Dark, creamy, smooth, malty sweetness, with a velvety mouthfeel are the perfect words to describe Guinness Stout Beer, an Irish stout. Some beer connoisseurs also describe the taste of Guinness as containing dark chocolate and coffee notes.
But, as mouthwatering as this sounds, some people may wonder whether Guinness is safe for gluten-sensitive people. So here comes the big question; is Guinness beer gluten free?
What is Guinness Beer?
Guinness was created in 1759. Guinness is one of the most successful and widely consumed alcoholic beers worldwide. It is made from roasted barley grains that are later fermented. Barley is one of the major cereal grains grown in the temperate regions of the world, and the fourth largest grain crop in the world after wheat, rice, and maize.
Guinness is produced by first malting the barely, then crushing the malts, mixing with heated water, and mashing to extract sugars for brewing. Next, this mash undergoes grain separation from the liquid roasted malt extract. Finally, the grain is roasted at a super high temperature (232oC), and mixed with hops, while the liquid is boiled, yeast is added, and everything is then mixed and allowed to mature.
The malting and roasting of the barley account for the famous dark color of Guinness draught. Guinness Beer is a famous beer to drink for St. Patrick's Day.
Be sure to check my alcohol list to see what alcohol is gluten free.
Answer: Is Guinness Gluten Free?
The unfortunate answer is no, Guinness is not gluten free. All it takes is one look at the ingredient label to recognize that this beer is not safe., As described above, barley is the main ingredient used in the production of Guinness. Barley is a grain that contains gluten, and those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity must avoid it.
Because of the malted barley gluten proteins, this beer tests over the 20 ppm gluten level. Any beer made from wheat or barley is unsafe for those with celiac or gluten intolerance.
Gluten is a protein naturally present in some plants (like wheat, rye, and barley). This gluten-containing grain is not easily digested in the small intestines by the enzymes in the human body.
As a result, it can trigger symptoms in people with celiac and high sensitivity, which could be autoimmune and severe, as seen in those with celiac disease, or mild like abdominal cramps, bloating, rashes, and diarrhea, as seen in those with non-celiac gluten sensitivity also called gluten intolerance.
What About Other Non-Gluten Free Beer?
There is a common misconception that light beers (like Stella Artois, Corona beer, Bud Light, Bud Light Lime, Miller Light, and Michelob Ultra) are gluten-free because some test under 20ppm, but this is not true. These beers, as with most conventional beers, are made with barley. They become light only because enzymes are added during the production process that breaks down the barley's carbohydrates, leaving a more transparent liquid.
As I discussed in the article, Is Corona Gluten Free, ELISA testing is inaccurate for fermented beer, making it difficult to know the actual gluten content in a beer.
Gluten Free Beer Options:
Bard's Tale was the first company in the United States to make a gluten free beer called Dragon's Gold, sorghum-brewed lager beer. Popular gluten-free beers include:
- Redbridge Lager
- Buck Wild Pale Ale
- Glütiny Pale Ale
- Prairie Path Golden Ale
- Ghostfish Watchstander stout
- Copperhead Copper Ale
- Gutenberg Blonde
- Ground Breaker (and they make a gluten free stout!!)
Guinness is a great beer that has been consumed worldwide for over 200 years. As impressive as it is, it is not gluten free. Persons with celiac disease and gluten intolerance can go for gluten free beers such as those named above or leave out beer entirely from their diet and opt for wines and spirits.
Alcohol And Gluten:
Wines and spirits are generally made from fruits that do not contain gluten, except gluten-containing ingredients, which be added during processing as an additive for flavoring or taste.
As such, they should always be careful to read the labeling of all drinks to make sure they are consuming beverages that are gluten free and which are also made with gluten free ingredients.
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This post was updated from an older June 2015 post with more details and easier-to-follow directions.