An English Milk Stout in a Snifter

Overview for the Milk Stout Beer Style

The Milk Stout originated in England in the early 20th century and was marketed as a tonic for invalids and nursing mothers. The Milk Stout is very similar to the Sweet Stout but makes use of unfermentable sugars, typically lactose. The name is no longer allowed to be used in England but is perfectly fine elsewhere. Like other stouts, its color ranges from dark brown to black and is either opaque or clear. Full body or nearly so with a creamy feel and low carbonation. Roasted grain combined with the sugars give the aroma and palate a coffee and cream or sweet espresso character. Chocolate and fruity esters may be present. Hops typically lend an earthy or floral flavor. The Milk Stout and Sweet Stouts are sweeter than other stouts with a milder roast character. Its balance is similar to that of an Oatmeal Stout.

Style Expectations

The English Milk Stout is a very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty ale that can suggest coffee-and-cream, or sweetened espresso.

Appearance

Very dark brown to black in color. Can be opaque (if not, it should be clear). Creamy tan to brown head.

Aroma

Mild roasted grain aroma, sometimes with coffee and/or chocolate notes. An impression of cream-like sweetness often exists. Fruitiness can be low to moderately high. Diacetyl low to none. Hop aroma low to none, with floral or earthy notes.

Flavor

Dark roasted grain/malt impression with coffee and/or chocolate flavors dominate the palate. Hop bitterness is moderate. Medium to high sweetness provides a counterpoint to the roasted character and hop bitterness, and lasts into the finish. Low to moderate fruity esters. Diacetyl low to none. The balance between dark grains/malts and sweetness can vary, from quite sweet to moderately dry and somewhat roasty.

Mouthfeel

Medium-full to full-bodied and creamy. Low to moderate carbonation. High residual sweetness from unfermented sugars enhances the full-tasting mouthfeel.

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