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Gluten-Free Homebrewing #2: Grapefruit IPA

[This post is a follow-up to last week’s post, “Gluten-Free Homebrewing #1: Basics“, part of our ongoing series with brewmaster Igliashon Jones sharing some of his favorite old homebrew recipes]

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Some grapefruits were harmed in the making of this post.

As promised, here is the recipe for my good ol’ “Grapefruit IPA”.  This wasn’t my first-ever recipe, but it was the first gluten-free beer I ever homebrewed that got responses like “wow, this tastes as good as a ‘normal’ beer!” and “you should open a brewery!”.  It’s pretty simple from a process standpoint, being all extract.  Here’s a list of what you’ll need; I’ll have to leave it up to you to source the equipment and ingredients, but if you need help, feel free to contact me for some personal and “unofficial” recommendations.

Brewing Equipment: see your choice of homebrew guidebooks for a full list of equipment; note that this is a 5-gallon batch, so I recommend a 7- to 10-gallon boil kettle to do a full wort boil, which most likely will require a free-standing propane burner to achieve a rolling boil.  If you only have access to a gas stove top, you can shrink the recipe down to a 3-gallon size, and use a 20-qt boil pot.  This is what I typically do when homebrewing. If you have an electric range, don’t even bother, just get a propane burner.  Trust me.

Ingredients:

Water:

  • I use reverse osmosis water in all my homebrew recipes
  • For this recipe, 1/2 tsp of gypsum is recommended

Fermentables:

  • 5 lb liquid white sorghum extract (NOT sorghum molasses! Make sure it is grain-derived)
  • 27 oz D-45 “Amber” candi syrup
  • 21 oz raw unfiltered buckwheat honey
  • 0.5 to 1 lb of maltodextrin, depending on how full of a body you want

Hops:

  • 1 oz Columbus hop pellets
  • 1.5 oz Cascade hop pellets
  • 2.5 oz Centennial hop pellets

Yeast:

  • Fermentis US-05 American Ale Yeast, Dry (comes in a red sachet)
  • 1 tsp beer yeast nutrient blend

Extras:

  • Zest of half a grapefruit (variety is up to you; go to the store and give ’em a sniff, see which one calls to you)
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet or other kettle finings

The Brewing Process:

Bring 5.25 gallons of water, with gypsum added, to a boil in your brew pot (you may need to adjust this amount for your particular boil-off rate).  Turn off heat and add in 2.5 lbs of the sorghum extract as well as all of the D-45 and the maltodextrin; stir to ensure that everything is dissolved completely.  Return to heat and bring back to a nice rolling boil.  Add in the 1 oz of Columbus hops and start a timer for 60 minutes; I add directly to the kettle without hop bags, and strain the hop matter out after the boil.  Keep the pot uncovered, watch for a few minutes to ensure it isn’t going to boil over, then begin to clean and sanitize your fermenting equipment.

At 15 minutes left on your timer, add 1 oz of Cascade hops as well as the whirlfloc/kettle finings and yeast nutrient.  At 10 minutes left, add 1 oz of Centennial hops.  At 5 minutes left, add the remaining Cascade hops and the grapefruit zest.  At 0 minutes, remove from heat and add the remaining sorghum extract, as well as the buckwheat honey.  Stir thoroughly to dissolve.  Once dissolved, chill your wort (I strongly advise an immersion chiller–no single investment I made in my homebrew setup was as helpful as this in making brew-days less stressful).  Chill the wort to at least 72°F.

Strain wort through a sanitized nylon grain bag large enough to either fill your bottling bucket or cover your sanitized carboy funnel.  Collect a sample with a sanitized wine thief or turkey baster and check your starting gravity.  It should be around 1.057 SG; plus or minus a few points is fine, it won’t make a tremendous difference.

Once the fermenting vessel is full of wort, pitch yeast.  I always rehydrate dried yeast for 15 minutes in 1/2 cup of boiled tap-water that is cooled to about 85°F, but this is optional.  Agitate the wort by shaking/rocking the vessel gently (be CAREFUL with glass carboys!  Roll it around on a soft surface like carpet or a towel).  Cap with sanitized stopper and airlock.

Allow primary fermentation to complete; target final gravity is around 1.017 or lower.  I allow about 5-7 days of fermentation before I check the gravity.  ALWAYS check gravity to determine when fermentation has completed.

Add the remaining Centennial hops to the primary fermenting vessel (I always dry-hop in the primary, and then rack to secondary to clear after dry-hopping is complete).  Dry-hop for 5 days, then rack to secondary (you can use a sanitized hop-bag rubberbanded over your racking cane to keep the dry hops out of the secondary) and cold-crash if possible for at least 24 hours.

Bottle or keg and condition for at least a week.  I recommend aiming for at least 2.4 volumes of carbonation, which means around 4.5 oz of corn sugar added to the bottling bucket.  I always dissolve my priming sugar in boiling water and let cool, then add to the bottom of the bottling bucket.  Make sure to give the beer a few gentle stirs with the racking hose after it’s been transferred to the bucket or you will get inconsistent carbonation.  It’s best to rack the beer in at an angle as well to increase turbulence and enhance mixing.

The final beer should be clear to slightly-hazy (unfiltered dry-hopped beers tend to pick up some haze from the hop oils), on the amber side of golden in color, and have a pungent citrus hop aroma with a mild grapefruit tang.  Enjoy!

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