English Sweet Stout

ABV: 6.1%    IBU: 49 SRM: 28


A rich, dark English Sweet stout made with a light addition of milk sugar and brown sugar to impart a less bitter finish but still maintain a crisper feel to the roasted and crystal malts. Low hop, smooth drinking, low ABV stout with medium mouthfeel and carbonation. English sweet stouts were made as an alternative to the dry-finishing Irish stouts that had become popular. Our goal is to create both a chocolate and coffee version of this stout to make it a year-round option.


Recipe Goals:  To create an English Sweet Stout that will not be too sweet so as to retain the roasted malt notes and encourage repeated glasses. To make a low hop, low bitter beer that would be a terrific intro to dark beer for the person who claims to not like them or is intimidated by the high ABV of most dark beers.

Background:   Sweet stout, also referred to as cream stout or milk stout, is black in color. Malt sweetness, chocolate and caramel should dominate the flavor profile and contribute to the aroma. It also should have a low to medium-low roasted malt/barley-derived bitterness. Milk sugar (lactose) lends the style more body.

Tasting Notes:  A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale that can suggest coffee-and-cream, or sweetened espresso. Mild to low ABV, carbonation medium, full mouthfeel. Hop aroma and flavor are not perceived. Hop bitterness is low to medium-low and serves to balance and suppress some of the sweetness without contributing apparent flavor nor aroma. Malt sweetness with chocolate, and caramel. Malt bitterness is low and derived from roasted malt or barley. Low ester and phenol effects.

History:  Porters were early brown beers popular because they were made with roasted malts. Strong porters were called “stout porters” which became “stouts.” Originally, however, a “stout beer” was any strong beer, not necessarily a dark beer. Porters and Stouts became popular because they had more flavor, did not spoil easy and were inexpensive. “Sweet milk” stouts became popular in Great Britain in the years following the First World War. Milk stout is a stout containing lactose, a sugar derived from milk. Because lactose cannot be fermented by beer yeast, it adds sweetness and body to the finished beer. Milk stout was claimed to be nutritious and was given to nursing mothers prescribed by doctors to help them increase their milk production. Irish dry stouts like Guinness were made as a less sweet alternative to these rounded stouts.

Ingredients: Pale UK 2-row malt and Maris Otter with specialty malts of chocolate, special B, roasted barley and caramel 80L and some brown sugar and lactose for the sweetness. Some dark and light dry malt extract to help concert the flavors. Magnum hops for background bitterness, no late hops. SafAle S-04 English Ale yeast.

Food Pair:  Anything cheesy or buttery, like cheddar cheese appetizers, Mexican dishes or something Spicy like BBQ will go well with sweet stouts. Nutty flavors in Dutch Gouda cheese add a delicious contrast to the beer’s malty sweetness and richness. The roasted flavors in Milk Stouts add delicious caramelization flavors to spiced, grilled or roasted meats like short ribs, beef brisket, or lamb. Amp up the flavors even more by adding heat to your dish for a fun, sweet and spicy contrast. For desert standard chocolate cake or vanilla ice cream.

Vital Statistics:          BJCP Dark British Beer (16): Sweet Stout (16A)

For Style             ABV: 4.0 – 6.3%     IBUs: 20 – 40         SRM: 30 – 40

Longfellow            ABV: 8.3%            IBU: 45            SRM: 40

ABV is Alcohol by Volume. Listed as a percentage volume. Average commercial beer ABV = 4.2%

IBU is International Bitterness Units. Measures bittering chemicals ranges from 0-120, but most beers are from 15-80.

SRM is Standard Reference Method. Measure of color. Scale of 0-40. From yellow, to amber/gold, to brown, to black.

Commercial Examples:    Udder Love, Samuel Adams Cream Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Lancaster Milk Stout, Mackeson’s XXX Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout

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