmalted millet and buckwheat, and rice of course, but don't have any enzymes to mash them with so not sure how that would work.

Any advice appreciated. Keen to keep this simple but if 100% sorghum extract is a bad idea I'd rather know now.

Cheers :)
 
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Sadu

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Went ahead and brewed this today, just a 1.5 gallon test batch. Will report back on how it comes out.
 

Steveruch

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Can you get any buckwheat honey?
To my taste buds buckwheat honey is quite similar to malt extract.
Recently I brewed with some brown rice syrup that I bought at a local grocery store.
For the unmalted grains google cereal mash.
 

glutarded-chris

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When I did sorghum syrup batches my rule of thumb was:
1 lb of Belgian candy syrup
0.5 lb buckwheat honey
0.5 lb maltodextrin
steep 1 lb of some roasted grain
the rest sorghum syrup to hit OG = 1.060 (less and my opinion is it gets thin)

Hop forward with a hop variety that pairs well with the citrus twang of sorghum syrup, Cascade, Amarillo, Columbus etc.
I usually dry hopped an ounce of something.

What you are fighting with sorghum based brews is the sorghum twang and thin finish. Some belgian candy syrup and maybe buckwheat honey helps with the flavor but add some alcohol content. The maltodextrin is important for the mouthfeel. Steeped grain just add a good fresh flavor. I used Safale US-05 for pale ales and amber ales which worked very well. After doing a Brewer's best kit, I did a few batches with Windsor yeast, corriander and orange peel that worked out well also.

You can make a drinkable GF brew for sure, but my opinion is that with sorghum syrup it is best if it is hop forward. If you want a malty character you need to go all grain.

That is my 2 cents worth. Your celiac friends will be stoked! Probably anything you brew will be better than anything they can buy, hands down!
 
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Sadu

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Cool that's good advice. The idea behind the pilsner is that it's hop forward (I gave it respectable late additions) and also its supposed to be kinda dry. I wasn't aware that maltodextrine was on the table, will definitely try that next time.
I'll probably have a crack at the home malting depending how this brew goes. I have been reading how the syrup isn't actually made from malted grains, which is a bit annoying given the price. Gotta say the syrup tastes surprisingly similar to regular LME though.
 
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Sadu

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So I just tried an early sample of this brew. I fermented under pressure in a keg and it's been 2 weeks, currently cold and fully carbed in the primary. Haven't taken a SG reading yet so not sure where it finished at.

Expectations were kinda low on this one but I'm honestly blown away at how good this tastes.

Still very cloudy (only been crash cooling for 1 day and no finings used anywhere), otherwise looks like a pilsner. Nice aroma from the late Motueka additions. The "malt" flavour is different to regular beer, not necessarily in a bad way. The finish is dry, which doesn't seem out of place in a Pils.

I can kinda detect what could be described as "sorghum twang" but it seems to blend in with the bitterness so doesn't really get in the way, and it doesn't present as an off-flavour that isn't meant to be there.

Overall, this seems like a pretty decent summer crusher to me. It's only 2 weeks old it, so I'm hoping it clears out nicely in the coming weeks and the flavours smooth out a bit. Could be great. Depending how it tastes in a few weeks, I'd probably be happy to rebrew this one as-is.
 
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