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I am allergic to malt and thus need to avoid it. I currently drink hard ciders, brandy, and wine.

Are there any brew kits out there that does not use any kind of malt as an ingredient? I am trying research what I need to do to make my own beer. Thus far most of them seem to have some sort of malt in them.

To be clear: the problem is the malt, not gluten.

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Do you mean you're allergic to malted barley/wheat/rye/grain, i.e. you have Celiac's disease? If that's what you mean, there are many other products you can convert and use. If you mean that you're allergic to carbohydrates in general...I don't know what to tell you. I'd have to do some research on that. Please clarify. –  WhatsBillDoing May 17 '10 at 2:44
    
You must mean barley and gluten containing grains. Malt is a converted version of these things. –  brewchez May 17 '10 at 11:16
    
Do you have troubles with ALL grains/malts, or just gluten? –  Pulsehead May 18 '10 at 0:59
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It might help if we know why malt was a problem so we could help you find what you need. –  Denny Conn Oct 29 '11 at 17:44
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First sentence in the question. "I am allergic to malt" It makes my throat swell up. I have Eosinophilic Esophagitis. –  Mike Wills Oct 31 '11 at 13:17

9 Answers 9

As the comments and questions to your post have indicated, it sounds like a gluten problem. There are a few gluten-free beers (like Redbridge--an Anhueser-Bush product, unfortunately), so there are of course gluten-free homebrews. Most of what's available are sorghum-based.

Here is one recipe kit based on sorghum extract and Belgian candi sugar: http://www.homebrewers.com/product/ALP1051/Gluten-Free-Dark-Ale-Beer-Kit.html

You can still enjoy the pleasure of homebrewing with something like this, or I'd recommend acquiring a taste for mead (I'm not a mead-drinker myself, so my advice would be very limited here). You could do a lot with homebrewed mead without ever involving anything that could get you sick.

Cheers!

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THIS! If you are looking for the beer flavors, you can add hops to the honey must and make braggot! –  Pulsehead May 18 '10 at 12:24
    
I agree wholeheartedly with markskar. I've done a gluten free tasting panel with the guys at the local brewery and for the most part they were kind of meh. Some left a weird aftertaste and most tasted more like cider than beer (or even like nothing at all). If you are the type of person that would enjoy the sort of thing, you could try to recreate some recipes from areas that didn't traditionally have malted grains to waste on beer. Give an African sorghum ale (maybe mixed with honey) a try or maybe a Japanese rice beer. Also, mead is great and there isn't much available on the market. Do It! –  LoganGoesPlaces Dec 5 '13 at 23:59

If you're just allergic to gluten in the malt, then you can use roasted chestnuts as a good gluten free alternative. You soak the chestnuts with Amylase enzyme at about 160 degrees for 12 to 24 hours to break down the fermentable sugars, and then you use this as the basis of your wort.

There's a lot of information about it over on the Homebrew Talk forum, or in the answers to this question about gluten free brewing.

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Briess makes gluten-free malt substitutes. That particular product page is here: --> http://www.brewingwithbriess.com/Products/GF_Syrups.htm

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I thought the definition of beer was pretty much "fermented malt water". If you ferment grapes with hops, it's still not beer. If you distill from grains, it's not beer either. Beer without malt sounds like an oxymoron to me.

However, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beer says "produced by the saccharification of starch and fermentation", not necessarily from malted grains. Guess you could try rice beer, corn beer, or even potato beer.

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I posted this long ago when I hadn't done much research yet. Since I asked this question, I have learned (long ago by now) that beer is not beer without malt. I now drink mostly wine and hard apple cider. –  Mike Wills Dec 9 '13 at 3:42

I've also been diagnosed with EOE and have avoided beer, ovaltine, Ben and Jerry's brownie ice cream, cheese nips, and anything else with malt for the last 20 years for the same reasons you have.

This may sound strange, but if you have the chance, try a small taste of an ale like Rodenbach Grand Cru (or other Flemish red brown ale) to see if your body reacts the same as it does to beer. Where I live it's available by the 750ml bottle at Costco. Yes, it does have malt, but immediately upon trying it (and smelling it even) I could tell I wasn't allergic to it. I think it has something to do with the very long fermentation process used in making it. If it works for you, then there are plenty of sources out there with home brewing this ale.

Good luck and I hope it works for you!

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If you're brewing your own stuff and you want a gluten free recipe, try this. Instead of barley malt, use honey. Make a mead (honey wine). Water it down to beer strength (5-6%). Then add a bunch of hops in your boil to give it a bitter beery taste.

This will give you a nice hoppy boozy beverage that has no gluten. Also, you'll be a viking.

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i also have a malt allergy. unfortunately since malt is a process, it seems malt-free beer would essentially be much like hard ciders and not considered "beer". Perhaps a hard cider using hop that tastes closer to beer than hard cider could be a solution for those like us, who have malt allergies and want to drink beer!

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I don't know if you'll actually ever see this answer but here goes. I am also allergic to malt. I don't understand where people are coming from with some of their answers as they bring gluten into the discussion. I believe malt is a separate ingredient. Aside from most beers, I also cannot drink a chocolate malt and I can't eat a couple blister packages of chocolate malted milk balls without getting waves of stomach pain. Been going on for a long time now. I have discovered though, that I can drink any of the common Corona beers, like their Corona Lite or their Extra variety. Found out by accident, and later, someone told me he heard or read that Corona doesn't contain malt. If they have a malted variety, I don't know about it. Good luck.

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Say what you wan about the quality of Corona, but I'm sure its made with malt. There is no 'synthetic beer' (not that would tastes as good as, and cost less than actual beer). That being said, lots of grains (and grasses!) can be fermented into something like beer. Just find out what exactly your allergic, get to work and tell us how it tastes! –  Pepi Jan 3 at 11:03

If you are allergic to gluten, then you CAN make a "gluten-free" beer using Clarity Ferm from White Labs. http://www.whitelabs.com/other-products/wln4000-clarity-ferm

It is an enzyme that cleaves gluten proteins to reduce them to levels below 20ppm (the minimum standard to be considered "gluten free").

It does cleave hordein, the main allergen associated with barley, so it would stand to reason that you may be able to drink normally made all-grain homebrew using Clarity Ferm, but without knowing the exact allergen that causes you problems, I can't say for sure if you can drink it. But it's worth a try! Try adding some Clarity Ferm to a normal beer, recap it, give it some time at the proper temperature, then try drinking it to see if it works for you. If so, cheers! You can homebrew actual beer without compromising taste!

To clarify the "malt allergy" concern, you need to be more specific than that. Malt is any grain that has been sprouted to produce sugar producing enzymes. If you have allergic reactions to "malt balls", these are made with dairy, barley malt, and flour, so it could very well be an allergy to gluten or dairy that causes you problems. Best to get an allergy test to determine your exact condition.

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