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KCG91

Newbie Questions About Whisky

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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)

 

https://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 :)

 

I was composing my reply when Colleen suggested we were done here, and did not see her post, so please allow me one last thought.

 

Nick,

No one has presented any "arbitrary guesses" to you. On the contrary, you're presenting them here.

 

Article #1 was posted in the 90's and it is one doctor's opinion. 

"My guess is that this gluten is derived from the caramel coloring, though there is no proof about this yet. I always advise sensitive patients to abstain from brown colored liquor!

I would like to stress that the determination of gluten in these types of products is very unreliable and we have to count with false positive as well as false negative values.

 

Article #2 is Jane Anderson's opinion--do you see any citations there?

 

"Some people with celiac or gluten sensitivity can handle drinking Scotch or whiskey without any problems. However, others (me included) experience severe gluten reactions if we consume something distilled from gluten grains. It's possible that distillation doesn't remove 100% of the gluten (studies have been mixed on this point), or that a small amount of gluten is added back in as part of processing after distillation. In some cases, whiskey manufacturers add caramel coloring (which may contain gluten) or even a small amount of the undistilled grain mash after the distilling process."

#3

None of us understand why the "celiac sprue association" takes this stance when clearly, the major celiac research centers say alcohol is safe for celiacs to consume.

From the University of Chicago Celiac Disease Research Center

Are distilled beverages made with a prohibited grain (wheat, rye, barley) safe for celiacs?

Only specific gluten-free beers (Bard’s Tale, New Grist, Green’s, Redbridge, to name a few) are appropriately gluten free. As for pure spirits, (vodka, gin, scotch), the distillation process makes these beverages safe because the protein is removed. However, flavored spirits may contain malt, and should be avoided.

 

Article #4

"Gin, vodka and whiskey are typically safe for people on gluten-free diets to drink because they are distilled. The Celiac Disease Foundation states that distilled alcohol does not contain any harmful gluten peptides because the gluten peptide is too large to carry over in the distillation process.

However, The Hot Plate says people with high sensitivity to gluten may still have a reaction because not all distillation processes are thorough enough to remove all gluten, and some alcohols add a grain mash after distillation for flavor or color."

I'm sorry....Who exactly is "the hot plate"?  and why would we think this is scientific evidence?

 

 

Here is another article you could have culled from the internet, but it states the opposite of these various opinions you have posted:

http://www.alcoholprofessor.com/2013/04/what-really-makes-a-spirit-gluten-free/

 

In preparation to write this article, I spoke with several different distillers, including Marko Karakasevic of Charbay, a 13th generation distiller who knows the science of spirits as well as anyone.  He agrees with celiac.com and stated, without hesitation, “Anything distilled cannot possibly contain gluten. Distillation is the process of separating alcohol from everything else in the mash, and unless gluten can travel with vapor, there’s no physical way that it could be found in the distillate.” 

 

 

 I think I will just  conclude with this article. Please read this one!!

 .

This is my last effort to provide some credible information to you about this whole subject.

It is written by someone who holds  a doctorate in Chemistry  

 

https://www.celiac.com/articles/21886/1/Distilled-Spirits-Grain-Alcohols-and-Vinegar-Are-they-Gluten-Free/Page1.html

 

Her conclusion is YES! They are safe. period.

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Nick -

 

The first article, https://www.celiac.com/articles/328/1/Does-Distillation-Remove-All-Gluten/Page1.html

was published in 1996 and cited a report from 1992.  And it states:

A Dutch gin was negative, which might be an indication that gluten in these type of liquor is not a carry over to the distillate! My guess is that this gluten is derived from the caramel coloring, though there is no proof about this yet.”  (Keep in mind, this was in 1992.)

 

You have to double check any distilled alcohol that has coloring or flavors added to it.  The “as high as 200mg gluten/liter" was in Creme de Framboise – which is a raspberry-infused liquor.  Personally, I wouldn’t trust any flavor-infused liquor – at least not without contacting the manufacturer directly.  And even then I’d be scared.

 

The healthy eating website: http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/gluten-alcohol-5716.html

actually states, “Distilled alcoholic beverages are gluten-free, but beers made from gluten-containing grains are not distilled and therefore not gluten-free, according to the Celiac Disease Foundation.”  And continues later with, “Gin, vodka and whiskey are typically safe for people on gluten-free diets to drink because they are distilled. The Celiac Disease Foundation states that distilled alcohol does not contain any harmful gluten peptides because the gluten peptide is too large to carry over in the distillation process. However, The Hot Plate says people with high sensitivity to gluten may still have a reaction because not all distillation processes are thorough enough to remove all gluten, and some alcohols add a grain mash after distillation for flavor or color.

 

It sounds to me like they cannot definitively call distilled alcohol “gluten-free” because our testing process isn’t sophisticated enough.  And you have to be aware of anything that has been added to it after the fact – flavors, colorings, etc.  I don't buy the "not thorough enough" comment... unless you're talking about alcohol that has been distilled in the basement of your dorm by some freshman chemistry major.  ;)

 

I’d be interested in any reliable sources that explain adding mash to the alcohol after distillation – it is my understanding that spent mash is added to new batches prior to distillation to keep the bacteria growth in check, keep the ph balanced, and help the yeast grow.  But I’ve never heard of it being added on purpose to the final product, as that would ruin the flavor.

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Hi,

 

I am a newbie on the forum, but I have decided to search the web very precisely - and according to many sources, the answer is that whisky is safe for us. :)

 

Unfortunately, there are people who believe that gluten remains in whisky after distillation process. I live in Poland, and I'm trying to fight with those beliefs. There are still "official" websites in PL claiming that whisky is forbidden in gluten-free diet. :angry:

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If whiskey wasn't safe, I'd be dead by now. Brown liquor is my drink of choice these days.
However, hard liquor can be hard on the system regardless of gluten issues. Everyone has their own reactions to alcohol, and it could be that your gut just doesn't like it. Some people have trouble with alcohol in general.
Take it easy, stick to wine or gluten-free beer/cider, enjoy a good scotch every so often. General rule: if it bothers you, don't eat/drink it, regardless of gluten.

As other posters have explained, the research is clear that distilled alcohol is gluten free.

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