Malt flavor, malt extract, and malted grains are traditionally used to make beer and other alcoholic beverages. It is known for having a distinct sweet taste and natural aroma. But, if you are allergic to gluten or have celiac diseases, you must know, “Is malt flavor gluten free?”
Malt flavor is not gluten free, as it is derived from barley grains high in gluten. And barley-based malt extract is harmful to people with gluten allergies. However, there are certain corn or rice-based malt extracts available which are gluten free.
From malted vinegar to malted candies, malt extract is now used in many different food items besides alcoholic beverages. But you must know how malt extract is made and if it is bad for you to consume it daily. So, read on to learn more!
Table of Contents
- 1 Is Malt Flavor Gluten free?
- 2 What Is Malt Flavor?
- 3 Uses of Malt Flavor
- 4 Is Malt Gluten free?
- 5 Is Malt Flavor Healthy?
- 6 Malt Vs. Maltodextrin
- 7 Final Words
- 8 FAQ
Is Malt Flavor Gluten free?
Malt flavor or malt extract is typically derived from barley, which is a gluten-rich grain and is typically avoided by people having celiac disease or gluten sensitivity. However, certain types of malt flavors exist that are derived from gluten-free grains, such as rice or corn. But, if a product is made from gluten-free malt flavoring, you can identify it by the “Gluten Free” label on the pack.
According to the 2020 rule for fermented and hydrolyzed food by the FDA, the ingredients of any gluten-free product should have less than 20 PPM gluten content before the hydrolysis or fermentation process. So, even if any beer or malt flavor has less than 20 PPM gluten in the end product, it may not be counted as gluten free if it shows any sign of gluten content before the fermentation.
So, you’ll see the “Gluten Free” label on only such malt flavors that are derived from non-gluten grains. And if you are allergic to gluten, you must read the label before consuming any malt flavor, as it can have high gluten content.
What Is Malt Flavor?
Malt extract or malt flavor is derived from grains through a process called malting. Grains are first watered, germinated, and then dried out in hot air to stop the germination process. And with the mash of that malted grains, the malt flavor is produced. It is typically made with barley malt but often combined with various other types of malts and corn syrup.
The malting process makes any mash sweeter than the actual grain. It mainly happens as some enzymes produced in the malting process help to break the complex starch into simple sugar content in grains, making the mash sweeter. But, if you ask, is malt flavor gluten free or not, the answer is definitely no!
Due to its sweet taste and distinctive finish, malt flavors are used mainly as flavor and taste enhancers. Nowadays, malt extracts are used in craft beers, baked food, candies, vinegar, and even breakfast cereals. It is used to make candy treats and lollypops as well.
Uses of Malt Flavor
Malt flavor is known for a subtle but caramelly sweetness. And for this unique characteristic, the malt flavor is typically used in craft beers. It not only adds a sweet taste but will also increase the fermentation rate in beer. Many people also use malt extract for baking as it can help to make any dough fluffy.
It is also used to mask any bitter taste in beer. Besides, adding malt extract also enhances the browning properties of beer. However, malt flavors are now added to many other alcoholic drinks to give them a distinct sweet taste. It further comes in handy in making malted milk powder, malted milk balls, malted milk concentrates, and various types of candies.
Is Malt Gluten free?
Malt is typically used to make beer and other alcoholic beverages. And in this process, grains are first soaked in water, germinate, and then dried out in hot air to stop the germination process.
Depending on the grain used to make malt, it can be either gluten-rich or gluten free. Although different types of grains can be malted, barley is commonly used to make malt flavor or malt extract. Barley is known for having high gluten content so does barley-based malt. However, rice or corn-based malt is gluten free in nature.
There are even debates about the gluten content of the alcoholic beverage when barley malt is used. Beer made of malted barley is rich in gluten, whereas whiskey made with malted barley doesn’t have any gluten content, mainly due to distillation. During the double or triple-distillation process, all the gluten ingredients are removed from the whiskey.
But, if you talk about the typical malt that is primarily made of barley, it is not gluten free. So, if you have celiac disease, it is better to avoid those food items and beverage that has “malt” listed on the ingredient labels.
Is Malt Flavor Healthy?
Malt is generally used as a sweetener, although it has several differences from traditional sugar. While sugar is just a simple carbohydrate, malt is rich in essential amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Malt also has a lower glycemic index than regular white sugar.
There are several health benefits of malt that are as follows.
#1. Naturally Detox Your Body: Surprising it may sound, but malt has 1.5x antioxidants than blueberries and 5x antioxidants than fresh broccoli. It is rich in vitamin B complex, amino acids, vital minerals, and micronutrients that help to detox your body naturally. Besides, the dietary silicone found in the malt is extremely helpful for bone health.
#2. Aids Good Digestion: Malt is loaded with soluble dietary fiber, which is good for your gut. It aids good bacteria by encouraging the probiotic culture and eliminating harmful bacteria in your digestive system. Good digestion also aids in better absorption of vital nutrients.
#3. Promotes a Healthy Heart: Malt is rich in vitamin B6, B9 (Folate), and potassium, which helps to lower the cholesterol level in your system. And by doing that, malt significantly lowers the risk of cardiac problems. Besides, the dietary fiber in malt also enhances cholesterol breakdown and reduces the overall insulin activity in your body.
Malt Vs. Maltodextrin
Both malt and maltodextrin are made from grains, such as wheat and barley. Although malt stays gluten-rich after the manufacturing process, maltodextrin becomes completely gluten free as the wheat starch goes through specific techniques that remove all the glutens from the mash.
Malt is traditionally used as a taste enhancer and flavoring agent. On the other hand, maltodextrin is typically used as a thickening agent or filler. It also increases the overall volume of any packaged food. Besides, maltodextrin also acts as a natural preservative that increases the shelf life of a food item.
Nowadays, maltodextrin is usually made from genetically modified (GMO) corn that is rich in sugar and starch content. Although GMOs are perfectly safe for human consumption, many people still strongly oppose GMO products. So, if you are looking for non-GMO maltodextrin, it is best to look for the label.
So, if you are worried about is malt flavor gluten free or not, you must stick to maltodextrin to be on the safer side, as it is completely gluten free. However, if you are not used to GMO corn, it is better to avoid it.
Malt is commonly found in craft beer, flavored beer, alcoholic beverages, baked items, and even candies due to its iconic taste and sweetness. Besides, it can effectively mask any bitter taste and adds a subtle sweetness to the product to make it delicious. And there are several health benefits of malts.
But, if you are seriously allergic to gluten or have celiac disease, it is better to avoid malt flavor or malt extract, as it is primarily made with barley that is full of gluten. So, if you ask Is Malt Flavor Gluten Free or not, it is certainly not!
Which malt is gluten-free?
Traditional malt is made from wheat or barley grain which is full of gluten. However, there are several other types of grains also used to make malts, such as rice or corn. Malt made from these gluten free grains is also naturally gluten free.
Is malt flavor vegan?
Any kind of malt flavor and malt extract is vegan, let it be a barley-based one or a corn syrup-based one. No animals or animal derivatives are used to make malt flavor. Besides, there is no animal labor involved in the making of malt extract.
Is malt flavor dairy-free?
Yes, typical malt flavors that are derived from either barley or wheat are entirely dairy-free. No dairy items, milk, milk concentrates, or milk powder are used to make malt extract or flavor.
Is caramel malt gluten-free?
Caramel malt is made by infusing caramel and malt extracts together to give it a distinct sweetness. And in general, barley-based malt extract is used to make caramel malt which has high gluten content. So, caramel malt is not gluten free.
Is malted milk gluten free?
Malted milk is produced by mixing malt extract with condensed milk to give it an iconic subtle sweetness. And mainly, barley-based malt is used to make malted milk. So, malted milk is not gluten free as barley grain is high in gluten content.
What is malt powder made of?
Malt powder is referred to as two different things in the consumer market. First, it is just malted barley flour. And second, it is the barley flour mixed with milk powder. As barley is used to make both these variants, malt powder of any kind is not gluten free.
Is malt vinegar gluten free?
If you are using a malt vinegar that is undistilled, it is surely rich in gluten. However, the distillation process removes all the gluten particles from both vinegar and whiskey. So, if you want to consume malt vinegar, it is better to look for the “Distilled” or “Gluten Free” label.