Over the past decade, our journey in gluten-free malting and brewing has been filled with exciting discoveries, occasional happy accidents, and, most importantly, continuous learning. Since we embarked on the quest to create flavorful, true-to-style beers using gluten-free ingredients, we have encountered surprises and disproved previous assumptions. In this blog post, we will delve into our experiences, sharing some of the valuable lessons we have learned in the past 10 years, and explore the questions we aim to solve in the next 10.
In the infancy of our experimentation, we believed and communicated to customers that Pale Millet Malt could yield approximately 28/29 PPG (points per pound per gallon). However, upon closer examination and optimization of malting and brewing practices, we realized that using this figure would result in efficiency over 100%, which defied logic. Thanks to the guidance of scientist and brewer friends alike, we have now determined that a more accurate figure to work with for Pale Millet Malt is 34/35 PPG. Understanding the impact of factors such as grist crush, mash regimes (times and temperatures) and the use of the correct exogenous enzymes have been instrumental in gleaning the most extract possible from our non-traditional and gluten-free brewing ingredients.
For crush, we recommend milling millet malt at a .65 mm or less and buckwheat malt at 1 mm or less depending on your lauter screen size. For mashing, both a falling or rising temperature can work, as well as a single infusion, though this is less ideal. Achieving a mash temperature approaching 175°F will help unlock the highest extract possible from millet and buckwheat malt. On the enzyme front, we have experimented with many, many options over the years and have hung our hat on exactly ONE enzyme needed for the entire line-up of Grouse Malt. Ceremix Flex is currently the only enzyme Grouse uses for R&D brewing with a rising step mash that ends with a hold at 175°F. Ondea Pro has gotten a lot of attention in recent years. What we have found is that while Ondea Pro is not harmful to mashing with our grains by any means, it also isn’t beneficial in significantly increasing OG (Original Gravity) or improving fermentability. If you are utilizing other grains or malts outside of the Grouse offerings, please note that other industry pros have observed that Ondea Pro is particularly helpful (especially with rice).
Gluten-free malting and brewing have come a long way in the past ten years, and we recognize that our journey is only beginning. We are motivated by the ground we’ve gained thus far in our quest and the prospects that lie ahead. There are still numerous mysteries to unravel and unanswered questions to explore. For instance, we eagerly anticipate delving into the impact of various mash regimes and enzyme utilization on sugar profiles and mineral analysis, and how that impacts the fermentability and quality of the final product. Grouse is excited to continue learning more and sharing those discoveries with our consumers.