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There's been a lot of discussion around Clarity Ferm, and it's ability to break down gluten in beer.

The manufacturers just say it makes "gluten reduced beer", but Omission and others uses it to make what I believe is labelled a "gluten free".

Some home-brewers have made an all-grain with barley and wheat, and had it tested, and the lab could detect no gluten (they were only able to say there were <10 ppm).

Charlie Papazian did the same, with more detailed results:

"I homebrewed a batch of all malt beer called Slithy Tove Pale Ale (which included 10% malted wheat) to which I added 3 ml (about 3 drops) to a five gallon batch at the beginning of fermentation.

The homebrewed beer was tested by a professional laboratory. The results came back indicating that the gluten content in my batch of Slithy Tove Pale Ale was “less than 5 ppm.” In other words less than 5 milligrams per liter of beer. In terms of percent, 5 ppm equals 0.0005 percent.. This level of gluten may be tolerated by Celiac patients. Every other aspect of beer character, flavor, appearance (the enzyme did reduce chill haze), aroma, etc. was outstanding and identical to a beer brewed without the enzyme."

My brother-in-law discovered he had CD about 6 months after getting into homebrewing (whcih seems pretty typical).

Does anyone have any experience with this? I'd like to make a small 1 or 3 gallon batch of IPA, and see how it goes.

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Any references for what the gluten PPM would be, sans Clarity Ferm? Just curious. – Ben Mosher Jan 20 '14 at 23:20
Just another comment... a lot of people have issue with the type of testing used specifically the ELISA test which is what Charlie P used IIRC. In the article I posted in my answer, they use a newer/better test. – im1dermike Oct 16 '14 at 17:28

5 Answers 5

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I've made two split batches with Clarity ferm (all barley). I can't tell the difference in taste, some claim it might knock the hops (aroma?) down a bit. The person I made the beer for who has CD hasn't had any (detectable) adverse reactions from these two brews. That said, I don't know the ins and outs of CD and if less than 5 ppm will affect some persons with CD.

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My understanding is that for something to be labeled "gluten-free" according to the FDA, it has to contain less than 20PPM gluten, which Clarity Ferm claims to successfully do when used in proper portions. – Scott Oct 16 '14 at 17:05
@Scott: Your "gluten-free" understanding is slightly incorrect. As far as beer is concerned, the term "gluten-free" can only be used if the beer was brewed with naturally gluten-free ingredients. For beers brewed with gluten-containing ingredients and an enzyme like Clarity Ferm is added to reduce the amount of gluten in the resulting beer to <20ppm, it can only be called "gluten-reduced", not "gluten-free". – im1dermike Oct 16 '14 at 19:37
Gotchya, but it's my understanding that in the case of clarify ferm, the end is the same regardless of how it's worded, in that the PPM of gluten is low enough to be safely consumed by someone with Celiacs Disease. Good to hear this seems to be the case without a noticeable loss in flavor. – Scott Oct 16 '14 at 19:53

Check out the 3-part article below. It details experiments using different amounts of Clarity Ferm on different styles of beer. The findings were that Clarity Ferm breaks down gluten nearly completely - well below the "gluten free" maximums - in all beers.

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To add to your answer, could you summarize these articles, and present the salient points that you thought were worth reading? – mdma Oct 28 '14 at 23:03

I use it in every batch. Several local breweries in this area, including a rather large one (Yards) use it as well. Word need to be spread about this fantastic product, as it opens the door for most if not all Celiacs to be able to consume beer again, and to rid us of the awful garbage that is sorghum-based gluten-free "beer" (quotes intentional).

Yes, the FDA has (finally!) adopted the 20ppm threshold for gluten-free labeling, bringing us in line with Europe and most of the rest of the world. The TTB has not, and currently still insists that to be labelled gluten-free the beer must be made with 100% GF ingredients. Efforts are underway to get them to revise their restrictions to be inline with the FDA, but since this is the gub'mint we're talking about it's not likely to be an expedient process. :-(

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I use this in every beer I make. My father is highly allergic to gluten and he is able to drink all of my beer.

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That's great news. Have you tried Clarity Ferm on beers that would be higher in gluten that "normal" beers eg. wheat beer, barley wine, etc.? – im1dermike Oct 17 '14 at 17:28
I have made every sort of beer I can think of and he has never had a reaction to them. – Zeeba Oct 17 '14 at 18:22

Just wanted to add the results of my experiments with Clarity Ferm.

I've made 3 batches so far with it, in three different styles: an American Pale, a Belgian-ish Saison, and an Amber Ale. I didn't do an A/B test with and without the Clarity Ferm on any of them, but none of them tasted noticeably different than other batches that I've done from the same recipes. (In other words, they were within what I'd define as the 'margin of error' of my personal homebrewing.)

For two of the three batches, I tested the resulting beer using a home gluten test kit, specifically the "EZ Gluten", which offers both a 5 ppm and 20 ppm variable sensitivity. The first batch tested, the American Pale, was tested and registered negative at the 20 ppm gluten level. The second batch, the Saison, was tested and reported negative at the 5 ppm level.

Both seemed just fine to my spouse, who has celiac disease (but is fine with food under the normal 20 ppm threshold).

In all three batches, I poured the entire "test tube" of Clarity Ferm into the batch just after pitching the yeast and before aerating. I obtained the Clarity Ferm from a local homebrewing supply in one case, and via mail order in the other two cases; it didn't seem to affect it in terms of effectiveness.

I have 3 more gluten test kits so I plan to continue to test other styles; so far I haven't done an especially grain-heavy brew. But at least so far it seems like by far the best method to produce a low-gluten beer.

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