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Old 01-15-2014, 01:44 AM   #1
RoanHighlandsMan
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Default Hi! Relatively experienced homebrewer here with some gluten-free questions.

Reddit.com/r/homebrewing wasn't too helpful and told me to try here, so here I am. I'm looking into making a gluten free beer, maybe a rye stout, for a family member. I'm just going to copy my questions in.

1. "Brewers Clarex" is something I've seen and it sounds like a miracle worker, claiming that an enzyme in it can break down gluten. However, I can't seem to find a link to a place that will just let me buy a bottle of it. Anybody got one?

2. "CLARITY FERM" seems like another great option, and I can actually buy this one. Should I go with this, should I look for Brewer's Clarex, or should I try to find both? Are they the same thing? A followup question, will it work with rye? It says "barley and wheat" which makes me wonder.

3. A protein rest. Is there a temperature/time/PH I should have my wort at to cut down on the protein in the beer. And a followup, will this reduce gluten specifically or all the proteins, and will this lead to a beer lacking in body and head?

4. Buckwheat & Sorghum. I've tried sorghum beers and they're all awful, but I've never had a buckwheat beer. Could I substitute all or part of my grain bill with buckwheat in order to reduce/eliminate gluten?

5. Testing for gluten. What's the best way to go about this? What's your favorite method?

6. Will making a buckwheat beer with Clarity Ferm and a protein rest simply ensure little to no gluten, or will it also eliminate other proteins, leading to a thin and watery body?

Finally and most importantly, give me your favorite recipe! I was thinking milk stout, dry stout, porter, CDA, etc. because our store doesn't have any dark gluten free beers, let alone a good dark GF beer.

----

Right now, I'm leaning towards the rye stout and using Clarity-Ferm, and hoping it works. Still looking into some sort of gluten testing.



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Old 01-15-2014, 03:06 AM   #2
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You ask a lot of good questions. You will receive an overload of answers here!
Ill just hit a few since you're about to get the crap helped out of you.

1. Sorghum can be great as long as its balanced with other fermentables like millet, quinoa, honey, candi syrup, even rice syrup.
2. Buckwheat has an extremely high rest temp and doesn't yield a ton of sugars, however Igliashion has stated a few times on here that it has helped him with head retention and color I believe.
3. Millet seems to be the way to go. I'd order some from either Grouse or Colorado Malting Company and use this forum for a good mashing schedule. There is a good one here for millet.



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Old 01-15-2014, 11:30 AM   #3
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I find that gluten is an inconsistent and temperamental beast. I was diagnosed 45 years ago before it was well known and before it was popular. These are the best of times to live in for celiacs. Restaurants know what it is and provide options and there is now beer to be purchased and made.

The problem with having reaction to gluten is that you often don’t know where the “dose” came from or when you got it, especially if it is small. By the time I get a reaction, it could have been the last meal or several meals ago. I have had Omission and others and I think I can take them in small numbers per meal but I don’t really know.

The reason for going through all that is that there is a lot of debate on this forum on clarex, clarity ferm and others that reduce the amount of gluten in beer. If you want to be sure then only use ingredients that never had gluten to begin with.

Brewing gluten free beer to be like barley beer is a new science and as you noted, the commercial brewers have not fully figured it out yet. As a homebrewer, I can brew better beer (to my taste) then I can buy in any store anywhere. That is pretty awesome. There is also a real chance that regular homebrewers can make a significant contribution to gluten free beer, so if you discover something, post it here.

To your questions I would not start with dark beers regardless if you are going the clarity ferm way or if you are going true gluten free way. Better people than me have tried to get there and I am not sure it is possible with the grains we are using now.

Buckwheat is a gluten free grain so you don’t have to use clarity ferm with it. The name is misleading, it is not wheat. I like Buckwheat, and in my experience it has to be cereal mashed first. I use it in partial mash with no more than 30% of the grain bill. The rest being millet pale and some millet crystal. There are several posts on here for mash schedules, enzymes etc. I am still experimenting and don’t seem to get great efficiency, so I am not going to weigh in on the “best” schedule or process.

Any recipe that I use will always have Belgian Candy Syrup, some maltodextrin and at least steeped GF crystal malt.

The darkest beer I have brewed is in the following link:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f240/phat-tire-gluten-free-ale-443549/

Good Luck!

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Old 01-15-2014, 07:24 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RoanHighlandsMan View Post
Reddit.com/r/homebrewing wasn't too helpful and told me to try here, so here I am. I'm looking into making a gluten free beer, maybe a rye stout, for a family member. I'm just going to copy my questions in.

1. "Brewers Clarex" is something I've seen and it sounds like a miracle worker, claiming that an enzyme in it can break down gluten. However, I can't seem to find a link to a place that will just let me buy a bottle of it. Anybody got one?

2. "CLARITY FERM" seems like another great option, and I can actually buy this one. Should I go with this, should I look for Brewer's Clarex, or should I try to find both? Are they the same thing? A followup question, will it work with rye? It says "barley and wheat" which makes me wonder.
These two are the exact same thing. They most definitely are NOT miracle-workers, but they can make beer safe for some people. Before investing in doing a batch with it, you should have your target drinkers sample at least 3 bottles a piece of Omission or Prairie Path or Brunehaut, all of which are barley beers treated with clarity-ferm. If any of them have issues with these brands, you will want to abandon this path. Suffice to say, these sorts of beers are decidedly NOT safe for everyone with gluten-intolerance, as myself and many members here can attest. The only way to know if someone can tolerate them is for them to try it out...but even if they show no symptoms, there is still a chance of intestinal damage. No medical studies have been done to validate the safety of these sorts of beers, so all evidence is anecdotal (read: worthless).

Quote:
3. A protein rest. Is there a temperature/time/PH I should have my wort at to cut down on the protein in the beer. And a followup, will this reduce gluten specifically or all the proteins, and will this lead to a beer lacking in body and head?
Protein rests may reduce the gluten. They will NOT reduce the body and head, but they may aid in attenuation. Protein rests do not "destroy" proteins, they just break them down into smaller units. A protein rest on its own is probably insufficient to make a beer that is safe for ANYONE with any form of gluten-intolerance, but no studies have explored this, either; it's entirely possible beers given a long protein rest can pass an R5 ELISA test as well as any clarex-treated beer, but I don't have the data to verify.

Quote:
4. Buckwheat & Sorghum. I've tried sorghum beers and they're all awful, but I've never had a buckwheat beer. Could I substitute all or part of my grain bill with buckwheat in order to reduce/eliminate gluten?
Buckwheat is naturally 100% gluten-free, as is sorghum. Buckwheat however is not a very good base malt, as its high gelatinization temperature means you need to do a complicated decoction mash or add amylase enzyme after doing a cereal mash.

I make beer using malted millet and amylase enzyme, using a multi-step infusion mash, but to be honest you can make very good beer using sorghum extract with rice extract and the addition of honey, maltodextrin, and/or belgian candi syrups. You can even steep some home-roasted grains for a little flavor (but no fermentables). Search around here, there are lots of good threads.

Quote:
5. Testing for gluten. What's the best way to go about this? What's your favorite method?
Can't speak to this...but you should know that a negative R5 ELISA test result does not guarantee safety, because there are other peptide sequences that are found in barley which may cause reactions, but which may not show up in the test. This is how Omission can pass the test but still cause reactions in some drinkers.

Quote:
6. Will making a buckwheat beer with Clarity Ferm and a protein rest simply ensure little to no gluten, or will it also eliminate other proteins, leading to a thin and watery body?
Using clarity-ferm on buckwheat is completely unnecessary. A protein rest, however, IS necessary for proper attenuation and yeast nutrition, because most malted buckwheat is rather poorly modified.

Quote:
Finally and most importantly, give me your favorite recipe! I was thinking milk stout, dry stout, porter, CDA, etc. because our store doesn't have any dark gluten free beers, let alone a good dark GF beer.
Two recipes posted here that have consistently gotten positive reviews are the Dual Spires and the No-Nonsense Stout. A quick search should turn them up. Both are dark beers.

If you are willing to really get your hands dirty and plunk down a chunk of change on some gluten-free malts, you should try contacting Grouse malting company or Colorado Malting Company. However, I should warn you: all-grain GF brewing is a lot more challenging than all-grain barley brewing. Expect to do complicated step-mashes, use rice hulls and/or nylon grain bags, and use some supplementary amylase enzyme. Also expect not to have any solid numbers on the grains you use and basically be making wild guesses as to recipe formulation (though a few of us here might be able to offer a little guidance). The payoff for this hard work is totally worth it in my opinion, though; my extract beers were almost always good, but while some of my all-grain beers have been bad, others have been FANTASTIC.
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Old 01-16-2014, 02:17 AM   #5
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My understand is that Omission is fine, it's more of a dietary intolerance than a more dire aversion, like you'd see in somebody with severe celiacs. As of right now, I think I'm going to make my usual amber saison and simply substitute some milet and candi sugar in for the pale malt and hit it Clarity-Ferm afterwards, and giving it a gluten test (im sure there has to be one, somewhere).



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