Lactose in your beer

A post on the excellent Go Dairy Free website alerted us to the little known hazard down in the pub or the bar – your pint of Guinness or Mackesons could include lactose. As Alisa Fleming, who runs Go Dairy Free, says:

Milk ingredients linger in some of the strangest places, but I was still a bit taken back when I discovered that beer could be one of them. It seems ‘Milk’ beer has been around for some time, and may linger in breweries under the code name of Sweet Stout. Quite often it makes itself known with a more obvious title, such as Milk Stout or Cream Stout. Sweet 'milk' stouts became popular in Great Britain following the Second World War, but they have slowly crept into the U.S. and may be gaining in popularity. So what exactly is a milk stout? ...

It is a stout beer (dark beer made via the use of roasted malts or roast barley) that contains lactose, a common sugar derived from milk. Since the lactose is unfermentable, it adds sweetness, body, and calories to the finished beer, contrasting the roasted flavor.

A couple of well-known milk stouts include Mackeson XXX Stout brewed by Whitbread PLC (available in the US and UK) and Samuel Adams Cream Stout brewed by the Boston Beer Company (Sam Adams). A comprehensive list of Sweet/Milk Stoutsinthe US is viewable from the Beer Advocate.

Do check Alisa's site for loads of other interesting information, recipes, links and shopping suggestions.

First published in March 2010


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