Is Heineken Gluten Free – Info, Other Brands and More

  • Heineken’s pale lager beer is widely popular across the world.
  • Heineken beer is made from barley, which is a gluten-grain.
  • Heineken beer is not completely gluten-free.
  • The gluten count is extremely low in Heineken beer, making it safer than most beers.

Is Heineken Gluten Free | How much gluten in Heineken | Beer details | Is beer gluten free in general | How to find gluten free beers | Alternative brands | How to make gluten free beer | Conclusion

Is Heineken gluten free? For any beer lover who has celiac disease or gluten allergy, this is probably the first question that comes to mind, in this article we will walk you through any detail about Heineken and if it’s suitable for people who avoid gluten and also provide many other usual info on the subject.

Whether it’s a warm summer evening or a day at the beach, there’s one thing that gives the company to everyone is beer. And, one of the most popular beer brands has to be Heineken.

It produces pale lager beer. If you’re a beer lover, you know the iconic green bottle with the red star on the label.

And if you’re a beer lover who’s allergic to gluten or have celiac disease, then you probably want to know if Heineken is gluten free.

There are actually many questions regarding this topic, now, like all traditional beers, this lager beer, too, is made from gluten grains. However, the amount of these grains is meager.   

Is Heineken Gluten Free?

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Granted, there are many specialty beers available now, which are gluten free. In addition, pale beers are known to have a lower gluten count. But, is Heineken beer really without gluten, and hence safe for people who are allergic to gluten?

The level of gluten in Heineken is so low that it’s considered safer than other beers for someone with a mild allergy. But, anyone with Celiac disease should not take the risk of consuming it – or at least consult a doctor first.

Now, before digging deeper down the confusion regarding Heineken’s status as a gluten free beer, let’s understand one thing clearly. Heineken is made of barley, a gluten grain that has no place in a gluten free lifestyle. Simply put, there’s gluten in its source. So it can’t be completely gluten free.

Now, the confusion regarding this beer arises because of a couple of valid reasons:  

a) While the key ingredient in Heineken, like most other beers, is barley, it is a pale beer, and thus, has lower gluten level. In case you don’t know – the gluten content in pale beers is lower than real ales or darker beers.

b) Besides, the brand implements multiple processes to reduce the beer’s gluten count even further.

How much gluten is present in Heineken?

The gluten level ration in Heineken lager is less than 20 ppm. According to the American standard, the maximum gluten level ratio permissible for any item to be considered safe for a Celiac patient is 20 ppm.

Another way of looking at Heineken’s gluten level is its percentage, which is 0.0005%. A consumable item can be considered gluten free if it has 0.02% gluten or less.

Taking both these figures into consideration, we can say that technically, Heineken is gluten free. And, if your condition doesn’t make you super-sensitive to gluten, this beer should not harm you.

It’s best to start with a small amount as a test. But remember that the brand itself suggests that anyone who is gluten-sensitive must consult a doctor first if they are planning to enjoy it.

Heineken Beer Details

If you’re a fan of Heineken, you’ll probably love to know a little about this beer. So, let’s take a quick glance at some details of this beverage.  

  • It is pale lager beer that’s generally just referred to as Heineken.
  • It has a signature light taste and an easy-to-recognize green bottle with a red star.
  • It’s considered safe for gluten-sensitive people, though it’s best to consult a doctor first.

Features of Heineken

  • Bottle Quantity: 0.33 l
  • Alcohol Quantity: 5.0% ABV
  • Ingredients: Water, Hops, Barley Malt

About Heineken Company

  • The name of the company is Heineken Brouwerijen.
  • The originating location is Holland.
  • This European beer has the license to be brewed all across the world.
  • It is counted among the world’s “big four” beer brewers.
  • Along with Carlsberg (Denmark), SABMiller (London), and Anheuser-Busch InBev (Belgium), it is in control of 50% of the international beer market.

Here’s an interesting fact. To promote bottle recycling, it briefly produced square bottles to be used as bricks for making houses in the Caribbean.  

Is Beer Gluten Free in general?

Are you a beer lover who is allergic to gluten? Then you must’ve asked this question a hundred times since you’ve been diagnosed with the allergy, haven’t you?

Related read: Is Brandy gluten free? | Is Smirnoff Ice gluten free?

Any alcohol-lover, whose first pick at any event is always a bottle of beer, would want to know.

After all, beer comes from malt, mainly barley. And, it is a gluten grain. This means that when the beer is brewed, the gluten in the grains is passed on to the beverage. So, should the plain and straightforward answer be a resounding “no“?

Well, not necessarily. You see, the amount of gluten that gets infused in the beer at the time of brewing will depend on the type of grain from which the beverage is made. Gluten-containing beers are usually made from wheat and barley.

If the beer is made using barley grains, the amount of gluten found in it is much less than that in beers made with wheat grains. Additionally, the process of brewing the beer may also affect the amount of gluten.

As a general thumb-rule, the quantity of gluten is inversely related to the color of the beer. This means that the clearer, paler beers have less gluten. Whether you can incorporate beer as a part of that diet depends on your level of allergy, as well as the beer type.

Now, if you are allergic to gluten, then you’re supposed to follow a strict gluten free diet. Some people choose to keep their gluten consumption to the bare minimum. However, others eliminate gluten from their life completely.

It has been observed that lager beers don’t always induce allergic reactions in individuals who are allergic to gluten. It will be up to you – and your doctor – to analyze the extent of your condition and decide accordingly.

Gluten Content of Beer

Generally, people who are allergic to gluten or have the Celiac disease should be following a strict no-gluten diet. Otherwise, there’s the possibility of getting your intestine damaged, besides getting stomach aches, diarrhea, loss of weight, malabsorption, and plenty of other unrelated symptoms.

So, you need to verify the gluten content of the food and drinks you consume – including beer, of course.

Now, the unit of measuring gluten content in beer is ppm ( parts per million ). Usually, any food or drink with a gluten amount that’s below 20 ppm is considered gluten free.

In the majority of the traditional beers, the gluten content is much higher than 20 ppm. Depending on the ingredients used and the process of brewing, the amount of gluten differs, as follows:

  1. Wheat beer: 25,920 ppm
  2. Ales: 3,120 ppm
  3. Stout: 361 ppm
  4. Lager: 63 ppm

So, you can see that the conventional beers are mostly unsafe for you if you have gluten sensitivity.

How to find gluten free beer

” Gluten free beer ” – that must have grabbed your attention if you’ve been feeling dejected or confused so far. Well, contrary to the traditional beers, the new craft beers are often without gluten.

And, as more and more people are becoming aware of gluten allergy and getting tested, the popularity of gluten free beers is also increasing.

The reason beer contains gluten is the use of barley or wheat. So, if these gluten grains are removed from the scene, you get gluten free beers! So, what do brewers use instead? The key ingredient for gluten free beers may include – but not be limited to – sorghum, millet, rice, or buckwheat.

At the time of purchasing beer from your local vendor or a bar, ask specifically for the gluten free ones. If your vendor or bar-tender is unable to help, check the packaging to see if it clearly indicates that the beverage is “gluten free”.

You can also do your prior research by contacting a manufacturer directly and asking for information.

Remember that you’ll find several “gluten-removed” beers available, as well. These are not the same as gluten free beers, as they are made from gluten grains, and the companies claim to use a filtration procedure to remove the gluten. However, experts say that such beverages still contain traces of gluten.

You also have to option to skip beer altogether and choose some alternative options. There are plenty of alcoholic beverages that are entirely gluten free, from distilled liquors to wines. But remember to check the labels, especially if you’re choosing flavored drinks.

Alternative Brands

The good news is that there are several brands that produce gluten free beers to give Celiac or severely allergic beer-heads a chance to continue enjoying their favorite drink. If you decide to avoid Heineken, then worry not, fellow beer-lover! You can try one of the following brands.    

a) New Planet

It’s a beer brand from Colorado that was established because the founder wanted to make a craft beer that had no gluten in it. If you’re looking for gluten free beer, then you must try their pale and blonde ale. They also have two gluten-removed varieties.  

b) Steadfast Beer Co.

This brand makes 100% gluten free beer, with the Oatmeal Cream Stout believed to be the first-ever stout to be bottled in the US. Its other gluten free beer varieties include IPA, blonde ale, and pale ale. And, you can get this craft beer delivered to your step!

c) Glutenberg

is there gluten in Heineken
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This Canadian brand is one of America’s favorite gluten free breweries, with 8 varieties of brews that have no gluten. It even makes a non-alcoholic drink for teetotalers.

But its most remarkable product is the award-winning Gose, with a lime-and-lemony profile and a sea-salty hint.

d) Ground Breaker Brewing

The brand offers four gluten free beer varieties around the year – IPA No. 5, Pale Ale, Dark Ale, and Ollallie Ale. It also brings you seasonal beers. Made using rosehips and blackberry, this beer has a light taste a favorite among those who don’t like bitter beer.

e) Redbridge

This is a rich lager that is produced and distributed by Anheuser-Busch. Naturally, it’s widely available and really popular. It’s a full-bodied beer made with sorghum instead fo barley or wheat, making it completely free from any gluten content.

f) Aurochs Brewing Co.

This brewery was founded by two people whose medical condition forces them to go gluten free. This craft beer tastes delicious. The Session IPA, which comes in the fruit flavors of grapefruit, pine, and citrus, is a must-try for gluten free beer patrons.

g) Ipswich Ale Brewery

Among the wide variety of beers produced by this brewery in Massachusetts, you’ll find only one that is completely gluten free. It’s called the Celia Saison and is brewed with sorghum. You will enjoy the rustic taste of this farmhouse, with distinct flavors of peppery yeast and orange peel.

h) Lakefront Brewery

This brand has been around for more than three decades, but the New Grist is its only gluten free brew. It is a gluten free pilsner. Interestingly, it is the first-ever beer that was allowed by the American government to mention “gluten free” on the label.

How to make gluten-free beer

So, this might seem overly ambitious to some people, but you can try your hand at making gluten free beer. Don’t be surprised! You can find beer-making kits on websites and at specialty stores, with which you can brew homemade beer, using gluten free ingredients.

Usually, the primary source of carb in these kits is sorghum syrup. They also come with hops, yeast, and flavoring agents.

Recipe for Gluten-Free Beer:

The steps that you need to follow to make your own gluten free beer are as follows:

  1. Set 2.5 gallons of water to boil.
  2. Once it starts to boil, add sorghum syrup.
  3. Next, add hops.
  4. Now, it’s time to bring the mix back to a boil.
  5. Turn the heat off after 1 hour and mix in honey.
  6. Then, let the mix cool down.
  7. After that, Place the mix to a fermenter. (Make sure it’s sanitized.)
  8. Then, keep adding water until you achieve about 5 gallons of liquid.
  9. Next, aerate the water and pitch yeast.
  10. Now, ferment the liquid at 68 °F.
  11. Finally, transfer the liquid to sanitized bottles, along with corn sugar

As you can obviously understand, this is just a rough sketch of the recipe to give you an idea of how easy the process is. All you have to do is find the right kit. 


To avoid allergic reactions to gluten, it is best if you follow a completely gluten free lifestyle. And, that means, you need to cut out beer variants that are made from barley and wheat.

However, among the beers that are made from gluten-grains, Heineken is the safest, as it has extremely low gluten levels.

Depending on the extent of your condition, it is likely that this beer will not harm you. However, there’s no denying that even if the amount is within a permissible limit, there’s still a trace of gluten in this beer. So, if you don’t wish to take any risk, you can choose a gluten free beer instead.

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