How much gluten in beer?

by (105) Updated September 06, 2013 at 2:51 PM Created August 20, 2010 at 12:33 AM

Hi Guys,

I was wondering; how much gluten is contained in your "average" beer? I understand that it will no doubt vary and some may be lower-to-none and some higher-than-others but I am after some indication or comparison? For example is one "average" beer the equivalent of eating a piece of bread? Or a bite of a piece of bread?

Like many of you I noticed dramatic health improvements once going paleo and ditching gluten grains; and it is like night and day when I do binge and cheat on a pizza or something similar (I'll spare you the details). However I have not noticed the same issues after a night out and drinking 3-5 beers, thus the reason for this question :)


Total Views

Recent Activity

Last Activity
1471D AGO


Get Free Paleo Recipes Instantly

31 Replies

92 · January 11, 2011 at 4:23 AM

This is an older thread, but I'd like to contribute to it.

In my experience as a Celiac sufferer and GOOD beer lover is that the only non-gluten free beer I can tolerate more than a few sips of is Estrella Daura Damm. It has its gluten content listed on the label as fewer than "6ppm".

Other beers I have had good luck with and find relatively tasty are Bards Tale Dragon's Gold (recently relabeled as just "Gold", I believe), New Grist, and a surprising entry by Rogue (two actually) - Soba and Black Soba which are buckwheat (not a true wheat). Tue Black Soba occasionally causes a reaction, but a mild one by comparison.

As a comparison, my favorite beers are Great Divide's Yeti Barrel Aged and Bell's Expedition Stout. These are at the top of my list, but they create more than slight discomfort and vast unhappiness for those I live with (as well as a high potential for a methane explosion)!

I've tried a few British beers that I was advised were Gluten free, and were good, but their availability is spotty at best, and I forget the names.

Even though this is a brew related thread, I'd like to inform the uninitiated that it's not only beers that cause gluten intolerant individuals problems. Vodka is a big one. My current favorite is Glacier. It's a potato Vodka, and is quite good. I will try Tito's Handmade Vodka soon as it's also a potato variety and is very highly regarded. There are several whiskeys, bourbons, blends, and others that are problematic, too. Celiac truly sucks, but thanks to growing demand for good tasting wheat gluten alternatives, it's a far better time to have the disease than just a few short years ago when there either weren't any alternatives or the ones that existed were generally awful.

190 · August 22, 2010 at 2:20 PM

Wait, what? Since when does malted barley not contain gluten?

My gluten intolerance first made itself known via beer - I had more problems from beer, especially craft brewed beer- than from any other food.

Some beers have a lot of corn or rice, and those should be lower in gluten. Finding out the actual content of beer is another matter, as it does not have the same labeling standards as food.

I was primarily a beer drinker, and I don't like any of the gluten-free beers I've tried. Redbridge is the best of them, IMO, but New Grist Mill might please others more. It really depends what style of beer you are looking for.

10750 · January 26, 2012 at 2:21 PM

I would point at this article:


Distillation quite effectively removes the gluten and it is very unlikely that splashes of fermented (we call it "moutwijn", i.e. malt wine, can’t remember the correct English word for it) will be carried over to the final distillate. If they are present they must have been added afterwards. A couple of years ago we analyzed some distilled liquor for presence of gluten proteins but we couldn’t detect any in this set (about 40 different types). The beer test, which consisted of a set of 50 different brands, showed that most brands (35) did contain immunoreactive protein in amounts between 1 and 200 mg/liter. Only 15 contained less than 1 mg/liter. There was a strong correlation between the gluten content and whether wheat had been used as an ingredient!

1 and 200 mg/liter is enough to trigger some, but not all, sensitive people.

Eating only gluten free productions is critical to any celiac or gluten intolerant person, so what in regards to alcohol in general?

Firstly it appears that there are three distinct types: General liquor, gf beer and gf wines.

GLUTEN FREE ALCOHOL Many articles suggest that as long as alcoholic beverages are not based on wheat or other gluten grains that they will be without gluten. They suggest using liquors such as grappa (made from grapes), ouzo (aniseed, fennel seed aromatic plants ) rum (sugar Cane ), sake (rice ) etc. Other articles have suggested that the protein is destroyed in the distillation routine so that all alcoholic beverages will be gf. However a 1992 Flemish Celiac Society report found gluten in various varieties of distilled liquor. The levels varied from zero to 200-mg gluten/liter with the most eminent amount in “Creme de Framboise” (200 mg/liter) and French brandy VSOP had 180 m g/liter. Subsequently, websites have speculated that the “protein might be derived from the caramel coloring” and proposes that it is best for celiacs to “abstain from brown colored liquor”

There is a note of caution that the detection of the protein in alcoholic drinks is very undependable as “the proteins could have been broken down to little (but still toxic) peptides and in that case a sandwich-type ELISA might give rise to untrue negative results because in that case you always need to two epitopes (binding web sites for the antiserum) on one molecule to get a positive reaction.” The difficultness with general liqueurs is that since this has not been recognized as a major problem in society, and as testing is difficult and potentially expensive, liquor makers are improbable to test and label their productions as gf any time soon. Your best option appears to be either to stay clear from liquor completely or choose types not based on g grains, such as whiskeys.

GLUTEN FREE BEER The beer area seems comparatively clear cut. In the same study as above “The beer test, which consisted of a set of 50 dissimilar brands, showed that most brands (35) did incorporate immunoreactive protein in amounts amongst 1 and 200 mg/liter. Only 15 contained less than 1 mg/liter. There was a strong correlation amongst the gluten content and whether wheat had been used as an ingredient!” The Technical Officer of The Coeliac Society of Australia also agrees by saying that ” the (beer) brewing procedure unluckily does not render ‘normal’ beer gf” “beer holds gluten, either in the grains employed within the brewing process, or even the yeast itself may be grown in a medium which holds the protein. Therefore if you are a Celiac, you may not drink Beer that holds G other than as supposed or expected you will become sick.” All articles are definitive on the point that if a celiac wishes to drink beer, they will have to drink gfree beer only.

GLUTEN FREE WINE Wine is one of the most contentious areas of the liquor industry. The majority of articles suggest that wine is naturally free of gluten as it is made from grapes and no grains are involved in the preservative process. However other articles suggest a dissimilar story.”Some wines are aged in barrels that once contained another substance that could have kept a glutinous product. This is rare, but may happen. Also you will want to refrain from Wine Coolers. Wine Coolers are NOT GF, because they incorporate scarcely malt.” “There is also galore concern with cross contamination with wines that involves the exercise of sealing the barrels with a flour/water paste that is mutual with European Union barrel manufacturers. Most US based manufactures presently use a neutral feed grade paraffin to seal the barrels for the duration of the construction process, but there are a lot of manufacturers that import and use the flour/ water based barrels.” A hard paste that is part of the wheat glue may not be to the full or entire extent got rid of in the cleaning routine and that you may for the most part trust wines that are “almost always” made without a barrel aging routine such as: “Whites – Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, Italian Pinot Grigio, Bag-In-The-Box wines; and Reds: Bag-In-The-Box wines.” Many wineries list themselves as g-free but this is because their cafes provide gf food. And this is often times a matter of just including particular bread in their offerings. While rare, but still in existence, are wineries that likewise trade wine labeled as g free.


60 · August 24, 2011 at 3:35 AM

nobody ever answers the question. "I have no idea, but let me offer you some gluten free choices". Look; I want to know how fast I can go over the speed limit without getting a ticket, not alternate routes to take.

22684 · August 21, 2010 at 7:46 PM

The Barley based beers are technically Gluten Free, but they have hordeins, which function similar to gluten based gliadins, causing a response in Gluten sensitive or Celiacs.

You can get Buckwheat and Sorghum based Beers that are Gluten Free. Redbridge is a commonly found brand. Some Celiacs tolerate it just fine, others have a gluten response. Varies by individual.

Heres a retail locator: (Busch should pay me.)


2264 · August 22, 2010 at 2:29 PM

I have celiac. I rarely drink beer -- years of aversion therapy when trying to drink beer while having undiagnosed celiac kind of turned me off it permanently -- but there are GF options if you really need a brew. Redbridge is one, as Stephen-Aegis said... I'm glad that Redbridge exists, but there are better beers with reasonably wide distribution. Bard's is a decent brew in a Sam Adams vein, New Grist is a fine hot-weather session beer (think Rolling Rock made with a bit more care), and Green's makes a family of gluten-free Belgian ales that are quite passable. Their dubbel is especially fine, IMO.

I will say this, though: The one place I really enjoyed drinking beer before I was diagnosed was Fenway Park, where the stuff I drank -- Budweiser on tap -- didn't really seem to affect me in what I now recognize as a gluten-related way. That was the only place I ever drank Bud. Take that for whatever it's worth.

791 · September 18, 2010 at 2:38 PM

John R., This wiki article indicates Budweiser has less than 20 ppm gluten content, which apparently is low for a non-gluten free beer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gluten-free_beer

I personally prefer beer made primarily from rice such as Sapparro.

Have learned some neat Paleo things on this site, to the admin - Thanks You

20 · July 01, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Gluten content of regular beer... this is the one thing on the internet that is damn near impossible to find! This is what I have found out so far-

Both Estalla Damm Daura and Widmer's Omission are brewed with barley, and have the gluten removed to fall below the 20 ppm limit that is considered gluten free for food (but not beer).

Heineken has also made the claim on their website that their beer falls below this limit.

On another one of these old "gluten content of beer" threads on Chowhound, someone named "Mashtun" posted just recently that he purchased the Glutentox home screening gluten test, and started testing some beers. He tested Stone IPA, Corona, Kirin Ichiban, and even some home brewed Bock that contained a 20% wheat grain bill, and found them all to fall below 5ppm in gluten content. Seriously, this comment is the best source of beer gluten content I could find!

So none of this is peer reviewed science or official data. But going back to the "How fast can I speed and not get a ticket" analogy earlier in this thread, no police department is ever going to give you an official answer, either.

Personally, I've found darker beers to be problematic, but don't seem to get any reaction to Budweiser or Corona, or even Kona Lager, which appears to be brewed with wheat. Oddly, light beers (like Bud Light) have caused negative reactions, but regular Bud has not. Maybe light beers use some weird ingredients or process, I don't know. Going forward, I'll stick to the wheat-free lagers, not worry about the barley too much (it has much less gluten than wheat does), and grab a gluten free Greens when I want something more exotic. Greens is actually pretty good.

20 · October 13, 2010 at 12:12 AM

Is Sapporo COMPLETELY Gluten Free? I love Asian beers but not sure which as ok for those with Celiac.

10 · January 23, 2013 at 9:15 PM

I'm really screwed. In addition to having gluten sensitivity, I'm also allergic to rice and oats. I just tried the Omission lager and I am deliriously happy. Real beer!

I wish all beer, wine, and liquor manufacturers posted their ingredients. Gluten content is a start, and greatly appreciated, but it's not the whole story for some of us.

10 · August 08, 2012 at 1:22 AM

Good question - the ppm comparison to bread was exactly what I was looking for when I found this thread.

On a more important note - if you like ales, IPAs, and other beer that tastes like something and you are gluten-free, look at Omission Pale Ale. Made by Widmer in Portland. It is the only gluten-free beer that tastes like actual beer. AND they do this thing where you can look up online the gluten ppm report for the batch of beer you are drinking with the date provided. I think to be called 'gluten-free' your product has to be less than 20 ppm, and these beers are in the <10 range.

Anyway - thought I would chime in with that. I am impressed enough to want to tell others. Wife is celiac and a beer drinker at heart. Kinda like redbridge and new grist, hate Bards, but no matter what, they all have that "splenda when I am expecting sugar" taste. Omission Pale Ale. Get into it.

3841 · January 26, 2012 at 3:35 PM

Dogfish Head just released their first gluten free beer. http://www.dogfish.com/brews-spirits/the-brews/seasonal-brews/tweasonale.htm I'll be sampling it at the Extreme Beer Fest next week.

10 · October 17, 2011 at 5:46 PM

I have no answer, but a question. what is the gluten (or hordeins) content in parts per million (ppm) of a beer. this seams to be the way gluten content is measured. anyone know?

2746 · September 13, 2011 at 3:26 PM

Apparently Heineken only has trace gluten in it, little enough to qualify as GF.

"Beer contains gluten, which comes from the grain from which it is brewed. Only a fraction of the gluten that the grain contains gets into the beer. The proportion depends on the kind of grain that is used. The use of barley results only in traces of gluten in the beer whilst wheat contributes considerably more. It also depends on the brewing process. Generally speaking: the clearer and blonder the beer is, the less gluten it may contain. Some people are allergic to gluten and have to follow a diet that minimises or excludes their gluten intake. Whether beer can be part of such a diet or not, is dependent on the extent of the allergy and the beer type consumed. In many cases lager beers pose no problem for people who have a gluten allergy. However, it is up to the individual to assess his or her sensitivity." From http://www.heinekeninternational.com/faqpage.aspx

They also seem to imply that most light looking beers, that arent wheat-based, should be pretty good to go. This is really interesting to me because I have been gluten free but drink beers occasionally (never heavy ones), and have never really felt awful afterward. Meanwhile, I had no idea about this.

12048 · August 24, 2011 at 12:10 PM

I've recently found Green's gluten free beer and it's quite good. Whole Foods here in dc sells it, as does a few high end liquor stores here and a few I've been in out of town.

0 · July 14, 2013 at 10:05 AM

HEADS UP - much of this thread states barley based beers do not contain gluten or are safe to drink as celiac or with non-celiac gluten intolerance. This is false information and should not be taken seriously. It is anecdotal. It is well known that these are not GF, and even beers such as Omission and Daura are not actually GF after a certain level of ounces.

Sorry but barley is not an option. Stick to sorgum, millet, buckwheat, rice etc beers. New Planet is a great newcomer to the scene, and continues to improve. Wine is fine too, and the wheat paste sealant is extremely rare these days and is considered a practice of the past. I mostly stick to liquor though. Potato, corn, grape vodkas, tequila, cognac... I love Hennessy.

0 · July 10, 2013 at 5:36 AM

Researchers in the Czech Republic monitored the gluten content of beer during the brewing process. They found that nonalcoholic beer had very little gluten, less than 3 milligrams per liter. Lagers had a range of 3 to 8.7 milligrams per liter, and stouts contained 9.0 to 15.2 milligrams per liter. Wheat beer, which is made with predominately wheat malt, had a range of 10.6 milligrams per liter to high of 41.2.

Source: http://www.livestrong.com/article/535919-gluten-levels-in-beer/#page=3

0 · May 09, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Darker beers and heavier beers generally contain more protien, more gluten. I just started limiting my gluten, no bread or pasta. I still drink beer, just less. It seems to work for me.

1643 · January 24, 2013 at 12:27 AM

I have an intolerance to malt AND gluten AND brewers yeast...I didn't do so well the day after new years when I had a couple beers...the first in MONTHS AND MONTHS...

0 · December 23, 2012 at 7:51 PM

For what it's worth I've been diagnosed as highly gluten intolerant about 6 months ago. I am (well was) a self proclaimed beer connoisseur so have had to do a lot of research/self testing to find out just what kind of beer I could consume (especially after a hockey or baseball game). Of course there are the "actual" gluten free beers of which most are average to poor tasting. Red Bridge is almost unpalatable...very unpleasant in my opinion. New Ghrist is ok but still not very good. Bards is average and I could handle a few of those before the taste "got old." Green's is very good but way too expensive to drink regularly. Daura is probably the best and even my non-gluten free friends seem to enjoy it (don't even know it's gluten free) but again to drink it regularly is just too costly. I never did like the "bud and coors lights" of the world in the past and almost thankfully I can't drink it (or almost any other beer) now anyway as it makes me sick....with all this being said I have found that plain old regular Budweiser has NOT made me sick so that is my boring go to beer. Everyone is different but I am thankful (never thought I would say that before) that I can drink me some Bud regularly without feeling sick (unless I have too many of course).

0 · October 21, 2012 at 7:19 PM

Apparently Elisa isn't really all that accurate a test for beers, so I'm not sure the home kit is telling us a lot.

If you want the hard science, I recommend this article: www.pub.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/pr2008434

0 · September 24, 2012 at 4:35 PM

I second the 2 Brothers Prairie Path comment. The difference between drinking regular craft beer vs. PP is night and day. Usually drinking beer makes me sick for 24-48 hours after. I can drink a six-pack of Prairie Path and be totally fine, no effects. As can my brother, also gluten sensitive with Celiac running in the family. New Planet is an OK option but nothing gluten free comes close to a good stout or porter :( There are some good craft ciders starting up that are GF, hoping those will start creating some good barrel aged flavors. Good discussion!

0 · June 26, 2012 at 1:29 AM

4 meals of wheatgerm a day? wtf? if you got symptoms after stopping you're addicted, maybe not GI. read wheat belly people. awsome book. i found the audio book on a torrent site. enjoy!

806 · March 09, 2012 at 10:30 PM

I find it interesting that many "gluten sensitive" folks suddenly have no problem with gluten when it comes to beer drinking time. (<:

But of course those who truly are gluten sensitive find they can NOT drink beer very well. As opposed to those who label themselves "gluten sensitive" because it's trendy and in vogue these days.

Medium avatar
308 · March 09, 2012 at 10:22 PM

Two Brothers Brewing Prairie Path has been tested by FDA and third party at 5ppm. it is a traditional beer made with barley, but the anti-chill enzyme used denatures the gluten. By far the BEST gluten free BEER

0 · January 26, 2012 at 2:01 PM

In order to be called beer the law In Japan requires that it be at least 70% malted barley and Sapporo beer conforms to that law. That said, I have no idea how much gluten Sapporo beer has.

Medium avatar
10077 · October 17, 2011 at 8:54 PM

Using the protein content of various wheat products in the USDA nutrition guide gives you an idea. Gluten is the main wheat protein, though other proteins from yeast confound things a little. White commercial wheat bread contains 2.3g protein, a 12 oz can of regular beer 1.6g of protein, and a can of Bud Lite 0.6g of protein.

So for the gluten in a slice of bread you could have 4 Bud Lites. Fair trade?

15334 · September 13, 2011 at 3:30 PM

I've no idea how much, but I can report that it produces enough to give me noticeable effects. I used to eat wheatgerm as staple- 4 meals a day, but since withdrawing from grains I get noticeable symptoms from gluten: insomnia, specifically, hyperactive, unusually hot and pouring with sweat at night. I had 2/3rds of an ale at a going away party (mine) a few days go and true to form had these symptoms in the evening. One might think that it's psychosomatic, but I honestly wasn't expecting it and only worked out after the event what the cause was.

1322 · August 24, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Best info I can find is that almost all traditionally-made beers fall under guidelines of "low gluten," but contain some gluten. Wheat beers have more. If there's documentation quantifying the levels in general, I can't find it.

1231 · August 24, 2011 at 4:25 AM

bud is supposedly gluten free. i cannot stand it.

i feel WAY better drinking lower carb when drinking, i am not a low carber but i eat less carbs than a SAD diet so wine, and hard alcohol mixed with club soda work best.

norcal margaritas and red wine are my go to drinks.

-2 · September 06, 2013 at 2:51 PM

Hi all,

I just started a blog about the level of gluten in beer and would like to invite you all to contribute. You can test your favourite beer using gluten home test kits and post the result in my blog. It is very simple to contribute and you can upload pictures of the test results.

There are so many different sites and blogs which discuss gluten in beer and I would like to correlate all these information around the level of gluten in beer.

You are also invited to test your gluten free beer whether it really is gluten free.

I started testing with Corona and have good news if you are Celiac or gluten sensitive but like Corona . Please visit http://www.lowgluten.org and contribute if you can. Cheers

Answer Question

Login to Your PaleoHacks Account