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Milk Chocolate Stout


Fall is in full swing here in Phoenix. Our definition of Fall is quite different from a lot of the country (80s and sunshine), but the nights are cooling off, which is putting me in the mood for a dark roasty beer. I started flipping through my brew log looking for some inspiration, as I often do. Literally 50 pages deep, still digging for something, I realized it had been nearly three years since I last brewed a milk stout. A milk stout it is. Never one to leave well-enough alone, I decided to throw in some cacao nibs as well; Milk Chocolate Stout does have a nice ring to it.


My last milk stout was good but not great. It was too roasty, and a little too dry. I mashed around 152*, and used mostly Roasted Barley for the color and flavor. As best as I can tell, that gave it a slightly astringent taste. It could have been my water at the time, but who knows. This time around I really wanted a smoother, more chocolate-like character, so I’m using mostly Chocolate and Carafa malts to get the color. There’s a little roasted barley in there, as well as some Munich and Crystal for complexity. We obviously need some lactose, and I’m using a full pound of it in this recipe. Despite the hefty amount of un-fermentables, I’m also bumping the mash temp up to 155-156* with the hope of this beer finishing around 1.023 or so.


My brew day was nice and easy. I’m finally filling back up my pipeline of beers after the wedding, which is a good feeling as well. Also, the ground water temps are cooling down to the high 70s, which is making chilling the wort much more pleasant. Anyway, I did a 60 minute rest, got a good runoff, added the lactose, and boiled for 60 minutes. I chilled this down to 60F, and added about 250B cells of WLP090. Then some O2, and into the fermentation fridge at 17.2C.

Brewed: 10-12-13
Kegged: 10-26-13
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.022
ABV: 5.7%
IBU: 40
6 Gallons

11.5lbs 2-row
1lb Chocolate Malt
10oz Dark Munich
8oz Roasted Barley
8oz Carafa III Special
8oz English Medium Crystal
1lb Lactose
Mash @ 155*
1oz Apollo @60
WLP090 – Super San Diego Yeast
6oz Cacao Nibs in the Secondary


This fermented very fast. I’m not exactly sure why, but this beer took off much quicker than I’m used to with WLP090 despite the cool temps. I’d say fermentation was pretty much done after 48hrs. More out of laziness than anything, I let the wort hangout in the fermentor for a week before I racked it into a secondary to add the 6oz of cacao nibs. I let that go for another week before crashing the secondary to drop the nibs, and racking to keg. After some gelatin, CO2, and a week’s worth of time, it was tasting pretty good.


I’m honestly pleasantly surprised with how this turned out. I was worried the chocolate would be either overbearing or absent, but it melds in very well. The aroma smells pretty much like a milk chocolate shake. There’s some malty aromas, and a little roastiness, but ya….milk chocolate. The flavor is more stout-like than the aroma. There’s definitely some roastiness, but it edges less towards the coffee end of the spectrum, and more towards the chocolate side. No hop flavor to note. The lactose comes in at the end, both in flavor and mouthfeel. The head isn’t quite as good as I hoped it would be, but I can live with that.


Overall, this is a really nice beer, and a great way to enjoy the cooler temps at night on the porch with a cigar. I’m definitely curious to see how this does entered as a 23A beer in some competitions, so I’m entering it in two over the next month. We’ll see.

22 thoughts on “Milk Chocolate Stout”
  1. Troy Poulier 11.07.2013 on 11:47 PM Reply

    I brewed a milk stout at the end of summer earlier this year (In in Oz) and it was a bit too roasty.
    Im going to give your recipe a try next time and see how it goes. I also added some flaked oats for mouthfeel to mine and may do the same again.

  2. ratso 11.08.2013 on 2:57 AM Reply

    hey you know what scott, i actually get excited when you have a new blog post out. i know it must be a pain in the ass to do this sometimes, but this blog is frigging great. keep up the good work.

  3. Adam Meyers 11.08.2013 on 12:18 PM Reply

    What kind of cacoa nibs did you use in secondary? Did you give any thought to adding them at flameout or would that create too much chocolate flavor?

  4. Troy Poulier 11.08.2013 on 11:55 PM Reply

    +1 to that.

  5. mike makris 11.09.2013 on 8:15 PM Reply

    What kind of Chocolate, Roasted, and English Medium Crystal did you use? While most of the time simple is better, I think dialing back the Roasted Barley and getting your color and darker flavors from different malts is the way to go for darker beers.

    Also, how did you calculate 230 billion cells? Did you make a starter or pitch from a previous batch and measure the volume of the yeast? Pitch 2 vials? Either way, pretty awesome to know you can get WLP090 to finish that high since you said in a previous post it's your house yeast now.

  6. Daniel Bartholomaeus 11.11.2013 on 12:11 PM Reply

    I can't believe how quickly your beers reach FG. I make appropriate starters, have great temp control (mash and ferment) and oxygenate with pure O2 but cannot get them all the way down to FG no matter how long. Advice please ferm-guru.

  7. Scott 11.11.2013 on 2:25 PM Reply

    Good luck with it! I could see the oats being pretty tasty in this recipe

  8. Scott 11.11.2013 on 2:33 PM Reply

    Thanks guys!

  9. Scott 11.11.2013 on 2:34 PM Reply

    Just raw cacao nibs. Considering that I bought them a whole foods they were probably organic or something. I'd be curious to see flavor difference in adding them at flameout. I hadn't thought about that.

  10. Scott 11.11.2013 on 2:39 PM Reply

    Chocolate was 350L american chocolate. The English Medium Crystal is just that, English Medium Crystal. I don't know the malster. It's 50-60L.

    The yeast was calced via a pitch rate calculator. As for WLP090 finishing so high, keep in mind the 1LB of lactose will raise the FG like 5-6 points. So this beer probably would have finished around like 1.017 or so without the lactose. It turned out really good though.

  11. Scott 11.11.2013 on 2:41 PM Reply

    This beer was definitely a fluke. I'm not sure why the yeast took off so fast. There's a number of things that can affect attenuation though. Grist, mash temp, yeast strain, etc, etc.

  12. zachary josey 11.14.2013 on 5:59 PM Reply

    I'll bring the cigar if you provide the beer! Looking forward to the next article.

  13. Jerad Traudt 12.09.2013 on 5:43 PM Reply

    A lot of milk stout recipes call for just 8oz of lactose. Does the full pound push this into the dessert beer range, or could you still easily throw back a full pint?

  14. Chris 01.08.2014 on 5:46 PM Reply

    How many gallons of what did you use to mash and how many to sparge?

  15. Jerad Traudt 02.10.2014 on 3:43 PM Reply

    Just keged this 2 weeks ago, and I must say it's delicious! Only thing I did differently was made an extract with the cacao nibs with 6oz of vodka, then added 1/2oz of vanilla extract to that to bring out the chocolate a little more. Also, I'm glad I followed your recipe and went with the full pound of lactose, it adds a really nice mouthfeel to the beer. Excellent! Up next will be the American Amber!

  16. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:34 PM Reply

    It's not too sweet. You'd be surprised how well the 1lb of lactose works.

  17. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:35 PM Reply

    I do roughly 1.5qt/lb for my strike water. I sparge with whatever my brewing calculator tells me I need to hit my pre-boil volume. It varies beer-by-beer

  18. Scott 02.12.2014 on 3:35 PM Reply

    That's awesome! Glad to hear it turned out well

  19. Timothy McKinney 11.14.2014 on 4:29 PM Reply

    Scott thanks for taking the time to post all of your hard work! I am thinking of doing a milk chocolate coffee stout and noticed you have done both a chocolate coffee stout and milk chocolate stout. Do you think adding coffee (similar to what you did with the chocolate coffee stout) to the milk chocolate stout would work well?

    Also, what does your water profile look like for the milk chocolate and the chocolate coffee stouts?

    Lastly, I noticed many of your recipes say 6 gallons. Is that 6 gallons finished product or 6 gallons into primary or something entirely different? I planned on doing primary in my 6.5 gallon glass carboy but might pick up an extra fermenting bucket based on the volumes you are using (or adjust the recipe).

    Thanks again!

  20. Brian 01.13.2015 on 5:04 AM Reply

    How did the beer score in the competition?

  21. Fredrik Engström 02.23.2016 on 2:13 PM Reply

    Hi Scott. I am a big fan of your brews! Wanted to try making the Milk chocolate Stout. When entering the recipe into Beersmith 2, I get an color, EBC of 116.6. I assume this is darker then expected. I live in Europe and are using Crisp and Weyermann malts. The EBC for the malts i have are, Chocolate malt=1000, Carafa III=1400, Medium Crystal=270, Roasted Barley=1350 Caramunich=124 Maris otter=3.5 does this sound way of your target or is it just me. Appreciate some guidance. Regards Fred

  22. […] served as in inspiration of sorts. From a recipe standpoint, I borrowed pretty heavily from the Milk Chocolate Stout I brewed roughly a year ago. I’m using the same malts in this recipe, only tweaking the […]

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