Stella Unfiltered vs Stella Artois

Stella Artois is known for many things in the UK, and not many of them scream sophistication. Interestingly though, while these days you’ll never find a draft of Stella on tap in Belgium, the ‘international pilsner’ was first brewed 600 years ago in Leuven, a small city just outside of Brussels. Back then it was brewed by the Den Hoorn brewery, a tavern that brewed the beer itself and was sold under the sign of a hunting horn. It wasn’t until 1708 when S├ębastien Artois bought the brewery does the story really begin. 

It took until 1976 for Stella to really gain popularity in the UK and was brewed under license by Whitbread (Premier Inn, Brewers Fayre and Beefeater). These days the beer is currently owned by the German Anheuser-Busch InBev and distributed all over the world from Belgium. 

Last year, on the 15th of June, Stella launched a new beer in the UK, Stella Unfiltered. More recently it has been in the shops because they seem to have relaunched it. So it got us thinking. What is the difference between Stella and Stella Unfiltered? And which is better? 

Let’s get into it: 

Box of Stella Unfiltered


Stella Artois Original vs Stella Unfiltered

The original Stella Artois is a staple of British pubs across the UK. It hasn’t always had the best reputation and is nick-named ‘wife beater’ – presumably due to a connection of people who drank too much Stella would go home and beat their wives. Some things have changed, and the branding and reputation of Stella is one of them. 

Ingredients & Production

Both Stella and Stella Unfiltered are made with Saaz hopes and both continue to be brewed in Belgium using local barley and water. The biggest difference is the way they have been produced. The simple change is that the Unfiltered is not filtered to remove the yeast and sediment, in our opinion, leaving in all of the flavour. 


To taste, the two beers are very different. The original Stella has a crip, sweet flavor with a smooth finish that is very easy to drink. The colour is light and golden and is almost completely clear.

In comparison, Stella Unfiltered is still smooth and sweet, but a much more fragrant and bitter hoppiness. It has more blatant fruity and citrussy notes. The colour is still golden, but quite cloudy which is much more similar to a traditionally brewed Belgium beer. The main reason for the difference in the flavour is that the beer has not been filtered and the yeast has been allowed to remain in the beer, which in turn allows the natural flavours of the malt and Saaz hops to come through. 

If you are to travel to Belgium and try and freshly brewed beer, it is much more similar to Stella Unfiltered. So, if you’re a lover of a fresh Belgian beer (like Leff or Duvall) then you’ll adore Stella Unfiltered. It is rich, fruity and very satisfying. 


The unfiltered lager is the stronger of the two at 5%ABV compared to the original Stella, which is brewed at 4.6%ABV. Other than this variation, you’d be surprised that the two beers are otherwise remarkably similar. Each serving of 100mls are 39 calories, each have 3.1g (Unfiltered) and 3.2g (original) of carbs and 0.1g and 0.3g of sugars. It seems that Stella original has more sugar in it, which could be added after brewing to sweeten it. 


Final thoughts

So, is there a difference and which is better? The major differences are the strength of the beers, and the flavour. The Unfiltered beer has 0.4% more alcohol and undoubtedly much more flavour. Does the Unfiltered processing makes a huge difference to the freshness of the beer, and depth of flavour? 

So, which one is better? Well, that depends on your own personal preference. While those who enjoy a craft beer, or fresh Belgian beer, you’ll love the Unfiltered. If however, you’re more of a fan of a smooth and easy drinking beer, the Original Stella will suit your taste better. 

Hopefully, you’ve found this article interesting and useful in understanding the differences between the two beers. If you’d like to share your own thoughts on which you prefer, then get yourself into the comment section below. 

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