Cream Stout? Yes! Cream Ale? No.

Recently I ranted about cream ales. More specifically trying to figure out who actually enjoys them. Earlier in the week I decided to give it another go but accidentally picked up a cream stout instead. Silly me.

Bell's Special Double Cream Stout
(Photo credit: tabounds)

I originally thought I would only be deciding what I thought of cream stouts via this single example of the style. The bottle was a Bell’s Special Double Cream Stout. As it turns out a cream stout is another term for one of my favorite styles of beer: the milk stout. It was pretty obvious after the first few sips that this was, if nothing else, something very similar to a milk stout. Chocolate and toffee like sweetness up front followed by a bit of espresso.

What makes me think though is how vastly different the styles are yet they both use the term cream. One style uses cream to mean light and bland while the other uses it to mean sweet and thick. I think of it sort of like:

Cream ale: Slightly grainy, bland, carbonated, light colored and watery drink with some alcohol.
Cream stout: Sweeter, chocolate with some espresso notes, smooth, carbonated, dark colored and mildly dry beer with normal levels of alcohol for beer.

Seems like opposites to me! I’ll likely continue using the term milk stout simply because so many in the style seem to favor it.

I’m still trying to find a good example of a cream ale to try that is enjoyed by the style’s fans. Unfortunately I’m still stuck trying to find the fans to get a good recommendation. Until then I’ll stick to the stouts when enjoying beers of the cream variety.