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Gluten Free ale experiment (w/pictures)

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Yesterday I brewed my first gluten free beer, for a friend, and I did a partial mash.  Here is the recipe, and then some notes and pictures.  I minimized the sorghum percentage to hopefully avoid twang and not have an overly sweet beer, and of course in the search for QUALITY.  The jury is still out as to what comes of it, since my mash efficiency appears to have suffered.  Next time I will probably just do extract with rice syrup, sorghum syrup, Belgian candi sugar and hops, like Deschutes' GF Pale Ale, to save hassle and fears on efficient conversion.  I've never even tasted a gluten free beer!  Any thoughts?

Salish Sea Tropical Ale

A ProMash Brewing Session Report

Recipe:       Salish Sea Tropical Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal):         5.50    Wort Size (Gal):   5.50
Total Grain (Lbs):       11.50
Anticipated OG:          1.066    Plato:            16.11
Anticipated SRM:          15.8
Anticipated IBU:          28.9
Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes

Actual OG:  1.064   Plato: 15.67

Actual Mash System Efficiency: 58 %


   %     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
 34.8     4.00 lbs. Rice Syrup                    Generic        1.040      0
 17.4     2.00 lbs. Oats, Malted                  Great Britain  1.035      1
 13.0     1.50 lbs. Mighty Tasty Cereal           America        1.030      2
  8.7     1.00 lbs. Belgian Dark Candi Syrup D2   Belgium        1.032    160
  8.7     1.00 lbs. Flaked Corn (Maize)           America        1.040      1
  8.7     1.00 lbs. Flaked Oats                   America        1.033      2
  8.7     1.00 lbs. Sorghum Syrup 45DE            America        1.035      3


   Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
  0.70 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet   6.27   6.4  First WH
  0.70 oz.    Amarillo                          Pellet   6.27   6.1  17 min.
  0.50 oz.    Citra                             Whole   13.70   4.3  5 min.
  0.50 oz.    Rakau                             Pellet  11.20   3.9  5 min.
  0.50 oz.    Citra                             Whole   13.70   4.3  2 min.
  0.50 oz.    Rakau                             Pellet  11.20   3.9  2 min.


  Amount      Name                           Type      Time
  1.00 Unit(s)Whirfloc                       Fining     5 Min.(boil)
  0.50 Tsp    Wyeast Yeast Nutrient          Other     10 Min.(boil)


Fermentis US-05 American Ale

Mash Schedule

Mash Type: Single Step
Heat Type: Direct

Grain Lbs:    5.50
Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: ~1.80

Saccharification Rest Temp: 149  Time: 100M

Total mash volume: ~3.25 gal

Mash Notes

Boiled the cereal in 2 gal water for 25 min. to gelatinize.  Added 1.5 gal
water and heated/stirred to 154 and added milled oat malt, corn and flaked
oats plus 2.5 tsp of amylase powder.  stirred on stove top keeping it 147 -
 151, more on the low end, for 70 min.  Because it was very cloudy, I added
 another tsp amylase 1/2 way thru.  Poured thru zapap, scraping bottom with
 spatula, and then rinsed with 1.75 gal 170F water.  Still very cloudy and
not very sweet, although iodine test showed it was converted.  Still, I add
ed the remaining 2 tsp of amylase from container and stirred at ~150F for a
nother 25 minutes, after having added FWH addition of amarillo.  Checked io
dine test again (ok), and still didn't taste very sweet, but went ahead and added
 the sorghum syrup and all rice syrup and topped up to 5-gallon boil.  Tota
l amylase used ~2.5 Tbl!

Fermentation Notes

Chilled with Immersion Chiller down to about 74F, and strained thru strainer into fermenter bucket.
  Added 1 gal water to hit 5.25 gal wort at 1.064 OG.  Very viscous wort.

Used just 1 packet US-05 after aerating with o2 for 1.5 minutes, stirre
d in after 10 minutes.

Pitched around 70F and put in wine room @ ~67F.  Airlock activity after 11 hours.

Tasting Notes

With calculated 58% efficiency of mash, I'm expecting a starchy beer.
 I should have measured with narrow range hydrometer for accuracy of OG.
Depending on actual pppg of Mighty Tasty Cereal (I guessed) I might have had better efficiency.

D2 added at 10 minutes.   

Primary Fermentation: 14 days @ 66 degree
s ramped to 68F last 4 days.

Ingredients minus flaked oats and hops (I omitted the malto dextrin on the right since I don't think I'll need it)

Cereal boil to gelatinize

Stovetop mash

Zapap insert (thanks Charlie P!)

Spent grains after sparge/hot water rinse

Viscous wort

As I was afraid, I didn't get sufficient conversion on the mash.  After additional research I found that what I previously had read that good mash temps for beta amylase in the mash is 147 - 153, is WRONG.  Rather, it works best around 142F and starts to denature at 149F.  My take is that I mashed too hot, hence the mediocre starch conversion. 

After 6 days in primary, bubbling pretty much ceased in the airlock and the beer had only gotten down to 1.027 and remained cloudy as you can see in the picture.  So, being quite positive that the fermenting beer does not have many remaining full sugar chains, today I went ahead and added 1/2 tsp of Beta Amylase first dissolved in a little warm water and stirred it in. 

I realize that is a drastic action with potentially mediocre resulting beer, but I figured it was my only hope.  Also, per some forums research, it has worked for some brewers.  I called Crosby & Baker, who package the product I used this time, and the gentleman I spoke with agreed with my course of action, and said he didn't think I should add any less of the product.  He also confirmed that their product is self-limiting, and so eventually should stabilize at a final gravity so I hopefully don't end up with rocket fuel, or worse, bottle bombs.

Time will tell.

Just to bump this, any comment on how the beer turned out?  My BIL is going on a gluten-free diet, and I'd love to keep brewing some product he can enjoy.

Actually, it came out very well.  The addition of 1/2 tsp fresh amylase powder brought the beer down to 1.009 where it stabilized for the FG.  I was in a hurry and stupidly did not cold-crash the beer for a couple days prior to bottling, and so ended up with too much sediment in the bottom of the bottles.  When I bottled I only ended up with about four gallons of beer - there was a full gallon of sediment left behind at the bottom of the fermenter bucket.  Soon after bottling it I gave a 6-pack to a friend for his mother and she said it was the best gluten-free she ever tasted.  There hasn't been a chance for me to get it to the friend I brewed for, or for him to come get it, so it has stayed in the basement and is now well past prime, especially due to autolysis.  A shame.  I think I'll get one cold and try it!

If your BIL can take gluten-reduced beer (nearly gluten-free), I recommend brewing with Clarity Ferm.

Also, I doubt there was enough diastatic power in the oat malt to stimulate starch conversion in the other grains during the mash.  I just don't know.


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