Thursday, January 9, 2014

Modelo Especial

Modelo Especial Mexican gluten free beer low gluten test results can celiac intolerance
Beer: Modelo Especial
Style: Pale Lager
Brewing location: Cervecería Modelo, Mexico
Originating country: Mexico
Alcohol by Volume: 4.4% 
Ingredients: rice, water, hops, refined corn starch and yeast. Other grain or sugars adjuncts are often used
Format tested: 24 oz can purchased in Los Angeles, CA USA
Beeradvocate rating: 66/100
Ratebeer rating: 4/100
Test kit: E-Z Gluten

  • The original recipe was first brewed in Mexico in 1925, under the vision to create a ‘model’ beer.
  • After Corona Extra and Heineken, Modelo Especial is the biggest selling imported beer in the US
  • The brewing company Grupo Modelo has 37,000 employees and a total annual installed capacity of 70 million hectoliters.

Test results photo

Modelo Especial Mexican gluten free beer low gluten test results celiac intolerance

Test result
Negative at 20 parts per million (ppm), meaning it is less than 20 ppm gluten. Though standards vary from country to country, according to the FDA, "in order to use the term 'gluten free' on its label a food must meet all the requirements of the definition, including that the food must contain less than 20 ppm gluten". It is said that products with a gluten content below 20 ppm are suitable for people with celiac disease.

My experience drinking Modelo Especial
I am not sure where I fall in the gluten tolerance spectrum. I definitely know what it feels like to be "glutened" i.e. gluten exposure, but I have not deliberately pushed my gluten consumption limits with any food or beer. This is the first time I have ever had Modelo Especial and had no reaction drinking this 24 oz can in around one hour.


  1. I had three bottles of this beer and I can tell you that it very much includes gluten, I had the worse night in my life running between the bathroom and the bedroom.

    1. Historically beer has resulted generalized GI distress, i.e. gas, bloat, loose stool, etc. I switched to Corona as it was listed as <20 PPM and technically could be marketed as "gluten free" per FDA criteria. I have tolerated Corona much better than any other beer in the past. I have now tried Modelo especial with similar findings. I have never been tested for celiac, but if i'm a bit "gluten intolerant" (if there is such a condition), I have not had the problems with Modelo especial that I had with many, many other beers.

  2. Thanks for the reply, I will sure try coronoa but I have to tell you that modelo especial gave me all the symptoms of a gluten intolerance ( I am diagnosed with celiac) , I did have it with food (gluten free food, so no mix up here) which means that the effect of intolerance was magnified, however if I consume beer on a nearly empty stomach I don't get as much symptoms. However bottom line modelo is not safe for celiacs based on experience

  3. Ok, last night I tested the Mexican Corona Extra, so I bought a six pack and to my amazement it did not give me any gluten after effects, so stomach pain, no feeling nausea, no diarrhea, no gas, nothing, and just to be sure I had a full bag of Doritos and sliced turkey cuts, again nothing. Thanks to all for finding us a readily available solution for having a beer every once and a while

    1. By the way, I am the unknown who made the first comment

  4. Ok just had five corona extra, don't feel good, but I had it with food and two shots of black label, will report in the morning of outcome

    1. The night went very well, no gluten effects, slept like a baby, woke up refreshed no issues whatsoever, Corona is officially gluten symptom free however might contain gluten :)

  5. I am a diagnosed Celiac. I normally drink Gluten Free beer that has been labelled as such.

    In Western Canada, (in my opinion) the best available gluten free beers are:

    1) Mongozo Pilsner (Belgium)- light and crisp. Try and drink just one.
    2) Glutengurg (Quebec, Canada)- these guys make 5 great Gluten free beers. The IPA and Red are top shelf.
    3) Daura Damm (Spain) - Smooth and Easy to drink. This is a great session beer and (as far as I can remember from my pre-celiac days) a great all around beer.

    I have had Modello since being diagnosed as a Celiac numerous times. I haven't had any form of gluten reaction from this beer.

    The Swedish government sponsored a study on Gluten content in beer. Less that 10 ppm of Gluten was identified in Modello. Here are the other resultz:

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    3. Really! I'm a celiac too and I miss so much regular beer,so is safe?

    4. "Safe" would not be what I would call it, maybe decent bet. Gluten is not something breweries monitor and slight changes can make a difference. The gluten is coming from the grain and the composition of that grain changes harvest to harvest. Any beer labeled as "gluten reduced" or "gluten free" would be a much "safer" bet since you know they are monitoring the gluten. As I mentioned later home brewers can use an additive that will reduce the gluten to below 5ppm. If I didn't brew I would go make friends with a home brewer. For one thing they love a challenge. The reduced gluten method came out of home brewers trying to make gluten free beer for friends and family who couldn't handle gluten.

  6. Wrong ingredients listed. The Modelo Especial website says there is no rice in it.
    "Modelo Especial is made with filtered water, malted barley, hops, corn and yeast."

  7. There is some misinformation in the above. The last I saw <10ppm could be labeled "gluten free" if you are a food, but beer is not considered "food" and for beer to be labeled "gluten free" it has to actually have 0 ppm.

    If I had celiac I would not touch anything that wasn't actually labeled gluten free.

    As a brewer I can say that there are a number of "gluten reduced" beers out there. They use compound that neutralizes the gluten. This will get the beer someplace between 0 - 5ppm. That should be safe for all but the most reactive people.

    All beer brewed with barley or wheat that is not treated will have a good dose of gluten, it's in the grain. There are some beers brewed with grains that don't have gluten in the first place. They are getting better, the early tries were not very good. Also if you know a home brewer the additive that neutralizes gluten is available at most home brew stores and is not expensive.

    1. BTW when I said "above" I meant in the thread not any one specific post.

  8. I'm a celiac/dermatosis herpediformis (wiki it, its loads of fun) and I've had no problems with this beer. Drank it for 2 weeks in Mexico without symptoms of any kind.