Beer School

Can You Mix Beer and Milk?

Beer and milk is an interesting combination– but does it make a great beer cocktail? Find out what happens when you mix beer and milk together!

Can You Mix Beer and Milk?

Beer and Milk: A weird combination? A delicious cocktail? Let’s talk about it. The idea of beer and milk isn’t too far fetched. There are tons of beers, like the Milkshake IPA, Milk Stouts and Beer Nogs… all that seemingly mix milk and beer. So, would mixing a glass of 2% an IPA provide the same effect? Let’s find out:

Does beer make milk curdle?

One of the most common question when it comes to combining beer and milk is whether the beer will cause the milk to coagulate or “curdle”. Beer is a carbonated drink and it’s quite opposite in composition in comparison to milk, so it can be a volatile mixture. As a general rule of thumb, beer will cause milk to curdle. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Why does milk curdle when mixed with beer?

Just call us Beer Nye the Science Guy! Anything acidic will cause milk to curdle. However, the likelihood of beer causing milk to curdle is higher dependant on the type of milk and the beer’s pH level.

For example, most beers have a pH of around 4. Anything below 7 is acidic. If you mixed a beer with 2% milk, it would curdle. 2% milk doesn’t contain fat to protect the proteins in the milk, so the acidity of the beer will cause the milk proteins to clump (curdle). However, if you mixed milk with heavy cream (~36% fat), it likely would not curdle because heavy cream has more fat protection of its proteins. Make sense?

Science rules!

Wait, but why don’t Milk Stouts curdle?

Beers like Milk Stouts & Milkshake IPAs don’t curdle. But why? Well, in these beer styles, the ingredients don’t contain actual milk. What they do contain is lactose. Lactose is the sugar found in milk– it’s what gives milk stouts and milkshake IPAs their creamy texture, but doesn’t contain any of the milk proteins that could cause it to curdle. Learn about more how milkshake IPAs are made.

 

Will mixing beer and milk make you sick?

While it isn’t unsafe to mix beer and milk, it’s important to note the state of the cocktail. Drinking beer mixed with curdled milk might make you sick. If the sight of curdled milk isn’t enough to make your stomach turn, the consumption of it in combination with alcohol, might.

Alcohol is difficult on our digestive systems, so it might make the milk harder to digest and could potentially cause a stomach ache or diarrhea.

 


Does beer give you the runs anyway?
Learn why (and answers to other burning questions about beer that you’re too afraid to ask) here.

 

Can milk and beer curdle in your stomach?

Yes– but milk curdles in your stomach any way due to your stomach acid.

Can I drink milk before drinking a beer? (Or vice versa?)

A popular “anti-puke” trick is to drink beer or eat a slice of bread before a night of drinking to slow the absorption rate of the alcohol. While that urban myth isn’t 100% accurate, we can assure you that you’ll be fine drinking a glass of milk before you have a beer. Just make sure it is before. If you drink a glass after, you could face some digestive problems.

What cocktails can you make with beer and milk?

There are a few beer cocktails you can make with milk:

Beer and milk cocktails not your thing? Check out these other beer cocktail recipes you might like:

10 Beer Cocktails Every Beer Lover Needs to Try
6 Fruity Beer Cocktails to Try if You Have a Sweet Tooth
9 Easy Beer Float Recipes

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