Gluten Free Brewing Tips
In out 18th Episode of Brew Talk With Mr. Beer we talk about Gluten Free Brewing tips! Since we launched out Gluten Free Recipes a few weeks ago we thought it would be great to share some tips to make sure you get the most out of your brew day.
As you may or may not know we launched 4 new Gluten Free Recipes about 4 weeks ago. The first, of many to come, gluten recipes on our site. This are all just amazing beers. Even if you can have regular beer I would recommend brewing these. One thing about brewing Gluten Free is that the experience can be a little different that what you would normally have when brewing a regular beer. So we wanted to give some times on brewing gluten free.
The first part we have to cover real quick as it relates to everything brewing, Sanitation!
Sanitation is always priority #1 when it comes to brewing of ANY KIND. Sanitation is that much more important when you are brewing GF beer for 2 primary reasons. The first is to limit the potential for cross contamination so that you are not making yourself or someone sick but exposing them to passive forms of gluten. The second reason has to do with your yeast health. Gluten free wort can sometimes lack the nutrients that yeast requires to thrive and this can sometimes make it more vulnerable. There are easy ways to bolster your yeast, that we will talk about in a minute.
Okay now that we got that out of the way lets talk about hops and some ways to help heavily hopped gluten free beers not get funky flavors.
Off flavors from heavy hopping can occur in any beer BUT I have found that certain yeasts can bring out Diacytal (Butter or butterscotch flavor) in your beer in conjunction with sorghum. There’s two primary ways to avoid this. The first is making sure your yeast is in good health (fresh, right temp pitch and nutrients especially in high gravity worts), Healthy happy yeast cleans up after itself and produces fewer off flavors.
Using fresh hops is also very important. You always want to avoid Dry hopping with hops that you have had sitting open, exposed to oxygen.
The 3rd preventative measure is patience. This means not rushing your beer out of the fermenter before it’s had a chance to fully complete. I like to wait at least 4 days more after dry hopping whenever possible. It’s also important to let your bottles condition for at least 3 weeks. If you are worried about hop creep in your beer, you can pull a sample from your fermenter and place it into a sanitized mason jar, close the jar and refrigerate overnight. Taste the next day, if you get butter flavors. let your beer hang out longer in the fermenter and test again in 2-4 days.
If someone wanted to increase the mouthfeel or body in their Gluten Free Beer how would they do that?
You’ll notice that some of our recipes contain maltodextrin. This is a 100% corn derived maltodextrin called “Clintose 10”. We have you adding Malto at 4 ounces but more or less can be used to increase this. The oats in our Stout recipe also help to increase body and mouthfeel.
In one of our recipes we have something called amalayse enzyme included, what is that and how does it help your Gluten Free Beer?
For the most part gluten free Grains and extracts are what we call “non-diastatic” This means they don’t produce any Enzyme activity. That means if you steep grains, there are no enzymes present to help convert starch to sugar that your yeast has the ability to ferment. Enter amalayse enzyme. Fun fact this same enzyme is also found in human spit! By adding this non spit form, you can improve the efficiency of the oats you are using, You also help to protect the shelf life of your beer by using them when you steep GF grains.
Let’s talk about yeast, when brewing using Gluten Free ingredients how can that affect the yeast and what are some ways to help it out?
As we mentioned earlier, sometimes in GF wort your yeast can benefit from a little extra nutrients just like we benefit from taking a multi vitamin. I always advise that every gluten free brewer Keep a few key things on hand Yeast nutrient or energizer and or old yeast packets that you don’t mind boiling. If you don’t have access to yeast nutrients then you can easily feed your yeast by boiling a half a packet of old yeast in your wort so that it dies off and provides B vitamins and food for you viable yeast. I HIGHLY recommend doing this, especially for the higher gravity beers like our stout.
When it comes time to bottling what can you tell us about residual sweetness you can get when brewing Gluten Free?
It has been my experience when brewing GF beers with larger amounts of Candy sugar being used, sometimes you can get residual sweetness that does not seem to ferment out. This can be confusing. This is why I recommend checking with your hydrometer and making sure are waiting at least the full 14 days if your gravity is continuing to fall.
If you are brewing up a recipe for a friend that is gluten free are there any precautions that you need to take with your equipment, bottles, etc.
If you are brewing this beer for someone who has celiac or needs to avoid gluten for some other reason, you need to think about what you have brewed with your equipment in the past. I would not recommend using an LBK that has previously been used to brew a gluten containing beer. You also need to consider your environment… Do you have sources of gluten on or directly around your preparation area? Have you touched gluten with your hands? Has there been gluten in your plastic bottles? These are all things you need to consider. Trust me when I say you do not want to be responsible for making a friend or even yourself sick. I cannot stress enough when it comes to steeping oats you need to purchase certified gluten free oats.