How do I turn rice into sweet sweet beer?
November 16, 2012 8:32 PM   Subscribe

I want to make my own brown rice and sorghum syrups for gluten free home brewing. Why is it so hard to find recipes?

I took up home brewing about six months ago and about two months ago decided to start a gluten free diet for health reasons on the advice of my doctor. I made my first gluten free beer using some Briess syrups but now I want to take it to the next level. I'd like to make my own sorghum and rice syrups but Google seems to mock me in my attempts to figure out how to make these syrups. I am bombarded by recipes that use these syrups but almost nothing that states how to make them and where to get the ingredients. Can the hive help?

Specifically, where can one get sorghum in a raw form to make your own syrups? Brown rice is easy enough to find but how does one prepare rice or sorghum into a syrup to use for brewing purposes and make them gluten free. The only recipe I found wanted to use sprouted barley for enzymes which is obviously off the table.
posted by Octoparrot to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Here is an article that details the process. You could mess with the ingredients and figure out the proportions. Only useful article that I could find.

Eden Organic makes brown rice flakes that are used in method listed above.

Good luck!
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:14 PM on November 16, 2012

Also, here is a video that describes making sorghum syrup. Might just want to take a trip to Alabama...

also here and here.
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:22 PM on November 16, 2012

I don't know about brown rice syrup, but rice saccharification for sake involves a fungus.
posted by zamboni at 10:40 PM on November 16, 2012

I know nothing about making rice or sorghum syrup, but I would assume it's made the same as barley malt syrup: malt the grain, roast the grain, boil the roasted malt to make a wort, and boil the wort down to a syrup. You aren't finding recipes for the same reason it's hard to find "recipes" for making your own barley malt--it's a lengthy process involving some special equipment that takes up rather a lot of space, and it takes a fair amount of experience to be successful at it.
posted by bricoleur at 5:17 AM on November 17, 2012

I don't think you need the syrup to homebrew gluten free. The brewing i've seen done with all grain does not make syrup first and then beer, they go straight to brewing with the grain (which involves its own steps).

I found this article that gives some suggestions about brewing gluten free with syrup + home roasted unmalted sorghum.
posted by TheAdamist at 6:26 AM on November 17, 2012

Bricoleur is mistaken in his assumption; real beer brewing with barley takes advantage of enzymes that develop in malted barley. These enzymes break down the starch in the grain to sugars that yeast can eat. This is the main reason you didn't see a lot of beers made with other grains before GF got trendy; other grains don't have these enzymes, or don't have enough of them, or the enzymes aren't heat stable enough. Sorghum is an exception, but as the article TheAdamist linked notes, it's harder to get the enzymes out of it and working.

The fellow quoted in that article is unwilling to divulge his trade secret, so I'll divulge mine, which is probably his as well: industrial enzymes.

So much for the Reinheitsgebot.
posted by Protocols of the Elders of Sockpuppetry at 7:34 PM on November 17, 2012

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