Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Clear as mud - Or How to make clearer gluten free beer?

I've been contacted a few times about improving the clarity of gluten free beers.  I thought I would detail a few of the options for products and how they're used.

Whirlfloc tablets
I have been using these round tablets for some time in my boil. The active ingredient within the tablets Irish moss is a type of seaweed that when added to the boil allows the proteins to drop out of suspension.  This makes a massive difference to yeast suspension in gluten free beers.  I add the tablet at 15 minutes from the end of the boil where it will fizz and spread the irish moss.

Be sure to check with the manufacturer to ensure they are gluten free prior to adding them to your brew.

Straining the Wort
Gluten free beer made with Sorghum produces a lot of trub (technical term for crap on the bottom of the fermenter).  A way to reduce the amount of trub is to strain hops out after the Wort has been chilled.  I used to strain my hops with a paint strainer or pasta strainer previously.  But recently I switched to a hop sock which is considerably faster.

After the beer has finished fermenting and prior to bottling or kegging gelatine can be used to clarify the beer.  Boil about 1/4 cup of water and combine with 1 teaspoon of gelatine stirring vigorously.   Cover and allow to cool.  Slowly add this across the top of your beer and reseal the fermenter.  It should take 24 to 48 hours to take effect.

Please note that once you add Gelatine to the beer it will no longer be Vegetarian or Vegan.  I don't use this for my beers.

Crash chilling
This will require a space in your fridge or temperature controlled freezer to fit your fermenting vessel.  Place your vessel in the fridge and set the temperature down to 4 degrees Celsius (39.2 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 72 hours.  Any suspended yeast or hop particles will drop to the bottom of the fermentation vessel during this time and (save for shaking the vessel) will not transfer to the bottle or keg.  Even though suspended yeast will drop out there will be enough remaining yeast to bottle carbonate.

Bottle Carbonation
I found that following the above processes when the beer bottle carbonated, any additional yeast or trub would settle into a compact sediment.  Decanting into a glass made for a clear beer.

Keg forced Carbonation
Any trub that is transferred into the keg will settle after a few days in the fridge.  Discard the first pour and it will continue to improve the more beer you serve.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

West Coast Style IPA

I must say my favourite style of beer is west coast IPA's. Big bold flavours, aroma and bitterness for days.  Columbus isn't for all beer drinkers but it's definitely for me.  I pulled up the recipe Green Flash's West Coast IPA as my wife was very impressed with it.  The recipe for the West Coast IPA was shared on so I used that as the basis for this recipe.  Here's the link

Straining was a total pain in the arse with all these hops, so I had the wife build me a hop spider for the next brew.  Photos incoming.

West Coast IPA Recipe

Brew date:  01/07/2013

1.5kg Sorghum Syrup @ 60 minutes
125g Blackstrap Molasses @ 60 minutes
450g Maltodextrine @ 60 minutes
28g Simcoe @ 60 minutes
7g Columbus @ 60 minutes
7g Simcoe @ 30 minutes
7g Columbus @ 30 minutes
21g Simcoe @ 15 minutes
21g Columbus @ 15 minutes
1 whirlfloc tablet @ 15 minutes
28g Cascade @ 10 minutes
1tsp Calcium Carbonate @ 5 minutes
1tsp Yeast nutrient @ 5 minutes
14g Columbus @ 1 minute
14g Simcoe @ 1 minute
500ml Dark Candy Syrup @ 0 minutes
1kg Rice Syrup @ 0 minutes
1.5kg Sorghum Syrup @ 0 minutes
*** Cold Crash ***
1.5 Packets of US-05 American Ale Yeast
14g Amarillo, 14g Simcoe, 14g Columbus, 14g Centennial and 14g Cascade keg dry hop

Saturday, 25 May 2013

15 Minute Pale Ale

As promised, here is my 15 Minute Pale Ale.  I got the original idea from this guys post on homebrewtalk  and I thought I've got heaps of Cascade, why not.  It ticks all the right boxes for a pale ale; easy drinking, not too bitter and a great rounded flavour despite only a 15, 10 and 5 minute additions.  If you are concerned that it might be a bit expensive to brew then look at bulk hops.  I used Yakima Valley Hops last season to stock up on the cheap but I've also used Niko Brew in the past as well.  Even with shipping to Australia it's worth it for a staple hop like Cascade.

I didn't dry hop the last batch but it shouldn't matter too much either way.

15 Minute Pale Ale Recipe

300g Maltodextrine @ 20 minutes
1.4Kg Sorghum Syrup @ 20 minutes
86g Cascade Hops 5.4% @ 15 minutes
1 whirlfloc tablet @ 15 minutes
1tsp Calcium Carbonate @ 15 minutes
28g Cascade Hops 5.4% AA @ 5 minutes
14g Cascade Hops 5.4% AA @ 0 minutes
1tsp Yeast nutrient @ 5 minutes
1.4Kg Sorghum Syrup @ 0 minutes
250ml Amber Candy Syrup @ 0 minutes
*** Cold Crash ***
2 x US-05 American Ale Yeast

Again a fantastic beer.  Should be a house pale ale.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

You're So Witless

This is my Witless Belgian Wit Beer.  Although this beer is around 30 IBU's it is really easy drinking.  This is my first time using tea in a brew and it went really well.  This beer was in the keg for about four weeks before the flavours really came together.

If you wanted to make this beer easier drinking cut the ibu's and coriander in half.

You're so witless Belgian Wit Recipe

3Kg Sorghum Syrup @ 60 minutes
400g Maltodextrine @ 60 minutes
680g White Sugar @ 60 minutes
14g Perle 10%AA Hops @ 60 minutes
14g Saaz 8% AA Hops @ 15 minutes
14g Coriander (cracked) @ 15 minutes
154g Orange Peel (about 5 Oranges) @ 15 minutes
1 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 minutes
1 tsp Calcium Carbonate @ 15 minutes
10g Saaz 6% @ 5 minutes
4 teabags of Chamomile steeped in 500mls and added at @ 0 minutes
*** Cold Crash ***
1 packet of S-33 Belgian Ale yeast

Sunday, 3 March 2013

BRY-97 Follow up

Hi All,

So the BRY-97 brew turned out really good.  This recipe was a little unbalanced with too high bitterness.  Upping the Amber candy syrup probably would have balanced it out.

Now for the yeast.  I experienced a delay in the Krausen forming like all other brewers.  Although I understand it is fermenting quite well before the Krausen forms.  This beer finished in the usual 3 weeks time and cold crashed for a few days.  It produced a lot of trub compared to US-05, I'm talking two to three times the amount.  And as such I ended up sucking some into the keg.

I also brewed a glutenous beer with BRY-97 and it fell clear quite quickly, faster than US-05.  Although it ferments very cleanly it does remove a lot of the hop aroma.  This makes the yeast perfect for Pale Ales or Blonde beers which are not as hop aroma forward.

So the positives of this yeast:

  • Solid fermentation
  • Very clean flavour
  • Has no problems fermenting Sorghum
  • Falls clear
The negatives:
  • Slow to form a Krausen
  • "Steals" the hop aroma

I didn't bottle carbonate any of this batch, so if you do please share your experiences.

Thursday, 31 January 2013

BRY-97 Trial Brew

Hi All,

After getting my hands on some of the new Danstar BRY-97 American West Coast Ale yeast, I wanted to do a test brew with it.  I haven't had good experiences with Danstar previously when I used the Munich yeast (produced horrible flavours and was never great), but I have high hopes for this new one.  Most of what I'm reading is that it's ferments quickly, thoroughly, with a clean flavour at high temps and compacts quite well.

This is the recipe I brewed with this yeast:

Columbus IPA
Code name:  "Explorers Should know better"

Batch:  20.5L
IBU:  96 approx.
OG:  ?
FG:  ?
Brew date:  29/01/2013
Estimated ABV:  5.5%
Actual ABV:  ?

1.4 Kg Sorghum Syrup @ 60 minutes
250g Maltodextrine @ 60 minutes
30g Columbus  Hops (12% AA) @ 60 minutes
15g Columbus Hops (14.6%AA) @ 15 minutes
1 x whirlfloc tablet @ 15 minutes
1tsp Yeast nutrient @ 5 minutes
1tsp Calcium Carbonate @ 5 minutes
60g Columbus Hops (14.6%AA) @ 5 minutes
1.4 Kg Sorghum Syrup @ 0 minutes
250mL Amber Candy Syrup @ 0 minutes
*** Cold Crash ***
1 packet of Danstar BRY-97 Yeast

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Dual Spires Black Lodge

Great name, even better beer.  Thanks to the generosity of another brewer who goes by the name "rlbois1" on homebrewtalk website I've been able to brew a new dark beer.  I didn't think I was alone in my love for this brew so I decided to get some other beer drinkers opinions.

This is the brew in question:

And here is the review from my wife and another fellow brewer (fwiw both drink a lot of great craft beers).  This beer was served from the keg.

Review 1:

  • Creamy off white head
  • Murky red colour
  • Good carbonation
  • Some hops and sorghum malt on the nose.  Balanced between them both.
  • Firm bitterness
  • Light body
  • Some twang
  • Licorice into finish with no esters.
  • Last mouthful was "dry, lasting hop bitterness, nice tarry sweet balancing note"
  • Overall a good beer 6 out of 10

Review 2:
  • Rich aroma, sweet
  • Strong hops on the tongue
  • Candy syrup and molasses lingers in aftertaste
  • Taste liquorice in the aftertaste
  • Fuller mouthfeel compared to my other gluten free beers
  • Lacing evident in the glass
  • Fairly clear
  • 7.5 out of 10 - Overall very drinkable. 
Thanks again to rlbois1 for the recipe which you can find here -> Dual Spires Black Lodge Ale