Stout isn’t just a delicious dark beer that can drink like a meal. It’s also long been believed to be a breastfeeding new mom’s best friend. Certain studies warn against nursing mothers consuming alcohol, but many doctors believe the occasional drink doesn’t hurt. In certain cultures, dark beer is even considered to help: It’s been used to increase the flow of breast milk since the ancient Egyptians started making beer 5,000 years ago.
There’s some science behind the idea. Barley, a main ingredient in stout, contains a polysaccharide that increases prolactin, a milk-production hormone. Oats, another stout ingredient, are also thought to promote healthy milk supply, as is vitamin-B-heavy brewer’s yeast. Of course, a beer with a mild proof is the best option for new moms––milk stouts tend to have reasonable ABVs.
These six creamy milk and oatmeal stouts will please those feeding tiny humans from their own bodies and anyone else who appreciates good beer.
Copper Kettle Milk ($11 per six-pack)
Made with actual lactose, the ingredient that gives milk stout its name and creamy character, this brew is sweet and malty. While it doesn’t actually taste like milk, this Denver beer does have a chocolate milk character and velvety mouthfeel that’s pretty irresistible. At 5.6% ABV, why resist?
Finkel & Garf Oatmeal Milk ($9 per six-pack)
From craft-beer-loving Colorado, this oatmeal milk stout is less sweet than a typical milk stout, but not quite as heavy as an oatmeal stout. Somewhere in between, it drinks more like a main course than dessert, but isn’t overly filling. At 5.5% ABV, it shows satisfying malty, coffee and chocolatey notes.
Guinness Milk ($11 per six-pack)
Guinness released its milk stout as part of The Brewers Project series. Using the same yeast base as classic Guinness, this stout offers a kiss of sweetness from the addition of milk sugars, plus bittering hops and roasted barley. It’s smooth and creamy with a toasty chocolate milk undertone. Not quite as low ABV as the original, which clocks in at 4.2%, the 5.3% milk stout is undeniably sessionable.
Left Hand Milk ($10 per six-pack)
With roasted barley, flaked oats and flaked barley, this delightful milk stout is rich and chocolaty thanks, in no small part, to the addition of actual chocolate. At 6% ABV, it’s surprisingly approachable with its sweet, toasty notes and seductive mocha character.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
Samuel Smith Oatmeal ($12 per four-pack)
This 5% ABV beer contains hops, malted barley, brewer’s yeast and oats, so it’s your classic oatmeal stout recipe. Each batch is fermented in stone Yorkshire squares in the oldest brewery in Tadcaster, England. The result is a refreshing and filling drink with a smooth and bittersweet finish.
Sand Creek Oscar’s Chocolate Oatmeal ($7.50 per six-pack)
Oatmeal, chocolate and barley sound like the components of a breakfast of champions, but they also come together beautifully in dark beer. This nutty, slightly sweet Wisconsin brew caps at 5.6% ABV. It's “full-bodied yet smooth-drinking,” according to the brewer.