A lot more can go into beer than just water, barley, hops, and yeast. Brewers use additional ingredients to achieve different flavors and textures that appeal to a variety of beer drinkers. There is one ingredient sometimes used in beers that can stir up a lot of questions: lactose.

We sat down with our Lab Team to find answers to all the common questions about lactose in beer. Keep reading to learn more.

What is lactose?

Lactose is the name for the type of sugar that’s found in milk.

Why do some beers have lactose?

Brewers use lactose to add sweetness and a thicker mouthfeel to beers because it’s a sugar that brewing yeast can’t ferment. Lactose is primarily used in stouts, where the sweeter flavor profile can complement the malt and chocolate notes, but in the last several years it’s been added to other styles of beer too. For example, Juicy/Hazy IPAs sometimes include lactose as a means to give the flavor profiles a fruit juice or milkshake quality.

What if I’m lactose intolerant?

Our bodies use an enzyme called lactase to digest lactose. Some people’s bodies don’t produce enough lactase to properly digest lactose, and this can result in some very uncomfortable side effects when they consumer products containing lactose and dairy.

During the brewing process, most sugars are converted to alcohol. Lactose, however, can remain in the finished liquid. Depending on the severity of your lactose intolerance, we wouldn’t recommend drinking a beer that contains lactose. Luckily, we offer a wide variety of dairy- and lactose-free beers for all to enjoy. Below is a list of the current Firestone Walker beers that do and do not contain lactose.

Firestone Beers That Contain Lactose

Firestone Beers That Don’t Contain Lactose

Curious About A Beer Not Listed Above?

Maybe you’ve been cellaring something for a few years or you grabbed a growler of a small-batch beer from one of our breweries. No worries. Reach out to our Social Media Team on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram or send our Customer Service Team an email at customerservice@firestonebeer.com. They should be able to get you the answer you’re looking for.

Use our Beer Finder to discover where your favorite Firestone beer (with lactose or without) is available near you.