How do you make gluten reduced beers?

We brew Stone Delicious IPA and Stone Features & Benefits IPA to be gluten reduced without losing any of what makes them amazing. We do it with an innovative fermenting process that removes the gluten. It’s so effective that our gluten levels are below the FDA requirement for gluten free (less than 20 parts per million). But, since the beers are brewed with barley as an ingredient, they technically don’t get the FDA title of “gluten free” and instead qualify as “gluten reduced” (sometimes referred to as "gluten removed.") Keep reading to learn even more.

 

Delicious IPA Bottles and can

Gluten Content in Bottles and Cans

Before packaging, we carefully clean and sanitize every tank, pipeline, hose and piece of equipment that Stone Delicious IPA and Stone Features & Benefits IPA will touch, and conduct numerous tests at our brewing facility checking for gluten levels. In fact, we publish those results online. You can see them at the bottom of this page or by clicking the link below.

See test results

Delicious IPA Draft

Gluten Content on Draft

Unfortunately, we can't make claims about the gluten content of this beer when served on draft. While the beer in the keg is the same as the beer in the bottles, there is always the chance that it could mix with previously served beers in the lines of the draft system and, thus, pick up gluten along the way.

We have colleagues at our longtime yeast supplier, White Labs to thank. It’s their enzyme, Clarex, which makes Stone Delicious IPA possible. We start by brewing the beer exactly like we do every other beer at our brewery, using all-natural ingredients (barley, hops, water and yeast, exclusively) with dashes of creativity and heart plus a boatload of hops. When boiled wort (unfermented beer) is transferred to fermentation tanks where yeast is introduced to convert fermentable sugars to alcohol, we add Clarex, which separates and eliminates the potentially inflammatory nature of the gluten protein chains.

Though we’ve harnessed modern advances to significantly reduce the amount of gluten, traces of gluten remain in Stone Delicious IPA. However, the amount of gluten in this beer is far below the Codex threshold of less than 20 parts per million in total gluten for “gluten-free” products; so much so that its gluten levels are too low to be measurable by available testing methods. Furthermore, the brewing process for Stone Delicious IPA renders the beer free of barley epitopes (peptide sequences and reactive sites in gluten molecules triggering negative reactions in the small intestine).

The FDA requires that products marked “gluten free” have a gluten content of less than 20 parts per million. Both Stone Delicious IPA and Stone Features & Benefits IPA meet that requirement. In fact, we test every single batch to ensure it. 

However, the FDA also requires that anything marked “gluten free” cannot contain any wheat, rye or barley. Our beers are made with barley and the gluten is removed using a special enzyme. Even though the gluten content is under the 20 parts per million threshold, we are not permitted to refer to it as “gluten free.” Instead, the FDA qualifies these beers as “gluten reduced.”

Long story short: even though the gluten content of these beers are below the “gluten free” threshold, they are classified as “gluten reduced” by the FDA by nature of their ingredients.

We take numerous, specific steps to ensure there is no cross-contamination in our brewing or packaging facilities. We carefully clean and sanitize every tank, pipeline, hose and piece of equipment that Stone Delicious IPA or Stone Features & Benefits IPA will touch, and conduct numerous tests at our brewing facility checking for gluten levels.

The gluten testing is conducted using an ELISA assay, the R5 competitive Gliadin assay from R-Biopharm. Yes, that is a mouthful, so allow us to further explain. The ELISA assay quantifies the prolamins from the wheat, rye and barley using an antibody that recognizes the potentially inflammatory sequence QQPFP, which occurs repeatedly in the prolamin molecules. This is the only method of gluten testing for products containing alcohol that is approved by the federal government.

No. We do not replace the barley malt we use for our other beers with rice, quinoa, sorghum, buckwheat or any other grains.

While the beer in the keg is the same as the beer in the bottles, there is always the chance that it could mix with previously served beers in the lines of the draft system and, thus, become intermingled with beer containing gluten. To be safe and ensure the health of those with greater gluten sensitivity, we similarly do not make the gluten-reduced claim for Stone Delicious IPA or Stone Features & Benefits IPA served from draft systems and growler fill stations at Stone-operated facilities. It is best to purchase our gluten-reduced beers in bottles or cans if you are gluten sensitive.

We currently have two gluten-reduced beers out in market, Stone Delicious IPA and Stone Features & Benefits IPA. But hey, these two are pretty damn good. So entirely possible we brew more in the future.

Enjoy by dates are printed on the neck of each bottle, and julian dates are laser engraved or printed near the bottom of the bottle. Note that bottles coming out of our Richmond brewery and our Escondido brewery are slightly different, and help identify where that beer came from. Julian dates can be difficult to see, so it may be helpful to look at the bottle under a light or shining a light through the bottle.

Delicious Enjoy By Date


Information including enjoy by date, bottled on date, and which brewery bottled the beer can be found on the bottle's shoulder.
Delicious Julien Date
The julian date can be found near the bottom of the bottle. It can be helpful to look closely at the bottle under direct light to help find it.
 

Stone Brewing Gluten Level Lab Results

Brewed In
Enjoy By Date
Julian Date
View Report (PDF)
Escondido, CA
2021-12-08
E2206
Richmond, VA
2021-12-04
Escondido, CA
2021-11-23
32820XXXXE
Escondido, CA
2021-11-17
322220XXXXE
Richmond, VA
2021-09-02
Escondido, CA
2021-08-21
E0214
Richmond, VA
2021-07-31
Escondido, CA
2021-07-21
E1950
Escondido, CA
2021-07-21
E1950
Escondido, CA
2021-07-21
E2320
Escondido, CA
2021-07-21
20320XXXXE
Escondido, CA
2021-07-13
E0748
Escondido, CA
2021-07-08
E0340
Richmond, VA
2021-06-25
Richmond, VA
2021-06-12