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Newbie Questions About Whisky

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I've Googled this to death and apparently Scottish single malt whisky, with no mash added back in, should be safe for coeliacs. However, it definitely gives me stomach cramps, bloating and gas. Only for a few hours though so although I don't think it's a 'glutening' it's definitely a ... something. I've only been gluten free for two months so I know I'm probably still healing so I'm going to knock off it for a few months anyway. I'm just curious if anyone else has the same thing or can offer an explanation? It's definitely just whisky - wine, sambuca, vodka (I'm not actually an alkie ;) and none of these in large quantities) doesn't have the same effect. 

 

Oh, and does anybody know if this might mean that antibodies are being released in response to the whisky? Tummy cramps I don't mind once in a while but it's a different thing if it's triggering a response.

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I was just reading the other day that Captain Morgan is a Grain Free alcohol. I think it is a rum.

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Thank you :) if it's on the safe list presumably it isn't triggering a reaction? So that's that taken care of. Maybe it's just a sensitive, healing tummy thing. 

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Not sure if it is triggering a reaction or not. I know there is alot of controversy over alcohols and celiac. 

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Oh, and does anybody know if this might mean that antibodies are being released in response to the whisky? 

 

Nothing to worry about there.

Plain alcohol is gluten free.

 

But at 2 months post- diagnosis, your gut is still pretty raw. Maybe you should hold off on the booze

for now until you get a few months of healing in? Just a suggestion. :)

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The distillation process removes the gluten, along with any other solids.  However, you have to be careful about flavored liquors - depending on what they flavor it with.  Just a word of warning though... I found that I became much more effected by alcohol once I went gluten-free.  I used to be able to have 4 or 5 mixed drinks and not even really feel buzzed.  Now after just two I definitely feel it.  My theory is... and this is just a theory... is that the gut starts to absorb thing better once you go gluten-free and that's not just nutrients, but alcohol too.

 

All that aside... I agree with IrishHeart.  You're still in the healing process and should probably lay-off alcohol for a bit.  I've only been gluten-free for about 2 months and I can tolerate a glass of wine much better than hard alcohol - and I'm normally a bourbon drinker.

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Hmm thank you guys, lots of food for thought here. Sounds like it shouldn't trigger antibodies but mightn't be a bad idea to lay off it. NoGlutenCooties, I read your theory somewhere else here about being more of a lightweight since going gluten-free - I agree! Must be an absorption thing.But whereas a few glasses of wine would make me feel sick, now I'm much less hangover-y. I was just intrigued as just one whisky gives me cramps, which I don't get from anything else. We'll see how it goes in a few months :) 

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Jack daniels kills me if I drink it. Like, literally kills me. It may have mash added back in, I dunno. 

 

Personally I don't drink hard alcohol distilled from wheat - whisky most of all. (There is controversy over this) I get a terrible reaction every single time. I think (again, personally) it is only gluten free if it is distilled enough. I would imagine cheap whisky that has been distilled less still contains a ton of gluten. Better quality whisky may be better.

Again, there is controversy over this.

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Some distilled liquors from glutenous grains used to give me headaches. Now, not so much. Cheap brandy still kills me.

I generally stick with non glutenous derived, better quality liquor and drink them straight up. Bourbon (the exception - Woodford Reserve, Bulleit), vodka (Tito's, Ciroq, etc.), tequila, rum. Wine is fine, as is gluten-free beer. English and French ciders, craft ciders are good, I'm not a fan of the sweet ones.

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...it is only gluten free if it is distilled enough.

Distilled enough? What nonsense is that? It is distilled or it is not. Distillation boils the mash, then condenses the vapor. The result is the distillate.

Something cannot be "not distilled enough" anymore than a woman can be "not pregnant enough."

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The last thing a whiskey, or any other distiller for that matter, would do, is to add anything back in after distillation--that would defeat the entire purpose.

 

True that!

I think where the confusion on this may originate is that they will sometimes add some of the sour mash from one batch in with the "new" mash of the next batch - prior to distillation.  It helps keep the bacteria level where it should be and ensures a more consistent flavor.  But they would never add it into the finished product.  In fact, at least here in the US, they are prohibited from adding stuff - like coloring, flavoring, etc. and still calling it straight whiskey or straight bourbon.  And they are required to use virgin barrels too (at least for bourbon).

 

 

 

 

Something cannot be "not distilled enough" anymore than a woman can be "not pregnant enough."

 

Well said!

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Psawyer,

 

Good liquor is distilled 5 or more times. An average bottle of vodka or rum is almost always distilled at least 3x, but can be distilled up to 20x. Whiskies and scotch are usually only distilled once or twice. (Although there are some nice scotches that are an exception :) )

 

Distillation seems to remove most of the gluten, but gluten may still be present after one distillation. Some sources say up to 500 mg/L can remain present, the article on distillation on these forums cites a source that only says up to 200 mg/L) Either way, that's a lot to us sensitive folks. Also, (as the source cited on our page on distillation suggests) we don't know much about how gluten tests on distilled alcohol work. The gluten proteins may be broken up into peptides following distillation which a gluten test would not detect, but would still remain toxic to us.

 

I and other celiacs get a quick and certain gluten reaction to whisky. (Do a quick google search or ask around, there's plenty of us) I literally die.

 

I don't know why all the moderators on this site insist that whisky is gluten free! Any amount of research shows there is enourmous controversy over the issue. 

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I and other celiacs get a quick and certain gluten reaction to whisky. (Do a quick google search or ask around, there's plenty of us) I literally die.

 

I don't know why all the moderators on this site insist that whisky is gluten free! 

 

"You and other celiacs" may very well be unable to tolerate whiskey.It's pretty rough on the gut.

BUT it is not a gluten reaction. 

 

Google searches and anecdotal evidence aside, the science still stands.

Gluten is distilled out.

 

(and if you LITERALLY died when you drank it, you would not be writing this post and insisting that gluten is in whiskey). That's what "literally" means. 

 

Nick,

 

We are providing the truth to the readers of the forum, a fact that seems to escape you as you continue to post erroneous information on the site. Please stop doing that?. Thanks!

 

I know you used the word  "aggressive" about me in a prior post, and you think the mods are all wrong

about this, but I am only doing my job and we're telling you the truth.

 

I am not aggressive at all. I am a big ole sweetheart, actually. :)

 

Now, get off the computer and get to class.lol

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Please read the entirety of my post, besides the "me and other celiacs" line. I provided plenty of good evidence, and sources, (is this site itself not a legitimate enough source?) that back up the claim that it is unknown to what extent liquor distilled from grain is gluten free. Like I said, I don't know why this ONE site stubbornly holds to the claim that liquor is gluten free. Almost any other legitimate celiac forum, site, or research article (that I have listed in the past) acknowledges the controversy.

 

Did you at least read the article on distillation that THIS site puts out? Like it says, 1.) alcohol distilled from grain has been shown to have minimal amounts of gluten, but well outside our 20 ppm gluten-free standards and 2.) we don't actually know much about testing distilled alcohol, as the gluten proteins may have been broken down into another form that does not show up on the tests. 

 

Please, respond to the content of my post, like you should have before. I am not saying distilled alcohol is not gluten-free. I am merely saying we don't actually know that it is gluten-free, and there is plenty of supporting research and research to the contrary.

 

I would assume that, as a celiac, you would like to find the scientific answer to this. I don't know why I have been given two warnings for this. I have not claimed that I am right, I have only professed that there is significant evidence that certain distilled liquor may prompt gluten reactions among celiacs. Again, the article on THIS site supports this. 

 

Thank you for calling me out for my figurative use of the word "literally". (Irony? In more than one way?)

 

I would love some legitimate discussion over the issue, rather just be repeatedly told that you speak the truth. From what the research shows, we don't actually know that the gluten-free liquor claim is the truth. 

 

I would assume this site is devoted to research and science, rather than unbiased and unsupported claims.

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Hiere is a good and simple explanation of how distillation works for everyone that has forgotten 5 th grade science class ( for me, it feels like that was about 100 years ago)

http://www.celiac.com/articles/23350/1/Common-Misunderstandings-of-Gluten-Free-Alcoholic-Beverages/Page1.html

"To borrow Dr. Tichy's analogy, the distillation process is like boiling a kettle of water with sand at the bottom of it. Let's say you were to collect the water that boiled away as steam using a condensing tube. After boiling the entire kettle away, you would be left with a kettle with nothing but sand at the bottom of it, and a second container of pure distilled water. There is no way the distilled water could contain any sand, as sand doesn't evaporate. In the same way, gluten doesn't evaporate, and gets left at the bottom of the 'kettle' during distillation. The likelihood of distilled alcohol being contaminated with gluten is about the same as the likelihood of you getting sand in your new cup of perfectly clean water: it would almost have to be intentional! Also keep in mind that many spirits are double, or even triple distilled. Gluten contamination over the course of a single distillation is already highly unlikely, but after consecutive distillations, it is virtually impossible."

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I think just because it bothers you enuf that you think you are going to die, it doesn't mean it is Gluten that is doing it. 

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Hi Nick,

 

I agree that whiskey and distilled grain spirits can cause reactions in people.  I am one of those people.  I don't know that my reactions are due to gluten though, just that they are real.

 

It seems like the idea of gluten being passed through the distillation process would be testable though.  If a mixture of flour and water were distilled, the condensate could be tested for gluten.  There are test kits available for gluten.  I think one is called EZGluten.

 

Yep, there it is in fact:

 

http://www.ezgluten.com/

 

I don't know what you are studying in college, but if it happens to be chemistry maybe you could test this?  It seems like it would be a good chemistry project.  Maybe a college friend who is studying chemistry could do it even.  Just a thot.  I for one would be interested in the results.

 

It's obvious that things other than alcohol will come through a distillation process.  Alcohol is colorless after all, and whiskey is not colorless.  I am not sure if the EZ Gluten test would detect broken down gliaden fragments.  If it doesn't the test might not show anything.  I think it would be a very interesting experiment to read about.  If you do it, or get a friend to do it, I for one will cheer you on, starting now..  Go Nick Go! :D

 

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I would assume this site is devoted to research and science, rather than unbiased and unsupported claims.

 

Exactly my point, Nick. WE ARE giving you the research and the science.

You're telling us " you got sick" and so, it's not G F.

 

sorry, kiddo, but we just do not support the claims that whiskey is not gluten free.

It's  not just me saying this to you, it's the science and the celiac researchers that maintain that distilled alcohol is safe.

 

You wrote on another thread recently that maybe you had not been as tight in the G F diet as you could be.

Maybe this is the basis of your gut issues.?

 

I'm sorry you do not like the answers we give you, but we have no reason to lie to you.

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Most producers usually add mash back before each distillation. So there isn't any in the finished product for most liquors (although with some whisky, they DO add it to the finished product - see some of the below articles), but it usually has been added before that last distillation.

 

As I said before, you also usually do not make whisky through multiple distillations, unlike most other hard liquors. Therefore whisky is usually minimally distilled, and mash can be added back before and after the last distillation to keep up flavor.

 

Here are some sites you guys should check out: (please read the full articles)

 

http://www.celiac.com/articles/328/1/Does-Distillation-Remove-All-Gluten/Page1.html (200mg/gluten/L could remain per distillation - that's a lot)

http://celiacdisease.about.com/od/glutenfreefoodshoppin1/f/Is-Whiskey-Gluten-Free.htm (controversy, mash added to finished whisky products)

http://www.csaceliacs.info/index.jsp (Site contains a couple articles. They strongly recommend against consuming gluten-distilled liquors)

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/gluten-alcohol-5716.html

http://no-gluten.org/GlutenInFood.htm

 

There are plenty of other studies that contend that gluten can remain in distilled alcohol.

 

Again, I am not saying we should conclude all liquors distilled from grain are not gluten-free. All I contend is that there is controversy, and it certaintly shouldn't be held as a truth that distilled liquor is gluten-free. I don't think that's fair to go around telling people on this forum. We should be presenting the scientific arguments, not some arbitrary guess :) 

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Nick,

 

You have made an extra-ordinary effort to convince the Moderators and the Administration of this site that whiskey can have gluten.  I must stress to you at this point that it is completely unnecessary to convince anyone, the OP's original question has been answered and you have now hijacked this thread to argue a mute point.  Every discussion is useful until it becomes useless.  

 

I think we should all consider this thread closed!

 

Colleen

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