Sweet Stout

Glassware: Nonic 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
  • Hops = None to low; earthy or floral, if present
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity
  • Other = An impression of cream-like sweetness often present
  • Malt = Moderate to high; roasty, coffee- and/or chocolate-like
  • Hops = None to low; earthy or floral, if present
  • Yeast = Low to moderate; fruity
  • Other = Moderate to high sweetness from the addition of unfermentable sugars
  • Perceived Bitterness^ = Low to moderate
  • 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 dark roasted malt
  • Hops = English hops
  • Yeast = British ale yeast
  • Other = Lactose, an unfermentable sugar, is often added to provide additional residual sweetness

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, Firestone Nitro Merlin Milk Stout

^Sourced from the Cicerone Certification Program’s International Certified Beer Server Syllabus (Version 5.0)
All other information is sourced from the BJCP 2021 Style Guidelines.

Discovering Beer is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Cicerone® Certification Program.

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