Do Stouts Have Caffeine? (Including Coffee and Espresso Stouts)

One of the hallmarks of the stout beer style is the unmistakable taste of coffee. Does a stout actually contain caffeine?

Stouts contain caffeine only if they were brewed with coffee, specifically the coffee and espresso substyles. These stouts will often have additional coffee as well, which will result in higher caffeine content. It is unlikely you will notice any effects from the amount of caffeine found in coffee stouts.

Read on for more information regarding caffeine in stouts and the different substyles that are brewed with real coffee.

Do stouts contain any caffeine?

Stouts can taste like coffee from the ingredients used, mostly roasted malt. However, stouts, along with any other beer style that doesn’t include caffeinated ingredients, don’t have caffeine.

Stouts do not necessarily contain any caffeine. This style gains its coffee flavor from the grains used, including roasted barley, chocolate malt, black malt, or other dark malted grains. Only stouts that are brewed with coffee or other ingredients that include caffeine have caffeine in them. Stouts brewed with coffee will have some amount of caffeine in them.

Stouts brewed with coffee contain caffeine, but only in small amounts. In general, stouts and other beers are not brewed with coffee or caffeine-having ingredients, making almost all beers caffeine-free.

Will a stout have the caffeine content on the label?

If a stout is brewed with coffee, there is bound to be caffeine in the end product. How much, though?

Stouts brewed with coffee have some traces of caffeine in them. The amount is minuscule and it is not often reported on nutrition labels or packaging. For perspective, an 8 oz cup of coffee contains about 95 mg of caffeine, which is far less than what would make its way into a 12 or 16 oz beer.

If a stout has caffeine in it, you’re more likely to feel an alcohol buzz before you get jittery, as the caffeine content is relatively low compared to the amount of beer and alcohol.

What kind of stouts typically have caffeine?

Stouts don’t typically have caffeine, but certain substyles definitely will. Only a few make use of real coffee and therefore contain traces of caffeine.

There are three kinds of stouts that have caffeine:

  • Coffee stouts
  • Espresso stouts
  • Breakfast stouts

Let’s take a look at each of these stouts in turn.

Coffee stouts

As the name suggests, coffee stouts are brewed with coffee in one way or another. Whether it be from the addition of espresso shots during primary fermentation or grounds added during steeping, there will be caffeine in a coffee stout.

Coffee stouts have caffeine in them. Because they’re brewed with real coffee, they contain at least small amounts of caffeine. Stouts with a more potent coffee flavor may have more caffeine than those with more subtle notes.

The Guinness Nitro Cold Brew Stout is a popular example of a coffee stout.

Espresso stouts

The espresso stout has more bitterness than other coffee stouts. These beers are plenty roasty, full-bodied and dark in appearance.

An espresso stout is one that’s brewed with espresso coffee. Espresso has a distinct roasty flavor and heightened bitterness that accentuates the roasted barley used to brew stouts. The espresso stout contains more caffeine than a regular coffee stout, but not by much. Espresso stouts contain only trace amounts of caffeine.

If you’re ready for an intense brew, check out the Founders KBS Espresso Imperial Stout.

Breakfast stouts

The breakfast stout is another stout that contains caffeine. It has a roasty, bitter taste reminiscent of a morning cup of joe, hence the name.

Breakfast stouts use coffee during the brewing process, making them caffeinated. Founder’s Brewing Company originally brewed this style as an Oatmeal Stout made with coffee adjuncts, but other breweries have since developed their own beers in the unofficial breakfast stout style.

Drink the Founders Breakfast Stout and enjoy the original.

4 sources of caffeine in stouts

Stouts can get their caffeine from four different sources.

That’s right, brewers have more options than just dumping a pot of coffee into the wort or fermenter and calling it a day. Stouts containing coffee always have at least a little caffeine in them.

The sources of caffeine in stouts include:

  • Brewed coffee
  • Coffee beans
  • Specialty brewed coffee
  • Coffee extract

Let’s look at each of these and how they can affect the flavor – and caffeine content – of the beer.

Brewed coffee

Brewed coffee adds a little bit of caffeine to a coffee stout. The amount of caffeine in the beer depends on how much coffee is used to brew it.

A 5-gallon batch of beer can make use of anywhere between 1-30 fluid ounces of coffee in the recipe. An 8-ounce cup of coffee contains 95 milligrams of caffeine, all of which will find its way into the beer.

Overall, the beer-to-coffee ratio is minuscule, and the caffeine addition is relatively small.

Coffee beans

Coffee beans are another source of caffeine in stouts, no matter how they’re used.

Coffee beans can be finely ground and added to a beer as a source of caffeine. Coarsely ground or whole coffee beans also add coffee flavor and caffeine to beer.

Different coffee beans contain more caffeine than others; some contain up to 25 milligrams. The typ of bean used will affect the amount of coffee in the final product.

Specialty brewed coffee

Other, special types of coffee are used to brew beer and are another source of caffeine.

Specialty-brewed coffees, the most common being espresso, are used to add coffee flavors to a beer. Espresso has a high concentration of caffeine; in just one shot of espresso, there are about 64 milligrams of caffeine.

Espresso offers a stronger coffee flavor than regular brewed coffee, meaning that less is needed during brewing.

Coffee extract

Coffee extract is another way to add coffee flavor to beer and is a greater source of caffeine than regular brewed coffee.

Coffee extract is concentrated and contains more caffeine per fluid ounce than regular brewed coffee. When using coffee extract to brew beer, it’s best used in small amounts to prevent large amounts of caffeine in the beer.

The extract is an efficient source of coffee flavor in coffee stouts because of the concentrated coffee flavor.