What satisfies your sweet tooth? Gingerbread cookies? Hot fudge sundae? Crème brûlée? Why not enjoy those flavors in a beer? Bakers use malty, chocolatey stouts to render cakes more decadent and fudge-like, so why not turn it on its head and inject indulgent flavors to make irresistible dessert beers? That’s what breweries are leaning into. And, unsurprisingly, dessert beers aren’t just an excellent way to cap off a meal—with or without dessert.
Dessert beers aren’t a specific style. Instead, they’re barleywines, porters, stouts, and brown ales that are usually stronger in alcohol content and, sometimes, sinfully sweet. That’s because these styles are complemented by chocolate, coffee, vanilla, lactose, and other dominant flavors.
While we suggest stocking up on dessert beers for the dark, sometimes frigid days and nights of winter, you can enjoy these whenever the mood strikes. Keep scrolling to find 10 of our favorite dessert beers in all their butterscotch, cinnamon, and nutty glory.
1. Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout
One of the most well-known dessert beers of all time, Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout was brewmaster Garret Oliver’s resume beer. This 10 percent ABV Russian imperial stout is loaded with flavors like roasted malts, freshly brewed espresso, and a mix of fudge, cocoa, and dark chocolate. It’s truly a chocolate lover’s dream beer.[$12.99, 6-pack, totalwine.com]
2. Firestone Walker Cinnamon Dolce Nitro Stout
While Firestone Walker is well-known for its award-winning IPAs, lagers, and pilsners, it’s also known for its dark beers. This includes its limited-edition Cinnamon Dolce Nitro Stout. This milk stout was conditioned on vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks. The result is an indulgent beer with hints of vanilla beans, dark chocolate, caramel malts, and a nice kick of spicy, sweet cinnamon.[$14.99 for a 6-pack; halftimebeverage.com]
3. Prairie Sundae Service Imperial Stout
If the folks at Oklahoma’s Prairie Artisan Ales’ goal was to create a beer that literally tastes like a hot fudge sundae, they did it. This bourbon barrel-aged imperial stout is brewed with vanilla, fudge, peanuts, cherries, and even sprinkles. It tastes exactly as you’d hope with notes of vanilla frosting, chocolate fudge, and slight nuttiness throughout.[$14.49, 12-oz bottle; totalwine.com]
4. Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
This sweet, warming brown ale was brewed with a variety of malts, Perle and Sterling hops, Pacman yeast, and free-range coastal water. It gets its nutty flavor from the addition of real hazelnut extract. This results in a memorable beer with hints of chocolate, vanilla beans, butterscotch, and delicious hazelnut flavor that leaves you wanting more.[$10.99 for a 6-pack; totalwine.com]
5. Southern Tier Nitro Crème Brulee
Southern Tier has a history of crafting myriad dessert-style beers. One of its best is Southern Tier Nitro Crème Brulee. This imperial milk stout lives up to its name; it’s flavored with vanilla beans and has notable caramelized sugar and vanilla goodness in every sip.[$13.99 for a 4-pack; totalwine.com]
6. Stone Xocoveza
Inspired by the spicy, sweet flavors of Mexican hot chocolate, this 8.1 percent ABV mocha stout is brewed with cocoa, coffee, peppers, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and lactose. The result is a complex stout with hints of coffee, rich chocolate, butterscotch, and gentle heat (from the peppers).[$16.99 for a 6-pack; drizly.com]
7. Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Break
Evil Twin is known for its over-the-top, inventive brews—and as far as dessert beers go, this is one of the best. The imperial stout is brewed with coffee for a smooth chocolate profile. There’s no mistaking the notes of vanilla, caramel, and almond cookies.[$12.99 for a 4-pack; totalwine.com]
8. High Water Campfire Stout
This award-winning beer was created to taste like everyone’s favorite summertime dessert: s’mores. It gets the flavors of chocolate, graham crackers, and toasted marshmallows by being brewed with actual graham crackers and molasses. You get all that classic flavor—without the smokeout or gooey mess—that’ll leave you nostalgic for summer nights.[$9.79, 22-oz bottle; totalwine.com]
9. Hardywood Gingerbread Stout
No matter the time of year, you can always enjoy the flavors of the holiday season. Gingerbread is spicy, sweet, and delicious—especially in beer form. The folks at Hardywood created this beloved winter staple with real ginger as well as wildflower honey. The result is a creamy, chocolatey brew with some zing from cinnamon and ginger.[$6.50, 500ml bottle; drizly.com]
10. Young’s Double Chocolate Stout
This complex English stout checks in at a surprisingly low 5.2 percent ABV. But what it lacks in alcohol content, it makes up for in flavor. Brewed with Pale ale, Crystal, and Chocolate malts, as well as a blend of sugars, it’s known for its sweet, creamy, indulgent, chocolate flavor. It’s complex, memorable, and highly drinkable.[$9.99, 4-pack; totalwine.com]
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