Pastry Stout

If you love stouts and all things sweet, strap yourselves in for a journey through the world of pastry stouts, where any kind of dessert or sweet ingredient can be infused into the flavors of dark stout beer. Now you can have your cake and drink it! 

Pastry stout beer

The world of craft beers is an ever-evolving landscape, with innovative brewers pairing their favorite ingredients with the bold, traditional flavors of beer.  One such sub-genre of beer that’s rapidly rising in popularity is the Pastry Stout.

What is a Pastry Stout?

A Pastry Stout is a rich, dark-colored beer loaded with dessert-like ingredients to make the beer taste like drinkable cakes or desserts. In layman’s terms, a Pastry Stout is simply a Stout brewed with extreme sweetness to taste like desserts.

Named after the decadent desserts they endeavor to mimic, pastry stouts are a result of brewers experimenting with sweet ingredients, like cacao nibs, caramel, coconut, marshmallows, coffee, forest fruits, biscuits, vanilla beans, and many more, to create a robust stout with a rich, dessert-like finish. 

These beers are characterized by their flavor profiles that offer a heavier, sweeter side of stout with notes reminiscent of pastries and desserts.

Flavors and Aromas

Some brewers employ lactose (milk) and sugar in their beers to bring in a creamy texture to their beers. While some enjoy the thought of milk in beer, hardcore beer lovers would cringe at this combination.

While there are different combinations of ingredients used in brewing a good dessert Stout, the most important question to ask yourself is – what flavors do you want your sweet Stout to hold?

Your Pastry Stout can be influenced by your favorite dessert or any other sweet dish which is universally accepted and you know anyone and everyone will enjoy.

Some brewers mix flavors of vanilla and blueberry with added lactose to bring the feel of a blueberry cheesecake. Some others focus on straightforward Stout flavors of coffee and chocolate. These are simple to brew and universally accepted, as one cannot go wrong with original Stout ingredients.

There are many homebrewers who experiment with ingredients like cranberry, vanilla, cinnamon, caramel and the like, which are more extreme and experimental on the palate.

Pastry Stout Flavors

Here are some of the most popular Pastry Stout flavor:

  • Chocolate cake
  • Biscotti brew
  • Pecan pie
  • Ice cream waffle
  • Vanilla maple
  • Marshmallow Stout
  • Hazelnut cupcake
  • Blueberry cheesecake
  • Peanut butter jelly
  • Caramel tart
  • Lemon raspberry tart

The secret to these flavors is the addition of ingredients or unmalted grains that add to the base flavor of hops used in the beer. Coffee can also be added to any of these combinations. The coffee and beer combination is a big hit in the industry and one can never really go wrong with this balance.

Pastry stout

Pastry stouts: Caking the future

It’s never easy to tell whether a beer style is going to be a hit among beer lovers. So many styles have been created for different palates from varying countries around the world, such as Wheat beers, American Pale Ales, Sour beers, and West Coast IPAs – the list goes on.

Pastry stouts though have a select following. People who either like the robust, rich flavors of a stout with a touch of sweetness or people who don’t like the hoppy taste of traditional beer (the nonbeer drinkers). 

This style of beer isn’t session-able, it’s one for after dinner, sipping and enjoying around the table with good conversation. So they’re never going to compete with lagers and IPAs that are very squashable and enjoyed worldwide.

“The Pastry Stout style is definitely here to stay,” says Cameron Lund, Head Brewer at Bluewood Brewing

In terms of the style itself and its own nuances, I think there’s not a boatload of options regarding the manner in which they get made that honestly haven’t been tried before. I could definitely see examples becoming richer than some have already made them. I could see folks trying to push the limits of mouthfeel and the elusive “chewiness” that is desired in the style, but in all honesty, some are already pretty substantial!”

While some craft beer enthusiasts are in favor of the pastry stouts, others aren’t as incensed and can see its decline, as put by Ivan Dedek, Brewmaster, Food Scientist at Meier’s Creek Brewing Company

I have doubts about the future of pastry stouts. Over the last few years, the style has experienced a decline for a couple of reasons: the craft beer crowd that originally enjoyed them is aging, and there is a growing concern about the high caloric count and high ABV content of pastry stouts.” 

Will there be a future for pastry stout? Well, Ivan Dedek shares his final thoughts on the matter. “Although no brewing style will ever vanish entirely, I predict that the market will have fewer options going forward. I think that the only pastry stouts around in the coming years will most likely be the well-known, highly sought-after brands.”

Balance Is the Key

If we had to decide what makes for a good Pastry Stout, it would be “balance.” And the best way to bring the right balance in a Pastry Stout is by making sure the base beer is free of any added flavors, ingredients, off-flavors or flaws. If the base beer is perfectly brewed, then there is a good chance the ultimate result will be good too.

While some brewers believe in a good base beer, there are some others who suggest that off-flavors are sometimes inevitable in any Pastry Stout. An equivalent base recipe, quality ingredients, quality cellaring, packaging, and storage can play a major part in the equation of a Pastry Stout.

Poorly made Pastry Stouts depend majorly on artificial flavors, extracts and flavored essence instead of natural flavorings. The more natural you are with your ingredients, the higher your chances are to brew a delicious Pastry Stout. A Pastry Stout is a dessert beer, a liquid replication of any dessert, so just like you can’t go wrong with the combinations and ingredients in a dessert, you can’t manipulate the same in a Sweet Stout.

Pastry stout style

Creating a Hit

Pastry Stout lovers aren’t looking for basic flavors in their beer. If you can guarantee a beer with bold flavors with an equal amount of base beer character, both heartily complimenting each other, then you will become a hit. A huge body with a mouthful of deliciousness combined with Stout characters and topped with favorite dessert flavors will put you on the right path.


While Pastry Stouts cannot completely replace beers, they are surely a hit in the industry. These aren’t completely healthy, but there are some benefits we can obtain from these dessert beers.

  1. The caffeine in a Pastry Stout gives an instant boost of energy. Just like any coffee-flavored drink, even Pastry Stouts give a caffeine kick that goes a long way in alerting anyone. If an all-nighter is what you’re looking for, then grabbing a couple bottles of Covfefe or Chai Milk Stout Nitro will do the work.
  2. The overload of delicious flavors in a Pastry Stout makes the drink more filling than a regular beer. This means they would make you feel fuller, making you down a lesser number of cans in one go. Moreover, for post-meal dessert cravers, this is a savior. This beer is flooded with dessert flavors, which makes you skip that last dessert and save you some calories.
  3. If consumed in moderation, Pastry beers can be good for your kidneys. They are rich in phytochemicals that maintain balance in the body.
  4. Chocolates, raspberry, strawberry and nuts are full of vitamins, antioxidants and minerals that are good for skin and overall health.


As with the benefits mentioned above, there are also disadvantages to consuming too much of this drink. As with all alcoholic beverages, remember that moderation is key.

  1. One of the biggest disadvantages is the obvious one — calorie concerns. These drinks are high in calories. You can drink one or two cans, but anything more isn’t recommended if you are counting your calories.
  2. If you are lactose intolerant, you may want to watch out for these beers. These beers are filled with milk and lactose ingredients which can cause allergy concerns.
  3. Pastry Stouts are full of sugars. These are drinkable desserts and have added sugars or related sugar forms in them. If you’re diabetic, you may want to reconsider reaching for these beers.


What differentiates a pastry stout?

A pastry stout is a type of stout that includes non-traditional ingredients such as vanilla, chocolate, or coffee, to mimic pastry flavors.

What is the difference between a pastry stout and a porter?

While both pastry stouts and porters are dark beers, pastry stouts are characterized by their sweet, dessert-like flavors, while porters tend to have a more roasted, malty flavor.

Can Pastry stouts be used to cook?

Yes, pastry stouts can be used in cooking to add unique flavors to recipes such as cakes, brownies, sauces, or even ice creams. However, their high ABV and sweetness should be taken into consideration when used in recipes.

Related Stout Styles

Our beginners guide to stout is a perfect starting point if you want to learn more. Otherwise check out these related stout styles, I’m sure you’ll find something noteworthy.

Wrapping up

One cannot deny the fact that with Pastry beers it is easy to go way too sweet, but there is a thin line between welcoming sweetness and cloying. The safest bet is to test batch a beer style and then go ahead with mass production.

  • Pastry Stouts are beers that are liquid forms of desserts like cakes, cookies, pies and more.
  • Coffee is one Pastry Stout flavor that is universally accepted. Other flavors include blackberry, raspberry, caramel, marshmallow, nutmeg, chocolate and more.
  • Balance is the key to making a delicious Pastry Stout. The safest way to go about it is to make a strong base beer free of any off-flavors and loud additions.
  • One of the biggest benefits of this beer is the fact that it is packed with antioxidants and minerals from fresh fruits and flavors.
  • One of the biggest disadvantages of this beer is its added calories. It is also full of sugar and milk, which can be bad for diabetics or those who are lactose intolerant.

The creative combinations of these beers are what attract drinkers to them. This is one craft beer that is a testing ground for the creativity of craft brewers.

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