Specific Gluten Content in beer vs. bread

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by Finn, Feb 14, 2014.

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  1. Finn

    Finn Initiate (0) Nov 20, 2003 Pennsylvania

    Hey folks, I've been looking for some info on the quantity of gluten in beer vs. bread, just for some reference when educating my gluten "sensitive" friends who are on the fence with beer sometimes.

    My impression is that many beers (including craft, of course) have pretty darn low levels of gluten, say around 10-15 ppm. Many obviously have a lot more (stronger, fuller-bodied, wheat beer etc.), but I just have no idea what, say, a slice of regular white bread contains in ppm compared to a beer.

  2. Brownj1288

    Brownj1288 Initiate (74) Oct 3, 2012 Virginia

    A 1oz slice of white bread contains about 3.5g of gluten.

    The problem with beer is that there are almost no resources for how much gluten is in a specific beer. An adjunct lager brewed with rice is likely fairly safe, people have tested corona down to 20ppm, however the majority of breweries don't advertise and likely don't know the gluten content.

    You also have issues with how much a person can tolerate, under 20ppm is typically considered safe for someone with celiacs, however there are people who still react even at those low levels.
    #2 Brownj1288, Feb 14, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
  3. jmw

    jmw Initiate (0) Feb 4, 2009 North Carolina

    Why would you even want to do this? Do you like suggesting things to people that may hurt them?
  4. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    No need to worry about comparing beer with bread or educating anyone.

    Using Google will let you find that there is an entire web site devoted to "gluten free beer." You can go there and then find some of those beers that you like and would recommend to others who want gluten free or low gluten levels. Then you will be able to point your friends toward the site and the information they need to make up their own minds based on their individual tolerance levels for gluten and risk.
  5. mackeyse

    mackeyse Initiate (0) Aug 21, 2012 New York

    There are some other threads about this here and there on this site but as aforementioned the adjunct beers tend to have very low gluten and my gluten "sensitive" friends have no problems with them. Emphasis on "sensitive" as true celiacs can't have any gluten so adjunct lagers are still a no-go for them. These sensitive folks couldn't handle multiple IPA's or Pale Ales without some discomfort and forget about wheat based beers. The Gluten-Free beer option is a "to each his own" type thing for me as I have never found a gluten free beer that tasted right to me. But as jmw noted above you need to delineate between sensitivity and someone who can't have gluten period. Until beer manufacturers decide its worth posting the ppm's on bottles/cans its truly never going to be safe for gluten sensitive people to drink beers...and with some brewers still not posting bottling dates on their products I cant see PPM's being a priority.
    drtth likes this.
  6. Jake1605

    Jake1605 Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2009 Missouri

    Sounds like he's trying to help them drink beer.

    You're doing God's work!
  7. Stugotzo

    Stugotzo Initiate (0) Jun 13, 2012 Florida

    Were you talking about gluten or taste? :wink:
  8. JohnnyHopps

    JohnnyHopps Poo-Bah (2,771) Jun 15, 2010 Indiana
    Society Trader

    I had to go gluten free for two months to determine a sensitivity. Let me just say for the record that every single gluten free beer absolutely sucks. The maker of the first decent one will be a rich man.

    Different people will have different people have different tolerances. If your friends are celiacs, giving then beer with gluten is essentially giving them poison. I have a modest gluten sensitivity. I know that if I have a few beers with gluten, I am going to have the shits the next day. (That is really not that different from the rest of you). I know I would be miserable if I did it all the time (like some of you).

    For your gluten sensitive friends, there are a lot of options besides beer.
  9. BEERschlitz

    BEERschlitz Initiate (0) Oct 13, 2013 Michigan

    I lol'd at the idea of 20 parts per million of "taste" being a measurement. Thanks for that one.
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  10. Eriktheipaman

    Eriktheipaman Savant (958) Sep 4, 2010 California

  11. mfabing88

    mfabing88 Initiate (0) Apr 2, 2014

    Not all gluten free beers are bad. Two Brothers has a gluten removed beer and another Chicago brewery called 5 Rabbit has a couple too.
  12. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    When did gluten free and gluten allergies become a "thing"? I honestly never heard about it until last year, and I would imagine 10 years ago, almost nobody heard of it. Did people not have gluten allergies before?
  13. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

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  14. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

    Can't remember which comedian said "I can't afford to be gluten-free." I think it's just a trend now. I've also heard that even "GLUTEN-FREE" beers aren't totally gluten free. I wonder if it's like anything "-free" stuff. For example, fat-free (0.5% fat), alcohol-free (0.5% alc.), etc.
  15. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2006 Alabama

    if something is labelled "gluten free" and it is not, that's a serious Federal offence. There's very strict regulations on "gluten free", unlike other "-free" things.
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  16. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,438) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    You seem to be off by a century or so:

    In the US, "Non-alcoholic" beer in the US has to be under 0.5% abv, but to be labeled "Alcohol-free" it must contain no alcohol. See page 1-7 in Chapter 1 of the TTB's The Beverage Alcohol Manual (BAM) - Basic Mandatory Labeling Information for MALT BEVERAGES
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  17. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (10,127) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Agreed but what he is getting at is there is a standard for gluten free and it is not 0 ppm - there is an allowable amount of gluten in gluten free things, it is just an extremely small amount. Quick search of the FDA seems to indicate it is allowable to have up to 20 ppm.
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  18. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2006 Alabama

    I am cudgelling my memory, but I think "low gluten / gluten reduced" is allowed up to 20ppm, but "gluten free" is 0ppm? I have no citation for this, but I am positive someone here will have the right page bookmarked :slight_smile:
  19. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts

    No, I am exactly where I want to be. I didn't say when was it discovered I could have easily looked that up. I said when did it become a "thing"? Of course, that in and of itself was vague, but I meant when did it become widely known, along with the popularization of "gluten-free" food and beverages. As a child and up until my late 50's, I had never once heard of the concern for eating gluten, or its associated allergies (along with celiacs disease). Maybe I was blindly ignorant of such thing, but I have always done (or gone along with my wife) to do food shopping and i've never noticed foods advertising being gluten-free. Nowadays, there are entire sections of local grocers that have them.
  20. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

    YOU ARE SO WRONG! Pick up ANY can/bottle of Non-Alcoholic beer. it says 0.5% or less. Even Busch N/A
  21. markdrinksbeer

    markdrinksbeer Initiate (0) Nov 14, 2013 Massachusetts


    Low alcohol less than 2.5% alcohol by volume
    Reduced alcohol less than 2.5% alcohol by volume

    Non-alcoholic - less than 0.5% alcohol by volume
    NOTE: The statement “CONTAINS

    LESS THAN 0.5% ALC BY VOL” must
    appear with “NON-ALCOHOLIC” on the

    Alcohol free - no alcohol (0.0% alc by vol)
    NOTE: The alcohol content statement

    “0.0% ALC BY VOL” may not appear on
    the label unless the malt beverage is
    labeled “ALCOHOL FREE”
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  22. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

  23. TheeWalrusHunter

    TheeWalrusHunter Initiate (194) Aug 23, 2013 Oregon

    I know this doesn't help the OP because of distro area, but Harvester Brewing in PDX is a solely gluten-free brewery and there beers are the best gluten free beers in the country (GABF medals... and my opinion) Their beers are completely gluten free because they use chestnuts, not barley or wheat as their base. They don't remove gluten from their beer chemically, they simply just start with ingredients that don't contain gluten.

    Their website: http://www.harvesterbrewing.com/home
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  24. drtth

    drtth Initiate (0) Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Guess again.


    Currently available in selected locations in CA, which last time I looked was still part of America.
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  25. marleyr

    marleyr Initiate (0) Feb 25, 2014 South Carolina

    A) It's brand new B) SELECTED locations C) This is the most time/effort I've spent on anything "GLUTEN-FREE" related. No further comments.
  26. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,431) May 13, 2011 North Carolina
    Society Trader

    I know what you're saying. My guess is that, since it's a hereditary disease, the increase in population has a lot to do with celiacs becoming more prevalent. Now people without celiacs that adopt a gluten-free diet still got some 'splaining to do to me. I don't know if they believe gluten is bad for them, makes them fat or what.
    markdrinksbeer likes this.
  27. dbrauneis

    dbrauneis Poo-Bah (10,127) Dec 8, 2007 North Carolina
    Moderator Society Trader

    Here is the page I was looking at from the FDA: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceReg...RegulatoryInformation/Allergens/ucm362880.htm

    Here is the info I was referring to:
    How is “gluten-free” defined in the rule?
    In general, foods may be labeled “gluten-free” if they meet the definition and otherwise comply with the final rule’s requirements. More specifically, the final rule defines "gluten-free" as meaning that the food either is inherently gluten free; or does not contain an ingredient that is: 1) a gluten-containing grain (e.g., spelt wheat); 2) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has not been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat flour); or 3) derived from a gluten-containing grain that has been processed to remove gluten (e.g., wheat starch), if the use of that ingredient results in the presence of 20 parts per million (ppm) or more gluten in the food. Also, any unavoidable presence of gluten in the food must be less than 20 ppm.

    So it appears from my quick reading that if it is derived from a gluten-containing grain and the gluten is removed, it can contain up to 20 ppm.
  28. ToriBug13

    ToriBug13 Initiate (0) May 10, 2013 California

    I work at a store that specifically caters towards gluten free foods. I have at least 6 gluten free beers on my shelf-- Dogfish Head Tweasonale (sickeningly sweet), St Peter's Dark Sorghum (no flavor), Lakefront New Grist Pils (no flavor), Bard's Tale (no flavor), New Planet Tread Lightly Blonde (no flavor), New Planet Pale Ale (no flavor), Redbridge (Budweiser's crap), and Widmer Omission, both the pale ale and ipa (little flavor). I have read that there are decent gluten free beers out there, but honestly, they have no flavor. And technically Omission is not gluten free, it's "gluten removed." All of these gluten free beers are made from sorghum, except the Dogfish Head I'm pretty sure is brewed with a blend of strawberries, honey, and sorghum; and you can tell.

    I guess my point is, if you're going to look for gluten free beer, give up and just have them switch to either hard cider or potato vodka. It's like asking for a non-alcoholic beer: what the hell's the point?
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  29. ToriBug13

    ToriBug13 Initiate (0) May 10, 2013 California

    Oh, and yes, as far as I am aware, the standard for gluten-free is 20ppm, although there are some truly senstive people that cannot even handle that, so they really do need to be more careful. The OP didn't sound like their friends were in all that dire of straights, just that they were trying to be thoughtful of their needs. But seriously lol, just go to ciders and potato vodka if it's a super sensitive person because the taste of the GF beer is just horrible.
  30. StuartCarter

    StuartCarter Initiate (0) Apr 25, 2006 Alabama

  31. BoomKentucky

    BoomKentucky Initiate (0) Mar 22, 2013 Kentucky

    It's a trend for some and not others. My wife has Celiac's Disease and can develop cancer if she eats gluten. It errodes away her intestines among other things. Quite a large number of people are sensitive to it but do not have he significant side effects that people have Celiac's disease. Luckly I don't have any sensitive and can enjoy good beer.
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  32. jesskidden

    jesskidden Poo-Bah (2,438) Aug 10, 2005 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    I'm wrong? :astonished: Take your complaint to the TTB - it's their regulation.

    Yeah, exactly - those are labeled as "Non-Alcoholic" beers, as prescribed by law. You said "Alcohol Free".
    #32 jesskidden, Apr 3, 2014
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2014
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  33. babaracas

    babaracas Initiate (0) Jan 30, 2008 Florida

    ridiculously hijacked thread.

    to the op, I will try to find the link again, but I've read a seemingly well researched article where the author calculated some equivalency of ~1 gallon of wheat beer == 1 slice of bread. The gluten content does vary wildly by grain bill as others have said. Seems that beer can still be part of a "low gluten" diet
  34. sarak

    sarak Initiate (5) Dec 8, 2014 New York

    Hey All.

    It is sad that this thread got so sidetracked, as this is an important one. I am intolerant and MISS REAL BEER. I have found many lists that show gluten counts in specific beers. But, to put it in the ppm count that Celiacs is measured in:

    Regular bread made with regular wheat flour contains 80,127ppm gluten.
    The FDA's guideline for Gluten Free items is 20ppm gluten.

    Some beer is widely accepted as "gluten free" - I have yet to find any listing for Corona as over 20ppm, nor find an actual account of someone drinking it and being affected. Not that it couldn't happen. I just haven't found it, and have been drinking Corona for a year now. (I have eaten gluten free for 4 years.) Some beer that has been listed as low gluten has caused me some distress, so I'm careful to find a couple accounts of tests that show the same results.

    If you want your GF friends to make good, informed choices, here are some websites for you:


    I'm sure if you keep digging, more will come up. There are also PLENTY of ratings for true GF beers, so your friends can find something they like that is safe.

    In short, people love beer. Speaking from experience, losing beer is not someone generally does lightly. If your friends don't want to drink it, they have come by this decision after experiencing REAL pain and found that it must be done. Personally, if I get glutenned, I suffer what feels like an intestinal flu & a fever flu, concurrently, for about 10 days. I can't leave the house for 3 days. If you had that experience every time you drank a high gluten beer, you might re-think your consumption, too.

    And you might not appreciate your friends being dicks about it.
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  35. dauss

    dauss Zealot (590) Aug 9, 2003 Colorado

    If you are really curious, White Labs will test gluten levels. I think it's around $150 a test.

    There are other things that the FDA allows for 0 Grams or "free" labeling. Trans fat is another example. It can be labeled trans fat free or 0 Grams trans fat if it contains less than 0.5 grams of trans fat per serving.

    There is one thing that hasn't been mentioned yet and that is technology does not exist today to accurately and reliably measure gluten levels <20 ppm in fermented beverages.

    It's just like fat free and low carb in the past, people looking for a shortcut to lose weight, instead of what actually works, persistent diet and exercise.
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  36. gopens44

    gopens44 Poo-Bah (2,393) Aug 9, 2010 Virginia
    Society Trader

    Great link - I was in the crowd of those who knew little to nothing about this disease and felt a little skeptical about the validity, not unlike every obese person blaming their weight on a thyroid issue while diagnosed thyroid problems are prevalent in a far lower percentage than those who are actually obese.

    One question for those who know more than I do on the subject (that means just about everyone), the article mentions something about sensitivity to "unsprouted" grains. Since malted barley is indeed sprouted, wouldn't that make beer that did not contain grain adjuncts "ok" to drink?
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  37. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    Behold the internet. You'll find that you'll learn things at a higher rate that you once did when you were a child.

    Think of it this way. As a species, we've only been consuming grains (grass seeds) in any significant amounts for about 0.5-0.75% of our total evolving existence (about 10,000-15,000 years out of ~2 million). Those who couldn't handle (we're killed by, or rendered unfit to reproduce) the new food were voted out of the gene pool over time, and those that COULD eat it rapidly reproduced in a new "civilized" environment where the gene pool became bigger (more people living closer together).

    Now, because of our sudden change in behavior, only a small amount of us are "gluten intolerant", but I bet you anything most of us are feeling lesser effects from grains: minor systemic inflammation, being more prone to other allergies (milk...), sneezing excessively, odd pains here and there, inappropriate itching with no apparent cause...

    Oh, and don't forget leaky gut syndrome.
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  38. tylerstravis

    tylerstravis Initiate (0) Feb 14, 2014 Colorado

    You are either okay with gluten or you have celiacs.

    Please get checked out if you have celiacs disease and stick with gluten free beer if you test positive. If you don't, drink up buddy!
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  39. joelwlcx

    joelwlcx Initiate (0) Apr 23, 2007 Minnesota

    It creates an inflammatory response in the body. In can be negligent to most people, but can be disastrous to a few.
  40. afrokaze

    afrokaze Zealot (575) Jun 12, 2009 Oregon

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