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Beer is often associated with a deeply bitter flavor that leaves your lips puckered. It’s a bit of an acquired taste, and some people don’t like it. With sweet beer, though, you have a reason to try beer again (or reintroduce it to someone who nearly died from a DIPA). If you are looking for more information on sweet beers, including what kind to try, what flavors to look for, and how to brew sweet beers at home, you are in the right place.
This Ultimate Guide to Sweet Beer will tell you everything you need to know, so let’s not dilly-dally.
What is Sweet Beer?
While dozens of beer types exist out in the world, sweet beer is not an independent category. Rather, sweet beer can be really any kind of beer, so long as the taste is not overwhelmingly hoppy.
As such, when you see the phrase “sweet beer,” all it really means is that the flavor tends to be more mild. In some cases, as with dessert beer, the beverage may be downright decadent.
Beer Types That Count as Sweet Beer
Sweet beers appear in a number of beer categories, particularly those with loads of malt or fruit. That said, the characteristics of sweet beers tend to be either nutty and toasty or with toffee and caramel. Fruity beers can be sweet, but they can also be sour, depending on the type. Therefore, not all fruit beers can be called sweet.
Here is a list of beer types that can be sweetened:
- English Brown Ale
- Dunkel Lager
- Imperial Stout
- Belgian Pale Ale
- Irish Red Ale
- Scotch Ale
- Biere de Garde
However, craft breweries are always trying out new ideas. There are some sweet beers that exist that do not fall into any of these categories. You will see some examples in the list of the best sweet beers farther down in this article.
Is Sweet Beer The Same as Dessert Beer?
Yes, sweet beers and dessert beers typically have similar flavors, including malts, chocolate, maple syrup, and so on. However, the one distinction is that sweet beers do not have to taste like gingerbread cookies and chocolate lava cake. They can be light, mild, and fruity. Dessert beers, on the other hand, have notes of cinnamon, vanilla, butterscotch, and sugared pecans.
You will find that stouts, porters, barleywines, and brown ales have many dessert-inspired flavors.
What About Fruity Beer?
Fruit beers are not inherently sweet, though a few can be counted in the sweet beer category. While the beverage may have sweet notes, a majority of fruit beers are more sour, such as grapefruit or citrus IPAs. That said, there is no shortage of experimentation with fruit beers at craft breweries. You can find incredibly sweet fruit beers that taste more like fruit punch than beer. On the other hand, you may come across a fruit beer that tastes more like super sour Warheads candy.
Are Pastry Stouts a Sweet Beer?
Yes, you can call a pastry stout a sweet beer. According to Hop Culture, “pastry stout” refers to a “stout that has been brewed to be intentionally sweet and is often made with the addition of plenty of sugary ingredients.” When you pour a pastry stout, it is often creamy and rich. In fact, if you were to ask most brewers what the defining trait of pastry stouts is, they would say the sugar content, which often comes from lactose. That adds the creamy texture that pastry stout lovers have come to enjoy.
However, due to the fact that the lactose content exempts a lot of drinkers, there are brewers whipping up delicious pastry stouts that use other sweeteners. That is why you might find a blueberry cheesecake dessert stout on the shelf in the liquor store beside a cream stout or a beer that tastes like s’mores.
Pastry stouts are currently riding the wave of popularity next to Hazy IPAs, Milkshake IPAs, and sours. You can also try sweet stouts, such as the milk stout, tropical stout, or oatmeal stout.
Is Chocolate Beer a Sweet Beer?
Yes and no. While a lot of people roll their eyes at chocolate beer because they think it’s some Godiva knock-off of real beer, it is not a dessert beer. Interestingly, chocolate beer is not always sweet—and it has a long, complex history. Long ago, Columbian Mesoamericans used fermented cacao to make a beer-like drink known as chicha.
Chicha was unsweetened and is thought to have tasted like dark, slightly bitter chocolate. Because chicha is the basis for real chocolate beer, the end result is actually rather high in IBUs. Sure, chocolate beer might not reach the bitterness of an IPA, but the flavors are roasted, earthy, and more like black coffee than a chocolate bar.
Also, “chocolate” sometimes refers to the color of the beer, not the flavor. For instance, “chocolate malt” does not mean you are getting a chocolate milkshake flavored beer. That only refers to the dark color of the malted grains. There are some chocolaty notes from the malt, but it isn’t enough to make chocolate beer sweet.
In short, don’t pick up a chocolate beer thinking it’s going to be a dessert beer without reading the label first!
What Makes a Good Sweet Beer?
How do you know the sweet beer you’re picking up is going to be worthwhile? First off, you want to consider the type of beer. Keep in mind that your stouts, porters, and milder ales often have the making of a sweet beer. For example, many of the best dessert stouts have a slightly elevated ABV for a smooth mouthfeel, as well as hints of vanilla, toffee, caramel, and chocolate.
If you want a more fruity sweet beer, opt for beers that use a lot of aromatic hops known for their citrus or tropical notes. Fresh fruit juice or extracts in the ingredient list also help.
The main thing, though, is to look for beers that have less bittering hops and more malt. Bittering hops increase the IBUs, while malt adds sweetness.
Ultimate List of Sweet Beers to Try in 2022
There are so many delicious beers out in the world for you to try. It doesn’t matter what you are craving, there are flavors out there that are mind-boggling, to say the least. Whether you want something light and easy to drink for the summer or want a chocolaty dessert before dinner, there is a sweet beer out there for you.
Check out this list of 23 sweet beers to try in 2022:
What, Bud Light is a sweet beer? Well, the pale lager infused with lime definitely counts as a sweet beer. In 2008, when Bud Light Lime was first released, people who didn’t necessarily enjoy watered down beer or stronger beer found a home with Bud Light Lime. At 4.2% ABV, Bud Light Lime also goes down easy but is sure to give you a slight buzz by the end of the night.
When you try Bud Light Lime, you will be surprised that it feels less like beer and more like a slightly flat soda. The sweetness may be a little overwhelming, but it is definitely worth a taste.
Don’t like Bud Light Lime? Try Bud Light Orange, which is brewed with orange peel instead of lime.
Blue Moon is another example of a sweet beer that is easier to drink than dry beers without losing its distinct beer qualities. The Belgian White hides the typical beer flavor and its 5.4% ABV behind orange peel, coriander, and pepper. The coriander is a surprising addition, but it balances out the sweet and spice so that the beer’s flavors dance on the tongue.
For a sweet beer, Blue Moon Belgian White has just enough beer flavor to make it complex without it being overpowering.
Hoegaarden is often compared to Blue Moon in that they both taste like a beverage that is disguised as beer. Also, Hoegaarden is brewed with spices like coriander and orange peel, so it also tastes like Blue Moon. Interestingly, Hoegaarden uses a recipe that is more than 500 years old and utilizes herbs that were grown in Curacao.
The beer is tinted yellow and a little hazy. Flavor-wise, the beer qualities are soft, letting you sample the subtle hints of fruit. It’s a sweet beer you can order at the bar or restaurant without having to worry about your buddies calling you out.
Okay, time for a history lesson! Samuel Smith’s Old Brewery is located in Tadcaster, England and is one of the oldest breweries still around today. It was founded in 1758, meaning the brewmasters had plenty of time to perfect their Chocolate Stout. Now, remember how chocolate stouts aren’t always considered a sweet beer? This one is sweet, akin to a boozy chocolate milk.
The beer is sweetened with a mix of chocolate and vanilla that is complemented with hints of coconut and cherry. Plus, you can smell the aromatic hops. Overall, this sweet chocolate stout is smooth, balanced, and—at 5% ABV—just boozy enough.
Here is an honest review:
Back in 2006 when Kronenbourg Brewery, France’s largest brewery, launched this wheat beer, it created a stir. Now, it is one of the most popular wheat beers in France. A light Belgian wheat, Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc is well-rounded and filling. It is also loaded up with fruity flavors that balance out more sour notes from the wheat malt. If you find Blue Moon beer a little boring, try Kronenbourg 1664 Blanc.
Saranac Brewery is a small establishment in Utica, NY. However, their brews all have a lot of character. Case in point: the S’more porter. Somehow, the brewmasters managed to make a beer that encompasses the campfire and the trademark treat. What you would expect to be a thick beer is a light tasting brew that has the perfect balance of marshmallow, graham cracker, and chocolate blended together. It’s bready, heady, and caramel-y.
This sweet beer will make you believe in magic (or at least alchemy).
Similar to Samuel Smith’s Chocolate Stout, this sweet version is known for its velvety consistency and rich color. Lancaster Brewing Co. made this beer dangerously dark and deceptive. It has a chocolaty aroma that sings of Easter baskets and chocolate milk on the weekends. You also get a creamy head from the lactose—which also means you will get a stout ‘stache.
Tired of chocolate stouts? No worries. Lancaster Brewing Co. has more than one sweet beer on deck. Check out the Milk Stout, which tastes more like a hoppy latte, or their light and cheery Strawberry Wheat beer. Although not entirely sweet, the adventurous beer drinker may also partake of their Peanut Butter English Style Ale, Freshly Roasted.
Ever wish you could combine beer and coffee? Well, Atwater Brewery has accomplished something incredible with their Vanilla Java Porter. This sweet beer combines all the sugary and vanilla-y elements of your morning cup of coffee as well as a robust beer flavor. You have to try it to believe just how good this beer tastes. And at 5% ABV, you will be feeling really good before work!
Coffee not tickling your fancy? Atwater Brewing also came out with a Decadent Dark Chocolate Brown Ale that uses chocolate extract and a unique blend of malts.
Inspired by the fact that ale was once called liquid bread and sustained many lives back in the day, Eagle Brewery had an idea. Why not mix together bananas and malt to make a Banana Bread beer? This sweet beer is jaw dropping. Yes, it tastes like homemade banana bread. It’s sweet, tempting, and aromatic. Eagle Brewery recommends pairing their Banana Bread sweet beer with chocolate, cheesecakes, and beef.
Check out this fun review:
Kind of like Guinness but much smoother and sweet, Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale is nitro-brewed. In other words, it has a smooth, creamy consistency that is a little like a thin milkshake. The light carbonation gives it a light beer feel, but the caramel flavor is incredibly delicious. Kilkenny is a favorite among beer drinkers because it doesn’t necessarily feel like you’re drinking beer but dessert.
A cult favorite in the world of sweet beers, Schofferhofer Hefeweizen Grapefruit combines a light wheat base alongside a sweet soda-like vibe. You might think the grapefruit would make it more like a seltzer, but this beer is actually well-rounded. There is a fine balance between the wheat and the grapefruit, which also gives it a distinct flavor. You can also find this sweet beer across the globe.
Not a fan of grapefruit? You can also try Pomegranate or Juicy Pineapple. Both are flavorful and bright.
From the moment you pour yourself a glass of Hanssens Oude Kriek, you are going to be transported to hillsides and quaint European villages. The scent of cherry and almond is heady and sweet, while the flavor is a decent mix between dessert and sour fruit. This kriek is a definite contender among fruit beers, especially when you consider the depth of its flavor. You can also leave this beer to age for a while, as that will make the flavors fuller and sweeter.
Introducing a truly decadent sweet beer that is truly a guilty pleasure. For Pete’s Sake by DuClaw Brewing is a 9% ABV porter that tastes like a Reese’s Peanut Butter cup. Considering the amount of alcohol in a serving, this is a beer that goes down easy and leaves you itching for another glass. Plus, it truly tastes like peanut butter and chocolate; there is very little beer flavor to be found.
If you absolutely love peanut butter, you should also consider trying Sweet Baby Java, a sweet beer that is infused with espresso and PB. Sweet Baby Jesus is another version of For Pete’s Sake that is available year-round.
Oskar Blues Brewery won the 2014 GABF Silver Medal for their Chocolate Beer. Death by Coconut is a chocolate beer that deserves all kinds of acclaim and raving reviews. Using Simpson’s Extra Dark Crystal malts and desiccated coconut, the brewmasters made liquid chocolate-covered coconut. The Irish-style porter is also velvety on the tongue without being too heavy going down. It’s approachable, unique, and bound to make even beer haters fall in love.
Despite being blacker than oblivion, this stout is so delicious it is otherworldly. You won’t know you have cracked open a can of beer as the scents of sugars, vanilla, and chocolate rise up to say, “Hello.” And yes, this stout truly does taste like Creme Brulee going down. With each sip, you get hints of coffee, licorice, chocolate, and cream. It is also deceptively creamy, which means that 10% ABV is going to knock you on your butt after you’ve slurped down a couple cans.
Think Creme Brulee may be too sweet? Try their Nitro Hot Cocoa or Nitro Thick Mint.
If you want to depart from higher alcohol beers, take a look at this raspberry lambic with only 2.5% ABV. Linderman’s Framboise Lambic is not meant to get you drunk, and it tastes a bit more like wine than beer. For wine drinkers, this may be what gets you hooked on beer. The drink itself is crisp, slightly acidic, and rich in all kinds of berries, not just raspberry. On the first sip, you taste mixed berries, and that flavor stays with you.
Try Lindeman’s Framboise Lambic with a charcuterie board full of cheeses and crackers. Lindeman’s also makes peach, strawberry, cherry, apple, and cassis lambics for you to try. Some are way sweeter than others, though.
Evil Twin has always put out beers that push the definition of beer. One of the beers that continues to wow the masses with its flavors is Imperial Biscotti Break. The dessert beer is an imperial stout that has been brewed with coffee, vanilla, and almond flavors. Now, where some sweet beers tend to taste artificial in some way, Evil Twin’s Imperial Biscotti Break absolutely tastes like the classic Italian cookie.
The lightly roasted malts blend together with the sugary sweetness of vanilla and cookie. You can even smell the almond cookies in the beer. The bottom line is that Evil Twin has done the impossible with their sweet stout.
Two other beers from Evil Twin Brewing that are available to try and are deliciously sweet include Turkish Delight (which tastes like the real dessert) and Liquid Double Fudge.
Considering the other beers in this list, Rogue’s Hazelnut Brown Nectar is relatively mild in terms of flavor. Being that it is a European style Brown Ale, it is already mellow. Then the brewers toss in some hazelnut flavoring to give it just enough sweetness to go down easy. The beer smells a little like amaretto and tastes like a swirl of Nutella, vanilla, and caramel.
Not a fan of hazelnut? Rogue also has a Honey Kolsch that is a delightful balance between malt, bitterness, and sweetness. You should also keep a lookout for their Chocolate Stout Nitro, Double Chocolate Stout, and Pineapple Party Punch.
Commonly called “the beer for people who hate beer,” this is a fruity and crisp lager that is sure to remind you more of a White Claw than a beer. Abita’s Purple Haze is full of raspberries and sweetness from wheat malts and Vanguard hops. You won’t have to worry about any dryness or tartness from this brew. Plus, anyone who drinks beer can happily have this, as it is too good to really put down.
Another offering from Abita Brewing that you might want to try is their Strawberry Lager. It’s a bit more tart than Purple Haze, but it’s still downright luscious.
Do you love strawberries and cream? Then you should jump at the chance to try the Strawberry Blonde from Arbor Brewing. With 6.8% ABV, the Strawberry Blonde beer is a delightfully fruity ale that goes down a little too easy. Arbor Brewing crafts this treat by blending pale malts and real strawberries together. There are also some spices added to bring out even more flavor.
Strawberry Blonde is a sweet beer that will make you wish you’d tried it sooner.
Let’s say you like hops but not IPA level hops. That is when you try the Summer Shandy from Leinenkugel’s, which is a traditionally brewed Weiss beer with a hint of lemon and sugar. While this is not purely beer but a mix with lemonade, it is the cool, refreshing, and mildly intoxicating beverage you want to bring to the beach. Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy is aptly named, because it will remind you of beach sand between your toes and barbecued ribs.
This beer is available in the USA from March through August every year.
Sun’s out, get your Shock Top out. Here is another version of a summery brew that is sure to please beer drinkers of all types. Shock Top has been competing with Leinenkugel for ages over their lemony shandies, and they just keep getting better. Recently, Shock Top released Zest, a 90 calorie beer that is made with lemon and orange zest. Like Leinenkugel, Shock Top uses an old-fashioned recipe for a Belgian wheat beer recipe that is truly delicious.
This beer is light, mildly sweet, and has just enough tartness from the lemon to make it refreshing.
Hailing from Texas, Karbach Brewing Co. has decided to take a different route with brewing up something fruity and sweet. Pour your Love Street Citrus into a glass, and you will be amazed by the richly orange fragrance. It contains 4.6% alcohol and is reminiscent of orange soda. You will be transported back to childhood for sure.
Karbach Brewing Co. also has dozens of creative seasonal sweet beers available at their taproom in Austin, TX. For example, Strawberry Fields is another sweet beer of theirs to try. Yule Shoot Your Eye Out is another winner. If you ever plan on heading out that way, a visit would be worth your while!
Last but not least is the Brig Mocha Stout from Springdale Brewing. The ingredients to this mightily scrumptious beer include Brazilian coffee, milk sugar, oats, and cacao. Springdale calls it a breakfast stout, and they aren’t wrong. You will be tempted to swap out your coffee for this brew. Although not overwhelmingly sweet, you may forget that you’re drinking a stout.
Springdale specializes in Hazy IPAs and Tart Ales, but they also have some barrel-aged beers like Coconut Cast Away and Barrel-Aged Maple Brig that will blow your taste buds away.
How to Homebrew a Sweet Beer
Achieving a delicious sweet beer takes a bit of experimentation. Making a milder beer or a dessert beer will require you to rethink the way you brew beer, especially if you are used to making dryer batches. You can’t deny that it’s nice to swap things up every once in a while and try a new recipe, though!
Now, here is the thing. Getting sweet beer is more than adding copious amounts of sugar to a recipe. If you did that, you might ruin a beautiful thing. To help you make a sweet beer, consider the following tips:
Select a Caramel Malt
Choosing the right mash for your sweet beer is where the journey begins. Lighter caramel malts impart a delicious toffee character, while darker caramel has a raisin or burnt sugar flavor. Use about 1 pound of caramel malts along with less sweet malts to balance out the beer.
Or you can be like this guy and use a ridiculously sweet cereal as part of the grain bill:
Mash Your Sweet Beer At a Higher Temperature
Did you know that you can control the sweetness of beer by mashing at a higher temperature? If you are a partial or all-grain brewer, this is one of the best ways to sweeten your beer without doing too much extra work. Most mashes are done at around 144-148 degrees F (62-65 degrees C) to give the enzymes in the grain time to break down the starches into a fermentable sugar.
Since the sugars become fermentable, the yeast can then consume more of it. This gives you a dry beer. If you aim for hotter, let’s say around 152-160 degrees F (66-71 degrees C), less of the starches are converted, making less fermentable sugar. The yeast will work much harder to break down the sugar, so your beer has more sugars in the final product.
Mashing at a higher temperature than usual also assists with a fuller body and head.
Boil Your Beer For Longer
What a lot of homebrewers call caramelization is actually the Maillard reaction, which happens when you boil your wort for longer. The Maillard reaction is often used to get a darker color, but you can also use it to create some warm toasty notes. The more intense the boil, the sweeter the flavor.
You also don’t have to do this with the whole batch. Say you have a 5 gallon batch going. Remove about a pint of wort and put it in a smaller saucepan. Increase the heat until you have an intense rolling boil. That will stimulate the Maillard reaction, lending the right notes to the wort, but the sweetness won’t be overpowering. Add the pint of wort back into the original batch when it is time to ferment.
Achieve Lower Yeast Attenuation
The kind of yeast you select for your sweet beer also plays a role in the outcome. In brewing, there is attenuation, meaning the rate at which yeast converts sugar into carbon dioxide and sugar. If you select a highly attenuative strain of yeast, it is going to consume a large portion of sugar (and give you loads of alcohol). Less attenuative yeast, on the other hand, does not use as much sugar, leaving you with a sweeter result.
Some examples of low attenuating yeast strains include:
- Whitbread Ale (Wyeast 1099)
- Irish Ale (Wyeast 1084)
- London ESB (Wyeast 1968)
- Ringwood Ale (Wyeast 1187)
Other things that affect attenuation include the mash quality, fermentation temperature, yeast health, and the pitch rate.
Consider Calcium Chloride
Believe it or not, the quality of your water can influence the sweetness of your home-brewed beer. Using soft water as an all grain brewer is a great way to bring out more maltiness. You can mix in a small amount of calcium chloride into the water for your batch. Before doing that, though, it is recommended that you use a variety of doses in a few finished beers so you can see how the calcium chloride will change the flavor.
How to Homebrew a Sweet Dessert Stout
One of the best ways to obtain an ideally sweet beer is to make your own. The methodology behind brewing an excellent dessert stout is laid out for you, so gather the equipment and follow the steps exactly.
Here are some things to keep in mind when brewing up a dessert stout:
Selecting The Right Grains and Adjuncts
One of the main mistakes homebrewers make when attempting a dessert stout is the grains. You do not want to use a ton of specialty malts. Select a couple of grains that are roasted and chocolaty, especially the ones that have been debittered. You will nix the burned coffee flavor and get a much smoother end result.
Considering using oats? Consider this: oats are perfect for giving body to the beer. Since a thick and creamy body and mouthfeel is essential to a dessert beer, you want to include some oats. You also want to include crystal or caramel malts as part of the grist. If you are making a 5 gallon batch of dessert stout, you need about a pound of crystal malts.
Now for the adjuncts that give you even more sweetness. You have two choices: maltodextrin and lactose. Obviously, lactose is not desirable for those with intolerance. However, if that doesn’t matter, you will want lactose for a full mouthfeel. Maltodextrin does not provide the same depth and texture, but it does add to head retention.
Secondary Flavors and Adjuncts
Once you have brewed up your stout and have finished the primary phase of fermentation, you put the brew into the secondary fermenter. During this time, you add the secondary flavorings and adjuncts to the blend. This is the period when you develop the flavor you want, whether it is coconut macaroon or carrot cake.
Here are some common flavors to add during secondary fermentation:
- Cinnamon: Use the whole sticks of cinnamon, but do not overdo it. Cinnamon can overwhelm the stout, so let it soak for up to 3 days.
- Coffee: You can add a bag of roasted coffee beans for 1-3 days.
- Vanilla: Slice the beans, adding about 5-10 for 5 gallons. Soak the vanilla for 2 weeks.
- Maple: If you want to add maple, use a fenugreek-based extract. Taste a little on your finger to see how much you need. Only 1-2 drops may be enough, depending on the extract’s quality.
- Coconut: Use some roasted coconut during the secondary fermentation period, letting it soak for about 2 weeks. Roasting the coconut is necessary. Otherwise, your brew will come out tasting like lotion, and it will be too oily for head retention. You need 1-2 pounds for 5 gallons of desert stout.
- Graham Crackers: Use a box of graham crackers for a 5 gallon brew. Keep in mind that graham crackers often cause some fermentation activity with any leftover yeast.
- Bourbon: While the pros have to use a bourbon barrel to infuse their beer with bourbon notes for their beer to be legal, you don’t have to do it that way. Instead, you can pour about 250 ml of bourbon into your 5 gallons of beer during secondary fermentation.
The Best Hops For a Dessert Stout
Sorry, bro, but those Chinook, Galaxy, and Citra hops you love have to go! Those hops are wonderful for brewing up a bitter IPA, but you need something sweet, not sassy. Choose hops like the Magnum varietal work well, as do Fuggles, East Kent Goldings, Challenger, Target, and Northdown hops.
Select one fruity bittering variety and toss that into the brew at the beginning of the boil.
You want to add a little bitterness because it rounds out the sweetness and prevents your beer from tasting like melted sugar. However, if you don’t want to add the bittering hops, simply age your dessert stout for a longer period of time. Dessert stouts tend to age really well and end up with subtle flavors the longer you wait to enjoy them.
Directions For Brewing a Sweet Stout
So you have gathered up some of the ingredients needed. Make sure you have also cleaned and sanitized all of the equipment you plan on using. Once you have done that, you’re ready to start brewing!
Let’s get started.
- If you know how to make stout already, go about your normal procedure.
- You will need a 7.5-10 gallon boil kettle to get your water boiling.
- Start the mash. Set the temperature to around 158 degrees F (70 degrees C) and let your grains cook for about 45-60 minutes.
- Next, you boil the mixture for about 60-90 minutes, depending on the hops you are using.
- Use an American or English strain of yeast when pitching the wort, such as Danstar’s Nottingham dry yeast. You will need about 2 weeks in the primary fermenter for full attenuation. During that time, the temperature should be stable.
- Throw in your next round flavorings and adjuncts once it is time to transfer the beer to the secondary fermenter. Let the beer sit for another 2-3 weeks at least. Do not go beyond 1 year of aging, especially if the beer is of lower ABV. It will be sickeningly sweet.
You can also follow this video and make a Chocolate Coffee Stout:
Enjoy The Sweetness of Beer
Traditionally beer isn’t for everyone. Thank goodness you’re alive during a time when craft breweries are unleashing their creativity for all to sample. Hopefully, this ultimate guide to sweet beers has opened your eyes to not only the potential of flavors in beer but also some new homebrewing practices. Sweet beers, including pastry stouts and fruity beers, are becoming more and more popular. So keep your eyes opened for new releases in the liquor store or attempt making one of your own.
Beer can be sweet. In that case, it’s known as sweet beer. Such a beer is beer but without too much of the trademark beer flavor. In other words, a sweet beer has a mild flavor that may be described as caramel, toffee, fruity, malty, chocolaty, or dessert-like.
There are many fruity beers out there, including regular lagers, IPAs, and styles that contain fruit juice or notes imbued from certain hops. Fruit beers that are based heavily of fruit flavors are called Shandies or Radlers. Kriek ale has cherry in it. You may also see fruit beers called Lambics on the shelf. However, the most common labeling is simply “fruit beer” these days.
Sweet beers are vast and varied. You can find domestic sweet beers, including Bud Light Lime or Blue Moon Belgian White, which have fruitier notes and a more mellow flavor overall. Other sweet beers worth trying include Shock Top Zest, Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy, Cascade Brewing Kriek Ale, Springdale Beer Brig Mocha Stout, Samuel Smith’s Organic Chocolate Stout, and many more.
Irish cream ales, English brown ale, Dunkel lagers, doppelbocks, eisbocks, lambics, krieks, and also certain kinds of stouts and porters. For example, milkshake stouts and dessert stouts tend to be on the sweeter side.
Yes! Sweet beers do exist, and they are not only for the ladies to enjoy. Sweet beers can be fruity, malty, sugary, chocolaty, vanilla-y, and caramel-y. What sweet beers are not is hoppy, bitter, and smokey. If you would like to try a sweet beer, look for chocolate stouts, dessert beers, and fruit beers.
Krieks, lambics, sours, and Hazy IPAs often contain fruit. You can also find stouts, hefeweizen, bocks, and brown ales made with fruit. Look for beers that have been labeled “fruit beer” or have fruit in the name. That will tell you what to expect.
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