What is Gluten Free (GF) Beer?
Some people have Celiac Disease and can not eat foods that contain gluten such as barley and wheat.
Unfortunately, they can not drink beer because barley is the main ingredient in beer.
GF beer is an alcoholic beverage that contains no barley, wheat or other food items that contain gluten.
It is usually made with rice or buckwheat. I compiled a table
of adjuncts, fruits and spices, which will allow you to add more flavor to the basic Gluten Free beer recipe.
Make sure you check with your doctor before consuming any of these ingredients.
GF Beer Recipe
"There's a Hole in the Buckwheat Ale"
(Gluten-Free Buckwheat Beer Recipe)
by Eric Constans
In my obsessive quest for a good-tasting gluten-free beer this recipe is the best so far. It ends up tasting a little like Coors light, which is at least slightly better than no beer at all. (really!) This beer is still in the experimental stages, so feel free to play with the amount of hops, etc. or to add other GF ingredients such as molasses or malted millet.
Ingredients for 5 Gallons:
3 lbs. malted buckwheat (recipe follows)
1 cup corn sugar
1 oz. Saaz hops
2 oz. Hallertauer Hersbrucker hops
6 lb. rice syrup *
1 pkg. ale yeast (EDME) **
* Some brands of rice extract contain gluten. Please read the label carefully before using.
Northwestern Extract makes a GF rice extract.
** Since it is possible that some manufacturers of brewing yeast could culture their product in a gluten-containing malt, a reader informed me that DCL's Saf T-58 dry ale yeast and Lallemand's Danstar Windsor are gluten free.
Put crushed malted buckwheat into strainer bag, add to 1-1/2 gallons of water in brewpot. Keep buckwheat in brewpot, stirring, until water starts boiling. Remove buckwheat and add rice syrup, corn sugar and 1/2 oz. each of the Saaz and Hallertauer hops. Boil for 30 minutes and add 1/4 oz. each of the Saaz and Hallertauer hops. Boil for 15 minutes and add another 1/4 oz. of each type of hops. Boil for another 15 minutes to make a total boiling time of 1 hour, then let the remaining 1 oz. Hallertauer hops steep in the wort for 2 minutes. Strain into your fermenter, add cold water to make 5 gallons total, then pitch yeast when cooled to room temperature. It is important to chill the wort as quickly as possible before adding the yeast. Reference this page for some wort cooling tips.
This "beer" will ferment for longer than most ales, for about 10 days. Add 3/4 cup corn sugar for bottling, and let the beer age for at least 1 week before drinking.
Instructions for Malting Buckwheat:
Since as gluten-free homebrewers we can't just go to our homebrew supply store and buy malted buckwheat or millet, we must malt it ourselves in order to brew with it. Luckily, this is a pretty simple process. First, obtain raw (that is, uncooked and untoasted) buckwheat from a health food store or co-op. Rinse about and let it sit for 30-48 hrs completely submerged in water, rinsing it off every 8 hours or so. The buckwheat will expand as it soaks up some of the water and also produce a sticky oily substance which should be rinsed off. Now put the buckwheat into a strainer or fine-mesh colander and let it sit in the open air in a cool dark place, rinsing off every 8 hours to prevent mold. After 1 day you will see rootlets forming. Let the buckwheat sit in the open air for about 2 days, or until some of the rootlets are about twice as long as the grain bodies. Spread the buckwheat out in a thin layer on several cookie sheets and bake in a 200-250º oven until the buckwheat becomes hard and crunchy (and tastes remarkably like Grape-Nuts) At this point you may increase the temperature and make dark-roasted buckwheat, for darker-colored beers. Use a rolling pin or a glass jar to crush the buckwheat.