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Use lactose in a stout but don't want it too sweet

I plan to make a stout, OG around 1.056. I want to add lactose to give it that ‘milk stout’ character but don’t want to get it too sweet. I’ll infuse it with a chai spice blend at bottling. I may even infuse with coffee as well.

My threshold for ‘sweet’ is fairly low and want avoid going over the top. You can’t take it out.

Barring other input my plan would be to use 8-10% in the boil. 8% would be about 10 oz. 10% is about 13 oz. If not sweet enough, I’d boil water plus additional lactose then adjust to taste at bottling.

Can anyone offer input as to what percent lactose would get me into that “borderline sweet” range?

Everyone’s taste varies so I may get widely different responses.

thanks

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I recently brewed NB’s brunch stout. I too like a little sweet in my stouts so I added about 6 ounces of lactose to a five gallon batch. Got plenty of sweetness. BUT–I’ve added a pound of lactose to other recipes and it did not make them any sweeter than this last one. I’m thinking it has to do with either the type of roasted malt used or my final gravity or both–probably even had something to do with the yeast. I’ve always used kits so I’m not terribly familiar with the different malts. All of the sweet stouts I’ve done have been extract (I now do biab, this last one was an extract freebie), so there’s that. So with my limited experience, I’d say the two biggest influences on sweetness would be the amount of lactose and the attenuation of the yeast. This last batch was extract, S-04, fermented around 66, 6 ounces of lactose, final gravity of 1.022—so about .019 discounting the lactose, which seemed a little high to me. But the final product came out just right if not barely a little too sweet.

I think your plan of going low and then adding more at bottling is solid. And if you mash a little higher, (and I know you know this) that could help as well.

I’ve heard Dave Taylor say he would never use more than about 1/2 pound of lactose in a 5 gallon batch and I tend to agree.
And like you said, you can always add at bottling, but you can’t take it out.

Cheers,

Ron

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Hi, Dave Taylor here. Frenchie, you just knew I would see this here and respond, didn’t you.

Lactose… in 5 gallons, 1/2 pound takes the edge off, 3/4 pound is noticeably sweet, and 1 lb is really friggin sweet.

Looks to me like @bwmac2 is brewing about 3-3.5 gallons. And if he doesn’t want it overly sweet, then should use 5-7 oz total. This works out to about 5%. Even 8% might be too much. Definitely don’t do 10%!

Cheers all.

Just what I was looking for. Thanks !

As usual, Dave, you da man!!

Cheers,

Ron

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