Exploring the Unusual Taste of White Stout Beer

Ever sipped a beer that looks pale but tastes like a classic stout? White stout beer defies expectations, delivering rich stout flavors—coffee, chocolate, and smooth creaminess—in a surprisingly light-colored brew.

In this exploration, we’ll unveil the secrets behind its unique profile, how it’s made, and why it’s winning over beer lovers. Prepare to have your perceptions of stouts challenged.

Key Takeaways

  • White stout is a lighter-colored beer that surprisingly offers the taste and mouthfeel of traditional stouts, using pale malts and additives like coffee beans and cacao nibs instead of roasted malts.
  • Brewing white stout is an intricate process, balancing grain selection, fermentation, and enhancing mouthfeel with flavors like chocolate and coffee achieved through innovative techniques instead of dark roasting.
  • Despite challenges with consumer expectations due to its light color, white stout is gaining popularity and acceptance, suggesting a promising future for this unique beer style in the craft beer market.

What is White Stout?

White stout, a surprising beer style, is gaining popularity for its unique taste and unexpected flavors in local beer experiences. Despite its lighter appearance, it offers the unexpected taste of traditional stouts, catching beer enthusiasts off guard.

With the growing interest in unique and locally brewed beers, white stout is capturing attention as an unusual beer style.

Origins and Evolution

The concept of a white stout was notably inspired by Track 7’s White Stout, leading to a broader discussion among brewers on how to create this style. The term ‘stout’ historically referred to strong beer. However, modern white stouts aim to embody a stout-like mouthfeel and body while remaining light in color and flavor.

This necessitates a creative challenge for brewers to harmonize the traditional stout’s rich darkness with the visually light and subtly flavored white stout.

Key Ingredients

White stout typically incorporates:

  • Pale malts such as Maris Otter and Crystal malts, which are foundational for the beer’s taste and alcohol content
  • Flaked oats or barley to provide the distinctive smooth and creamy mouthfeel that is characteristic of traditional stouts
  • Key additives like cacao nibs and coffee beans to replicate the rich and complex flavors normally achieved in stouts through the use of roasted malts.

Flavor Profile

White stouts mimic traditional stouts’ flavor characteristics, typically exhibiting coffee and chocolate notes. These flavors are achieved with the addition of specific ingredients such as coffee beans and cacao nibs in lieu of roasted malts.

Beyond the foundational flavors, white stouts may also present a complex interplay of bourbon barrel, dried fruit, toasted malt, and mild bitterness.

Vanilla and coffee not only define the aroma profile but also dominate the taste experience, sometimes accompanied by lighter notes of bourbon sweetness and coffee hints.

Brewing Techniques for White Stout

Brewing white stout is an art that involves achieving stout-like flavors such as chocolate and coffee without the use of heavily roasted grains. This challenges preconceptions of traditional stout characteristics.

What sets white stout apart is the innovative brewing process, which employs adjuncts like coffee and chocolate to emulate the flavor profile of darker stouts.

The brewing process for white stout includes:

  1. Mashing
  2. Boiling
  3. Adding hops
  4. Chilling
  5. Transferring to a fermenter
  6. Fermenting

These steps shape the beer’s unique qualities and flavor characteristics.

Grain Selection

When it comes to brewing white stout, grain selection plays a pivotal role. Specialized grains are used to emulate the flavors of a traditional stout while maintaining a much lighter color.

Brewers achieve the stout-like flavors by incorporating lower-lovibond versions of traditional stout grains and adding smoked malt for smoky and roasty notes without increasing the beer’s darkness.

Some key grains used in brewing white stout include:

  • Pale malt
  • Munich malt
  • Flaked oats
  • Chocolate malt
  • Roasted barley

By carefully selecting and combining these grains, brewers can create a white stout that has the taste and aroma of a traditional stout, but with a lighter appearance.

Additionally, incorporating caramel or crystal malts boosts sweetness and mouthfeel, while limiting dark grains to less than 20 percent of the grist helps avoid astringent or burnt flavors.

Fermentation Process

The fermentation process of white stout uses English Ale yeast, known for its clean profile that supports the complex flavors from other ingredients without overpowering them.

Fermentation temperatures for white stouts are typically maintained around 68°F to enhance the beer’s unique flavor profile without competing with stout characteristics.

After fermentation, unique ingredients such as cold-steeped cold brew coffee, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans are introduced, lending white stouts their distinguishing bitterness and roasted character without the dark hue.

Enhancing Mouthfeel

The mouthfeel of white stouts is enhanced using ingredients such as oats, flaked barley, and dextrin malt, which contribute to a fuller, silkier texture.

Flavorful additives like cold-steeped coffee, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans are added post-fermentation to increase bitterness and roasted flavors without darkening the beer.

Serving white stout on a nitrogen and CO2 mix creates a creamier head and mouthfeel that enhances the drinking experience by mimicking traditional stouts.

Top White Stouts to Try

If you’re eager to sample this intriguing beer style, we’ve got a few recommendations for you. The unexpected combination of lighter color and traditional stout flavors makes the sensory experience of white stouts such as Noble Ale Works’ Naughty Sauce a unique selling point that intrigues customers.

White stouts like Noble Ale Works’ Naughty Sauce have shown market success, suggesting consumer acceptance is on the rise as the style becomes more familiar.

New Holland Dragon’s Milk White Stout

First up is the New Holland Dragon’s Milk White Stout, a Michigan-American Stout with a 6.0% ABV. This beer’s flavor profile includes:

  • The richness of bourbon barrel
  • The taste of dried fruit and toasted malt
  • A balance of mild bitterness
  • The tanginess of woody hops
  • Distinct spicy notes

The standout feature of this beer is its creamy texture and the stark contrast between its lighter color and the robust, stout-like flavors marked by prominent vanilla and coffee notes.

Whole Hog JP’s Casper White Stout

Next, we have the Whole Hog JP’s Casper White Stout, noted for its caramel, vanilla, and faint chocolate aroma. Reviewers have consistently described this white stout as having a unique and distinct profile when compared to traditional stouts, offering a pleasing drinking experience.

The brewers have added whole coffee beans after primary fermentation to infuse a coffee flavor without darkening the beer, creating a casper melds effect in the final product.

Last but not least is the Legal Remedy White Mocha Stout. This golden-colored beer boasts a 6.0% ABV and is lactose-free.

The beer’s aroma is noted for having chocolate, mocha, and malts, with particular emphasis on white chocolate and coffee notes. Its taste profile features a mix of white chocolate, mocha, coffee, lactose sweetness, and sweet malts that together create an enjoyable and well-balanced flavor.

Legal Remedy White Mocha Stout has garnered a beer rating of 90 out of 100, indicating its high esteem among consumers.

Creating Your Own White Stout Recipe

For those adventurous enough to brew their own white stout, here are some useful tips. Creating a white stout recipe involves choosing the right malts, balancing flavors with hops, and experimenting with additives like coffee beans, cacao nibs, and vanilla beans.

Choosing the Right Malts

The selection of appropriate malts is vital in the brewing process of a white stout. Maris Otter, Vienna pale malts, and pilsner malt are common base grains for white stouts, providing a suitable foundation with a slightly nutty or clean flavor, ensuring the prominence of coffee and cacao notes.

Additionally, specialty grains such as light and medium crystal malts, pale chocolate malt, smoked malt can be incorporated for achieving the characteristic taste without darkening the beer.

Balancing Flavors with Hops

It’s equally important to balance flavors using hops when brewing a white stout. High-alpha acid hops are often used in white stouts to provide a solid bitter counterpoint to the beer’s inherent sweetness.

Columbus hops, with their robust bitterness, are suited to the early boil stage and pair well with the coffee and chocolate notes of white stout.

Late addition of English or German hops, such as goldings hops, can introduce subtle hop flavors and aromas that enhance rather than overpower the unique qualities of a white stout.

Experimenting with Additives

Finally, feel free to explore with additives. Here are some options to consider:

  • Adding coffee beans during secondary fermentation adds desired coffee flavors
  • Vanilla beans offer vanilla aromas
  • Vodka tinctures with vanilla and cacao allow controlled flavor infusion without color alteration

Just remember to maintain sanitary conditions during the addition of flavorings to prevent beer contamination.

Pairing White Stouts with Food

Moving on to food pairings, the creamy texture and coffee and chocolate notes of white stouts go well with rich and savory dishes, aged cheeses, cream-based sauces, and desserts.

Appetizers and Snacks

Let’s start with appetizers and snacks. Smoked salmon highlights the flavors of white stout due to the contrast between the smokiness of the fish and the beer’s creamy, coffee-infused profile.

Soft pretzels with grainy mustard match well with the maltiness of white stout, where the beer’s profile pairs with the breadiness of the pretzels and the tanginess of the mustard.

Roasted almonds or cashews enhance the malt characteristics of white stout, making for a complementary nutty snack pairing.

Main Courses

For main courses, a classic burger topped with blue cheese pairs excellently with a white stout, as the beer’s richness balances the strong flavors of the meat and cheese. White stout’s coffee and chocolate notes enhance barbecue dishes, particularly those with sweet and smoky flavors.

Dishes featuring the intense and aromatic flavors of truffle, like truffle-infused pasta, find a rich complement in white stouts.


Lastly, let’s explore desserts. Chocolate cake paired with a white stout allows the beer’s roasted flavors to accentuate the chocolate notes, creating a harmonious taste experience.

Pairing vanilla bean ice cream with a white stout results in a delectable combination, thanks to the beer’s vanilla and coffee undertones for an affogato effect.

Debating the White Stout Controversy

White stout has its fair share of controversies. It garners mixed feelings among beer enthusiasts, inviting both fervent support for its unique character and criticism for deviating from the expected dark appearance of traditional stouts.

Breweries face challenges in marketing white stouts, as the name of the style can cause confusion and contradictory expectations among consumers.

Arguments For and Against

The arguments for and against white stout mainly focus on its innovative marketing concept and deviation from traditional stout appearance and mouthfeel.

While opponents argue that its pale color and potential for a lighter mouthfeel don’t align with the traditional dark appearance and experience offered by conventional stouts, others have accepted similarly counterintuitive terms like ‘Black IPA’.

Impact on Sales and Marketing

Marketing white stout faces significant challenges due to consumer preconceived notions about what a stout should look like, necessitating a focus on selling the beer based on its flavor rather than appearance.

However, despite initial skepticism, Noble Ale Works’ Naughty Sauce White Stout has become a best seller, showing that white stout can succeed in the market when well-executed.

The Future of White Stout

Even with ongoing discussions about its name and classification, the future of white stout appears bright. There is a continuing interest in brewing white stouts, indicating a persistent presence in the craft beer community.

The craft beer community’s ongoing interest in experimenting with white stouts suggests an evolution of the style, despite some debate concerning its proper classification and naming.


To wrap up, white stout is a fascinating beer style that challenges traditional notions of what a stout should be. Its unique blend of flavors and brewing techniques makes it an intriguing choice for beer enthusiasts.

Despite the debates surrounding its classification and naming, the future of white stout looks promising as it continues to gain popularity among brewers and consumers alike.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between white and dark stout?

The difference between white and dark stout comes from the roasting process of malt and barley, with dark stout being roasted and white stout being lighter due to the presence of wheat in the mash.

Is stout beer healthier?

Yes, stout beer is healthier than light-coloured lagers because it contains nearly twice the amount of antioxidants. It is packed with flavonoids that give fruit and vegetables their dark colour.

What is the difference between a stout and a milk stout?

The main difference between a stout and a milk stout is that milk stout, also known as sweet stout, is sweeter than a regular stout. This sweetness comes from unfermented sugars or the addition of lactose to the fermented beer. Cheers!

What color is stout?

Stout is typically deep brown or black in color, with a smooth, chocolaty taste and a thick consistency. It’s easily recognizable by these characteristics.

How is white stout brewed?

White stout is brewed by achieving stout-like flavors such as chocolate and coffee without the use of heavily roasted grains. This creates a unique beer with the appearance of a lighter ale and the taste of a stout.

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