Beer Styles 201: What is a Stout?
There are so many different stout styles, are the names of the style actually an ingredient contained in the beer? Let’s find out!
By Shira Kogut on Aug. 31, 2017
What is a Stout?
A Stout is dark style beer and a form of Ale. Stouts are usually a rich, dark colour. Its unique ‘chocolatey’ or ‘coffee-like’ flavour comes from ‘smoked’ or malted barley. Stouts have a distinct thick, smooth and creamy texture that is different from your average beer.
Stout beers come in a variety of types and flavours, but what is in a stout and how are they made?
What is a Milk Stout
Milk Stout (also called a Cream Stout or Sweet Stout) are a variation of stout style beers with a distinct sweet flavour and a unique body.
Does Milk Stout Contain Milk?
Normally, Milk Stout is not made with real milk, but it does contain the lactose, the milk sugar. However, Milk Stout does not contain whey or casein.
Can I drink Milk Stout if I am Lactose Intolerant?
Unfortunately, most people who are lactose intolerant cannot drink Milk Stout. During fermentation, yeast breaks down the other ose sugars (glucose, sucrose and fructose), but the yeast doesn’t contain enough lactase in the brewing process to break down the lactose enzyme. (The same thing that prevents it from being digested by those who are lactose intolerant.) The lactose stays in the beer giving it the intended characteristic sweetness and fuller body.
Although Milk Stout contains lactose, it doesn’t contain whey or casein which is why generally people who are allergic to milk can drink Milk Stout, but people who are lactose intolerant cannot.
According to Tom Anderson on the Alcohol Stack Exchange:
“The amount of lactose in a milk stout varies, but it seems that it is likely to be in the range of 5 to 13%; that is, in a (568 millilitre) pint, there may be anywhere from 28 to 74 grams of lactose. The lactose concentration in milk is about 4%, so this is the equivalent of 700 – 1850 millilitres of milk. Rather a lot!”
So, we strongly suggest taking your Lactaid before drinking a Milk Stout.
Is Guinness A Milk Stout?
No, Guinness is not a Milk Stout. It’s a Dry Stout. So, don’t worry lactose intolerant beer geeks, you’re in the clear with a good ol’ Guinness beer.
What is an Oatmeal Stout?
An Oatmeal Stout is a variation of a sweet stout beer with oats used in place of roasted malt. Oatmeal Stouts have a characteristic rich, smoothness and give you that full sensation. You know the one… it’s the same one you get when eating a warm bowl of oatmeal on a cold winter day.
Does Oatmeal Stout Contain Actual Oatmeal?
Yes! Oatmeal Stout is made with real oats. In cooking, oats are used as a thickening agent and become oatmeal once fully cooked. When the oats become oatmeal, they are easier to use in the fermentation process.
A Must-Try Oatmeal Stout
Does Oyster Stout contain real Oysters?
What is Vanilla Stout? What is Chocolate Stout? What is Coffee Stout?
Does Vanilla, Coffee and Chocolate Stout Contain Vanilla, Coffee or Chocolate?
The flavour and aroma of vanilla in beer is usually imparted by actual vanilla whether in bean form or as an extract. On the other hand, the flavours of chocolate and coffee in beer while sometimes enhanced by putting in beans, cocoa or extract is actually produced by the roasting level of the malts. The specific one most often used is called Chocolate malt.
Now that you know all about stouts, learn more about other beer styles:
Amber Ale / Dark Ale
Amber Lager / Dark Lager
Belgian IPA / White India Pale Ale
Double IPA / Imperial IPA
Golden Ale / Blonde Ale
Golden Lager / Pale Lager
India Pale Ale (IPA)
Sour Ale / Wild Ale
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In this series, we are looking at what characterises the hundreds of styles of beers that are available. So far we have looked at how gravities and alcohol by volume (ABV.) are calculated, and how colour is measured and named. In this article, we will examine bitterness, the counterbalance to the sweetness from the malt, which is derived mostly from the hops.
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David Nuttall is an instructor at the Alberta Beer Festivals’ Beer School. He has worked in almost all aspects of the liquor industry. He is the current Judging Co-ordinator for Calgary International Beerfest and completed the Beer Judge Certification Program in 2012. He is passionate about beer and beer culture. This article is the first of a fascinating series on different beer styles.