Sweet Stout

Glassware: Nonick pint
  • England
  • Ale
  • ABV = 4.0 – 6.0% (Lower to normal)^
  • IBU = 20-40
  • SRM = 30-40
A very dark, sweet, full-bodied, slightly roasty English ale with a coffee-and-cream or sweetened espresso flavour.

Much sweeter and less bitter than Irish or American Stout, with a milder roast character. Similar in balance to Oatmeal Stout, but with more sweetness.


  • Colour^ = Dark brown to black
  • Clarity = Can be opaque; if not, should be clear

Key Aromas & Flavours:

  • Malt = Low; roasty with coffee and/or chocolate possible
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity
  • Hops = None to low; earthy or floral, if present
  • Other = An impression of cream-like sweetness often present
  • Malt = Moderate to high; roasty, coffee- and/or chocolate-like
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity
  • Hops = None
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low to moderate
  • Other = Moderate to high sweetness from the addition of unfermentable sugars
  • Balance = Towards sweetness, which provides a counterpoint to the bitterness from the hops and dark malts

Varies from quite sweet (from the unfermentable sugars) to moderately dry and somewhat roasty (from the dark malts)


  • Body = Full; creamy (high residual sweetness from the unfermented sugars enhances fullness)
  • Carbonation = Low to medium

Characteristic Ingredients/Processes:

  • Malt = Pale malt, plus black malt, chocolate malt, and/or crystal/caramel malt
  • Yeast = British ale yeast
  • Hops = English hops
  • Other = Lactose, an unfermentable sugar, is often added to provide additional residual sweetness
  • Process = The sweetness comes from a lower bitterness level than most other stouts and a high percentage of unfermentable sugars (ie. lactose)

Historical Development:

Developed in England in the early 1900s and originally marketed as a nourishing beverage for nursing mothers. Historically called “Milk” or “Cream” stouts from the use of lactose, or milk sugar, as a sweetener.

Commercial Examples:

Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout, Left Hand Milk Stout, Samuel Adams Cream Stout

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus.
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2015 Style Guidelines.

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