English-Style Sweet Stout (Milk Stout)

The English-Style sweet stout, popularly referred to as cream or milk stout, is typically dark brown or black with a creamy head. It has a distinct cream-like sweetness alongside a slight roast malt fragrance with some subtle fruity, coffee, chocolate, and hop aroma notes. Milk stouts have a rich taste of dark roasted malt with hints of coffee and chocolate, with various unfermented sugars balancing the roast-like taste, which can last into the aftertaste. Milk stouts also have medium hop bitterness and a subtle fruity ester taste. Since milk sugar is present, lactose-intolerant people may want to sit this one out.

Origin of the English-Style Sweet Stout

Stouts evolved from the Porter style, but brewers began to attach “stout” to beer as a distinct style only around the early 1800s. Milk stouts are a traditional English style, dating back to the 1800s when the more health-conscious people of the period blended milk with dark beer to make more nutritious ales. Soon, it became a common practice for brewers to combine milk with porters and stouts to make these “healthy” ales, which became an instant hit with the English labour force.

By the beginning of the 20th century, milk stout was even a remedy that doctors prescribed as a nourishing tonic for nursing mothers until the 1950s. Eventually, British authorities had to pass a law forbidding brewers to use “milk” in labelling due to the many unfounded benefits these brewers claimed milk stout provided. Today however, “milk” adorns the labels of many sweet stouts around the world, enjoyed by many.

Enjoying Your English-Style Sweet Stout

These craft beers are best enjoyed with anything chocolate. Cheeses like aged cheddar, brie, or Swiss also combine well with milk stouts. You can also enjoy various game meats, gravies, soups, and spicy dishes with a refreshing milk stout pint.