Friday, April 4, 2014

Stella Artois

bottle Stella Artois Artios Beer gluten free low lager UK cidre Belgium Belgian bier celiac test result level
Beer: Stella Artois
Style: Pale Lager
Brewing location: Leuven, Belgium
Originating country: Belgium
Alcohol by Volume: 4.8% to 5.2% 
Ingredients: Water, barley malt, hops, non-malted grains and Stella Artois’ unique yeast strain
Format tested: 12 oz bottle purchased in Los Angeles, CA
Beeradvocate rating: 71/100
Ratebeer rating: 14/100
Test kit: E-Z Gluten

  • Stella Artois’ roots trace back to the Den Hoorn (literally meaning "the horn" in Dutch/Flemish) brewing enterprise in 1366, in the Belgian city of Leuven.
  • It was originally brewed as a special holiday beer and christened Stella, which is Latin for “star.”
  • The Stella Artois chalice is designed to ensure that the head foams perfectly and the aroma is preserved.
  • It's nickname in the UK is 'wife-beater'.
  • In 2012, AB InBev, the makers of Stella Artois, Becks and Budweiser, announced that, for the UK market, they were reducing the alcohol content across their range of beers, from 5% to 4.8%. The original strength of the lager was 5.2%. It was explained away by AB InBev's PR as "evolving UK category trends"; at the time "strong continental lagers" were being blamed for tipping an already-alcoholic country over the edge. In reality it saved AB InBev at least £10 million a year in tax, plus multiples more by watering down their lagers.

Test result photo

Stella Artois Artios Beer gluten free low lager UK cidre Belgium Belgian bier celiac test result level

Test result
Very High Positive at 20 parts per million (ppm), meaning it is more than 20 ppm. 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 Stella Artois
It's what Heineken was in the 80s. An OK tasting lager with an enormous marketing and advertising budget. Stella Artois is bent on world domination and with InBev's acquisition of Anheuser Busch it's on course to do so. But I guess if it manages to convert some Bud drinkers along the way then it's got to be a good thing, right? Stella had great UK TV commercials in the 90s - with the tagline "Stella Artois - reassuringly expensive." These days I am more educated about beer and the best compliment I can pay Stella is that it is one of those beers that I am pleased if it's the worst choice in a bar or restaurant. Tasting notes: it has a rather musty sweaty taste to it and always leaves me feeling bloated. I am not sure where I fall in the gluten tolerance spectrum; I am gluten intolerant but not celiac. 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. I consumed this 12 oz. bottle in 30 minutes feeling no gluten effects.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Maybe you feel bloated BECAUSE of the gluten

  3. So below 20ppm is considered OK and above is very high positive. Does anyone know the exact ppm of Stella Artois? I'm gluten intolerant but seem to be able to get away with one or sometime two pints of Stella, can't do that with a standard pint of bitter made from wheat. So how does the gluten content of a barley beer compare to a wheat beer? seems too simplistic to say 19ppm is good but 21ppm is cause issues..

  4. I am gluten sensitive and as much as I wish it was truly gluten free, I do feel terrible after drinking it. Not as bad as after drinking wheat beer, which I absolutely can't do anymore, but still feel awful. My guess is it's too risky, too much of an effect if you want to heal your immune system and head off full blown celiac.