Collaborating with some in my homebrew club on a recipe for our first gluten-free homebrew. We are currently planning to primarily use sorghum extract, as well as rice extract.

We are currently at the stage which we are identifying how best to increase the body and mouth feel of this beer without the use of gluten. Currently, we are of the belief that malto dextrine would be best (though I would love to hear better ideas :) ). Lactose was considered, but thought to be counteractive with the whole premise of a beer being gluten-free.

So if we are to use malto dextrine, in this style of beer, what would be a good amount to use, or how much would be too much? Main concern currently coming to mind is dangerously high sweetness levels.

  • 2
    why does use of lactose preclude a gluten-free beer?
    – mdma
    Nov 14, 2012 at 12:36
  • 3
    Be careful, Malto Dextrin is not always gluten free: celiacdisease.about.com/od/faqs/f/Maltodextrin.htm
    – GHP
    Nov 14, 2012 at 13:25
  • a word of caution: sorghum makes for a very bad tasting beer. You really need to sweeten (honey, sugar) and hop (2-4 oz) the wort to mask the flavor. My friends w/ celiac like the beer, but compared to real beer it has a terrible aftertaste. I would suggest other malt alternatives like Quinoa, Amaranth & Buckwheat for base grains. Nov 14, 2012 at 19:11
  • I think Nøgne Ø has started using an enzyme which kills off the gluten, letting them brew gluten free beer more or less as usual. I don't know if it's possible to get hold of this, but maybe you want to check it out :-) Nov 15, 2012 at 13:04
  • @mdma It just seems that if I'm going through the work to get rid of the gluten, which in this case, is for the purpose of having the beer be easier on the digestive system for a particular beer drinker, that adding milk instead wouldn't necessarily get me closer to a more easily digestible beer. My logic may or may not be sound.
    – hartski
    Nov 15, 2012 at 13:50

1 Answer 1


Maltodextrin isn't sweet, or certainly nowhere near as sweet as succrose - from 1/10 to 1/4 as sweet depending upon the type.

200g in 5 gallons can give a slight improvement in body. 500g would make a significant difference. 1kg and you'd almost need to cut your beer in slices to serve! :D Even with 1kg the amount of sweetness added will not be unpalatable.

How much you need will vary according to how thin your starting beer is, and on your preferences. It's best to make up a solution of maltodextrin of known concentration (e.g. weight to volume ratio of sugar to water) and add this in different concentrations to your beer to determine which you prefer. When adding to your entire batch, play on the low side, since it's easy to add more later if you really feel it's too thin.

  • This is great input, especially as I have never used malto dextrine before. Good to hear on the lack of sweetness, and appreciate the suggested amounts for body improvement.
    – hartski
    Nov 15, 2012 at 13:51

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