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Gluten Free ale experiment (w/pictures)

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.

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

Maybe some buckwheat honey? I had some several years ago and to me it tasted a lot like malt extract.

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.

And, I like the idea of buckwheat honey for buckwheat flavor without having to deal with buckwheat.

Thought I’d provide an update. The addition of 1/2 tsp beta amylase into the fermenter brought the stuck beer from 1.027 down to 1.008 after 8 days, and to 1.007 FG after an additional 9 days. I let it go that long to make sure it had dropped as low as it would go, before bottling. I bottled today and it tasted great. I had a full gallon of trub at the bottom of the fermenter, so only got a 4-gallon yield, but the beer has something approaching clarity compared to the cloudy mess it was before adding the amylase. Even at 1.007 the beer is slightly sweet, and the hop flavor is wonderful. I added some additional bottling yeast (sprinkled and stirred in about 1/3 packet of US-05 into the bottling bucket with the priming sugar) so I’m pretty confident it will bottle condition.

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