Sweet Stout

Color: dark brown to black

Average ABV:  


Food Pairing:  

Sweet Stout. Milk Stout. Cream Stout.

Tomato, tomahtah.


The style's name depends on the worldly origin of the brew. This stout is not made with milk/cream, however, it is made with lactose, an unfermentable sugar that not only makes it more sweet (and offsets roasty flavors), but also gives it more body. Back in the day (@ 1910), milk stouts were advertised as nutritious, and even given to nursing mothers. After WWII, there was a shortage of food, and the British government mandated that brewers remove the word, "milk" from their labels, and well as any milk-imagery, to prevent consumers from believing there was actual milk in the beer. And thus, "sweet stout" became the new moniker. Outside of England, there are no such rules, so "milk stout" or "cream stout" and free to remain in place.

Sweet stouts generally known for

- less roasty flavors, as the sweetness offsets it,

- low levels of hops,

- chocolate and coffee flavors, and

- more body.

Other stouts and how they go Head to Head with sweet stouts:

Dry Stout: the hop flavor of dry stouts is much greater, and the sweetness is lower, with a roasty presence and dry finish. The don't usually impart a coffee flavor.

Oatmeal Stout: the oats give a silky mouthfeel to oatmeal stouts, and while they also contain milk chocolate and coffee flavors, they are generally not as sweet.

Imperial Stout: the overall palate is much more rich and complex, with more bitterness and alcohol taste, and double the ABV.

How did Milk/Cream/Sweet Stouts come about?

Stouts began as porters. Porters that had more alcohol content were considered strong, or stout, and were separated as "Stout Porters." Eventually, the word, "porter," was dropped, and these brews were simply called stouts. Stout then grew to become more precise as its own style.

Porters/stouts were created from cheap malt, and aged, and there was an ever-present stale character. Mild Ales began hitting the pubs, which was beer (any style) that was sent out only a week or two after brewing. These beers were fresh and sweet, and those characteristics began to be desired by consumers. But, any mild ales would eventually become stale and dry, so then there  task of brewing a mild that would stay mild.

In 1875, John Henry Johnson imagined a nutritive beer brewed with lactose and whey, and sought a patent. Others saw the potential in this idea, and it wasn't until 1907 that Mackeson's Brewery. The brew hit the market in 1910, with the notion that, "each pint contains the energizing carbohydrates of 10 ounces of dairy milk." In 1929, Whitbread acquired Mackeson's Brewery and rocketed the brew to to be the leader of Milk Stouts.