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Distilled Spirits (Grain Alcohols) and Vinegar: Are they Gluten-Free?

What is Gluten?

Gluten is a huge molecule held together by smaller molecules linked together called amino acids. A very tiny part of the gluten molecule can initiate a response. If each amino acid that makes up gluten is represented as a single letter that very tiny part would be: SGQGSFQPSQQ. There are other sequences of amino acids that cause a reaction in gluten sensitive individuals, but the point is, as tiny as this fragment is with respect to the entire gluten protein, it is still HUGE with respect to the size of ethanol (the stuff you are drinking).

What is Alcohol?

The alcohol you drink is ethanol. Ethanol is smaller than the size of the smallest amino acid in the smallest fragment of gluten that has been shown to initiate an autoimmune reaction. More specifically, ethanol is about 10 atomic mass units smaller than just the G in the sequence shown above.

What are Amino Acids?

The G is glycine, and by the way, each of these amino acids (represented by letters) by themselves is safe, and sold at most health food stores. For example Q = glutamine (yes, “L-glutamine,” the same amino acid mentioned in a recent post and used to heal intestinal damage). If the protein is viewed as beads on a string, then one of those beads might be good for you, but certain sequences strung together can initiate an allergic reaction of many types from acute peanut allergy to less-than-obvious gluten sensitivity.

What is Distillation?

When a distillation is performed, pure ethanol is separated away from all of the other “stuff” that forms as a result of fermentation. This is because ethanol is volatile (meaning it becomes a gas in the distillation process). Imagine a vat of fermentation products, you heat it, and only the volatile molecules like ethanol enter a tube attached to the vat. This tube is not just any tube - it is a curved condensation tube! Here is what it does: While the heated gas form of ethanol floats into it (because that is what gases do), the molecules are cooled and condense back into a liquid, and fall into a new sparkling clean vessel containing the stuff that intoxicates you and any other volatiles. So the fancier distillation columns that are actually used industrially also purify the ethanol away from other volatiles. Gluten does not stand a chance of “crossing over” because it is not volatile.

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Here is a simplified analogy. Let's say you put some sand in the bottom of your tea kettle. If you take the spout off your tea kettle, and attach a condensing tube to the opening (a curved tube would be the simplest type of condensing tube but there are many elaborate types), you could distill your water away from the sand. The condensing tube would be curved so as to open into a new clean pot. Let us pretend that the sand is gluten and the water is ethanol. When you heat to the boiling point, the liquid becomes gas so it travels into the condenser, cools and becomes liquid, then falls into the clean pot.

Now having read that, is there any way that the new clean pot would contain any sand? No, and distilled alcohol (ethanol) does not contain any gluten. Remember, gluten is not volatile. Another non-volatile compound is table salt. So you could perform a distillation at home, with salt water. Has anyone ever inadvertently done this? Boiled a pot of salt water, perhaps to make some Tinkyada pasta, and walked away to do something else. You came back to find your pot almost empty with white crusty stuff (salt) all inside the pot.

So the gluten is left behind in a distillation process. If malt is added to the distilled product it will be disclosed on the ingredients label.

What is Vinegar?

Vinegar is formed by fermentation in a similar way that ethanol is formed by fermentation. The process is to take ethanol and ferment it with bacteria. Later, there is a filtration to remove the bacteria. Rarely, vinegar is fermented from wheat-based alcohol. “Distilled vinegar,” gets its name from the fact that it was fermented from distilled alcohol.

Why is Vinegar Still Questioned?

The answer could be, perhaps, because so many people report a reaction to it and vinegar-based products. The never-ending fear is that cross-contamination during the fermentation process is leading to barely detectable amounts of gluten in the finished product (by barely detectable, I mean in terms of commercially available tests). Since the vinegar is rarely distilled post fermentation from the ethanol, the “messy” nature of the second fermentation step could pose a problem, especially for highly sensitive individuals. If the alcohol gets all used up by the bacteria, the bacteria go on to form carbon dioxide and water from the vinegar. So alcohol is periodically added in the fermentation process. Conceivably, one “shortcut” would be to just add beer at this juncture. Adding beer or some other form of cheap malted alcohol would keep the culture alive, and increase the “quality” and yield of the vinegar. Another fear is that the bacterial “mother” as it is called, contains trace gluten through cross-contamination. Claims that these practices actually take place are unsubstantiated by evidence.

Why are Distilled Spirits Still Questioned?

That is a good question, I do not know.

Take a Short Quiz on this Topic:

  1. You bought mustard and pickles at the grocery store. These products contain “distilled vinegar” according to the ingredients labels, and the label does NOT say “contains: wheat.” Are the mustard and pickles gluten-free?
  2. Rum, gin, whiskey, and vodka are distilled beverages. If they are not flavored with something that contains wheat (would be declared on the label), rye, or barley (usually in the form of “malt”), are they gluten-free? 
  3. What is wrong with the following statements (they have all been cut and pasted from various blogs and forums on the topic of celiac disease)? a. “Most alcohols are distilled in such a way that any wheat gluten is no longer present.” b. “Even trace amounts of gluten that make it past the filter system can be harmful.” c. “It seems improbable to me, too, that gliadin could survive the distillation process.”

Answers:
  1. Yes, unless you have reason to believe otherwise, in which case you should simply avoid them.
  2. Yes.
  3. 3a. All alcohols, if distilled, have been removed from any type of gluten.
    3b. Distillation is nothing like a filtration. We are not separating small from large, there is no filter. Filtration would be like how your coffee pot separates water from the coffee grains. A tear in the filter would result in a big problem, right? Filtration is a separation based on size, distillation is a separation based on volatility.
    3c. Do we care whether gliadin (a name given to part of wheat gluten) “survives” the process or not? No, because it has been left behind to stew in its own juices in the distillation pot. Your stuff (the ethanol) has floated away, and entered a new, clean pot. Some people have this idea that we heat the fermented mixture to smithereens and it somehow decomposes the molecules of gluten. Clearly, such a process would be ineffective or else we could simply “cook,” “roast,” “fry,” or “burn” the gluten out of our foods, and we know that we cannot do that.

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51 Responses:

 
Diane Hurd
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said this on
31 Aug 2009 5:59:41 PM PDT
Very good, understandable language and correlates with other articles already read on the same subject. Definitely would read everything this author writes on the subject. Thank you!

 
Susie
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said this on
31 Aug 2009 8:22:10 PM PDT
I didn't know it, but a dressing I ate on a daily basis had switched from cider vinegar to distilled vinegar. I was getting more sick everyday. I had to go back to a very bland diet and then slowly add everything I had been eating, one product at a time. Then I read the label, stopped using the dressing and started to get better. I am a very sensitive celiac, but I raise this question. If as you say, a sensitive celiac could see have problems with distilled products, isn't it very possible that other celiacs are also damaging themselves without any symptoms? I know others who can't have distilled vinegar and they aren't as sensitive as myself.

 
Justin
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said this on
01 Sep 2009 5:10:07 AM PDT
Clearly, more than just ethanol makes it through the distillation process, otherwise all distilled alcohols would just be Everclear--and indistinguishable from one another in taste or appearance. I think the fear was/is that, because more than Ethanol makes it through, could gluten be one of the "other" things that gets carried along?

 
Jared
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said this on
02 Sep 2009 12:10:20 PM PDT
Justin, the author never claimed that no other substances weren't volatile. She merely discussed ethanol and gluten for simplification. Obviously, water is volatile and would make it through distillation along with the ethanol. This is why all distillation wouldn't result in Everclear. If gluten is present in a distilled alcohol, I would suspect contamination (whether intentional or unintentional) after the distillation process.

 
Jay
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said this on
08 Dec 2010 6:35:34 PM PDT
I've had reactions to whiskey and other malt ingredient drinks, but vodka for example made with 100% potatoes and rum doesn't bother me. I have to agree with you thinking more than just ethanol makes it through the distillation process, my body tells me so.

 
Tammie
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said this on
08 Jun 2011 5:34:05 PM PDT
Jay, I am with you. I am highly sensitive to distilled vinegar and grain alcohols. I take issue with the FDA, whose guidelines state that a company can label their food/beverage products as gluten free as long as their is less than 20 parts per million of gluten present in the finished (distilled) product. This is misleading and could be damaging the guts of thousands of celiacs like us.

 
bois
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said this on
30 Oct 2014 11:42:41 AM PDT
Tammie, the FDA doesn't really disagree with you. They have an article somewhere (sorry can't find it at short notice) that discusses the lowest levels of ppm needed for the most sensitive celiacs. That article reviews the literature and concludes that some celiacs are so sensitive that the typical 20ppm (which correlates to about 50mg per day) is not low enough to prevent those sensitive celiacs from reacting. They note that some Celiacs react below 10mg per day. Health Canada has a similar review on their website. Interestingly enough, another study discusses those celiacs (again, can't find on short notice) and suggests that if those celiacs could go for 6 months with ZERO gluten, their sensitivity to would return to the normal celiac sensitivity by which they could tolerate gluten in amounts below 50mg. Anyway, my point being that 20ppm is not held out as 100% safe - just safe for a huge proportion of celiacs. Unfortunate, but true. In Australia their requirement for gluten free requires that it be zero according to any commercially available test...still not technically zero, but as close as we can knowingly get.

 
bump

said this on
11 Aug 2013 3:56:02 PM PDT
Sorry, it's a bit of a myth that potatoes are used for vodka. Modern vodka uses grain. "Absolut Vodka, is made solely from grain." Take a look for yourself.

 
ian
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said this on
11 Dec 2013 3:29:22 AM PDT
I've been done by a few vodkas with that, so I just stick to Smirnoff its been good every time and I have a very sensitive gut.

 
A guy from Idaho
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said this on
08 Feb 2014 5:03:35 PM PDT
There are plenty of modern vodkas made strictly from potatoes. (Type potato vodka into your fancy Google machine.)

 
M

said this on
07 Jul 2014 11:05:25 AM PDT
Tito's is an excellent GF vodka if anyone is looking. I've never had a reaction to it.

 
David
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said this on
05 Jul 2013 2:21:02 PM PDT
Justin. All distilled spirits start off as basically "everclear", which will get you drunk, but is horrible tasting. People have been figuring out ways to make it taste better for a very, very long time. Aging it in a charred oak barrel gives you a lovely amber color and adds certain flavors. This is basically whiskey. Taking alcohol and steeping with Juniper berries and other botanicals is the basic process of creating Gin. Etc. The point is that alcohol (as a substance) has no gluten. What happens after it is distilled is what keeps it from being "indistinguishable" from any other product.

 
Sarah
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said this on
01 Sep 2009 1:38:05 PM PDT
I appreciate the teaching that has occurred in this article. I understand the science behind alcohol being gluten free BUT I still have a reaction to any that is distilled through grains. At first I thought my reactions may have been psychosomatic. Maybe it's just because I am questioning the validity of truly being gluten free. But not too long ago I had a very serious reaction and did research on the drink I had, Indeed it was a wheat/Barley vodka. I believe that for most people it may be fine. BUT I have always been super sensitive and am continually reminded that I must be careful.

 
Karen
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said this on
13 Sep 2009 10:12:57 PM PDT
Sarah, I have had the same experience and I don't believe that distillation means gluten free. I, as you started looking at distilled alcohol AFTER I had a reaction. Before that I hadn't even thought alcohol could be a culprit. Those who are very sensitive should just stick to things like rum, sake and wine. All the ingredients are gluten free and I have never had a problem with any of these.

 
Phemone
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said this on
09 May 2013 1:26:20 PM PDT
You still need to be careful with wine if you are really sensitive. The fining agents in wine are sometimes gluten-based, and the trace 20ppm can be present. Also, wines aged in wooden barrels are sometimes contaminated by the wheat that seals the barrels. To be safe, check with the winery about the fining agent, and go with brands that use steel casks.

For more info, check out this article: rachelbegun.com/ask-the-gluten-free-rd-is-there-gluten-in-wine

 
Gryphon
( Author)
said this on
14 May 2013 8:59:44 AM PDT
The wheat paste is a bit of an unfounded concern: http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/newsletter/2012/10/10/gluten-content-of-wine-aged-in-oak-barrels-sealed-with-wheat-paste/

 
Justin
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said this on
01 Sep 2009 2:10:33 PM PDT
Excellent article. This could not have been any more clear and to the point with regard to distillation and gluten-sensitivity. Great read!

 
Elle
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said this on
02 Sep 2009 4:20:16 PM PDT
Susie and Sarah- agreed.

I completely understand the process of distillation. I've done it myself many times in a lab. What I don't understand is how I have reacted time after time after time to products that I find out later contained distilled vinegar or alcohol that is wheat-derived.

I appreciate this article's clear explanations. I just can't seem to make the connection between the logical science and my reality.

 
Sarah L.
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said this on
24 Feb 2010 10:34:23 AM PDT
Susie, Sarah, Elle -

Same boat here guys, same boat. What is odd is, I can tolerate trace amounts of gluten in other products, but not alcohol. There is a very definitive outcome that results from drinking wheat based boozes, and it is unmistakably celiac (though I wish I could chalk it up to something else I ate, as I do enjoy a cocktail).

 
phil
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said this on
13 Sep 2013 4:00:08 AM PDT
Maybe you are just drunk? That can cause GI symptoms... just saying

 
Janie
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said this on
02 Sep 2009 7:39:54 PM PDT
I am also a very sensitive celiac. I rarely drink, because I no longer desire the taste (spilled out many drinks in the past). But even when I want to have one to be "social" or celebrate a special occasion, I double check & make sure to "go over" the distillation process & ingredients- just not worth getting sick over, from carelessness. This may sound weird but, I have noticed that top shelf alcohol seems to make a difference w me. I even enjoy the taste when all is well! I mix with cranberry or fruit juices & still keep it "very" limited though, better safe than sorry. I just happened to look at a list of gluten free beers today, from the "Gluten Free Beer Festival of 2006". Get a craving once in a great while, may try one of them in the future.

 
Tanya
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said this on
20 Aug 2011 3:31:51 PM PDT
Janie: I don't drink as much either cause I find my self sensitive to it. We're like you Sarah, trace amounts in food don't bother us. Amaretto is gluten free and when mixed with sour mix is very tasty (read label on sour mix some have wheat). I had my husband make me ketchup to stay away from vinegar. As I too thought it would hurt me. but mayo and mustard also have vinegar. this article has helped me but still confused on some things.

 
margaret
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said this on
03 Sep 2009 9:02:37 AM PDT
Good article.I always buy only triple distilled myself, just to be on the safe side.

 
Olaf
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said this on
21 Sep 2009 8:39:10 PM PDT
Susie: If the company switched to distilled v from cider v, then maybe they changed the factory around a bit too. Many times when an ingredient changes, it's not just because the ingredient itself was cheaper, but because the product is manufactured somewhere else, or, in these economic times, manufactured on shared equipment with other products in order to lay off a few workers. So most likely, your reaction was triggered by poor manufacturing practices with no segregation of malicious gluten bits.
I have had this problem with Walmart's new packages of snack foods. It used to say gluten free on the Great Value brand, but now the packaging changed from blue to white, and it no longer states that it's gluten-free.
Others: Is it possible that your reaction was that of cheap alcohol? I get really sick off many bottom shelf brands, simply because of the impurities (like poisonous alcohols and the like). Oh, and Justin, other alcohols taste different because of the way they are aged and the like (eg in wooden barrels) and the additives (eg juniper berries in gin), NOT because of the distillation process.
Like the author said, watch out for "malt" and we are fine.

 
rhonda
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said this on
27 Sep 2009 11:50:49 AM PDT
I think the author makes perfectly scientific points, and I agree with them. I am not a celiac, however my fiance is. I have noticed two things:
1. If he drinks soon after a minor contamination he gets ill. I mean really ill. In my estimation, it is not that the booze contains gluten, but the damaging of an already sensitive system that causes the horrible following reaction.
2. Sometimes when people drink they lose the total control that they would ordinarily retain. I have heard my fiance, after a couple of drinks relax the standards he usually carries on food because he is drunk. Maybe this is a culprit.
I also have one more comment to add about the alcohol. As was already noted, very few liquors that are sold contain pure ethanol. It would kill you. Most of them are diluted and flavored after the fact. I would guess from the color of many alcohols that they use caramel coloring (barley) and maltodextrin (malt=bad) and any number of "natural flavorings" that they are not necessarily required to itemize. My fiance stays away from anything colored (whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gold tequila) or flavored (gin, flavored vodkas etc.). Stick to things that are fermented directly from gluten free foods, (i.e. sake, wine, silver tequila). Good luck!

 
lucy
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said this on
18 Nov 2010 3:03:30 PM PDT
maltodextrin is corn

 
Michelle
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said this on
22 Mar 2012 3:07:34 PM PDT
Correction, most maltodextrin is corn. Most maltodextrin in the United States is made from corn. However, in Europe, it is made mostly from wheat. So, watch your product labels to see where the food is from. If it's from Europe, the maltodextrin is most likely made from wheat.

 
Diane Lester
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said this on
30 Sep 2009 3:57:02 AM PDT
As a scientist I would have also assumed that distillation removes gluten from vinegar and alcohol. However my gut feeling is that it does not (I am highly sensitive to gluten and have a highly controlled diet). I have puzzled over this and conclude that it is possible for a distilled product derived from wheat to contain trace gluten for the following reasons
1. the distillation process is not 100% efficient. Boiling a liquid causes it to vaporize, however it also causes the formation of aerosols (tiny droplets of liquid). These aerosols have the potential to carry gluten into the distilled product. Anyone who has worked in a laboratory will known it is standard practice to distill water twice because one round of distillation does not make water absolutely pure.
2. Gluten has unusual solubility, being insoluble in water and highly soluble in alcohol. I believe it is also highly soluble in acid. Alcohol and vinegar are prepared from the starch fraction of wheat, which is known to contain residual gluten. This gluten probably concentrates in alcohol and vinegar because they render it highly soluble.
The only way to demonstrate that vinegar and alcohol derived from wheat are safe for celiac disease patients is to perform a clinical trial which includes patients of all degrees of sensitivity. This has never been done and is logistically daunting.
Gluten detection methods have shortcomings which mean they cannot, on their own, be used to declare a food safe (I have written a peer-reviewed journal article on this subject Lester DR (2008) Gluten measurement and its relationship to food toxicity for celiac disease patients. Plant Methods. 2008 Oct 28;4:26).
My impression is that there is sufficient anecdotal evidence from forums within celiac disease support groups to raise doubt about alcohol and vinegar.

 
Anna B
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said this on
15 Oct 2009 12:19:38 AM PDT
I, like many of the people who have responded to this article, react to distilled alcohols. So, while I find this article helpful to some extent, I actually found Diane's answer more relevant to what my gut tells me. Thanks Diane!

 
Joe_Crawford
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said this on
13 Dec 2009 10:51:37 AM PDT
From my own experience, Russian (pure) potato vodka, if you can still find it, and just about any of the rums are the only alcohols that I can tolerate (I use to buy scotch by the case). Since I developed Celiac, and I’ve tested it several times, I get a reaction from scotch, beer and whiskey. During the distillation process there are contaminants the bootleggers back home (the Blue Ridges) called fusel oils. These distill off at various temperatures both below and above that alcohol. They are what give various liquors and whiskeys their distinct (i.e., both good and bad) taste. Usually the ones that distill off at lower temperatures are beneficial, those a higher temperatures give the whiskey a solvent like taste. At least in my case, something in the low temp oils gives me the same reaction that I get from gluten.

 
Jed
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said this on
05 Oct 2010 11:26:21 PM PDT
Diane, you just described what I suspect is the primary reason why distilled spirits have gotten this inaccurate rap for gluten content: Gluten solubility.

The majority of these anecdotal stories involve people who were *not* drinking at home, of drinks they'd prepared themselves. It's folks who are out, either at a party, a bar, a restaurant, etc.

You then point out that gluten is highly soluble in alcohol, which means that if you've been exposed to contamination, the alcohol is going to ensure that you absorb that contamination and disseminate it throughout your system. Further, as we're all well aware, *any* time you eat or drink away from your own home, you are at risk for exposure, because non-celiacs simply don't understand how we're affected. Every single one of us has been poisoned by cross-contamination, most of us multiple times. Blaming the alcohol for facilitating the exposure is like blaming the full moon for an uptick in emergency room visits simply because any uptick which occurs during a full moon gets noted, while any uptick on any other night is simply ignored for what it is: Random chance . It's caused by selective observation, not an underlying truth. I'm sure plenty of celiacs have had reactions after drinking tequila or other non-grain-sourced liquors and either correctly assumed they were poisoned by some other contamination, or incorrectly assumed that the liquor must've had some grain portion. (Mexican distillers find sugar a much cheaper starting point than imported wheat, and even cheap tequila is highly unlikely to have been borne of any gluten-containing source). Adulterated spirits, like gin, are certainly suspect. I'm completely puzzled by mention of caramel colorings or flavorings as a source of gluten -- both are made from carbohydrates, not proteins. Why would you make them from a starchy source that would require enzymatic action to convert it into a sugar prior to the caramelization process? To me, the moral of all these anecdotal stories is simple: Don't drink when you're away from home unless you're eating food which is virtually impossible to cross-contaminate. I don't know much about how industrial tests for gluten work, but I would be very surprised if well-made whiskies or vodkas were found to contain gluten, assuming those tests ever become accurate or sensitive enough to give a reliable result. Anecdotal evidence is always a dangerous thing to rely on. It's why we can't turn on our ipods on an airplane unless it's at cruising altitude, why many gas stations have warning signs telling you that using a cell phone while pumping gas could cause an explosion, and why many parents insist on refusing to vaccinate their children. If we're to rely on anecdotal evidence, can we at least rely on *good* anecdotal evidence? Let's have some of our brave celiac brethren enlist the aid of their spouses, and engage in blind booze exposures at home, where contamination can be controlled. Some nights mix the drinks with a "suspect" alcohol, like scotch. Other nights, use a "safe" alcohol, like potato vodka. If you get several reactions to the suspect, but none to the safe, you'll have an anecdote we can sink our teeth into. Otherwise, I suspect these reports prove what we already know: The outside world is littered heavily with gluten, and we eat in public (sadly) often at our own risk.

 
Phemone
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said this on
09 May 2013 1:37:21 PM PDT
Jed- Your base assumption is a poor one. If you are celiac, you understand the importance of experimenting with brands and types of food at home. If you asked all of the people posting if they had tried grain alcohol at home in a controlled way, I bet they would answer in the affirmative. I'm a sensitive celiac (PhD in science) who has tried many controlled at-home drinks. Wheat based alcohols cause strong reactions every time. Distillation process or not, there are always other links before it gets to the shelf that could contribute to cause cross-contamination. Wine, for example, may be gluten-free unless it's been aged in wooden casks that use wheat-based sealant. Unless you can track every stage of production, you cannot deductively determine that the alcohol is gluten free. Accusing people with sensitive systems of being sloppy in the bar does not help address the issue of reactions to alcohol.

 
Gryphon
( Author)
said this on
14 May 2013 4:32:20 PM PDT
The wheat paste is a bit of an unfounded concern: http://www.glutenfreedietitian.com/newsletter/2012/10/10/gluten-content-of-wine-aged-in-oak-barrels-sealed-with-wheat-paste/

 
Sunnie
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said this on
23 Jan 2010 10:01:17 AM PDT
I think the problem with white distilled vinegar is that it turns to a poison in the body. For that reason, we avoid all white distilled vinegar except to clean with. Apple cider vinegar is NOT the same so that is probably why there isn't a problem with that one.

 
diana pechnick
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said this on
02 Feb 2010 12:09:29 PM PDT
These comments were very informative.

 
Stacey Zappacosta
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said this on
19 May 2010 6:19:40 PM PDT
Many of you celiac's that react to vinegar are probably sensitive to yeast and fermented products. Celiac, gluten intolerance and yeast allergies are usually connected because of "leaky gut".

 
T.H.
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said this on
06 Jun 2010 2:56:13 PM PDT
I appreciate Diane explaining the distillation process, because from the various blogs and forums I read, it seems that there is a lot of confusion about the process, and how scientifically it makes it impossible for gluten molecules to somehow make it through distillation.

However, I was very disappointed in one aspect. Saying that we have nothing to fear from distilled products is, I feel, doing celiac's a disfavor, because it presumes two things that I don't believe are true: people never make mistakes, and all factories are perfect.

If a factory is using products with gluten, then the possibility of contamination after distillation exists. It may not be a high probability of contamination if proper safety standards are used, but...can we guarantee that every facility that is distilling alcohol is concerned about contamination afterward? I don't believe we can - in fact, based on the the history of food production, I'd say the odds are in favor of some facilities having poorer standards and higher chances of contaminating their products post-distillation.

So for those who are sensitive like me, that may mean that 1 out of 4 times I'll be fine with an alcohol distilled from wheat, and one time I'll react because I get a contaminated batch.

It's disheartening to have people's reports of reactions dismissed out of hand, just as so many of us had our celiac symptoms dismissed in the first place. And I feel that we fail to truly examine the problem if we look at it only in terms of a process in theory rather than looking at how the processing works in the real world.

 
Laura F.
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said this on
09 Jul 2010 7:25:17 AM PDT
Clearly distinguished between distillation and filtration!

 
Marion
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said this on
20 Jul 2010 11:50:56 PM PDT
Recently diagnosed with celiac condition, I find the articles very informative. Thanks to these folks.

 
Anna B2
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said this on
06 Oct 2010 7:08:48 PM PDT
I am new to this from a personal standpoint. I have just in the last few months started exhibiting symptoms that made me think there is a real problem, but my dad was diagnosed a couple of years ago with a positive DQ. He doesn't remember which one. My daughter, however, had positive allergy tests for multiple food allergies at the age of 2, including wheat, for which she has recently at the age of 6 tested negative. Fortunately??? I think she still has an intolerance after the poor child has been gorging on all the food she wasn't allowed before.

I like the article. Very informative. Diane Lester's post is excellent for filling in any scientific gaps, and Amen to T.H. The real world is where we are, not in the laboratory.

 
Joseph kamusiime
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said this on
15 May 2011 4:29:03 AM PDT
Am also of the opinion that the distillation process does not totally remove gluten. My first reaction had to do with beers, I switched to spirits but the same reactions ve reoccurred. However, I think gluten content in spirits is smaller compared to the beers.

 
Tammie
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said this on
08 Jun 2011 5:50:44 PM PDT
A few other things came to mind after reading the comments. 1) Do be careful of the alcohol you ingest. With distilled spirits, stick to potato vodka like Monopolowa or Chopin. If you are truly sensitive, like myself, avoid mixers with caramel coloring, like cola products. 2.) Do not believe all "gluten free" claims. Three Olives vodka, a product of Proximo Spirits lists their vodkas as Gluten Free & Wheat Free on their website. When contacted, I found that they are in fact distilled from wheat. Same with salad dressings and condiments. Just because the label says "gluten free" doesn't mean it is safe for many of us if the product contains distilled vinegar. 3.) We with Celiac Disease must still keep fighting for awareness about the dangers of gluten. The FDA is against us if they continue to allow inaccurate product labeling. Even this website, dedicated to our health (presumably) has posted an article that basically dismisses our claims that distillation does not render alcohol and vinegars safe for us (100% gluten free.)

 
Barbara
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said this on
04 Dec 2011 7:39:53 PM PDT
This was helpful.

 
MiF1954
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said this on
20 Dec 2011 8:07:19 AM PDT
I was diagnosed with celiac in 1954 before it was associated with gluten intolerance. So I have a very long history of dealing with this life variance.
I guess the science is ok. But my reality is I have to be very careful of white vinegars. They will clear my intestinal track within 3 hours. As will a host of other things, especially mushrooms. Having celiac can certainly be well managed with a gluten free diet. But there are usually other food sensitivities that go along with it.

 
J Vlcek
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said this on
26 Dec 2011 11:09:29 AM PDT
I gave a poor rating because I believe the information is incorrect or misleading. I've chosen not to be tested for celiac disease. However, I have reactions to gluten and wheat's closest relatives that range for annoying to violent. Some of the very earliest reactions were to beer. Now, wheat beer is increasingly prevalent on the but I react to ALL beers. My friend who has been diagnosed celiac also reacts to beer. One bottle leads to misery. TG for Woodchuck Cider. It's delicious.

 
Russ
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said this on
18 Jan 2012 3:43:55 PM PDT
What's interesting is how every other week (in the 13 years I've tended bar I get asked which spirits are gluten free. Never have I been asked about or heard of any nut allergy sufferers reacting to gin.

 
Amy
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said this on
25 May 2012 1:20:16 PM PDT
All grains contain gluten! Please do your research as it may be more than just wheat gluten causing your symptoms. Corn is a huge culprit and can cause similar symptoms (if not worse) than wheat. You can find out more on Dr. Osborne's website Towne Center Wellness Clinic. It has been life-changing for our family and extended family.

 
said this on
25 May 2012 2:23:46 PM PDT
It is true that some celiacs are also allergic to gluten from corn and other grains, but those conditions are separate. Furthermore, this article is about distilled spirits. The distillation process removes all traces of gluten, for any grain. This is a well-established fact.

 
outdoorchris
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said this on
29 Oct 2012 8:28:53 PM PDT
Sadly, the use of the caramel additive does not need to be disclosed when the whisky is sold in some jurisdictions including Scotland. In places like the US, where gluten less than 20 parts per million does not need to be on the label, you are less likely to find caramel in the ingredients list on the label for Scottish Whisky. I believe Duty Free Whisky has the original Scottish label, which is unlikely to have caramel labelled. So I would say, that unless you know otherwise, you should assume your favorite dram does have caramel coloring in it.

Here's a good source of info, though, that appears to know a bit about this topic ... I quote William (administrator) from a forum on scotch malt whiskey:

Here is a list of some Whisky distillers/bottlers that does not add E150a caramel colouring to their whisky. This is by no means a complete list.

Arran
Balblair
Benriach
Benromach
Bladnoch
Bruichladdich
Bunnahabhain
Deanston
Edradour
English Whisky Co
Glencadam
Glendronach
Glenfarclas
Glengoyne
Glenglassaugh
Glenrothes
Hazelburn
Highland Park
Kilchoman
Kilkerran
Longrow
Port Charlotte
Macallan
Octomore
Springbank
Tullibardine

I know Tobermory and Ledaig are now un-chillfiltered not sure about colouring, anyone know?

In general most single malts from independents are normally natural colour and mostly un-chillfiltered when bottled at 46% plus. Some independents have different ranges, some of which are not coloured and un-chillfiltered some are.

Here are some which i believe bottle their whisky with no added colouring or chillfiltering.

Adelphi
Compass Box
Douglas Laing
Duncan Taylor
Mackillop's Choice
The Whisky Exchange. (All TWEs independent bottlings Single Malts of Scotland, Element of Islay and Port Askaig are all natural colour and un-chillfiltered.)

There are probably loads more independents who bottle their whisky without colouring and chillfiltration.

To my knowledge the above list is accurate but if you see an error or know of any that should be on the list just post it here and I will edit the list.

 
Matt
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said this on
05 Mar 2013 3:54:25 PM PDT
Very helpful and informative, thank you.

 
Dave
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said this on
10 May 2013 12:06:00 PM PDT
Wondering about Woodchuck cider's small batch flavor private reserve aged in bourbon barrels, yet claims to be gluten-free. I drink woodchuck all the time but having this variety has left me feeling strange...




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