Is Stella Artois gluten free? The short answer is that no it is not gluten free. However, the answer comes with a caveat. When we say Stella Artois is not gluten-free we are referring to the original version of the beer, however, in 2018 Anheuser-Bush InBev did come out with what they call a “gluten-free” version of Stella Artois.
In this article we are going to take a look at both of these beers, we will explain why Stella Artois is not gluten free and why the new version is also not “really” gluten free but rather gluten reduced.
Details on Stella Artois
It is one of the most internationally recognized beers around the world with a history that goes back to the middle ages. It is now owned by Anheuser-Bush InBev through one of its subsidiaries Interbrew International B.V.
The style of beer is a Belgian pilsner which is a type of lager. It has an ABV of 5.2% which is slightly stronger than the average lager on the market. It is considered to be a refreshing and easy-drinking lager with a softer dry finish that has a nice balance between the sweetness from the malt and the crisp bitterness from the hops.
Is the Original Stella Artois Gluten Free?
There is a very simple reason why Stella Artois is not gluten-free, it contains barley malt. The majority of beers on the market are made with 4 main ingredients, water, hops, yeast, and barley malt.
The water, yeast, and hops are gluten-free; however, unfortunately for people with celiac or gluten intolerances, the problem arises with the barley which contains gluten resulting in Stella Artois not being gluten free.
Is the New Stella Artois Gluten Free?
In August of 2018, a new gluten free version of Stella Artois hit the market. Appearance-wise the bottle and packaging resemble the original version of the beer significantly with the only real difference being that under the name they added gluten free. They did give the beer a different name and another interesting fact is they did not change the ingredients of the beer. Which means that it is still brewed with barely.
The FDA advises that any product that has under 20 ppm gluten can be labeled as gluten free. However in reality anything product that contains any ppm of gluten at all should be labeled as gluten reduced or gluten removed.
This new version of Stell Artois has the gluten from the barely removed or reduced using a process where they introduce a gluten reducing enzyme to the beer.
Details of exactly what process they put this beer through are unknown, however, a similar process is employed by many craft brewers and homebrewers using a product called clarity ferm; which is an enzyme that cleaves gluten proteins and lowers the gluten level to under 20 ppm.
It is reported that this version of Stella Artois tastes very similar to the original and even though it should be considered a gluten reduced beer vs gluten free many people with gluten intolerance are able to enjoy it without any problems.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Stella Artois made without yeast?
No, it is not. All beer must have yeast added to it in order to undergo the fermentation process. It is the yeast that eats the sugars and converts them into both alcohol and C02.
What ingredients are in Stella Artois?
Standard beer ingredients are used in making this beer. Water makes up the majority of beer, and the water quality itself has a major effect on the beer itself. Barley is the grain that is used to provide the sugar needed for fermentation. Saaz hops are used for adding some bitterness to offset the sweetness from the barley malt. As for the yeast Stella Artois reports they use a unique yeast strain, although unique it is most certainly a top-fermenting lager yeast of some sort.
Is Stella Artois a strong beer?
The average beers strength is 5%. Light beers typically range from 3 – 4.5%. Anything over 5.5% is usually considered a strong beer. Stella Artois comes in at 5.2% which makes an average strength beer.
The Final Word
Although the original Stella Artois is not gluten free, the company has come out with a version that they do label as being gluten free. In reality, since it does use barley in the brewing process it should be labeled as gluten removed or gluten reduced. If you have concerns over any residual gluten being in it there are gluten free beers on the market that are brewed without any gluten-containing ingredients that might be a better choice for you.