Updated at: 09-06-2023 - By: John Lau

Gluten levels in beer can be a major concern for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. As a popular alcoholic beverage, it’s important to understand just how much gluten is in various types of beer and explore options such as gluten-free beers.

Surprisingly, some beers contain more gluten than bread! In this blog post, we will dive into the world of beer and its gluten content, discussing different varieties like ales, lagers, stouts, and wheat beers.

Discover the regulations around labeling these beverages as well as tips on how to choose low-gluten or gluten-free alternatives while still enjoying your favorite brews.

Understanding Gluten Levels In Beer

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Gluten is a protein found in grains like wheat, barley, and rye which can cause adverse reactions for people with gluten intolerance or celiac disease.

What Is Gluten And Its Effect On Individuals With Gluten Intolerance

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. It acts like glue to hold food together and helps maintain its shape. For many individuals, consuming gluten does not cause any adverse effects; however, some people may experience negative reactions due to gluten intolerance or sensitivity.

Individuals with gluten intolerance often experience uncomfortable digestive symptoms after consuming foods containing gluten. Common symptoms include gas, bloating, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fatigue.

In more serious cases of celiac disease — an autoimmune disorder where the ingestion of gluten damages the small intestine lining — sufferers face long-term health complications if they continue consuming products with even trace amounts of this protein.

For example, someone experiencing mild sensitivity might find relief by opting for beers crafted from alternative grains like sorghum or millet instead of traditional barley-based brews.

These alternatives are naturally lower in gluten content and can provide enjoyable drinking experiences without triggering unpleasant symptoms.

Different Types Of Beer And Their Varying Gluten Levels

Beer varieties differ in their gluten content due to the grains and brewing processes used. The following table breaks down some common types of beer and their approximate gluten levels, which can be helpful for individuals with gluten sensitivities to make informed choices about their beer consumption.


Type of Beer Approximate Gluten Levels (ppm)
Ale 3120
Lager 63
Wheat Beer 25,920
Gluten-Free Beer <20

It is important to note that the gluten content of conventionally brewed beers is generally above 20 ppm, making them unsuitable for those with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance. However, there are gluten-free beer options available that adhere to the FDA’s regulations of containing less than 20 ppm of gluten, offering a safe alternative for those with gluten-related health concerns.

Gluten-Free Beer And FDA Regulations

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The FDA regulates gluten-free beer, requiring it to have a gluten content of 20 ppm or less; learn more about brands that offer this option and the benefits it has for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance.

FDA Regulations For Labeling Beer As Gluten-free

The FDA plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of consumers with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity by establishing strict regulations for labeling beer as gluten-free.

One key aspect of these FDA regulations is that they allow for beers containing only gluten-free ingredients, such as sorghum or rice-based alternatives, to be labeled as “gluten-free.” However, if a beer has been crafted to remove gluten through processing methods like hydrolysis but still contains some trace amounts (below 20 ppm), it cannot bear this label.

Instead, these products may be marketed with claims like “crafted to remove gluten,” giving consumers better insight into the product’s potential suitability for their dietary needs.

Furthermore, any food conforming to the standard set by the FDA – less than 20 ppm of gluten – may voluntarily choose to incorporate a “gluten-free” label; however, there is no mandatory requirement for them do so.

Brands Offering Gluten-free Beer Options

There are several brands that offer gluten-free beer options for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. These brands adhere to FDA regulations regarding the amount of gluten in their products and labeling requirements. Some popular brands offering gluten-free beer include:

  1. Omission Beer: Brewed using traditional ingredients, but with the gluten removed using a proprietary brewing process.
  2. Glutenberg: Made entirely from gluten-free grains such as millet, buckwheat, and quinoa.
  3. New Belgium Brewing: Offers a variety of gluten-reduced beers made with barley and wheat alternatives.
  4. Estrella Damm Daura: A Spanish brand that produces a lager made entirely from barley malt and is certified as gluten-free.
  5. Redbridge: Made by Anheuser-Busch, this beer is brewed using sorghum and has an undetectable level of gluten.
  6. Stone Delicious IPA: Brewed with rice in place of traditional grains, resulting in a low-gluten option.
  7. Bard’s Tale Beer Company: Produces a range of gluten-free beers made from sorghum and other naturally gluten-free ingredients.

It’s essential to note that while these beers are considered safe for individuals with celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance, those who have milder sensitivities should still exercise caution when consuming them due to the varying degrees of sensitivity among individuals.

Benefits Of Choosing Gluten-free Beer For Individuals With Celiac Disease Or Gluten Intolerance

For individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, drinking beer can be a risky affair. Consuming even small amounts of gluten can lead to severe symptoms such as diarrhea, bloating, and abdominal pain.

Fortunately, there are now many options for individuals seeking out a safe and enjoyable beer-drinking experience without worrying about their health. One great option is choosing to drink gluten-free beer.

Not only does it offer peace of mind in terms of being able to avoid harmful reactions but consuming them also tends to provide additional benefits over regular beers, especially when it comes down to nutritional value and alcohol content.

In addition, the FDA regulates the labeling of gluten-free beer, with a safe limit of 20 parts per million (ppm) or less of gluten content permitted in these products.

Testing For Gluten In Beer

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There are various methods for testing gluten levels in beer, including enzyme immunoassay and sandwich ELISA tests.

Methods For Testing Beer For Gluten Levels

There are various methods for testing beer to determine its gluten levels. Here are some of them:

  1. Competitive R5 ELISA: This is the standard test used to detect hydrolyzed gluten in beer.
  2. Quantitative testing: This method quantifies the amount of gluten found in beer using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA).
  3. PCR-based analysisPolymerase chain reaction-based analysis can detect the presence of barley, wheat, rye, and other grains that contain gluten.
  4. Sensory evaluation: Beer can also be tested through sensory evaluation by tasting panels trained to recognize off flavors that may indicate the presence of gluten.
  5. Gluten test kits for consumers: There are commercial test kits available for consumers that use lateral flow immunoassay technology to detect gluten levels in beer.

It is important to note that not all testing methods may be ideal for detecting all types of gluten proteins present in beer, and some may not have regulatory approval for use in certain countries.

Availability Of Gluten Test Kits For Consumers

Consumers who are interested in testing beer for gluten levels can easily obtain test kits. These tests allow users to determine the amount of gluten present in their drink and make informed decisions about which beers to consume.

The EZ Gluten ELISA Test Kit, for example, accurately detects fermented products like beer. With these consumer test kits readily available, anyone with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity can have peace of mind when selecting a brew.

It’s essential to keep in mind that different types of grains used during the brewing process will produce varying amounts of gluten content within each batch.

Importance Of Testing Beer For Individuals With Gluten Sensitivities

It is important for individuals with gluten sensitivities to test their beer before consuming it. This is because the manufacturing process of beer can vary widely, which affects the level of gluten present in each brew.

Studies have shown that even beers labeled as “gluten-reduced” or “low-gluten” can still trigger an immune response in those with celiac disease. By testing their beer beforehand, individuals can ensure they are selecting a safe option, especially if they are following a strict gluten-free diet.

There are various methods available to test for gluten levels in beer, including using commercially available kits designed specifically for this purpose.

Recommendations For Choosing Low Gluten Beer

Choose beers made from gluten-free grains like sorghum and rice, or try low-gluten options like pilsners and lagers.

Tips For Individuals With Milder Gluten Sensitivities To Choose Beer With Lower Gluten Levels

Individuals with mild gluten sensitivities may still enjoy beer while minimizing their gluten intake. Here are some tips to help make informed choices:

  1. Choose beer made from alternative grains such as rice, sorghum, or corn which tend to have lower levels of gluten compared to barley.
  2. Look for beers labeled as “gluten – reduced” or “crafted to remove gluten.” Such labels alert drinkers that the beer still contains trace amounts of gluten, but within the FDA’s permissible limit (less than 20 parts per million).
  3. Opt for lighter beers like pilsners and lagers that have protein levels similar to gluten – free beers.
  4. Steer clear of malted barley or wheat – containing beers which have higher concentrations of gluten.
  5. Consider seeking out breweries that specialize in making low – gluten craft beers using different brewing techniques and alternative grains.

By following these tips, individuals with mild gluten sensitivities can enjoy a pint without worrying about adverse effects on their health.

Low Gluten Beer Options And Their Gluten Levels

Low gluten beer options can be a great alternative for individuals with milder gluten sensitivities, offering reduced gluten levels while still allowing them to enjoy a refreshing beverage. The following table lists some low gluten beer options and their respective gluten levels:


Beer Brand Gluten Level
Shiner Bock Low
Omission Pale Ale Below 20 ppm
Estrella Damm Daura Below 6 ppm
Green’s Discovery Amber Ale Below 20 ppm
Glutenberg Blonde Below 20 ppm

It’s important to note that gluten levels in beer can vary, and while these options are considered low in gluten, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before consuming any beer if you have a known gluten sensitivity or celiac disease.


In conclusion, understanding the gluten levels in beer is crucial for individuals with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. It’s important to note that different types of beer have varying amounts of gluten, and some like ales and wheat beers contain higher levels than others.

Testing for gluten content in beer is possible, and choosing low gluten or gluten-free options may be beneficial for those with sensitivities. The FDA regulates the labeling of gluten-free beers with a 20 ppm or less requirement.