Thursday, October 2, 2014

Omission Pale Ale

bottle Omission Beer Widmer gluten reduced removed free low pale ale bier celiac test result level Portland test result craft micro brew
Beer: Omission Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Brewing location: Portland, Oregon
Originating country: USA
Alcohol by Volume: 5.8% 
Ingredients: Yeast, Water, MALTS: Pale, Caramel, Honey, and Hallertau
, HOPS: Cascade
Format tested: 12 oz. Los Angeles, CA
Beeradvocate rating: 78/100
Ratebeer rating: 44/100
Test kit: E-Z Gluten

  • Every bottle has a batch serial number; this number can be entered on the Omission website to look up the independently tested gluten results.
  • Omission is brewed by Widmer Brothers, founded in 1984 in Portland, Oregon
  • CEO and craft beer enthusiast, Terry Michaelson, was diagnosed with celiac twelve years ago; and brewmaster Joe Casey’s wife has been a celiac since 2006. 
  • Omission beers use a brewing enzyme called Brewers Clarex™ which breaks apart and detoxifies the gluten protein chains. The beers are then packaged in a closed environment to eliminate any cross contamination risk.
  • In 2013, Mass Spectrometry research was conducted by an independent lab which validated that Omission Lager and Pale Ale are devoid of known barley toxic epitopes, the specific peptide sequences and reactive sites in gluten molecules that cause reactions in the human small intestine.  These same beers were tested using the R5 Competitive ELISA and were found to lack any measureable gluten content.   A growing body of peer reviewed scientific literature supports that the process is effective in breaking up and detoxifying gluten peptides.

Test result photo

Test result

Negative at 20 parts per million (ppm), meaning it is less 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 Omission Pale Ale

An all-round excellent beer. I defy anyone to blind taste this against other leading American Pale Ales and say it's missing something - especially gluten! Hats off to Omission/Widmer for going where other brewers feared to tread. A truly bold move that gave all 'gluten-challenged' beer-lovers hope that life was worth living! Omission Pale Ale is always the first beer I look for when beer shopping.

It should be no surprise that Omission Pale Ale is under 20 ppm gluten as that's how Omission markets itself. Omission beers are tested using an independent lab conducting R5 Competitive ELISA analysis. The science behind the EZ Gluten test kits that I use is somewhat different and therefore the result could have differed. So it is encouraging to know that the EZ Gluten results on this site stand up to the method that Omission uses to test their beers

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 have consumed 3 x 12 oz. bottles in 2 hours countless times and felt no gluten effects.


  1. Omission Lager is very good as well. Thanks for testing!

    I am surprised that more breweries don't brew with Brewers Clarex. We would buy it!

    1. Ha ha. If they did, in the very least it would probably add to our list of <20ppm beers!

  2. Just stumbled upon your blog and I'm so delighted. I love beer! I have a thyroid condition and my endocrinologist has suggest that I might do better on a gluten-free or low-gluten diet. I'm going to keep following. :)

    1. Thank you Flannery. Gluten intolerance is not well understood - the fact that your doctor is suggesting you go 'low gluten' points to that. Did he/she test you for celiac or gluten intolerance? I AM NOT A MEDICAL DOCTOR, but rather than going 'low gluten' it may be worth avoiding gluten completely from your diet for a while - process of elimination, you know? I drink beer moderately now, but did avoid it and any gluten for many months after my gluten intolerance diagnosis. Anyway, best of luck to you and I would love for you to post how your low-gluten or gluten-free diet worked out.

  3. Great site, thanks! Here's what I find interesting: I am celiac and I have a moderate adverse reaction to drinking Omission but no reaction whatsoever to Guinness. Doesn't make sense to me. I haven't tried the other beers on here.

    1. Anon 10/8/14 thanks so much for your feedback. This is what is fascinating but frustrating about gluten intolerance. The international codex claims 20 ppm gluten is the tolerable level of gluten. However, people like yourself are having adverse reactions to so-called '<20 ppm low gluten' beers, and no (noticeable) reaction to higher (>20 ppm) gluten beers.

      There is obviously a lot more yet to be understood. Biochemistry is complicated (I majored in it!). With adverse reactions to <20 ppm gluten foods are we dealing with reactions to something other than gluten or a combination of gluten and something else? After all, Omission Pale Ale is not the same as Guinness. Regardless, it reinforces the shortcomings in the worldwide current gluten testing methods. As yet there is no failsafe method to test for gluten toxicity in food. In the meantime I would love more people to post their experiences on this site. Anecdotal evidence may not be scientific but it is valuable to the community.

    2. I can't sleep if I drink Guinness. Omission - no problem. It's not always gluten. Some people have reactions to other things in beer like yeast.

    3. I have celiac and have definitely reacted to Omission as well. I think the difficulty is in part that celiacs don't actually react to gluten, but a little piece of the gluten molecule (the end of the protein chain according to my doctor). Beers like Omission remove the gluten by breaking the molecule in the center, not on the ends if I understand the process. So you still have the end bits floating around to cause grief.

      Thus, my usual gluten symptoms start with a migrane within an hour or two of consumption and then within 4-6 hours change to gastro-intestinal in nature. When I drink Omission, I still get the migrane but not the rest. That's because it digests much more easily being broken in the center.

  4. Tried this beer when i was in canada its great. Ian

  5. Love this blog. I'm a big fan of the Omission IPA as well. I was diagnosed with celiac about 5 years ago. For the most part, I focus on wines and the Omission beers. But occasionally I'll land in a social situation where I really want to have a "real" beer. That's when I break out this blog. My doctor would not be pleased, as I know these tests are 100% reliable. But it reassures me in that moment that I'm doing my best to stay clear of gluten. After that, I'm back on 100% GF. Thanks for doing the testing.

  6. Hi. I love this blog too. Just found it. Seems I'm on a similar mission to find LOW gluten beers I can tolerate but not necessarily gluten free which I have tried and don't like. I just ordered an EZ Gluten test kit to test a few of my favorites and will share the results. Two questions for you:
    1. Any suggestions for the testing process to ensure my results are comparable to yours?
    2. I see you use 20ppm as a standard benchmark. I actually spoke to a rep from the company who told me the results align with PPM levels as follows. How did you arrive at 20ppm, did you modify the test? Or perhaps have they changed it?

    Neg = <10ppm
    Pos = > 10ppm
    H. Pos = > 200ppm
    VH Pos = > 10,000 ppm


    1. Hi Bryan, Yes I modify the test by using a technique similar to antibody titration. EZ Gluten strips can detect gluten "as low as 10 ppm", meaning the highest level of precision is at 10 ppm. Say a beer contains more than 100 ppm it could be diluted at a ratio of 10:1 i.e. 9 parts water to 1 part beer, and still give a positive result. Similarly, if a beer contains more than 20 ppm it could be diluted at a ratio of 2:1 i.e. 1 part water to 1 part beer, and still give a positive result. So, to test at the 20 ppm threshold I simply dilute the beer 1 part water to 1 part beer. And you could do exactly the same thing. Get yourself a small measuring cup e.g. a glass jigger and pour a small amount of beer in, taking care to add exactly the same amount of water. Voila, you are testing at 20 ppm.

  7. I enjoy their lager a bit more. Even though I really like hoppy beers, for some reason this year I have been unable to tolerate them. Heartburn!! Blahh.

  8. I have unfortunately had to cut Omission out of my ration as I noticed it caused mild intestinal discomfort (similar to bourbon, before I dis covered that was off-limits for me). I've been gluten free for over 5 years and continue to make more and more "cuts" to my diet to errors on the side of safety. This has greatly reduced my incidences of being "ghost glutened", i.e. feeling symptoms but not know why, which was a hallmark of my early years of being gluten free. I know Omission removes gluten, but at this point I have found that I can only drink beers that never had gluten in them to begin with. If I have to (lol, "have to") drink one Omission I will likely not suffer, but if I bring a six pack home I will experience symptoms. Just another anecdote for the record :)

  9. I definitely react to Omission. Gluten intolerant, not celiac.