Beer drinker, rocker, programmer, and sex peddler.
Ok, really I want to test a change to user blog replies, but I also noticed I haven't said much about my brewing lately, so let's make this a "real" entry.
Batch 10, known as "The Rye Disaster" had problems, as you might guess from the name. Sparging rye is a bitch, and I used a lot of rye. I was worried that the sparge went so long that I had extracted lots of tannins, but apparently that didn't happen. Also, it had a very gentle, subtle fermentation. I thought it was stuck and dead, but when I took a hydrometer reading a week after brewing, I said, "Oh, it fermented." The upshot of all this, is that the beer actually worked out fairly well. I bottled it about a week and a half ago, so it'll be ready soon.
It is a very weird beer. Rye has lots of beta glucans. These are polysaccharides that make the beer very viscous, pouring and feeling sort of oily. But it doesn't actually stick in your mouth or leave an aftertaste. It's actually not bad, just .. weird.
Batch 11 is a not-so-special English bitter. Nothing fancy here. Main purpose (other than having some generic beer around to drink) was to build the yeast cake for..
Batch 12 is a mocha stout. Holy crap this is good. Not yet bottled.
Batch 13 is sort of a scottish wee heavy, sort of a froach (heather ale), sort of a gruit. It is hopless, and very heavy on the heather. But it also has some yarrow and rosemary.
Batch 14 gets brewed tonight (or maybe tomorrow). This will be my first lager, and will use agave nectar and lime (lime zests and kaffir lime leaves).
After that grows my lager yeast cake, it'll be time for a dopplebock.
That's gonna be awesome, BTW. Assuming I'm actually able to pull off lagers.
This has been steadily fermenting at 55F. So far, so good.
Alas, this will not be the clear 'n' golden lager that some people might expect. For some technical/procedural reasons, it'll have quite a starch haze.
Your beer is among the most delicious I've tasted. And I've tasted a lot of beer.
Whatever it is I love saying it. Sparging!
Sparging is the separation of wort from the grains.
I'm oversimplifying a little (but not much, really): sparging is done by putting the mashed grains into lauter tun (essentially a colander -- you know, that thing you use after cooking pasta), and letting the extract drip out, perhaps with additional hot water poured over them.
Rye complicates that, because the wort is very thick and gummy, and doesn't flow well.
Before sparging, you have mash: sugar water and the grains that the sugar came from.
After sparging, you have sweet wort: just the sugar water, with the grains left behind.
At that point, the grains are usually thrown away, since their yumminess has been extracted. Some people use it as mulch. I know one guy who feeds it to chickens. In my last batch, I mixed it with flour and peanut butter, and baked dog biscuits. But usually, that's the end of the line for the grain.
(Wow, talk about a blast from the past. Every beer I wrote about here, got drunk years ago.)
Gluten-free beer is tricky. As far as I know, there's not any way to have barley (or wheat) without gluten in it (or if there is way, the malting companies don't work with, or sell, that particular stuff).
I have seen sorghum extract sold by brewing supply companies, though, and they make a big deal about how it's gluten-free. I've never gotten around to trying it, though, to see if it tastes malty enough.
Then there are honey, ciders .. there are a great many options for fermentable sugars which don't have gluten, and the results can be very yummy -- but it's not beer. When I want mead, I drink mead. When I want beer, mead won't do.
Are u still brewing? Well, i have had gluten free beer made w/sorghum. Its ok. I suspect u cld make a better tasting batch. Let me know if u do. I know lots of gluten free people in e. mnts who might want to buy it. Espec if u can make it taste decent and reasonably priced.