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Jan 21, 2014 05:14 AM

In Search of Sweet Beers

My boyfriends is not a beer drinker. He'll drink a cider but that's about it. He has a big sweet tooth even when it comes to beverages.

I'm trying to expand his horizons. I've had him try Scaldis and Leffe Brune just as a gauge to see how sweet is sweet for him. He said both "weren't terrible" and he could drink them but he still didn't like them. I want to find something other than a cider that he might like.

My palette leans towards the bitter. I mostly drink Belgian ales and trippels with clove and coriander notes (yum!). I also enjoy IPAs. I'm really out of comfort zone when it comes to picking out something sweet.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

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  1. For sweet, give Rochefort 10 a try. I call it the "liquid chocolate brownie" of beers. Also on the sweet side, I like Westmalle Tripel and Tripel Karmeliet though they aren't really that sweet.


    1. Knowing your location may be helpful as many smaller breweries have only regional distribution.
      Many beers with fruit are sweeter (although some are sour). There are all sorts of Raspberry/Blackberry/Peach/Apricot wheat beers out there, some better than others. Ithaca Apricot Wheat is pretty good. Fruli Strawberry beer from Belgium is tasty. Some of these are not considered entirely manly, however!
      In the northeast, you can try some things from Southern Tier that are very sweet, such as Pumking, Choklat, or Creme Brulee Stout. Stouts in general are not very bitter usually.

      4 Replies
        1. re: amberife

          Southern Tier beers are available in your market. The Choklat and Creme Brulee Stout are both very sweet.

          1. re: amberife

            Maybe Troegs' Double Bock? That was fairly sweet with very little bitterness, IIRC.

            1. re: mdougherty

              Troegenator is one of my favs. and I love sweet beer.
              Warning: Troegenator is like drinking bread, very complex.
              Great for someone who likes strong, complex flavors.

              Light it ain't, but sweet it is!

        2. I recently went through this with an acquaintance of mine who sounds a lot like your bf.

          I'd suggest:

          Chimay - Grande Reserve (blue) or Premiere (red)

          Rochefort - 10 or 8

          La Trappe - Dubbel or Quadrupel

          Unibroue - Ephemere (apple), Blanche de Chambly, Quelque Chose

          Samuel Smiths - Organic Chocolate Stout, any of their fruit beers

          Lindemans (no brainer) - Peche, Kriek, Framboise

          St. Bernardus - 12, Christmas Ale if you can still find it

          AleSmith - Wee Heavy

          1. Have you tried lambics? These are Belgian beers fermented from fruit rather than grain. You can get them in a few fruit flavors. …altho they don't taste "fruity" to me. Just different than a conventional beer.

            Wanna blow his mind? Pour some lambic over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

            11 Replies
            1. re: rainey

              Lambics are 100% grain, not fermented from fruit. Some may have fruit or fruit syrups added to varying degrees of sweetness.

              1. re: rainey

                To add to MVNYC's point, with the exception of Lindeman's, Boon, Oud Beersel and Mort Subite, fruit lambics are most definitely not sweet. They are very sour, with the fruit added early enough in the aging process that their sugars get completely consumed.

                1. re: Josh

                  Geuze, which is a blend of old and young lambiek, was traditionally served with sugar. They would bring a glass to your table and a cup of sugar with a spoon. Unfortunately, most of these old traditional places have closed and I don't think the modern ones have continued the tradition. But, you could certainly do it at home.

                  1. re: ThomasvanDale


                    I've tried Lindemans Faro, which is a gueuze with sugar added in the bottle. I found it kind of repulsive.

                    I don't really care for Berliner Weisse with the syrup added, either.

                    1. re: Josh

                      As I mentioned, the sugar came with a spoon. It was optional and, even if you took sugar, you could take as much or little as you liked. I certainly agree that overly sweet beers are disgusting.

                      Which Berliner Weisse can you buy? I'm not sure there's any being made in Germany, almost certainly not in Berlin.

                      1. re: ThomasvanDale

                        I believe this is the sole example of the style imported to the US these days.


                        Made in Bavaria.

                        There are some made in the US by craft breweries, as well.

                        It seems that, at least in the US, the name "Berliner Weisse" is used universally, even if the beer isn't made anywhere near Berlin.

                        We used to see Schultheiss and Kindl Weisse years ago.

                        1. re: Jim Dorsch

                          Yes, I've heard of that beer, but not good things. The two you mentioned were quite nice, but sadly seem to have disappeared. Perhaps Berlin could use a Pierre Celis now.

                          1. re: ThomasvanDale

                            While looking for something else this morning, I discovered that the Kindl Berliner Weisse brand still exists. Schultheiss, the owner, is now aiming the beer at young people. They now offer a line of 10 syrups to go with the beer. The flavours include rhubarb, green apple and grapefruit. Tradtionally, only rasberry and woodruff syrup was offered. Until the 20th century, the beer was mixed with distilled drinks. It was only served in the summer.

                            My parents, who were from Berlin, used to drink it as children. And when I visited Berlin with them some years ago, it was still served in cafes. I didn't find it too sweet, although it tasted more like a novelty drink than a beer.

                            1. re: ThomasvanDale

                              The German restaurants in Yorkville (NYC) all used to serve this, back when there were still German restaurants in Yorkville - the only one left is the Heidelberg and I haven't gone in years, don't know if they still serve it.

                  2. re: Josh

                    I defer absolutely to you guys who are beer drinkers. I'm not.

                    I just thought lambics could be an alternative. And over ice cream the total effect certainly is sweet (tho wonderfully not too sweet). It even worked for me, a non-beer drinker. ;>

                    1. re: Josh

                      But Lindeman's are very widely available, even sometimes in supermarkets and little delis that don't otherwise have unusual beers. And boy are they sweet. I believe any of them would really meet the needs of the OP.

                  3. My favorite sweet beers:

                    #1: Well-made american barleywines. Availability depends on where you live. Victory Old Horizontal, 3 Floyds Behemoth, Anchor Foghorn are 3 awesome brews; probably at least one is available in your area.

                    #2: The sweet "darker" belgians. Gulden Draak is a great example... these are really quite similar to my palate to the barleywines which I slightly prefer.

                    #3: Fruit-infused beers. Leinenkugel Raspberry is a simple fruity/fizzy beer that has a cidery edge your friend might like. It's a pink girlie beer that I make no apologies to loving It might be easier to connect with for a non beer-drinker. Definitely sweet.

                    Speaking of sweet brews, I just had a 2-year old cherry mead a home-brewer friend of mine made. Just insanely delicious. You could serve it in place of port anyday... but you're not going to find something like that off the shelf (I don't think). In fact I'm not sure if there are any bottled meads, but if so that's another category you can look at.... basically a form of fermented honey as I understand it.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      American Barleywine is kind of a risky style to suggest, IMO, given how many of them also have substantial hop levels to go with that sweetness. The ones you mentioned aren't like that, but Sierra's Bigfoot, for example, and Stone's Old Guardian are both quite hoppy.

                      It does make me think of English Old Ale, though. Another good one for the OP to look for is J.W. Lees' Harvest Ale, which is quite sweet and rich.

                      1. re: Josh

                        The same "risk" in barleywine is also there for sweet dark belgians... that's why for a non beer drinker who likes cider, I'd start with something lighter like a fruit-infused wheat beer.

                        That said, poster asked for "sweet beers", and great barleywines definitely fit that category.

                      2. re: TombstoneShadow

                        Meads can run from super dry to super sweet with flavors coming from the honey,fruits,grains,botanicals,herbs and spices. We are currently making cyser,a type of mead, apple cider and honey fermented together.

                          1. re: Raffles

                            A friend of mine brews and ages specialty meads.... A few weeks ago he broke out a bottle of a 3-year-old cherry mead using garden cherries his wife grows...

                            First I'd ever had it... talk about incredible, this stuff was somewhere around vintage port in flavor....

                            Highly recommended... but can you strictly speaking consider mead to be a "beer"?

                            1. re: TombstoneShadow

                              I do not think you can consider mead to be a beer, but as you mentioned, it is something else to explore.

                              I have seen meads in the wine stores , and have found the few I tried too sweet for my taste. Hence our attempt at cyser.

                              We just bottled our first batch, tastes good, but we are waiting for it to carbonate and age a bit more before we crack any more open.

                                1. re: Chowrin

                                  I have not tried Bochet,but it does look interesting. We just started making cyser because of the availability of local cider and our own honey. We have one batch bottled, and 4 more in the works.