Bunchgrasser’s World

My unique filter on life

Awesome Gluten-Free Beer Recipe

Posted by bunchgrasser on May 17, 2008

My friends and family know that I’m a homebrewer and homevintner (is that a real word?). I wouldn’t call myself an “experienced” homebrewer, but I have made some very tasty liquid refreshments over the past few years. I’ve been more into winemaking the past couple of years, but I still make time for a few batches of barley pop for special occasions.

I remember stumbling through my very first batch of homebrew many years ago. I had no idea what I was doing, but the wonderful thing about brewing beer – is that it is soooo easy to do. I just bought the basic brewing kit at a local shop, took it home and followed the directions, step by step. Beginners sometimes make mistakes or have “sanitation” issues, but generally the process is easy enough for anyone with some patience to follow. My first batch of ale was a rich caramel color and tasted heavenly – beginners luck perhaps?

Anyway, back to the point of this posting. My dad loves beer, but several years ago he was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is a severe allergy to gluten. For those not familiar – it means you cannot ingest anything with gluten which is just about everything it seems. Beer, which is made primarily from grains (such as barley), along with hops, yeast and water is an obvious no-no. Or so I thought…

My friend Kevin who runs the local brew shop told me about a gluten-free beer recipe. It uses sorghum extract rather than malt extract, so there is no gluten. I immediately bought the ingredients and headed home to fire up the ole brewpot. For those that are interested, I’ve included the basic recipe and process below. For homebrewers, this will be all you need. But if you’ve never done this before and want to give it a try – I recommend contacting your local brew shop for more detailed instructions and supplies.

 Gluten-free beer recipe

7.5 lbs. sorghum extract
2 cups lightly toasted buckwheat groats (crack with rolling pin)
3 oz. Cascade hops (60-15-10-5 schedule)
1 packet Danstar Windsor brewing yeast

I cooked 6 gallons in 32 quart stainless steel brew pot over propane burner. Soaked buckwheat groats in a grain bag in water and brought it up to 180 degrees. Squeezed out and removed grain bags and then added sorghum extract as it was coming to a boil. Added first batch of hops, then added successive batches as the boil progressed. I saved ½ oz. for dry hopping in secondary but this is optional.

I had to remove the pot a couple of times to keep it from foaming over. I remembered to add an extra gallon of water to compensate for evaporation during boil. I might actually go with 6.5 gallons next time as it still came up a little short. Set brew pot into large plastic tub with water and 2 large bags of ice. Had to add ice several times but it did bring the temp down to 80F pretty quickly. Poured hot wort through strainer into 6 gallon ale pail and took it into the house. Pitched 1 packet of yeast at 80 degrees F and sealed with an airlock. Starting specific gravity was 1.044.


The beer turned out much better than expected and my dad loves it. I’ve drunk a few bottles as well and, although it has a distinctive taste – it is very drinkable and great for quenching your thirst on a hot summer day.






4 Responses to “Awesome Gluten-Free Beer Recipe”

  1. Sounds like a cool recipe.

  2. anon2 said

    Interesting. The buckwheat is not going to add to the fermentation any because it is unmalted (you can malt buckwheat if you can manage to find it raw). Here the buckwheat will probably serve for head retention, some aroma and flavor.

    I am on a quest to find a ‘clone’ recipe of Greens Discovery GF beer… it’s simply awesome, and so good I would drink it just for the taste, even though I’m looking to clone it for someone with a gluten allergy. This recipe has malted buckwheat and other fermentables.

    I get the impression this is a bit of a session beer, it might serve to add some tasting notes here, BJCP style, if you brew it again. 🙂

    I think I’ll try this, but add a bit of molassess to the secondary. That could boost the final gravity some.

  3. Adamastor Neira said

    Hi, you said: “buckwheat groats slightly toasted”….did you buy it already toasted? Could you tell how was the beer final (pale, gold, very clear, thin, cloudy etc..)

    • bunchgrasser said

      I purchased the buckwheat groats from a local grocery store and toasted them in the oven myself. As I recall, I spread them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 15-30 minutes at either 300 or 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). This is subjective as you can toast them to whatever darkness you prefer. Mine were toasted very lightly. The beer finished off clear with a pale yellow color and was very tasty. I will probably toast them darker next time for more flavor.

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