A while back, I decided to try my hand at brewing a gluten-free beer. Having never had a sorghum-based beer, it was a bit of a shot-in-the-dark. Nonetheless, I drew up a pretty simple recipe, in the hopes of making something light and refreshing. Here are some tasting notes, by way of follow-up:
Appearance: A very clear beer, with a brilliant white head on it. As I understand it, head retention for sorghum beers is pretty much nil — I found that to be my experience as well.
Smell: Very light on the nose, with no hop aroma. If anything, a little bit of the coriander.
Taste: This beer could easily be called “The Lemondrop.” I used way too much coriander for the recipe, which dominates the pallet. I do get a fair amount of the sorghum (what I perceive as a sort of mineral-y flavor) as the coriander subsides. Having never had a commercial example of the style prior to brewing, I was not prepared for this flavor, which I think is something that grows on you — It is not a bad flavor per se, but simply a flavor that one does not encounter in most beer. The dominance of the spices helps to mask the sorghum a bit, which is I suppose an unintended benefit. Lastly, the late addition of honey did not add much in the way of flavor; however, it did serve to dry out the beer, giving it a crisp, refreshing mouthfeel.
Notes: Having had a number of these over the course of several weeks, I will say that I have come around to the sorghum flavor. I had the opportunity to try Dogfish Head’s G-F offering, Tweason’ale, and found (much to my surprise) that I quite enjoyed it. And while I would not go out of my way to brew or drink gluten-free beers, I think all-in-all this beer was a success. In the next round, I would definitely ease off the spices, maybe use a yeast with a bit more character, and play around with hop combinations. As a variation on the recipe, I would consider adding cranberries, which I think would add a nice, complementing tartness.