Is Your Beer Vegan?

, Is Your Beer Vegan?If you’re a vegan and you abstain from using animal products in your diet, you may need to know a little more about that beer you’re enjoying.

Here’s the deal…

Ask most savvy consumers’ beer’s classic ingredients and an informed majority would come back with hops, malt, barley and water, and of course, a bit of yeast thrown in to keep things active.

But chances are good that they wouldn’t have mentioned isinglass which according to The Oxford Companion to Beer is a gelatin made from fish bladders that helps to clarify beer.

And that’s not good news for vegans.

Getting even more technical, Craft Beer & Brewing explains the substance this way…

“Isinglass is a traditional fining, a substance that causes yeast to precipitate out of suspension, leaving beer clear. Isinglass is derived from the swim bladders of certain tropical and subtropical fish.”

But there are other animal-based agents  sometimes used in beer’s clarification process that vegans might want to avoid.

According to Plant Based News, “gelatin (derived from boiled animal skin and bones) has also been used in beer making as a refining agent, as has chitin (derived from the crushed exoskeletons of crabs and other marine crustaceans). Egg whites, milk, and even ox blood have also been used as traditional finings in brewing beer, though the latter has been banned across the EU and US since 1997.”

, Is Your Beer Vegan?

(Courtesy Tropical Sun Foods)

There’s some good news for vegan beer lovers as long as they’re not attached to cask ales or  some craft beers…

With the advances in centrifugation and filtration technologies, the use of isinglass or other animal-based clarification agents in the commercial brewing process has declined over the years.

Popular beers including all Anheuser-Busch and Molson Coors products haven’t used  animal-based clarification additives for decades. Nor have other majors such as Heineken, Asahi and Carlsberg.

Guinness, was later steeping away from the use of animal-based clarification agents in their iconic beer than other majors, but they’ve been isinglass-free and vegan since early 2016.


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