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Below are the 6 most recent journal entries recorded in Gluten Free Brewing and Beer's LiveJournal:

Monday, August 10th, 2009
4:39 pm
Beet Wine
An e-mail conversation with my father may have just added beet wine to the fall's brewing schedule.

Have YOU ever made beet wine? If so, do you have a favorite recipe? What other vegetable wines have folks here made and how did they turn out?

(x-posted to a few brewing LJs)

Current Mood: thirsty
Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
2:32 pm
This Saturday August 1 is National Mead Day!

Mead is a fermented beverage made form honey, and may very well be the oldest alcoholic beverage on Earth.

What is Mead Day?

Mead Day, organized by the American Homebrewers Association (AHA), is a national event to help increase camaraderie among homebrewers (see What is Homebrewing?) and meadmakers (see What is Mead?) and to introduce or reintroduce the meadmaking hobby.

Each year on the first Saturday in August, homebrewers around the nation are encouraged to invite non-brewing and brewing friends and family to celebrate by making mead.

For more Mead information, visit Talisman Farm: Mead.

I'll be starting two small batches of mead this Saturday. First, will be a Mesquite and Prickly Pear mead. The other won't be a strict mead, but will be a mead recipe made using Agave Nectar in place of honey.

Mead Day Facts
2008 More than 950 people produced more than 820 gallons of mead at 54 sites in 29 states and Russia.
2007 More than 1,050 gallons of mead were produced at 51 sites by more than 500 meadmakers. There were Mead Day sites in 23 states, and in Canada, Australia, and Russia.

Current Mood: thirsty

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009
4:35 pm
Passover, alcohol and me
The background musing

I'm a gentile, but my wife is Jewish. I love making things for people to enjoy eating or drinking. I also enjoy making alcoholic beverages from scratch. All of these factors combine to forge my interest in making wine for assorted Jewish holidays.

I've spent the last year or so periodically threatening to make a haroset wine. When I looked up a few recipes, I learned that haroset is an amazingly varied dish. Depending on the base recipe I choose I could justifiably make a wine, mead or hard cider.

A little more research revealed that mead is actually a traditional Passover drink, or at least, according to Adventures in Jewish Cooking, it was 20 years ago. I was amused to learn that a hopped mead fermented in an oak barrel was the recipe recommended by the author of Adventures in Jewish Cooking.

This brings me to my questions:

1. What's your favorite haroset recipe?

2. If you don't have a favorite recipe, what are some of the ingredients you believe really SHOULD be in a good haroset?

3. Do you have a recipe you think would make a good alcoholic beverage?

The plan

I'm going to try making a few batches of haroset for Passover in 2010. Since my brewing schedule is already full for this year, I probably won't actually start any potential haroset beverages until after the 2010 passover. I'm also expecting to age the beverage for 6 to 12 months. In the end, this is a beverage that won't be cracked open until April 18, 2011, but I'll need to start it in the Spring of 2010.
Friday, July 28th, 2006
4:58 pm
Beer Review - Ramapo Valley Brewery
Ramapo Valley Passover Honey Beer
So I went to my local giganto liquor store (that's Surdyk's in Minneapolis) and asked if they were carrying any Gluten Free beers at the moment. It seems, every time I try one there, I go back a month later, and it's out of stock. Often, never to be seen again. Bard's Tale was the first, and then Lakefront Brewery's gluten free pilsner.

This stuff though - hopefully since it's two catagories of weird (kosher for passover and gluten free) will hopefully stay around.

The beer
Ok ingredients - Water, molasses, hops, honey, and passover yeast. We're going to assume for the moment that passover yeast is some weird strain not fed grains. Everything else is safe. Purests might argue this is some sort of hoppy mead. It has no grainlike things, all the other GF beers I've had contained sorghum or rice or corn. The webpage says it's made on dedicated equipment, which makes me happy.

The taste
Well - hops. I'm not a big fan of hops. This stuff is pretty dang hoppy. I'm guessing that they're hiding the lack of grain taste (malt) with the hops. I rather wish they'd back off them a bit. The second, lingering taste is honey. Like a mead, but not so sweet. It's fairly thin, with almost no head after a few seconds. Unlike the other beers, though, it does not taste like Sorghum, a grain that's not too common in western diets (unless you count that your beef was likely fed it) and sort of strange at first.

The kick
It's 5% alcohol by volume. It doesn't come off that strong, though, in fact, it's rather mild in terms of 'booze taste'. It's easy to drink, if you can be ok with the hops.

Overall, I'd give it 3 out of 5.
Thursday, August 25th, 2005
6:03 am
Grain mill
So I bought a 'Corona Grain Mill' online (via EBAY) yesterday. It's actually a new one from a store in Alabama, so hopefully I won't have bits of barely or whatnot stuck in it.

It terms of the brewing process, alot of wheaty beers are made from malt syrup, to spare people the trouble of sprouting and toasting their grains. As there are no GF malt syrups, I'm going to have to do that bit.

My plans are to make a couple of screen pans (with like, mosquito netting) that set into the biggest cookie sheets I have. To malt, one takes the grain (such as, for instance, corn) soaks it for a period (3 or 4 days, changing the water frequently) and then lays it out on a pan. The mosquito netting I'm adding to the process, because with my past corn-malting experiments, the corn molded. I had just set it onto papertowels and kept them a bit damp. One website I read on malting suggested rinsing the sprouting grain daily, and sort of gently turning it. Another source suggested a closed unit 'malt factory' which had a light inside of a ventolated old fridge, with a fan. That's too much work.

The malt process begins with step 1) being soaking, 2) being sprouting, 3) being oven toasting when the sprouts are about an inch long to stop the growth and carmalize the sugars).
Anyways, the grain mill comes into basically step 4) grinding. One must grind the grain into 'flake'. I'm sure that wheat, oats and other 'monocot' (single cotyledon, or the seed portion where reserve food is held for the plant-ling) flake differently than corn (peg shaped) or buckwheat (sort of a tricorn hat) or sorgham (not too sure, but I think it's round like millet). The mill I got I shopped around for, mostly because the base is bloody cast iron, and the shipping can be a bear. Total I paid was about 39$. Some mills market for 200$. The Cornona hand powered, but I have been told one can use an adapted powerdrill to move it, it's supposed to be a simple 'workhorse'.

I'll keep people posted with how it works.

Anyone live in the south....say near agricultural lands that grow Sorghum? I've been told it's a southern crop. I still need to find a source for some of that.
Sunday, August 21st, 2005
10:30 am
First post
Hopefully this community will be of use to people, and spur some real 'research' - in other words, like minded people making a holy mess out of their kitchen brewing...

Basics - I'm a 28 year old celiac, who used to love beer. I happen to be in a state that has weird alcohol laws (I can't order any celiac beer from other states, unless they get a licensed distributer in Minnesota), and thusly, if I want GF beer, I'd best be making my own.

As a celiac, I often feel most comfortable consuming things where I KNOW all of the ingredients. This can be kind of hard. The other thing, is contamination, where something that SHOULD be perfectly safe makes you sick, because someone did not wash tools off from one batch to the next, or the milling equipment ground wheatflour before the batch of teff, etc, etc, etc. Homebrewing is ultimate control of ingredients.

I have been brewing off and on for about 3 years. Anyone can brew if they could handle highschool chemistry. It's not hard! The equipment CAN be expensive, but then again, it can be pretty cheap. Alot of what one pays for is style, and convenience. Sure, glass 'carboy' (big 5 gallon bottle) fermentation containers look snazzy, but 5 gallon restaurant pickle-buckets work great too.

A great book, which walks one through complete ignorance all the way to making your own malting equipment (and distilling!) is 'The Alaskan Bootlegger's Bible'. This does, btw, include some GF recipes like 'Chicha' or south american Corn beer. I'm still working on that one (malting corn is not as easy as I'd like)

So - Do you brew? Did you brew, and would you like to again, now that you can't drink barley and wheat beer? Would you like to, and don't know where to start? Do you have some experiences you'd like to share? Are you a GF beer distributer, and would like to talk about your product?

Current Mood: cheerful
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