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Milk Stout Beer: Everything You Want to Know and the 10 Best to Sip

You don’t have to be a beer snob to know that a delicious milk stout isn’t created by combining a regular stout with some milk. If you ever attempted that, you’d wind up with a disgusting curdled mess. Cue, flashbacks to cement mixer shots in college. 

The way brewmasters make a true milk stout that’s a delicious companion on a chilly fall night is to add lactulose during the brewing process. Lactulose is a milk sugar that adds that thick creamy body and touch of sweetness to a stout. The brewing process is the same as oatmeal, coffee, or chocolate stout—fermented at the top of the barrel with a bunch of dark roasted malt and hops. 

A pro tip for enjoying milk stouts is to not let them get too cold. They are best when poured between 40-45 degrees and allowed to sit a few minutes to get to 50-55 degrees. If your fridge gets super cold, you might want to look into a beverage cooler that will allow you to store your stouts at the optimal temperature.

Every excellent beer is a labor of love, but when you taste the rich, complex flavors of a milk stout, you know there’s a touch more love behind it. Here are eleven milk stouts that you’ll love just as much as their creators.

Guinness – Over the Moon Milk Stout (5.3% ABV)

Over the moon milk stout from Guinness.
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We being with the brewery that needs no introduction. Starting over 250 years ago, Guinness paved the way for stouts around the world. The Over the Moon Milk stout has the same roasted coffee, and caramel notes people have come to expect in a Guinness stout, with a sweet and slightly fruity back end.

Left Hand Brewery – Milk Stout Nitro (6% ABV)

Lef Hand Brewing's Milk Stout Nitro in a glass.
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Milk Stout Nitro by Left Hand Brewery is America’s stout, or so says Left Hand. However, this beer is highly sought out by milk stout lovers. Its creamy, smooth texture is amplified by the nitro infusion. The marshmallow-like head extenuates the vanilla and brown sugar undertones.

Saugatuck Brewing Co – Neapolitan Milk Stout (6% ABV)

Neapolitan milk stout from Saugatuck Brewing.
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You might be wondering—” What’s a Saugatuck.” It’s not a what, but a where. A small Michigan town on the coast of Lake Michigan that brews delicious beers. Saugatuck Brewing’s Neapolitan Milk Stout is one of their flagship beers that’s won many awards. Its most recent award was the Silver Medal at the Dublin Craft Beer Cup (2017) in Dublin, Ireland. If you can impress the Irish with your stout, you know it’s worth trying. The name says it all, with notes of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate in each pint.

Bell’s – Arabicadabra (5.5% ABV)

Abracadabra milk stout from Bells.
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Now you see it, now you don’t. This coffee milk stout is brewed with a cold coffee extract made at the brewery using a combination of organic fair trade, Nicaraguan, and Sumatra coffee beans. The true magic trick when drinking this beer is to not down the whole six-pack.

Three Floyds – Moloko (8% ABV)

Three Floyd Brewing's Moloko Milk Stout.
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This perfectly balanced milk stout from acclaimed Indiana Brewery, Three Floyds, is deceptively delicious. Golden naked oats, a huskless oat crystal malt, draw out chocolate, plum, and charred marshmallows without being overly sweet. 

Wicked Weed Brewing – Milk and Cookies (8.5% ABV)

Wicke Weed's Milk andCookies Milk stout.
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Wicked Weed Brewing out of Ashville has made its own take on the classic milk and cookie combo in beer form. Oatmeal, vanilla, cinnamon, and raisins are the dominant flavor profiles of this beer that will transport you back to your grandma’s kitchen as a young lad.

Austin Street Brewery – Six Grain (8%)

Six grain milk stout from Austin Street Brewing.

Notes of toffee, orange, and dark chocolate stand out in this complex, exceptionally smooth milk stout from Maine’s Austin Street Brewery. If you’re a fan of a creamy head on a beer that stays with you until the final sip, Six Grain is for you.

Pipeworks Brewing Co – Imperial Cookies’n’Cream Jones Dog (10.5% ABV)

Cookies'n'Cream milk stout from Pipeworks Brewing.
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This fudgy cookies and cream milk stout from Chicago’s favorite Pipeworks Brewing literally tastes like cookies and cream in beer form. What more do you need to know?

Southern Tier Brewing Co – Creme Brulee Stout (8% ABV)

Nitro Creme Brulee from Southern Tier Brewing.
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This creamy blast from Southern Tier is a part of its Blackwater series. This beer has a robust custardy nose, then is balanced with a bit of hoppy bitterness uncommon in many stouts. 

Lakewood Brewing – Temptress (9.1% ABV)

Temptress milk stout from Lakewood Brewing.
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If you’re ever in Texas, or anywhere else Lakewood Brewery’s Temptress stout is sold, make sure you try the #1 craft stout brewed in the state. This beer gushes with sweet caramel and milk chocolate flavors, followed by the perfect amount of milky sweetness.

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Steven Johnson
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Steven Johnson is a chef-turned-content strategist. He now helps companies attract and retain more customers through content…
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