Beer School

What is a Milkshake IPA?

What is a milkshake style IPA? How do you store a milkshake IPA? Do milkshake IPAs contain actual milk? Learn about the trending lactose-filled beer that’s trending right now.

What is a Milkshake IPA?

You’ve probably heard of a Milkshake India Pale Ale (MIPA) or “Milkshake-style IPA” and been quite surprised to find out that it is not a frothy ice cream based drink, nor is it served topped with whipped cream. However, if you’re a beer lover, you were probably pleasantly surprised by its delicious taste. But what is a milkshake IPA really?


What is a Milkshake Style IPA?

A milkshake IPA (similar to smoothie IPA) is are a sub-beer style of India Pale Ales (IPA) or New England IPAs (NEIPA). They are brewed with additions, such as milk, lactose (unfermentable milk sugar) and adjuncts, like vanilla and sometimes even fruit. Milkshake IPAs gained their popularity within the beer community in the mid 2010s and despite some doubts, they have been a quite the hit ever since.

How are milkshake IPAs made?

Milkshake IPAs are brewed similarly to an IPA or hazy IPA, except they contain lactose, fruit or other adjuncts mentioned eariler in this article. These additions during the brewing process help form a full-bodied, creamy beer.


Are milkshake IPAs hoppy/Bitter?

Like all IPAs, Milkshake IPAs contain hops, but they are fruit forward, so rather than the hops creating a bitter or “hoppy” taste, it accentuates the lactose and fruit additions, making them sweeter and less bitter than a traditional IPA.


Can I drink a milkshake IPA if I am lactose intolerant?

Most milkshake IPAs contain dairy/lactose (milk/milk sugars). On average, there is about 227 grams (8oz) of lactose per 5.5 gallons in a milkshake IPA. So, this might be a beer style you’ll want to skip if you have a dairy allergy, sensitivity or are lactose intolerant.


Are milkshake IPAs vegan?

While some brewers offer vegan milkshake IPAs that use a substitute for dairy, the average milkshake IPA is not vegan, as it contains animal products, such as cow’s milk.


How to Store a Milkshake IPA

So, you brought home some milkshake IPAs and now you need to know the best way to store them. Since they contain milk, do they expire faster than a regular IPA? Should they be stored in the refrigerator? Well, here’s what we’ve gathered:

How long do milkshake IPAs last?

There isn’t a whole lot of information on the ‘shelf life’ (read: fridge life) of milkshake IPAs, but we’ve come to the conclusion that they should probably be consumed within 4-6 months from the date of production.

Why do we think this? Well, IPAs generally have a shelf life of three weeks from the date of production for optimum flavour, however, in some cases, they’ll taste pretty good for up to three to four months. The beer becomes ‘undrinkable’ after about twelve months. This is when your beer starts to taste like a skunk.

Milk stouts can last about 8-12 months in the fridge, if kept out of direct sunlight. (Light tends to be what causes beer to get skunky.) However, they have an average life of up to 180 days or 6 months. Milk stouts are fairly similar to milkshake IPAs, so we thought we’d meet somewhere in the middle.

That being said, the best way to know if your beer has gone bad is a taste test. If the beer tastes or smells skunky, like wet cardboard or pennies… it’s probably gone bad and you can throw it out. Typically drinking an expired beer won’t do much harm to your gut. Learn more about what to do and how to tell if you beer has gone bad here.


Do milkshake IPAs need to be refrigerated?

Yes and no! It depends how soon you’re planning to drink it. Your MIPA should be fine if you leave it out for a few days. However, if you’re not going to consume within 10-12 days, then the milkshake IPAs should be stored in the fridge. Although, lactose sugars won’t spoil like your average dairy product, the beer will taste better if preserved in the fridge.


What are the best milkshake IPAs?

Now that you know what a milkshake IPA is, how it’s made and how to store it, here are a few recommendations that you should try:

What’s your favourite milkshake IPA? Tweet us @justbeerapp and let us know!

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