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FAQ's About Gluten Free Brewing
How is Gluten-Free (GF) Beer and brewing different? by DannyV
1 - Some beer-drinkers can tolerate small amounts of Glutens and can drink beers such as Bud-Light, Miller-Light, and brews without ill effects. My nephew is one such person. Many pubs now offer a nice selection of hard ciders that are GF!
Many US beers are brewed with "adjuncts" (non-malt ingredients that cost less than malt and do not contribute to the body). These adjuncts include corn and rice. Read the label of your Miller-Light and Michelob!
2 - If you've been extract brewing and wish to reduce the Glutens in your beer, you may consider brewing your next batch with 1/2 the usual malt extract and 1/2 Sorghum GF Extract.
3 - By now, you've probably figured out that the German Purity Law no longer applies to YOU! Wheat has the highest amount of Glutens followed by malt, not far behind. Rye has some Glutens, but not as much as Wheat and Malt. That leaves a LOT of other ingredients available for your brewing adventures! Rice, corn, sorghum, buckwheat, fruit, spices, and all of the different hops you have grown to love!
4 - I brewed my first batch of Gluten Free beer with Sorghum Extract, Saaz hops for bittering and flavoring and split the 10 gallon batch. In one 5-gallon batch, I used the German Wheat Yeast and for the other batch, the Belgian Saison yeast from Wyeast. While Wyeast smack packs do use a small amount of malt extract for the starter, I was interested in seeing how the yeast affected the final brew character. The 3333 batch was okay, but the Saison was off to a really good start for my brewing evolution of GF beers! It offered the foundation for the good Belgian Farmhouse-style beers I have grown to enjoy! Spicy, crisp, slightly tart, to name a few. The next brew included bitter orange, coriander and a pound of orange blossom honey. A FINE clone of a GF Blue Moon!
5 - Research the ingredients used to brew "Orion" lager and "Sapporo" and Asahi. If you do a Google search on "Beers brewed with rice" and "Beers brewed with corn" you will find that after the Prohibition, American beers were brewed with 50% rice and corn. Check out American Cream Ale. Also go to the BeerAdvocate website and check out beer style #169.
6 - Ready for an interesting article from Charlie Papazian?
7 - While there are considerable beer styles that have malt based characteristics, there remains MANY that are based on characteristics developed from the yeast, hops and additions to the secondary, such as hops, spices, various fruits and other items, including chocolate (cocao nibs) and spruce essence.