July 21, 2011 by fhsteinbart
Some scuttlebutt has been circulating through the home brewing community that challenges current conceptions about making beer that is safe for those with gluten sensitivities and/or Celiacs Disease. The problem is that the current methods for brewing low gluten or gluten free involve using grains other than barley. These alternative brewers grains such as sorghum, millet, and quinoa can be difficult for home brewers to obtain and use the same way they would barley. In addition to the aforementioned practical problems with these alternative grains, beer brewed without barley just tastes off at best. At worst it can be undrinkable.
The solution: Brew beer using conventional methods and then remove the gluten! While there have been no scientific studies that support this; some home brewers are claiming that the addition of an enzyme called Brewers Clarex (AKA “Clarity Ferm”) can be used to reduce gluten content in beer wort to near insignificant levels. A number of home brewers have reported gluten levels in their beers to be as low/or less than 5 ppm this is equivalent to %0.0005 gluten content. In terms of actual grams of gluten per pint you are talking approximately 0.0025g of total gluten. Though this is not “gluten free” it is a very, very low level of gluten.
Tips for achieving a beer that is low in gluten:
- Do a complete all grain mash with rests at 98-113F, 120-130F, and 149-160F.
- Sparge Slowly
- Be sure to use Whirlfloc or another type of carageenan & chill rapidly to encourage cold break.
- Don’t use wheat or rye in your mash.
- ClarityFerm should be added to the beer immediately after chilling before yeast is pitched.
Please keep in mind that everyone has varying levels of gluten sensitivity. Use your judgement regarding how you present beers brewed in this way to your friends and neighbors. Some homebrewers got vary low gluten beers using these methods, your results may vary. You can order gluten test kits here http://www.ezgluten.com/. You can also have laboratory tests for gluten done.