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Gluten Free Home Brewing Blog
Unedited Video Tutorial Script
After we released our video tutorial series this past month we took a moment to relax before revisiting the original unedited tutorial script. Filming tutorials was a sharp learning curve. There was a lot of last minute editing in order to avoid hours of standing around and talking to the camera. There was so much content we wanted to cover, as the original script reflects, but it would have made for an excessively long video tutorial. It is really quite amazing how much content you can cover in a written article as compared to a filmed tutorial. We are huge fans of documentaries and can watch a documentary on just about anything. Our PBS Passport is one of our favorite websites! But we have had a very different perspective when watching every documentary, TV show or movie since filming our tutorial series.
Please feel free to read the following unedited video tutorial script. And let us know of anything you may want us to cover in greater detail in future projects. We have been tossing around the idea of 'Tutorial Workshops' that takes one small aspect of home brewing and going into a lot of detail.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: Extract, Partial Mash, or All-Grain?
Welcome to Eckert Malting & Brewing Co in Chico California. Hello, I’m Brian, founder and co-owner of GlutenFreeHomeBrewing.com. Here with me today is James Eckert, malter and brewmaster of Eckert Malting & Brewing Co, a certified gluten free malt house and brewery. Today we are going to walk through the step by step process of brewing beer using gluten free ingredients. There are over twenty varieties of gluten free malts which make brewing partial mash and all grain the preferred method for brewing gluten free beers. These different malts are necessary in achieving the wide range of beer styles.
Summary of extract brewing.
Summary of partial mash brewing.
Summary of all grain brewing.
Please watch our next video that covers the equipment you will need for extract, partial mash, and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: The Equipment
In this segment we are going to review the equipment required to brew gluten free beer. Although we will be mostly using commercial grade brewery equipment in our tutorials, we will also refer to examples of equipment similar to what you can expect to use in your home.
Review equipment required for extract brewing:
20 qt. brew kettle large metal stirring spoon measuring spoon set glass measuring cup food-grade plastic bucket or glass carboy airlock sanitizer thermometer
Review additional equipment required for partial mash brewing:
reusable nylon mesh bag
grain mill (reverse canning rack)
Review additional equipment required for all grain brewing:
grain mill 5-10 gal mash tun 5 gal liquid hot tank
additional food-grade plastic bucket or glass carboy wort chiller wort chiller pump pre-wort chiller metal fine mesh strainer brewing siphon digital scale
Please watch our next video that covers reading a recipe for extract, partial mash, and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: Reading a Recipe
In order to brew beer it is important to be able to read a recipe and know some basic terminology. Typically when you read a recipe there will be an ingredient list which may include a grain bill. A grain bill is simply a list of just the grains used in a recipe. All-grain recipes solely rely on grains to produce the fermentable sugars.
Most recipes will include some of the following information:
ABV: Alcohol By Volume. Boil: Total amount of time which the wort boils. Final Gravity (FG): The ending gravity after fermentation, used to calculate the alcohol content of the finished beer. Grain Bill (or mash bill): The ingredients in the mash, primarily malt, that is used to create the wort. IBU: International Bitterness Units are the measure of bitterness in the beer. Original Gravity (OG): The starting gravity prior to fermentation attributes to the potential alcohol content of the finished beer. Points Per Gallon (PPG): Amount of gravity points per gallon per pound of malt used in a mash. Primary Ferment: Refers to the time the finished wort ferments following the brewing process. Secondary Ferment: Refers to the time the finished wort ferments after primary fermentation. SRM or Lovibond: Scale for determining the color of the beer; also used to describe the color of an ingredient such as malts and grains. Yield: The final volume of beer collected after conclusion of the brewing and fermentation processes.
The typical recipe will list the ingredients in the order in which they will be used in the brewing process. And because timing is critical to the brewing process, the ingredient will be accompanied by the time in the process that the ingredient is used. However, when brewing beer, the time starts at the maximum boil time and counts backwards. Therefore an ingredient that is used first, or at the start of the boil, may be denoted with “60 minutes”; while subsequent ingredients will be denoted with a time less than the first ingredient.
Please watch our next video that covers the ingredients you will need for extract, partial mash, and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: The Ingredients
In this segment we are going to review the ingredients required to brew gluten free beer. All beer is going to include the use of hops and yeast. But before you get to that, you must first collect your wort. The wort is the liquid extracted from the mashing process or by adding extract syrup to water.
Summary of extract brewing ingredients:
Extract brewing has been the most common method of brewing gluten free beer primarily due to the unavailability of gluten free malt. Most commercial breweries have also used this method of brewing for this same reason. Sorghum syrup (extract) is combined with water to form the wort. Extract brewing is a simple method requiring less equipment and knowledge. It is frequently utilized by new brewers while learning to brew.
Summary of partial mash brewing ingredients:
Partial mash brewing does not vastly differ from extract brewing. This method uses a small amount of gluten free malt which is steeped for a short period of time before the extract is added. The use of malt diversifies the flavor profile and aids in increasing body, head retention, maltiness and mouthiness.
Summary of all grain brewing ingredients:
All-grain brewing is currently the best available method to brew gluten free beer. Instead of using extracts, all the fermentable sugars come from the malt through a process which converts the starches into sugar. Compared to conventional brewing which has multiple malt and extract options, gluten free brewing currently only offers multiple malt options. The different malts are necessary to craft the wide range of beer styles that conventional brewers enjoy. Gluten free malts include corn, buckwheat, millet and rice. And within each of those malt types are roasts and styles. For example, Eckert Malting & Brewing offers six types of rice malt including pale, biscuit, amber, James’ brown, dark and gas hog. Each malt attributes to the profile of a beer in a different way.
Please watch our next video that covers how much malt to use for partial mash and all grain brewing. If you are an extract brewer, you may skip ahead to “The Boil”.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: How Much Malt To Use?
The amount of malt you use in a recipe is determined by whether you are brewing a partial mash or all-grain recipe. In a partial mash recipe, a small amount of malt is used to add flavor while increasing body, head retention, maltiness and mouthiness. However, the primary source of fermentable sugars comes from the use of extracts such as sorghum syrup. A grain bill of three to five pounds malt is typical.
In all-grain brewing, the primary source of fermentable sugars comes from the malt. And unless you use an extract, syrup or sugar, all the fermentable sugars come from the malt. The number of pounds of malt used per gallon adjusted by the mash efficiency will determine the potential gravity. Simply put, if you want 5 gallons of drinkable beer at an ABV of 5.5% then you will need X number of X malts at X efficiency to give you X preboil gallons of wort. The efficiency is the percentage of the points per gallon you will actually end up with from the mash. 70-75% efficiency is typical.
The types of malts used varies by whether you are brewing partial mash or all-grain, and by the style of beer you are attempting to achieve. Since a partial mash recipe uses an extract, which is typically a base or pale malt, specialty malts are used. But since an all-grain recipe gets most to all of the fermentable sugars from the malt, a base or pale malt is used along with the specialty malts. For example, our Dark Lager recipe kit uses 16 lbs of pale rice malt, 3 lbs biscuit rice malt, 1 lb James’ brown rice malt, 1 lb dark rice malt, and 1 lb gas hog rice malt. So a total of 16 lbs of the 22 lbs grain bill is a base malt, and yet, this is a dark beer. The 6 lbs of specialty malt greatly influences the profile of the beer.
The amount of specialty malts used in partial mash and all-grain recipes are comparable. That is because the extract used in a partial mash recipe takes the place of the base or pale malt in the all-grain recipe. However, as stated in “The Ingredients” segment, the different malts are necessary to craft the wide range of beer styles. Unfortunately, at this time, there are not any extracts from gluten free malts. Sorghum syrup, which typically is not malted, is the most commonly used extract. However, the craft malters have pursued other gluten free grains that offer a more true to style beer profile by using corn, buckwheat, millet and rice for their malts.
Please watch our next video that covers how to mill malt to use for partial mash and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: Milling Buckwheat, Corn, Millet and Rice
To release the starch from within millet and buckwheat malt a mill gap setting of 0.65 – 0.70 mm is recommended. When milling rice malt you want to keep the rice hull intact while still milling the rice seed within the hull. A mill gap setting of 0.90 – 0.95 mm is recommended for rice malt.
Example of inexpensive grain mill for the home brewer.
Demonstration of milling malt.
Please watch our next video that covers how to mash malt to use for partial mash and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: The Mash
With the exception of rice malt that has an intact hull; buckwheat, corn and millet require the addition of rice hulls. Rice hulls improve circulation and filtration during the mash, and also reduce the likelihood of a stuck mash. A mash may become “stuck” which means the wort being collected from the mash tun will slow to a trickle before it completely stops. But more importantly, a stuck mash may also reduce the efficiency of the mash process resulting in less fermentable sugars.
Just about every beer style can be made by using Pale malt extract and steeping malted grains. Partial mash brewing is especially important in brewing gluten free beer because there currently are not gluten free malt extracts available to the home brewer. Sorghum syrup, which is the most common extract used in gluten free extract and partial mash brewing, is not from a malted grain. The malted grains used in partial mash, and of course all grain brewing, are important to produce the maltiness and mouthiness in gluten free beer. The malted grains also allow you to achieve the diverse flavor profile of the different beer styles.
Demonstration of partial mash grain steeping and sparge.
If you are a partial mash brewer, you may skip ahead to “The Boil”.
A single infusion mash is the recommended method for all-grain gluten free brewing. Many mashing methods have been used and a single infusion mash has yielded consistent results while simplifying the brewing process. We do not discourage other methods, but we would urge a new brewer to start with this method. The milled grains and rice hulls are mixed with hot water and enzymes to achieve a mash at a temperature of 150-165F (Grouse Malting & Brewing Co recommends a mash temperature of 163.4F) for 90-120 minutes. The recommended water-to-grain ratio is 1-1.25 quarts per pound. When you add grain to water the temperature will decrease. Therefore the “strike water” temperature needs to be higher to compensate for the heat loss. ‘Brewing Calculators’ are available on our website and includes an ‘Infusion Mash Calculator’ that will calculate the appropriate temperature for the “strike water”.
In order to maintain your mash temperature you will need a mash tun. This is very simple to use brewing equipment, typically a converted five or ten gallon cooler, which holds your mash at a relatively consistent temperature for a prolonged period of time. A mash tun may be purchased from a homebrew store, or you may construct a mash tun yourself. There are many easy to follow instructions online and all the parts are readily available. Finally you may need a Hot Liquid Tank, which is in the most basic terms a container that is connected to the mash tun and holds the sparging water. However, many gluten free beer brewers are having greater efficiency with batch sparging which does not required a Hot Liquid Tank or fly sparging manifold. This method requires the mash tun to be emptied, refilled to the top of the grain bed with sparge water, and emptied again. This process is repeated until you achieve the desired pre-boil wort volume.
Tips: Use a well designed mash tun that will collect as much wort as possible. Reduce dead space in the mash tun, transfer lines, and trub. Sparge slowly; a full sparge of a 5 gallon (about 6 gallons preboil) batch should take 30-50 minutes. Keep the grain bill afloat with a small amount of water above the grain bed to avoid the grain bed from compressing and reduce the chances of a stuck mash.
Demonstration of all grain mash in and out, sparging and wort collection.
Please watch our next video that covers the boil for extract, partial mash and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: The Boil
If you are brewing using extracts, you most likely last watched “The Ingredients” segment and skipped ahead to the current segment. If you have been watching all the segments, we have covered how to create and collect a wort for partial mash and all-grain brewers.
Extract brewing: Bring water to boil, dissolve extract in hot water.
Once all the wort has been collected, place brew kettle with wort on a heat source.
While water is coming to boil, prepare the remaining ingredients in premeasured amounts so they may be added at the appropriate times.
Allow the wort to come to a rolling boil. This is the stage that you are waiting for a hot break, and may occur for 5-20 minutes. This is also the first stage that your wort may boil over. A boil over is when the hot break billows over the side of the brew kettle. Reduce the temperature of the wort to control.
After the hot break has been achieved and you have allowed the wort to boil for at least five minutes, you are ready for the first addition of your hops or other ingredient. When you add your first addition of hops, start by only adding a small amount. The alpha acids in the hops may cause a boil over. You may notice the head of the wort temporarily build up again. Once the head has subsided it is safe to add the rest of the hops addition. Add all ingredients as instructed per the recipe.
Demonstration of hops addition to wort during boil.
Before the boil time has expired, you will want to prepare you ice bath or wort chiller. An ice bath is a way to cool the wort without any additional equipment. It is exactly what it sounds like, a sink of ice cold water that you place the brew kettle. You never want to allow any water or other contaminates in your wort. With an ice bath, you bring down the temperature of the wort by using cold water to draw the heat out of the wort. This uses a lot of water and a lot of ice, and does take some time to complete. Another option is to use a wort chiller to pump ice cold water through the wort and draw out the heat. A wort chill conducts temperature more efficiently, and with a constant supply of cold water it reduces the temperature of the wort very quickly.
Once the boil time has expired, immediately cover the wort and begin to bring down the temperature of the wort. This is the stage that the wort is most vulnerable to contaminants such as bacteria and wild yeast. Make sure anything the wort comes into contact with is sanitized.
Demonstration of ice bath and use of wort chiller after boil.
Please watch our next video that covers which yeasts to use for extract, partial mash and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: What Yeast To Use?
In the earlier days there was a lot of confusion as to which yeasts were safe for brewing gluten free beer. It is relatively common knowledge now that it is safe to use any dry yeast. And fortunately there are far more stains of dry yeast than there were even a few years ago.
Discuss yeast / strain selection.
Dry pitching or re-hydration?
Dry yeast needs to draw water across the cell membranes to restart their metabolism. Sometimes dry yeast cannot draw enough water from the wort due to the high concentration of sugar. For this reason, it may be necessary to rehydrate dry yeast before it can be pitched into the fermenter. However, more modern dry yeast has the ability to be pitched directly into the wort without re-hydration. It is recommended that you follow the manufacturer’s instruction printed on the packet.
To rehydrate yeast:
- Put 1 cup of warm (95-105F, 35-40C) boiled water into a sanitized jar and stir in the yeast. Cover with Saran Wrap and wait 15 minutes. 2. "Proof" the yeast (if recommended by manufacturer) by adding one teaspoon of extract or sugar that has been boiled in a small amount of water. Allow the sugar solution to cool before adding it to the jar. 3. Cover and place in a warm area out of direct sunlight. 4. After 30 minutes or so the yeast should be visibly churning and/or foaming, and is ready to pitch.
Demonstration of re-hydrating yeast.
When the wort is at the appropriate temperature, the yeast may be pitch into the fermenter. Cover the lid and attach the air lock. Allow the fermenter to sit undisturbed at 60-70F in a dark room or closet.
Demonstration of pitching yeast.
Please watch our next video that covers fermentation for extract, partial mash and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: Fermentation
Yeast factors: pitching the correct amount of yeast, healthy starter (dry pitch vs re-hydrated)
Wort factors: oxygen via aeration, FAN (free amino nitrogen) level or add yeast nutrients
Temperature factors: maintain optimal brewing temperature to avoid unwanted flavors and aromas
Airlock: affixes to the fermenter and allows carbon dioxide produced during fermentation to be released.
Demonstration of an airlock.
Use of secondary fermenter: 1) allow primary fermentation stage to complete, typically 2-6 days or 1-5 bubbles in air lock per minute 2) rack beer with sanitized equipment
Trub: During fermentation, a layer of sediment will form at the bottom of the fermenter. Proper racking to a secondary fermenter or for kegging/bottling will separate the beer from the trub.
Demonstration of racking.
Please watch our next video that covers kegging and bottling for extract, partial mash and all grain brewing.
Gluten Free Home Brewing: Kegging and Bottling
In this segment we are going to review the equipment required to bottle and keg beer.
Review equipment required for bottling:
Racking cane and hose
Review optional equipment required for bottling:
Demonstration of bottling
Summary of kegging.
Thank you for watching our tutorials for extract, partial mash and all grain brewing. A special thanks to Eckert Malting & Brewing Co for walking through the step by step process of brewing beer using gluten free ingredients. Please visit our website for great recipes, and of course, gluten free malts and other gluten free ingredients.