STOUT STYLE PROFILE: The Milk Stout

Over the course of the next few days, we will be posting a series of Milk Stout reviews. The following is a brief on this Stout variety for your (and our) edification.

What’s in a name?

Milk Stout is also often referred to as a Sweet Stout; less frequently, a Mellow Stout or Cream Stout.

What’s in a Milk Stout?

The defining element of the Milk Stout is its inclusion of lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Since lactose is unfermentable by the ale yeast, it adds a sweetness to the Stout. Back in the day–the 19th century day–brewers actually put up to 10 ounces of whole milk into a Milk Stout. This is no longer modern practice.

What region is the Milk Stout from?

Southern England, originally.

When was the first Milk Stout produced?

The concept of the Milk Stout likely came from the practice by barkeeps of serving a shot of milk alongside a Stout to help “ailing workers as a source of midday rejuvenation.” (Who’s going to join me in reviving this cultural practice?) Brewers sought to capitalize on this practice, adding milk to the beer and marketing the brew as “healthy,” with restorative effects similar to those of milk. An English brewer patented a Milk Stout recipe in 1875. They eventually realized they could save money by just adding lactose instead of the milk. In 1946, when the UK was under strict food rationing during wartime, brewers were banned from suggesting that there was milk in their beer. The name for the lactose-beer was changed from Milk Stout to Sweet Stout. This was not an issue in the US, where we can find dozens of appropriately-labeled Milk Stouts!

Just what the doctor ordered (credit: beer-pages.com)

What are the common characteristics of a Milk Stout?

Milk Stouts are generally creamier and fuller than non-Milk Stouts. They are usually more balanced and much sweeter than regular Stouts.

What are some of the most popular Milk Stouts?

Sam Adams Cream Stout, Hitachino Nest Lacto Sweet Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Southern Tier 2X Stout, Moo Thunder Stout, Lancaster Milk Stout, Three Floyds Moloko, St. Peter’s Cream Stout, Castle Milk Stout, Southern Tier Creme Brulee Stout.

Beer and Milk Love (credit:jbrookston, flickr)

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