Gluten Free Beer Brewing – Sorghum Malt Review

I have been asked by several people about gluten free beer brewing, of which I have some commercial experience, so I would like to share the lowdown on brewing with sorghum malt.

Review: Briess White Sorghum Malt

Briess have been producing some excellent liquid malt extracts, but can they provide for the gluten free home brewing market?

Briess do also supply commercial breweries with bulk quantities of sorghum malt. The two major concerns they address are: is it safe for celiacs, and does it taste like beer?


Safety: 5/5 Gluten Free Malt Extract

Flavor: 4/5

User Friendliness: 3/5

Cost: about USD $15

Best Supplier: Adventures in Homebrewing


100% Gluten Free

Briess White Sorghum has been produced since 2005 and is manufactured to be 100% gluten free. This is important, as many celiacs are intolerant to trace levels as low as 1 part gluten in 1 million parts of beer.

The brewer must be careful, though – your supplier may not have strict GF handling policies, and you yourself must be vigilant on how you avoid exposing your beer to traces of gluten.

Does it Taste like Beer?

Sorghum is a different grain to barley and wheat, and it does taste different. For a true craft brewer, a difference in taste is a welcome addition, but for a novice it can be confusing or frustrating. However, a good Sorghum Beer tastes great – it’s a terrific way to add a spicy finish to the flavoring hops!

One challenge is the amino acids and specific proteins needed to make a malt extract fermentable, which are present in barley and wheat, but different in sorghum. Briess has managed to keep these as close as possible, so you can use this LME with ease.

Briess sorghum malt extract does taste like a sorghum beer, but is an excellent example of style. To get used to the flavor, I recommend trying it in a hoppy GF pale ale for your first recipe.

Verdict:

If you are easily turned off by new flavors, give gluten-free home brewing a miss altogether. If you do need to brew with sorghum for health reasons or you are interested in adding the flavor of sorghum malt to your brewing knowledge, Briess is your best starting point.

types of malt extractAlternatives:

A quick search on Homebrewing.org or Amazon will bring up several alternative sorghum-based malt extracts. Be sure to do your research on their gluten-free policy.

Cheers!

Have you used Briess white sorghum malt extract? Do you have any questions? Please leave a comment!

6 thoughts on “Gluten Free Beer Brewing – Sorghum Malt Review

  1. Hey this looks great. It’s also a great alternative for todays non-gluten living friends. Actually i’m not a master of brewing but i’ve always been attracted to the subject. For their weight and health issues people can consider gluten free beer and i may try it sometime too. Hope it doesn’t taste too weird.

    • It actually tastes great, Tyler!

      It’s not for everyone, but for those who already like craft beer, the sorghum malt adds a very tasty spiciness that helps the hops really pop on the taste-buds!

  2. I really got a lot out of this site. I’m a beer drinker and have often wondered if I have a problem with gluten consuption myself. The Sorghum Malt Review was interesting. I’ve often thought of brewing my own beer and this is a super site for doing it. Jesse really has a handle on the subject and a complete website to getting started. I think I’ll give home brewing a try.

  3. Hi Jesse,

    I was looking for a beer for my brother – I didn’t even realise you could make your own Gluten Free beer (just shows how far behind the times I am).

    This will to send my brothers way, he is Gluten intolerant but used to love brewing and drinking his own beer! I’m going to suggest he checks this out!

    • Thank you for your comment Nate, I’m very glad that I could help you find a way for your brother to start brewing again.

      There are also several commercially produced gluten-free beers now available in several countries, and some of them are pretty good.

      Home made is always best though! Why not try making one yourself? You can get started here: How To Make Your Own Beer Kit

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