Milk ingredients linger in some of the strangest places, but I was still a bit taken back when I discovered that beer could be one of them.
It seems ‘Milk’ beer has been around for some time, and may linger in breweries under the code name of Sweet Stout. Quite often it makes itself known with a more obvious title, such as Milk Stout or Cream Stout.
Sweet “milk” stouts became popular in Great Britain following the Second World War, but they have slowly crept into the U.S. and may be gaining in popularity.
So what exactly is a milk stout? It is a stout beer (dark beer made via the use of roasted malts or roast barley) that contains lactose, a common sugar derived from milk. Since the lactose is unfermentable, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer, contrasting the roasted flavor.
A couple of well-known milk stouts include Mackeson XXX Stout brewed by Whitbread PLC (available in the U.S. and U.K.) and Samuel Adams Cream Stout brewed by the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams). A more complete list of Sweet/Milk Stouts is viewable from the Beer Advocate.
However, it’s worth noting that Cream Ales do not necessarily contain dairy. See our Guide to Dairy-Free Alcohol for more details.
If you are planning on imbibing in a rich and flavorful beer during the St. Patrick’s Day festivities, choose your dark beer wisely if you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or severely milk allergic.