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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Gluten Free Brewing > Gluten-Free Barley Beer
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Old 11-23-2011, 06:07 AM   #1
TheWhaleShark
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Default Gluten-Free Barley Beer

So, my girlfriend is gluten intolerant. Being arrogant, stubborn, and resourceful, I decided that I wasn't going to let something stupid - like nature - get in the way of her ability to enjoy beer. Also, this has presented a worthy challenge for me.

After a while, my research pointed me at Brewer's Clarex, marketed in this country as Clarity-Ferm from White Labs, as a possible way to reduce the gluten content in barley-based beers. That would be awesome, because most gluten-free beer is terrible.

So I brewed up 10 gallons, split it into two 5-gallon volumes, and treated one with Clarity-Ferm. Pretty typical experimental setup.

I happen to be a food safety microbiologist, who works in a state regulatory food testing lab. That means I know chemists, and that I can access some really really specialized and expensive testing equipment that few other people can.

So one of the chemists tested my beers using the Neogen Veratox for Gliadin test kit. This kit allows for the quantitation of gliadin as low as 5 ppm in a sample.

The beer treated with Clarity-Ferm was below the limit of detection (LOD) of the assay, meaning that it contains less than 5 ppm of gliadin. Extrapolation from the data allowed an estimated load of 3 ppm gliadin.

Now, this gets tricky, because as it turns out, the untreated sample only had 6 ppm gliadin. You can multiply the gliadin value by 2 to get a prospective gluten value.

Regardless, 12 ppm is way below the threshold that the EU sets for calling something "gluten-free." So it looks like the basic beer is actually ostensibly gluten free.

It's not quite as easy as that, though. The kit used may have problems detecting barley gluten post-fermentation, as there have been conformational changes which may not render the protein non-toxic, but will render it undetectable by our assays.

What I do know for certain is that Clarity-Ferm dramatically reduces the amount of gluten detected by our assays. So I think the next step is a willing human test subject.

There you have it. I need more data, but it seems like Clarity-Ferm may be an avenue to getting gluten-reduced beer that doesn't taste like crap.

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Old 11-23-2011, 03:57 PM   #2
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From what I've heard there is a slight problem with it - gliadins are broken down into smaller less-detectable elements called peptides, during digestion, and also during brewing/fermentation. That would explain why the untreated beer also had a low gliadin count. Anyway Celiacs react to some of the peptide chains from gliadins. This is why some (sensitive) people get a reaction to Sapporo, which has a low gliadin count as well.

Look at this: What is gluten? What is gliadin? - Celiac.com
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f164/laz...f-beer-187412/
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/has...ml#post3389122

Edit:
Look at post #64 on page 7 of the third link - hmm, actually, I think he may have just changed my mind! This is amazing, it breaks down the hordeins! I wanna try a beer treated with this... and I think I will make one next week.

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Old 11-24-2011, 12:39 AM   #3
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It's one of those try at your own risk things. Just make sure it's labeled somewhere so that some unsuspecting person with serious gluten allergies doesn't get a reaction, since there are those that cannot have any gluten and that even under 2ppm will have a reaction. Unfortunately, everyone's different. My chiropractor gets migranes for just a day when having gluten, so he's fine with a regular beer every now and again. I have issues for three weeks. I don't feel like personally testing any of it yet.

Then, you get into the subtle difference with each style of beer and different recipes that may or may not alter issues. For example a wheat beer vs a stout.

But it's great to have some more definate numberical anylasis to back up the information that we're going by.

Let us know when you've done multiple tests and have a standard deviation chart out for each beer style and gluten ingredient.

Bottom line from all posts is still that those with minor intolerances could potentially have this, and that those with major allergies may not, but it's up to them to decide on the risk and worst case result. And while not required by the FDA at this time, the allergic community would like disclosure if it is used (Although different in Canada apparently.

Hopefully medtech will further define all the various possible reactions and allergens, since if the prolamins are broken down, why would people still have a reaction on a blind test? Glutinins? Those we call people with gluten sensitivities could have an allergy to something else in or among the gluten proteins. I dunno, I'm not a doctor, and I don't play one on TV.

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Old 11-24-2011, 03:22 AM   #4
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I would be the only celiac drinking it actually. And I am fairly sensitive, but I want to see if this gives me a reaction, if it's bad I'll give it to my brother... Also, I want to test it more thoroughly than the guys in that thread - I bet they just gave one to their celiac friend, and nothing, and that was it. I wanna know what happens after 6 of them in a 3 hour period, or 2 a day for a week. Also, if it gives me a mild reaction, maybe I can play with the amount of clarex used, or use other things like cold crashing, filtering, etc.

As long as its under a certain level, which I believe to be around 3-10ppm, it wont kick my butt. I would have already tried other things, like all-grain GF, but shipping millet to Canada is prohibitively expensive, and I dont have much room here (for malting). The only other concern I have, is that this Clarex destroyed some guys Oatmeal Stout - it broke down all the proteins providing body! So maybe I'll make an IPA and compare it to my GF sorghum IPA's.

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Old 11-24-2011, 05:58 PM   #5
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Good tests, because I think you're right about that, and it'd be interesting to hear the effects. I could probably see if anyone else is doing the same thing and have my chiropractor do similar tests. (Again, that one day vs 3 weeks thing). But then, I don't really want the gluten ingredients in my place, so makes it difficult.

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Old 11-25-2011, 07:04 PM   #6
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Part of the problem is that there is very very little clinical research tying various gluten sensitivities to various protein markers.

So, different people could react to different components of the gluten proteins, which may or may not be broken down or rendered non-toxic by various processes we can apply to it.

I'm in communication with a couple of different researchers working on this stuff. The long and short of it is that this is an under-researched area that is still developing.

I did get my girlfriend to agree to try some treated, ostensibly "gluten-free" beer the next time I've got some. We shall see what comes of it!

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Old 11-26-2011, 09:34 PM   #7
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I just bottled up a batch of pumpkin ale using BC that I am going to ship off for a specific gluten test to get a quantitative value the results will be a few weeks away. From a qualitative standpoint i tried some of the beer the other night and I believe that I reacted to as I would regular beer. I am going to give it a few more weeks and try it again, but there as others have mentioned there is some belief that even after brewers clarex is done that there is enough particles left to cause an immune response even though it's not measurable by normal tests.

I still researching different gluten tests, but some of these get expensive.

Anyway good luck !

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Old 11-30-2011, 05:31 PM   #8
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i know there is a commercially available 'gluten free' beer that undergoes this process. Estrella Damm Daura out of spain. Estrella Damm Daura is the clarex Treated version of Estrella Damm lager. I was in California over thanksgiving and found Totalwine carries both of them, so i thought i would pick up a few bottles to try. low and behold the glutenous lager version was stocked in the GF location. luckly i discovered this before i drank any i bought, but unfortunately i was already out of the state before i realized this and was unable to go back for the GF version.

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Old 11-30-2011, 07:07 PM   #9
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I tried the GF version of Estrella Damm Daura, and it didn't sit well with me. That 20ppm threshold of gluten protein is still too high for my level of sensitivity. In terms of taste, it wasn't great but not bad either. It was sort of like a Dos Equis.

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Old 12-08-2011, 05:37 PM   #10
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Default There's more to gluten than gliadin

Celiacs beware: gliadin is just one of the proteins that comprise gluten. The other is glutenin. Measuring gliadin isn't the same as measuring gluten. My wife, who has celiac disease, really likes Daura, the supposedly gluten-free barley beer from Barcelona. However, she always feels tired after drinking this beer, so yesterday we used the "EZ Gluten" test kit on it. We came up with a reading that did not match any of the results described in the test kit booklet, so we called ELISA Technologies, manufacturers of the kit. According to the ELISA technician, the reading we got was a positive for a high level of glutenin (as opposed to gliadin). The technician went on to explain that the most commonly used tests for gluten measure only gliadin, while EZ Gluten measures both glutenin and gliadin levels. It's possible that Daura may have less than 6 ppm gliadin, but still have very high glutenin levels, thereby causing celiac reactions.

I have written to Estrella Damm, the Daura brewery, to ask how they conduct their gluten measurements, and I await their response.

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