Milk Stout Does a Body Good

Think about stout, loyal reader, and the mind conjures a bitter, black draft, with roasted flavors. Now imagine adding the sweet, creamy character of milk to the roasted, bitter experience of the stout. That's the essence of a milk stout, a novel style of beer that includes lactose, a sugar derived from dairy. Lactose can't be fermented, so it doesn't get turned into alcohol. Instead, it remains in the beer, adding a sweet, rich flavor. The pairing seems incongruous at first, but it's a surprisingly natural combination.


Milk stouts aren't just designed to titillate the palate. In the recent past, they were suggested for nursing mothers. There's little evidence that lactose enhances milk production, and alcohol can be excreted in breast milk, so doctors no longer recommend that nursing moms slug milk stouts. However, this beer writer heartily recommends that all non-nursing beer enthusiasts try this deliciously creamy style of beer!


Ska Brewing Steel Toe Milk Stout
Format Sampled: 12 oz. can

ABV: 5.5%

Availability: Mostly in the Intermountain West

Tasting Notes: Pours inky black and raises a dark, glossy brown head. The aroma has fresh-ground coffee, black licorice, and charred wood. The initial flavor is dry, astringent and roasted. It opens up with notes of cocoa, and the suave, subtle, sweet flavor of light cream. The overall impression is both faintly sweet and dry. It's well balanced, almost as if they'd found a way to turn up the volume slightly on the natural sweetness of a Guinness stout. The aftertaste is complex, with cocoa nibs, more licorice, and a bracing sourness.


Left Hand Milk Stout Nitro

Format Sampled: 12 oz. capped bottle

ABV: 6.0%

Availability: Rosemont Market and Bakery

Tasting Notes: Pours a dark, reddish-brown with a thin tan head. Aroma is filled with roasted, parched grain, burnt toast and bitter-sweet chocolate. My tongue encounters the body before the flavor, simultaneously creamy and light, sliding around my mouth with a peculiar combination of viscosity and airiness. The initial flavor has chocolate truffle, minerals, cold coffee and chocolate milk. This stout has a tremendous flavor impact and enormous substance, without being overpowering. It's rare to find such a flavorful stout that's light enough to drink in quantity and still remain vertical. A treat!


Fore River Brewing John Henry Milk Stout

Format Sampled: 16.9 oz. capped bottle

ABV: 5.2%

Availability: Rosemont Market and Bakery

Tasting Notes: Pours a deep, dark brown with a thick head of off-white foam. Aroma is light and sweet, with cocoa dust, vanilla and pastry. Initial flavor is like an anvil of chocolate dropped on my tongue! There's chocolate milk-shake, sour cocoa powder and a thin, bitter, roasted flavor. It's a bold, punchy, weighty stout. I would have anticipated a less profound flavor at such a low ABV, but here it is! The aftertaste has endurance too — with chocolate/coffee flavors lingering in my mouth for ages.

Last modified onMonday, 16 January 2017 13:48