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Gluten Free Beers: A Review & How to Brew a Good One!

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New Planet’s Off Grid Pale Ale

Gluten-free beer: some would say there is no such thing, while others would say there’s just not a good example. Regardless of where you stand, any curious beer-drinker is in search of something new. For this review, our two ridiculously awesome employees Nick and Andrew review a bottle of Fort Collins Brewery’s gluten-free New Planet Off Grid Pale Ale against the BJCP Pale Ale guidelines. Before we get to the sensory descriptions, here’s a list of the beers ingredients to give you an idea of what this ale contains:

WATER, SORGHUM & BROWN RICE EXTRACT, MOLASSES, TAPIOCA MALTO DEXTRIN, CARAMEL COLOR, HOPS AND YEAST.

This copper-colored ale pours brilliantly clear with a generous amount of head. Unfortunately, the head quickly dissipates leaving no sign of carbonation behind. The aroma is mostly comprised of caramel, over-shadowing what little American hop aroma there is. Andrew sensed a slightly musty, stale character. Upon taking a drink, the beer comes across as dry, tangy, with a chewy malt presence, little-to-no hop flavor, and a heavy lingering bitterness. The beer finishes too dry for the style, and it comes across as astringent. Nick notes that this beer would be much better by focusing more on late and dry-hop additions, and less on bittering additions.

The reviewers agreed that, overall, this was good for a gluten-free beer, however, judged against what most people would expect out of a pale ale, this beer falls short. Its astringency and lack of body, combined with its huge lack of hop flavor and aroma does not make for a good example of a pale ale. It’s not undrinkable, but more could have been done to make this gluten-free beer compete against its barley-filled counterparts.

 

Scores:

Category 10A American Pale Ale

Nick 34/50

Andrew 29/50

 

 

Tips on brewing a good Gluten Free beer (yes, it is possible)

*Use lactose to sweeten the beer.  Gluten free extracts ferment out really dry.

*Use a blend of rice and sorghum extracts for a better overall taste.

*You pretty much have to use Malto Dextrin for body and head retention.

*Gelatin Finings are great for clarity (another must).

*Gluten Free beers benefit from a secondary, because that astringency from the extract mellows with age.

We have several Gluten Free recipes on file that people brew all the time and are very pleased with.  Come talk to us if you are interested.