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  1. #1
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    Brewing with sorghum


    Hello to all!

    So i'm curious about using sorghum in a beer.... Has anyone tried this out? I'd love a few pointers...

  2. #2
    Senior Member robcass's Avatar
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    I've used sorghum a few times for an all SA ingredients pale ale I've been working on.

    Most important is your choice of sorghum and the amount you use.

    There are a few different options for malted sorghum. I first used Maltabela, which I liked but it was a very mild and refined sorghum flavour.
    I then tried King Korn which I didn't like. I found the flavour a bit more wild and hectic and not something I could drink a whole lot of.
    I've brewed a couple versions now with Mabele meal which I think is the best. It gives you good sorghum flavour without being too hectic. A nice balance for me. It's also available in a roughly milled form which is perfect for using in your mash.

    I use amounts of 20 to 30% of total fermentables which I think gives a good amount of sorghum flavour without dominating the malt profile.

    Please report back on how your brewing experience and beer turns out. I'd really like to hear other experiences on this.

    Also, you should come to Africa Brew where there will be talks on tradional and modern approaches to brewing with sorghum. I'm really excited about that.

  3. #3
    Are these malted sorghum products? Or are you relying on the enzymes from the barley malt for conversion?
    I've been struggling to find malted sorghum as I wanted to give this a go also.

  4. #4
    Senior Member robcass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by camsaway View Post
    Are these malted sorghum products? Or are you relying on the enzymes from the barley malt for conversion?
    I've been struggling to find malted sorghum as I wanted to give this a go also.
    As far as I know all of the products I mentioned are malted sorghum. I've never tried an all-sorghum grain bill, and I don't know if it can convert itself, but I imagine it can since there are many traditional sorghum based beers.

  5. #5
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    What Rob said in his first post is spot on.

    I've done several beers that contain sorghum.

    One tip I can give from experience is to pre-gelatinise (a fancy word for pre-cook) the sorghum porridge prior to the mash.

  6. #6
    Hey Rob,

    Do you just add it straight to your mash or do you boil it for a bit first, and if so what's your process?

  7. #7
    Senior Member robcass's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan View Post
    Hey Rob,

    Do you just add it straight to your mash or do you boil it for a bit first, and if so what's your process?
    Hi Stefan,

    I've always just added it straight to my mash for a single infusion. For some reason I seem to remember seeing somewhere that it's gelatinisation temperature was similar enough to barley that this was ok - I was wrong.

    Seeing Jakes' comment and looking up the galatinisation temperature of sorghum (69-75C) a cereal mash or porridge would likely help with extract (a problem I have experienced with these beers).

    Jakes is better able to comment on his gelatinisation procedure. I would probably just steep it in hot water for 15 minutes because I still have nightmares about doing cereal mashes.

  8. #8
    Cool. Makes sense. It's warmer but not THAT much hotter. Could almost do a mini mash at +-72 for 15min, then add enough room temp water to get to strike temp for your main mash. Would take a little dialing in but could be pretty nice way of doing it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member robcass's Avatar
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    Good idea. I'll give it a bash the next time I brew with sorghum.

    On a side note, I brewed a golden sour base recipe with about 30% sorghum which has been sitting for almost 3 months. I'm pretty excited to see how the sorghum does in a sour beer.

  10. #10

    Very cool! I'd also be super keen to use it in a sour beer. Might also be a cool way to get extra starch into the wort (bypass a turbid mash) by not gelatinising the sorghum.

    What culture did you use for your sour?

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