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6 Brews for Your Beer-Loving Sweetheart


Unique selections for your beer geek valentine

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and the time to pick up the perfect gift for your sweetheart is running short.

Sure, you could go for the stereotypical box of chocolates, or the done-to-death teddy bear, but if your special someone happens to be a beer lover, you have a real opportunity here to surprise them with something special — a really exceptional bottle of brew.

But now the tricky part begins, since there are hundreds of thousands of options to choose from, and you’re looking for the “Oh my god, how did you know?!” reaction, and not the dreaded “Oh… thanks.” To save you from racking your brain wondering whether Budweiser counts as a microbrew (it doesn’t, ever), here are a few ideas for the best possible brews to buy your beer-obsessed one and only.

Of course, while these beers are ranked as some of the best in the world, every beer drinker has their own personal favorites, from IPAs to rich stouts, so it’s best to know their preference and go from there. Remember, paying attention to your significant other is what shows them you care.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Sweet stout and milk stouts are increasingly popular beers that form a counterpoint to Dry Irish Stouts. This week we take a look at the history of Sweet Stout, how to brew it and recipes for making it.

History of Sweet and Milk Stout

Milk Stout (also called Cream or Sweet Stout) traces its origins back to Porters. Strong Porters which were widely popular in the 1700’s were often labeled as Stout Porter. Eventually the Porter name was dropped in the 1800’s to become simply Stout. A number of variations of stout emerged. Dry Irish stouts (like Guinness) pushed the limits of using heavily roasted malts to create a dry coffee-like flavor. Other stout variations such as Russian Imperial Stout pushed the limits on the malty or sweet end. Still others, like Oatmeal stout pushed in other directions.

Milk stout and Sweet stouts push the sweet end of the spectrum by using lactose – which is unfermentable. The iconic example of milk stout, Makeson’s stout, was first brewed in 1801 in the Southern United Kingdom. Milk stouts were widely marketed in the 1800’s as nutritious – even to nursing mothers. After World War II, the UK outlawed the use of the word and imagery for milk in association with beer, so many modern examples are labeled as Sweet stouts.

The Sweet Stout Style

Sweet stouts use dark roasted malts to create the dominant flavor which is a malty, dark, roasted chocolate character. Like Dry Irish Stout, they may have roast coffee-like flavors. Unlike Dry Stout, Sweet stouts have a medium to high sweetness (malt or lactose) that provides a counterpoint to the bitterness of hops and roast malt. Some (though not all) sweet stouts include lactose, an unfermentable sugar that enhances sweetness and body.

These stouts are full bodied and creamy, and have low levels of carbonation. Original gravity starts at 1.044-1.060 and finishes at 1.012-1.024 for a 4-6% alcohol by volume. Many English examples use a relatively low starting gravity, while US examples tend to be brewed at a higher starting gravity. They have low to medium esters and little to no diacytl.

They are moderatly hopped at 20-40 IBUs for a bitterness ratio of around 0.6. The hops should balance the malt, but hops is not a major flavor in this style. The color should be dark brown to black (30-40 SRM).

Brewing a Sweet Stout

Sweet stouts start with an English Pale Malt base which makes up 60-80% of the grain bill. To that, we add a mix of crystal/caramel malts (roughly 10-15%), and chocolate, black and roasted malts (10% or more in total) to provide color and flavor. Corn, treacle, wheat or other off-beat malts are sometimes (though rarely) used.

For a true milk stout, lactose is often added. Since Lactose is unfermentable it provides a distinctive sweetness as well as body for the finished beer.

Sweet stouts traditionally use Southern English ale yeast as this is where the beer was originally brewed. A relatively low attenuation English ale yeast with moderate esters such as White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1092 would be appropriate.

English hop varieties such as Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, or Columbia are appropriate, though many US variations also use popular American hops. The hops should primarily be added as bitterness hops since hop aroma and flavor is not dominant. Hops should balance the sweetness of the beer.

Mashing an all grain sweet stout should be done at the higher end of the temperature range to enhance body and residual sweetness. I will typically mash this style in the 153-156 F range. Fermentation is done at normal ale temperatures and the beer is conditioned as any other English Porter or Stout.

Sweet Stout and Milk Stout Recipes

Here are some recipes from the BeerSmith recipe archive:

Thank you for joining me on the BeerSmith Blog. Please be sure to subscribe to my newsletter to get an article delivered to your inbox every week.


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