Sweet Stout or Imperial Stout?

Sweet Stout
Dark brown to black in colour. Sweet stouts come in two main varieties - milk stout and oatmeal stout. Milk stouts are made with the addition of lactose, and are sweet and generally low in alcohol. Oatmeal lends a smooth fullness of body to stouts. All of the sweet stouts are noted for their restrained roastiness in comparison with other stouts, and their low hop levels.
This is what RateBeer says. But, more and more sweet stouts have higher ABV than 5-6 %. Imperial Stout? Not in my opinion since they are labeled as sweet and with lactose added. Is «lactose» the smoking gun here? Chocolate Imperial stouts are also sweet, but are not listed as Sweet Stout.

Shouldn’t an Imperial Stout be at least 8$. Although I have seen some on here at 7.5% +. IMO once a beer gets to that level then It’s crossed into Imperial territory…Just happens to be sweet.

And the brewer’s opinion should be controlling. Think I’ve seen 7% beers the brewer labels Double or Imperial.

These styles are not mutually exclusive.

If It’s a trad British brewer then they’ll label a 5% stout as Double. So safe to ignore ignore those ones!

Like Hook Norton.

One of the sweetest stouts I have had is Dark Lord. And there is no doubt as to what category it belongs. It is imperial all the way. And of course it has neither milk nor oatmeal.

I am not sure there is a definite cutoff between stout and imperial when it comes to ABV. But anything over 8% definitely goes into imperial territory. (This also goes for IPAs). And anything in the 7% range won’t get much argument either way. Below that and it is a stout. Just my opinion.

1 Like