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Question: the denaturing of gluten/enzymes and DARK malt

Along the course of research for building a good mostly gluten-free beer (or totally gluten-free if possible), I had a short exchange with someone at Northern Brewer and he mentioned that he read somewhere that malted grains that are high in the 300-500° lovibond range have largely denatured glutens. I’ve tried scouring the web for that information and only found some references to it in an e-book on Google Books


Is this the case and is it reasonably safe to use smaller amounts of dark chocolate, coffee and even black malts (>=300°L) for folks who may have issues with gluten? Of course persons with extreme issues with gluten (i.e. cannot tolerate it at all on any level) would probably still have issues, even if using the same grain mill that’s crushed non-gluten-free grain.

I’m just curious if there’s anyone out there who knows more about this and would be able to definitively say one way or the other on this subject.

Additionally, I’ve started using Clarity-Ferm WLN4000 from White Labs and have heard that compound is supposed to help break down glutens down to more tolerable parts-per-million levels. Anyone seen any reports or evidence surrounding its use and reducing gluten levels to more tolerable consumption levels?

I have not read or heard anything about roasted malts in regards to this subject. I don’t recall Dr. Lewis from UC-Davis discussing this in the paper that I’ve read. I’ll have to look at the book you referenced later. Where specifically in the book does it touch on the subject?

As for the Clarity Ferm enzyme, if I recall correctly, it is a proline endopeptidase (meaning it breaks peptide chains at the amino acid proline). It is the proline rich region of the gluten protein that is supposed to be the antigenically offensive structure for those with Celiac disease. Breaking up the protein at the proline sites with the enzyme should theoretically alter the 3-D structure of the antigen, rendering it harmless. I’m not sure how small the resulting peptides are after enzyme treatment or if they retain enough of their 3-D structure to still be antigenically active.

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