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Old 11-05-2013, 06:21 AM   #1
paint_it_black
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Default Brewing with Clarex/Carity Ferm -- is there more I need to know?

I've been an all-grain brewer of regular barley-based beers for years, looking to brew a GF/reduced-gluten batch for a family member. I can't speak to her particular condition, but she is okay drinking Omission and Estrella Damm Dara, so I'm thinking using Clarity Ferm in a regular batch should work. This would be a preferable approach over using all-non-gluten ingredients, as I want to brew in a few days and don't think I'll have the time to research. I've read through several posts on HBT concerning Clarity Ferm and just want to make sure I've got a good grasp of this.

1. My understanding is that I can brew a "regular" batch of beer, add Clarity Ferm after cooling, just prior to pitching yeast, and all should be well. Sound right?

2. It sounds like Clarity Ferm has a tendency to strip body and head retention in beers -- does this mean I should stick to beers that are lighter in body? Are stouts and winter warmers out of the picture?

3. "Bigger" beers with a higher gravity, I would assume, have a higher amount of gluten -- is Clarity Ferm not enough for these? Will doubling the dose work to correct it?

4. Should I avoid using wheat in the grain bill, as a rule? Or is a little bit okay?

If there's already a thread addressing these specifics, by all means, please direct me and close the post. Otherwise, input would be greatly appreciated!


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Old 11-07-2013, 05:26 AM   #2
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For starters, you need to bear in mind that nothing involving Clarity-Ferm has been tested in vivo, and negative lab tests (however theoretically-sound) are to be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, note that Omission does more than use Clarity-Ferm; they use a special cultivar of barley that has been hybrdized to have next-to-no gluten in it. Estrella I know nothing about, but wouldn't be surprised if they use a similar process and/or include a good proportion of rice or corn. It's terrible beer either way.

Literally no one can answer your question about whether higher-gravity beers treated with Clarex will be as safe as lower-gravity beers. I am not aware of even anecdotal evidence existing at this time, nor any lab analyses or even theoretical guidance for dosage. However, if you want to make a high-gravity beer, there is also no reason not to employ sugars (brown sugar, turbinado, piloncillo, candi sugar, etc.), or syrups such as molasses, treacle, maple syrup, candi syrup, or brown rice syrup. Gluten-free adjuncts would work too. Get creative! Just because you're using barley doesn't mean you have to exclude every other source of fermentables. There are plenty of recipes out there that keep the barley to a minimum and still produce amazing beer.

Gluten is not the protein responsible for head retention; that would be Lipid Transfer Protein 1, which is the protein that most commonly triggers wheat *allergy*. Clarex specifically does NOT alter this protein, which is one of its main selling points.

Most malted barley is already very, very low in gluten. Wheat, on the other hand, is not. Beers which customarily achieve a thick body and head from the addition of unmalted wheat are likely getting this thickness from gluten, as that is the dominant protein in unmalted wheat. Thus I do not think they are appropriate for treating with Clarex. I am not aware of any clarex-treated beers that use wheat in the grist, so I would advise avoiding it.

Dark-roasted grains may have had their proteins subject to some sort of heat degradation; I know of no dark beers treated with Clarex that get their color from roasted barley, and can imagine there might be problems if the proteins are degraded. It is a greater risk as far as I can imagine.

I would advise using a high proportion of adjuncts such as rice, corn, or oats; or even wild rice, millet, buckwheat, and/or amaranth. All of these grains can add unique flavors, and if you include as little as 50% 2-row or 6-row barley in the grist you'll have no trouble getting conversion. See Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing for some good ideas and recipes, as well as The Brewer's Garden. By roasting these grains, you can absolutely achieve darker colors and interesting flavors without increasing the already non-trivial risk of your endeavor.


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Old 11-08-2013, 02:50 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by igliashon View Post
For starters, you need to bear in mind that nothing involving Clarity-Ferm has been tested in vivo, and negative lab tests (however theoretically-sound) are to be taken with a grain of salt.

That said, note that Omission does more than use Clarity-Ferm; they use a special cultivar of barley that has been hybrdized to have next-to-no gluten in it. Estrella I know nothing about, but wouldn't be surprised if they use a similar process and/or include a good proportion of rice or corn. It's terrible beer either way.

Literally no one can answer your question about whether higher-gravity beers treated with Clarex will be as safe as lower-gravity beers. I am not aware of even anecdotal evidence existing at this time, nor any lab analyses or even theoretical guidance for dosage. However, if you want to make a high-gravity beer, there is also no reason not to employ sugars (brown sugar, turbinado, piloncillo, candi sugar, etc.), or syrups such as molasses, treacle, maple syrup, candi syrup, or brown rice syrup. Gluten-free adjuncts would work too. Get creative! Just because you're using barley doesn't mean you have to exclude every other source of fermentables. There are plenty of recipes out there that keep the barley to a minimum and still produce amazing beer.

Gluten is not the protein responsible for head retention; that would be Lipid Transfer Protein 1, which is the protein that most commonly triggers wheat *allergy*. Clarex specifically does NOT alter this protein, which is one of its main selling points.

Most malted barley is already very, very low in gluten. Wheat, on the other hand, is not. Beers which customarily achieve a thick body and head from the addition of unmalted wheat are likely getting this thickness from gluten, as that is the dominant protein in unmalted wheat. Thus I do not think they are appropriate for treating with Clarex. I am not aware of any clarex-treated beers that use wheat in the grist, so I would advise avoiding it.

Dark-roasted grains may have had their proteins subject to some sort of heat degradation; I know of no dark beers treated with Clarex that get their color from roasted barley, and can imagine there might be problems if the proteins are degraded. It is a greater risk as far as I can imagine.

I would advise using a high proportion of adjuncts such as rice, corn, or oats; or even wild rice, millet, buckwheat, and/or amaranth. All of these grains can add unique flavors, and if you include as little as 50% 2-row or 6-row barley in the grist you'll have no trouble getting conversion. See Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing for some good ideas and recipes, as well as The Brewer's Garden. By roasting these grains, you can absolutely achieve darker colors and interesting flavors without increasing the already non-trivial risk of your endeavor.
Wow, thank you for such a detailed response! This really helps clarify a few things for me.
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Old 11-09-2013, 06:08 PM   #4
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I can give you some feedback based on experience. My wife falls into the "very gluten-sensitive" camp and, after doing entirely no-grain eating in solidarity with her the last 2 months I find that I'm now sufficiently sensitive to gluten to feel discomfort myself when I do consume it (which is really interesting but off-topic).

I've done a lot of experimenting but I'm also mostly too lazy for all-grain GF brewing. So I've done most of what you can try involving readily-available malt extracts, rice syrup, and honey, and Clarex is involved whenever I use barley malt as an ingredient.

I've found that Clarex is sufficient to eliminate post-drinking gluten discomfort for both of us in:
  • lighter-bodied beers like 4-5% English Bitters and Pale Ales based 100% on barley
  • medium/full-bodied beers like IPAs if and only if a significant portion of fermentables were GF to begin with (e.g. honey used in place of 1/2 - 1/3 of barley)

If I brew anything fuller-bodied like a double/imperial IPA based solely on barley and expect Clarex to do the job, I find that it really doesn't. My wife gets sick after drinking one, and I experience stomach/intestinal discomfort after more than one.

Lately I've been experimenting with hopped sparkling ciders and meads as an alternative to the biochemistry experiment of brewing with barley and Clarex. But it is a good option for the right kind of beer and the right level of gluten sensitivity (which of course is entirely subjective).

Hope this helps,
Jeff
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Old 11-10-2013, 01:08 AM   #5
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I got this idea from my LHBS. We all know white labs yeast contains 10ppm gluten. I usually wash it to lower it even further. His idea was to use the clarity ferm to combat this small amount. I really wanna start using liquid yeast without needing to wash it. Hoping this is my answer.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:35 PM   #6
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Osedax, I have always used dry yeast so have no experience with liquid yeast. What advantages do you see in the liquid yeasts?
I get the impression from threads on this forum related to brewing with barley that they usually use a starter when using liquid yeast so it did not seem to be a big time saver. I always hydrate my dry yeast before pitching.
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Old 11-10-2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paint_it_black View Post
I've been an all-grain brewer of regular barley-based beers for years, looking to brew a GF/reduced-gluten batch for a family member. I can't speak to her particular condition, but she is okay drinking Omission and Estrella Damm Dara, so I'm thinking using Clarity Ferm in a regular batch should work. This would be a preferable approach over using all-non-gluten ingredients, as I want to brew in a few days and don't think I'll have the time to research. I've read through several posts on HBT concerning Clarity Ferm and just want to make sure I've got a good grasp of this.

1. My understanding is that I can brew a "regular" batch of beer, add Clarity Ferm after cooling, just prior to pitching yeast, and all should be well. Sound right?

2. It sounds like Clarity Ferm has a tendency to strip body and head retention in beers -- does this mean I should stick to beers that are lighter in body? Are stouts and winter warmers out of the picture?

3. "Bigger" beers with a higher gravity, I would assume, have a higher amount of gluten -- is Clarity Ferm not enough for these? Will doubling the dose work to correct it?

4. Should I avoid using wheat in the grain bill, as a rule? Or is a little bit okay?

If there's already a thread addressing these specifics, by all means, please direct me and close the post. Otherwise, input would be greatly appreciated!
I can only speak from my personal experience, but my wife is gluten sensitive. She doesn't feel well after consuming gluten, and had to stop drinking beer. I started making beer with Clarity Ferm last summer, and she has had no problems when drinking them.

I haven't seen any difference in body or head retention, or in bigger or darker beers. In fact, those are the beers she loves and she's had no issues with my porter, milk stout, or black IPA.

One thing to keep in mind is she generally doesn't drink more than one beer at a time, 2 on very rare occasions. I don't brew anything at all with wheat in general, though I did brew a Graff recipe from this site for her since she loves cider. It has a small amount of torrified wheat for head retention, and is 4/5 Apple Juice 1/5 wort, so I did use the Clarity Ferm, and she drinks it with no issues. I definitely do make sure I don't brew any real wheat beers.

I can't say for sure on body and head retention because I haven't tried making the same recipe with and without CF and comparing, but I definitely haven't noticed any problems. However, a friend of mine recently brewed a 10 gallon batch and fermented half of it with CF, half without. We should have results on that in a weeks or so, and I'll report back
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Old 11-10-2013, 10:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffz View Post
I can give you some feedback based on experience. My wife falls into the "very gluten-sensitive" camp and, after doing entirely no-grain eating in solidarity with her the last 2 months I find that I'm now sufficiently sensitive to gluten to feel discomfort myself when I do consume it (which is really interesting but off-topic).

I've done a lot of experimenting but I'm also mostly too lazy for all-grain GF brewing. So I've done most of what you can try involving readily-available malt extracts, rice syrup, and honey, and Clarex is involved whenever I use barley malt as an ingredient.

I've found that Clarex is sufficient to eliminate post-drinking gluten discomfort for both of us in:
  • lighter-bodied beers like 4-5% English Bitters and Pale Ales based 100% on barley
  • medium/full-bodied beers like IPAs if and only if a significant portion of fermentables were GF to begin with (e.g. honey used in place of 1/2 - 1/3 of barley)

If I brew anything fuller-bodied like a double/imperial IPA based solely on barley and expect Clarex to do the job, I find that it really doesn't. My wife gets sick after drinking one, and I experience stomach/intestinal discomfort after more than one.

Lately I've been experimenting with hopped sparkling ciders and meads as an alternative to the biochemistry experiment of brewing with barley and Clarex. But it is a good option for the right kind of beer and the right level of gluten sensitivity (which of course is entirely subjective).

Hope this helps,
Jeff
Hey Jeff, thanks for this valuable input! I got your response just before we were about to get our ingredients at the LHBS, and it convinced us to change our brew day up a bit. We were planning on making a Widmer Brrr-like red/IPA with Clarex, but based on your comments, we switched it up to be safe and brewed BierMuncher's Centennial Blonde instead, owing to the fact that the Brrr clone is a higher-OG beer, getting all of its sugars and body from regular non-GF grains. Excited to see how this turns out.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:28 AM   #9
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Ive made a few brews (all grain, all gluten) with Clarity Ferm and none have had any effects on a gluten intolerant friend. 2 IPAs, Brown, Dubbel, all around 7-8%. I have another friend who had a slight issue with one of the IPAs, but no issue with the brown. I think it depends on their personal tolerance. There will be some gluten in there, but the concentration should be very very low (under 10ppm? Under 5ppm?). I bought a test kit on the first one I did, and no gluten registered for the 5ppm if I remember correctly. Again, it will vary with the person and their tolerance, but ive had great results.
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Old 12-12-2013, 04:44 PM   #10
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Just to chime in. My wife has Celiac but is not super sensitive to gluten in beer (she will occasionally have a regular beer after one of our marathons or triathlons). It is usually only one "regular" beer though. She is however super sensitive to any gluten in food.

That said, I brewed my first IPA with Clarex and she has had no issues with drinking multiple beers at a time. I did one test on the beer and it tested below 20ppm. I didn't do the 5ppm test but will probably do that on the next batch. The wife is very excited to actually have a beer on draft to drink!


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