May 10, 2024

How Much Gluten is in Beer? A Guide for Gluten-Sensitive Individuals

Drinking Beer with Gluten Sensitivity: What You Need to Know

A Deep Dive into Gluten Content in Beer

When enjoying a pint of your favorite brew, you may not think about what ingredients go into its production. Beer's core ingredients include water, hops, yeast, and grains such as barley, wheat, and rye, all of which naturally contain gluten. As a result, most traditionally brewed beers contain more than 20 ppm of gluten, rendering them unsafe for individuals with celiac disease. The average lager, stout, ale, or wheat beer can all have varying levels of gluten content, with darker beers and ales generally having higher levels than lagers.

Understanding Gluten Levels in Different Types of Beer

Drinking quality beer from diverse brewers around the world means coming across various brewing methods, and hence, varying levels of gluten. For example, the Duvel Belgian Golden Ale and most lagers naturally contain less than 20 ppm gluten peptides. Stouts and Porters can have between 8 and 25 ppm, with Guinness standing at roughly 20 ppm. High gravity examples, such as some wheat beers, can have significantly higher levels.

It is generally acknowledged that beer with 100ppm or less can be considered "low-gluten" and may be safe for gluten-sensitive individuals (who are not celiac). It's essential to mention that different countries have various regulations for what constitutes 'gluten-free' or 'low-gluten.' In the UK, US, and Canada, the safe threshold for those with coeliac disease is considered to be 20 ppm. In contrast, Australia and New Zealand follow a zero-tolerance approach for gluten in foods labeled as gluten-free.

Gluten-Free and Gluten-Reduced Beers: Knowing the Difference

What if you crave a perfectly chilled beer but need to avoid gluten? The beer industry has recognized the increasing demand for gluten-free products and has responded by offering gluten-free and gluten-reduced beers. However, it's important to distinguish between these two categories.

True gluten-free beers are brewed using gluten-free grains like rice, corn, sorghum, and millet, and should ideally be created in certified gluten-free facilities to avoid cross-contamination. Gluten-reduced beers, on the other hand, are made from traditional grains (like barley), but undergo processes to reduce gluten levels - often to below 20ppm.

Clarity Ferm: An Option for Reducing Gluten in Home Brews

Clarity Ferm is a product that can, when correctly used, reduce gluten peptides to less than 20 ppm in beer, potentially making it safe for those with gluten sensitivities. Some home brewers may consider adding Clarity Ferm as an 'insurance policy' for their gluten-sensitive loved ones, considering that many beers already have reasonably low gluten levels.

Options for Gluten-sensitive Beer Lovers

There are numerous options available for those looking for gluten-free alcoholic beverages. Apart from true gluten-free beers, gluten-free beer options include beers made with strange-yet-satisfying ingredients like sorghum or kombucha. Safely gluten-reduced beers made with Brewers Clarex are also growing in popularity. For lovers of top-grade craft beer, recommended options include Damm Daura GF Lager, Sapwood Drink It Down Ale, Green’s Endeavor GF Belgian Dubbel, Glutenberg Rousse, or Mikerphone Smuggler’s Song GF Sour. Brewers also cater to fans of Belgian Triples with gluten-free options like Brasserie de Brunehaut Triple.

Caution with Labels and Ingredients

While there are many beer options for those avoiding gluten, it's crucial to read labels carefully and research the ingredients as some beers labeled as gluten-free may still contain traces of gluten. This caution is recommended even when choosing other alcohol types like hard liquor. Although these undergo a distillation process that removes gluten, additives or flavorings may reintroduce the protein. The same carefulness is advisable with craft beer variations, including some ginger beers, which could contain gluten.


Understanding the relationship between beer and gluten can be a bit complex, especially given the difference in regulations around the world. However, the goal is simple: find delicious, satisfying beer that is safe for you to consume. Whether you decide to enjoy straight gluten-free beers or take advantage of gluten-reducing additives like Clarity Ferm, the most important thing is to know your own health requirements and limitations. Always read labels carefully, fully research brewing and distillation methods, and don't hesitate to reach out directly to brewers and distillery owners for more information.

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