What Is a Milkshake IPA (and Does It Really Have Milk in It)?

Don’t let the name Milkshake fool you into thinking there’s actual milk in a Milkshake IPA. Spoiler: Milkshake IPAs use milk sugar, but it’s not actually milk. One thing’s for sure though: you’re looking at a sweeter IPA.
What Is a Milkshake IPA?

Table of Contents

Milkshake IPA has lactose as one of its main ingredients, also known as milk sugar. What is milk sugar? And how does it affect the overall taste and body of Milkshake IPAs?

Or better yet …

Want to know what makes a Milkshake IPA? How it’s brewed? And whether it’s safe for anyone with lactose intolerance? Keep reading.

What Does Milkshake IPA Mean?

Milkshake IPAs don’t literally mean milkshakes. But that would be pretty sweet, right?

And then there’s the confusion about whether a Milkshake IPA has milk, which quite frankly, it doesn’t. So what is a Milkshake IPA?

The bare-bones definition of a Milkshake IPA is it’s a Hazy IPA brewed with lactose (milk sugar), vanilla, and fruit.

Wait, fruit? Yes indeed. That’s what makes Milkshake IPAs so distinct. These sweeter IPAs take fruit-forward hops to another level.

Why Is It Called a Milkshake IPA?

Milkshake IPAs are a combination of fruit and lactose or milk sugar. The addition of lactose adds sweetness and creates a creamy, rich, full-bodied texture.

Now, where does fruit come in?

Adding fruit gives it tartness or a tropical flavor. Combined with lactose, you get a smooth mouthfeel, creamy texture, and richness similar to a milkshake.

What Makes an IPA a Milkshake IPA?

For starters, lactose, vanilla, and fruit are what make an IPA a Milkshake IPA. But how does each ingredient contribute to a Milkshake IPA’s body and taste?

What are the notable characteristics of a Milkshake IPA in terms of flavor, aroma, appearance, and mouthfeel? You’re about to find out.

Why Do Milkshake IPAs Need Lactose?

Lactose enhances the mouthfeel and body of a Milkshake IPA, giving it its velvety, creamy texture. Additionally, lactose adds sweetness. This added sweetness causes your brain to perceive less of the alcohol that’s in a Milkshake IPA.

Milkshake IPAs aren’t sweet for nothing!

Why Do Milkshake IPAs Need Vanilla and Fruit?

Vanilla is a key flavor that harmonizes well with tropical fruits added to the mixture. It’s safe to say that all Milkshake IPA recipes use vanilla either as whole beans or extract.

When brewers add fruit to a Milkshake IPA, it’s usually in massive quantities. Adding fruit also builds the body and mouthfeel of a Milkshake IPA.

If you thought NEIPAs use a lot of fruit, Milkshake IPAs take fruitiness to a whole other level. Got any childhood memories of sweet, fruity desserts? Or fruity candy? How about pie served with frothy cream? Your fruit options are endless. You can even go as wild as adding a passionfruit, mango, and guava blend. Heck, some even use peanut butter!

What Are the Characteristics of a Milkshake IPA?

You can’t define a Milkshake IPA solely by its aroma or flavor profile, and that’s because the creativity for this style is endless.

Milkshake IPAs are sweeter IPAs that use childhood memories as a creative bullet. What does that mean? Whatever dessert or ice cream or sweet treat you loved as a child, you can recreate it in a Milkshake IPA.

It’s almost hard to believe Milkshake IPAs are IPAs, right? However, the current trend of IPAs has shifted. It’s no longer a competition of who can brew an IPA with the highest IBU or bitterness.

Trends have shifted to sweeter, more flavorful, and more aromatic IPAs. So, without further ado, here are some characteristics that define a Milkshake IPA:

Flavor

Milkshake IPAs have a similar tropical & fruity profile as New England IPAs (NEIPAs). A Milkshake IPA will definitely have that juicy flavor to it.

But what makes it different from a NEIPA, then? Aside from the addition of lactose, there are two:

  1. Vanilla: NEIPAs don’t have vanilla, while Milkshake IPAs have a prominent vanilla flavor. Vanilla is a key flavor ingredient necessary to nail a Milkshake IPA’s style.
  2. Fruit: NEIPAs use fruit, but Milkshake IPAs use them in a slightly different way. Fruits are usually added either frozen or in puree form.

Overall, Milkshake IPAs are fruity, juicy, and have an ice cream-like flavor to them.

Appearance

Milkshake IPAs have a golden, opaque, and hazy appearance. Again, the appearance of a Milkshake IPA is similar to a New England IPA.

Aroma

Milkshake IPAs have tropical, fruity aromas, but this can also change depending on the fruit used. Some might use a blend of mango and guava, while others might use a blueberry lemon/lime blend.

See how interesting it is? In fact, there’s even a chocolate doughnut–flavored Milkshake IPA!

Mouthfeel

When you have an ice cream-like flavor in an IPA, it’s only fair that the mouthfeel should be ice cream-like too.

And that’s exactly what you get. Creamy, velvety, smooth, and rich. Finally, a large amount of oats are added to the grain bill to enhance the body too.

Key Takeaways of a Milkshake IPA Profile

That was quite a lot to take in, right? So, here’s a recap:

  • Lactose is used to add sweetness and richness. Also adds to the creamy texture of Milkshake IPAs
  • Has low bitterness
  • Has a prominent vanilla flavor, which is added either as vanilla beans or as vanilla extract
  • Similar tropical and juicy qualities of a New England IPA (NEIPA)
  • Golden orange, opaque, and hazy appearance
  • Creamy and velvety texture thanks to the addition of fruits
  • The addition of fruits and oats creates a thick body and smooth mouthfeel

What Style Is a Milkshake IPA?

There is no definite style guideline for a Milkshake IPA, so the style itself is open to interpretation.

However, Milkshake IPAs are different from Hazy IPAs, New England IPAs, and East Coast IPAs. There’s no doubt that a Milkshake IPA belongs to the IPA category. But if you’re looking for a textbook definition of a Milkshake IPA, there isn’t any.

The simplest way to define a Milkshake IPA’s style is that it’s an IPA brewed with lactose, vanilla, and fruit.

As far as fruity flavor notes and creamy textures go, a Milkshake IPA still has hoppiness as part of its qualities. However, lines often get blurred because of the several varying styles of Milkshake IPAs.

Now, what if someone were to ask you what makes this style different from other styles? It’s mainly lactose. Hazy IPAs, NEIPAs, and East Coast IPAs don’t have lactose.

Next is vanilla and fruit. Although the other three styles use fruit-forward hops, Milkshake IPAs are slightly different.

Yes — Milkshake IPAs use fruit-forward hops, but there’s also fruit usually added in puree form. The fruit added enhances the mouthfeel, body, and texture of a Milkshake IPA.

In addition, the vanilla added gives Milkshake IPAs a prominent vanilla flavor that you also won’t find in the other three styles.

ABV of Milkshake IPAs

Even without a clear or set definition of what style a Milkshake IPA is, it’s still an IPA. That means its ABV or alcohol by volume falls between 5.5% to 10%.

Is a Milkshake IPA the Same as a Smoothie IPA?

There are no set guidelines on what a Smoothie IPA or Milkshake IPA is, so differentiating between the two is blurry.

However, a Milkshake IPA is brewed with lactose, vanilla, fruit, and fruity hops. Smoothie IPAs are brewed with unfermented fruit puree.

Basically, Smoothie IPAs use a ton of fruit like Milkshake IPAs but most recipes don’t involve fruit fermentation.

This makes Smoothie IPAs sweet and thick in flavor, almost like drinking a blended smoothie. The problem with Smoothie IPAs, though, is the unfermented part.

If a Smoothie IPA isn’t kept cold and unpasteurized, the unfermented fruit will start to ferment inside the can. As the fruit starts to ferment, there’s a buildup in pressure inside the can which eventually leads to an explosion.

Now, don’t take this the wrong way. If you buy a can and drive home, it doesn’t mean the time the can spent sitting in your car is going to cause an explosion.

As long as you don’t leave it on your kitchen counter or living room for a long time, you’re fine.

What Is a Black Milkshake IPA?

Black Milkshake IPAs? Do they even exist?! Well … there is one. And it even won the Silver Ohio Craft Brewers Cup 2021 as a Specialty/Hybrid beer. Say hello to Damocles Black Milkshake IPA. It was brewed by Brink Brewing Co. and Darkness Brewing Co.

What makes it different from a Milkshake IPA? For starters, it has more carbonation and less creamy mouthfeel than a Milkshake IPA.

However, a defining quality is that it uses dark malts. Some examples of dark malts include toffee, caramel, chocolate, and coffee.

The dark malts also give it a darker color similar to a stout. Flavor-wise? You can definitely taste the vanilla, but it also has bitter chocolate flavor notes and a slight sweetness.

What Is an Imperial Milkshake IPA?

Imperial Milkshake IPAs aren’t as popular either. However, there is one way to define an Imperial Milkshake IPA.

First, what is an Imperial IPA? Imperial IPAs, also known as Double IPAs, are IPAs with nearly double the alcohol content, hops, and malts than a Regular IPA.

In other words, an Imperial IPA has a higher ABV (around 7.5% to 10%) and stronger bitterness. Pair that with the concept of Milkshake IPAs, and you have lactose added to the mix.

Of course, you’d also expect there to be vanilla beans and fruit puree as part of the recipe.

Who Makes Imperial Milkshake IPAs?

Surprisingly, there are a good number of breweries that make Imperial Milkshake IPAs. You can refer to the table below for a list of examples.

Imperial Milkshake IPAs Brewery
Imperial Milkshake IPA Tired Hands Brewing Company
SBC 4 Imperial Milkshake IPA Service Brewing Company
Imperial Milkshake IPA The Garden Brewery
Wander Beyond Octopod Imperial Milkshake IPA Wander Beyond Brewing
Wander Beyond Illicium Imperial Milkshake IPA Wander Beyond Brewing

It’s worth noting that the Imperial Milkshake IPAs listed above all have high ABVs in the 8% to 12% ABV range.

Wander Beyond’s Imperial Milkshake IPAs are around 11% to 12% ABV! Unfortunately, Tired Hands Brewing Company’s Imperial Milkshake IPA isn’t available anymore.

Is There Milk in Milkshake IPA?

The short answer? None.

Want the long answer? First, you need to understand what lactose is. Lactose is also known as milk sugar and is found naturally in mammals — goats, cows, and humans.

The milk sugar that’s added to a Milkshake IPA is the sugary portion of milk that was extracted into its powder form.

In other words, lactose is the powdered sugar portion of milk. Put simply, it’s sugar.

Are Milkshake IPAs Always Dairy Free?

Milkshake IPAs aren’t dairy-free. Considering how lactose is added to a Milkshake IPA, it’s the same substance found in milk.

However, there are a few Milkshake IPAs that are dairy-free. As you’ll find out in the later sections, Milkshake IPAs can use an alternative to lactose so it’s safe to drink for those with lactose intolerance.

Is It Safe to Drink Milkshake IPAs If I Have Lactose Intolerance?

Absolutely not.

Drinking Milkshake IPAs even in small amounts can make anyone with lactose intolerance feel sick. Some take Lactaid before drinking a Milkshake IPA, but even this isn’t enough to prevent frequent bathroom breaks.

So, what’s the best option for someone with lactose intolerance? Go for a Vegan Milkshake IPA! (more on this later).

How Much Lactose Is in a Milkshake IPA?

The amount of lactose in a Milkshake IPA varies. However, the general rule of thumb is half a pound (227 g) of lactose for every 5 gallons (19 L) of beer.

Sometimes, half a pound of lactose isn’t enough so brewers will add more lactose as a preference. The highest this can usually go is one pound (454 g) of lactose for every 5 gallons of beer.

Ultimately, the amount of lactose in a Milkshake IPA ranges from half a pound to one pound of lactose for every 5 gallons of beer.

Do All Milkshake IPAs Have Lactose?

Of course, they do! All Milkshake IPAs have lactose because it’s also what sets apart a Milkshake IPA’s style from other IPA or beer styles.

Is Milkshake IPA Vegan?

If you’re referring to the standard recipe of Milkshake IPAs, then no. Milkshake IPAs aren’t vegan at all, considering it has lactose.

But are there Vegan Milkshake IPAs? Why yes, there are! In fact, one brewery is well-known for creating Vegan Milkshake IPAs: Alternation Brewing.

Fun fact: The owner of Alternation Brewing, Brendan Pleskow, is vegan.

His very first vegan beer wasn’t a Milkshake IPA, but a milk stout made with almond milk. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Brendan went on to make several variations of this Almond Milk Stout. He even partnered with several vegan businesses to expand the vegan line of milk stouts!

What are these variations, you might ask? Boy, is it interesting to hear, even for a non-vegan! These variations include Oreo, candy cane, salted caramel, s’mores, and gingerbread.

As for the vegan businesses Brendan partnered with, they were able to create the following vegan milk stouts:

Vegan Milk Stout Collaborations Brewer Collaborations
Bread Pudding variety Wong Way Veg and Alternation Brewing
Chocolate Doughnut Beet Box and Alternation Brewing
Horchata Cholo Ass Vegan and Alternation Brewing
Bacon Stout (made with seitan bacon) Vegan Van and Alternation Brewing
Steak-sauce Stout Meta Burger and Alternation Brewing

Now, how about Alternation Brewing’s Milkshake IPA?

Instead of using lactose, Brendan added coconut milk as the vegan alternative. Surprisingly, coconut milk and vanilla go well with many of the hop varieties today.

And so … Nut Shake Milkshake IPA was born! For vegan advocates, it’s a must-try! The best part? It comes in several variations like berries and cream, mango, and coconut.

There’s even an Elvis variation that’s brewed with peanut butter, banana, and chocolate! Alternation Brewing’s latest Vegan Milkshake IPA was their strawberry milkshake coconut IPA.

Guess what. This Vegan Milkshake IPA was brewed using 400 pounds (181 kg) of strawberries. 400 pounds. What’s even more interesting is the label in their can reads: “This beer is vegan AF.”

How’s that for a Vegan Milkshake IPA, right?

Is Brewdog Milkshake IPA Vegan?

Although most of Brewdog’s beers are vegan-friendly, their Milkshake IPA is not. Brewdog’s Milkshake IPA, Basic Shake, is not vegan due to the addition of lactose.

In Brewdog’s Basic Shake product info, it also says “not suitable for vegans.”

What Does a Milkshake IPA Taste Like?

Here’s what a Milkshake IPA tastes like:

  • Tropical, fruity flavor notes similar to New England IPAs (NEIPAs)
  • A prominent vanilla flavor; creaminess
  • Distinct sweetness with some maltiness
  • Lower or restrained bitterness
  • Ice cream-like flavors (depends on the fruit used)

Think Coldstone Creamery. The ice cream shop? Yes, the ice cream shop. Some of the fruity flavors you’ll find there are similar flavor notes in a Milkshake IPA.

Now, think dessert. Blueberry lime. Strawberry mango. Strawberry vanilla. Double peaches. Blueberry, strawberry, and mango. Apricot, passionfruit, and guava. Guava mochi.

The flavors are endless when it comes to Milkshake IPAs! If peanut butter can be an ingredient, just imagine the world of possibilities for Milkshake IPAs.

Is a Milkshake IPA Sweet?

Damn straight it’s sweet! Remember that lactose adds sweetness and richness to Milkshake IPAs. Furthermore, sweet tropical fruits like strawberries and mangoes also add sweetness.

But wait, Milkshake IPAs are also IPAs, so where’s the bitterness? Good question.

Milkshake IPAs have bitterness but at a lower perceived level. There’s definitely hoppiness in it too, but again, a Milkshake IPA will have ice cream-like flavors.

Fruit-forward hops are still used in brewing Milkshake IPAs, but it’s almost hard to tell because of the lactose, vanilla, and added fruit.

How Many Calories in a Milkshake IPA?

The calories in a Milkshake IPA can range between 170 calories to 270 calories. The calorie content found in Milkshake IPAs depends on the ABV or alcohol by volume content.

The higher the ABV in a Milkshake IPA, the more calories it has. For example, Tired Hands/Omnipollo Milkshake IPA – Extra Vanilla has a 7.5% ABV.

On RateBeer, the calories registered are 225 calories. If you look up ABV calorie charts online, you’ll be able to estimate how many calories there are for every ABV %.

Most ABV calorie charts also show the number of calories based on pour size: 12 oz. (355 ml), 16 oz. (473 ml), and so on.

How Are Milkshake IPAs Made?

So how does one brew a Milkshake IPA? Some of the steps might seem familiar to anyone who’s tried brewing a New England IPA (NEIPA).

However, since lactose, fruit puree, and vanilla are now added to the recipe, there are a few guidelines you have to carefully go over first.

How Do You Make a Milkshake IPA?

Like any IPA, one of the primary ingredients is hops. Heck, IPAs wouldn’t be IPAs without hops. But which hops should you use? You’re about to find out.

Hops

Fruit-forward hops like Citra, Mosaic, Amarillo, Vic Secret, and Galaxy pair well with fruit additions. It also adds juiciness to your Milkshake IPA.

How bitter should it be? You should aim for at least 10 IBU. That means some bitterness is present but slightly lower than a New England IPA’s.

Take note, though. You can’t be as creative with the hops for Milkshake IPAs, meaning earthy or floral hops are a big no-no. The earthy and floral notes clash with the sweet vanilla flavor notes of a Milkshake IPA.

Malts/Grain Bill

As your base grain, go with a 2-Row Pale Malt. You can add flaked oats to add creaminess and enhance the mouthfeel. However, keep it below 30% of your total grain bill.

There’s also one crucial note to point out here. And it’s that your grain bill should be as simple as possible. Why? Because you don’t want to add too much malt that it becomes too malty.

Malts don’t take the center stage in Milkshake IPAs. Instead, they take the backseat. What should really shine is your vanilla, hops, and fruit additions.

Lactose

Ah yes. Sweet, sweet lactose.

As mentioned earlier, lactose is necessary for every Milkshake IPA. It adds sweetness, a creamier mouthfeel, and a smoother body to your Milkshake IPA.

Alternatively, vegan-friendly options include coconut milk or almond milk. Start by adding half a pound (227 g) of lactose for every 5 gallons (19 L) of beer.

Then, do a taste test. If you feel it needs a little more richness or sweetness, you can bump up the lactose content.

Typically, the maximum ratio is one pound (454 g) of lactose for every 5 gallons of beer.

Vanilla

Don’t ever forget vanilla! It’s a key flavor ingredient that makes Milkshake IPAs delicious. Now, there are 2 ways to add vanilla. Either as vanilla beans or as vanilla extract.

Between the two, which is better? Vanilla beans, without a doubt. Why? Because it’s fresher and brighter than vanilla extract.

In the later sections, this guide will also teach you how to prepare vanilla beans, so stay tuned!

Fruit Additions

For fruit additions, the sky’s the limit. Don’t be afraid to get creative. Don’t be afraid to make a fruit profile that’s weird for others.

Some will taste great, and some won’t. However, that’s the beauty of making a Milkshake IPA. Go crazy bananas with strawberries if you want. Or, if you feel a little adventurous, blueberry lime is a great fruit flavor profile.

Finally, you can buy frozen fruit, thaw it, and then blend it in a food processor or blender. You can add this to your mixture once it’s ready. If you want to pasteurize it to prevent contamination, that’s fine too. Heat your fruit puree to 160°F (71.11°C) for about 15 minutes before adding it in.

Pectin

You can add pectin in the form of apple puree to create a permanent haze effect and a thicker body. This is optional, though.

To do it, you’ll need about 5 Granny Smith apples for every 5 gallons (19 L) of beer. Next, puree your apples in a food processor or blender. And finally, add the puree when there are 10 minutes left in your boil.

Other Ingredients

If you want to take your flavor profile even further, you have a ton of options available! Chocolate, marshmallows, cookies, cakes, coffee, and even tea are all great options!

This is your chance to test out what’ve you been meaning to test out! Go for it!

When to Add Lactose to Milkshake IPA?

The best time to add lactose is at the end of the boil. Additionally, follow these tips when adding lactose to your beer:

  1. Don’t add too much lactose before tasting your mixture. This can result in an overly sweet beer. Instead, start at half a pound (227 g) of lactose for every 5 gallons (19 L) of beer
  2. Add your lactose at least 10 to 15 minutes before the boil ends
  3. Don’t add your lactose too early into the boil since this will wreck your hops
  4. If you want to add spices, you can do so as well. Nutmeg, cinnamon, chocolate, and coffee blend well with lactose

How to Prepare Vanilla Beans for Milkshake IPA

If your plan is to use vanilla beans, a good ratio is 1 or 2 whole vanilla beans for every 5 gallons (19 L) of beer. However, if you want to go with vanilla extract, the ratio is different.

For vanilla extract, go with 2 ounces (60 ml) for every 5 gallons of beer.

To prepare vanilla beans, follow these steps:

  1. First, grab your vanilla beans and slice them lengthwise (a paring knife works well with this)
  2. After you’ve sliced your vanilla bean all the way, open it up so you can easily remove the insides
  3. Scrape out as much of the insides as you can
  4. Chop the vanilla bean into smaller pieces
  5. Grab a bottle of vodka and a storage container for your vanilla bean and vodka mixture
  6. Pour about 1 ounce (30 ml) of vodka into your storage container
  7. Pour all your vanilla — both the chopped-up pieces and scraped insides/seeds — into the storage container
  8. Let the mixture steep for about 1 week
  9. Once it’s ready, you can add it to your fermenter along with your dry hops. You can do this during the whirlpool stage.

When to Add Fruit to Milkshake IPA? And How Much?

When it comes to fruit additions, massive additions are key. But not too much that your beer turns into a fruit shake.

A good ratio is 4 to 6 pounds (1.8 to 2.7 kg) of fruit for every 5 gallons (19 L) of beer. Now, when should you add fruit to your Milkshake IPA?

The best time would be during the second dry hopping stage. In other words, after primary fermentation is over, you should add your fruit puree in.

After you’ve added your fruits, let it ferment for at least 3 days.

What Is a Good Yeast Starter for a Milkshake IPA?

Good yeast starters for Milkshake IPAs are English ale yeast strains. These are low flocculating and have low attenuation — a perfect match for making Milkshake IPAs.

Wyeast 1318 London Ale III is an excellent starter yeast strain. If you prefer dry yeast, Safale S-04 is a great alternative.

Your fermentation schedule should be around 1 to 2 weeks at a temperature of 68°F (20°C) to 70°F (21°C).

What Water Profile Should I Follow When Making a Milkshake IPA?

Always use clean mineral water. Carbon filtered water or reverse osmosis (RO) water are ideal options. Alternatively, distilled water works well too.

If you have a Campden tablet at home, it’s highly useful in treating your water source. Chlorine and chloramine are minerals you don’t want in your water profile because it destroys your hops flavor.

Finally, keep the ratio of your chloride to sulfate at 2:1. If you’re still new to homebrewing, don’t worry. Start with the following profile:

  • Sulfate: 100 ppm
  • Chloride: 200 ppm
  • Calcium: 80 ppm
  • Magnesium: 20 ppm
  • Sodium: 40 ppm
  • Mash pH: 5.2

Who Invented the Milkshake IPA?

Milkshake IPAs date back to 2015, just a few years ago.

It all started when Omnipollo — a Swedish Microbrewery — started referring to its beers as Smoothie IPAs.

These Smoothie IPAs were labeled with Magic Numbers to set each IPA apart. Some of these include the following:

  • Magic #411 – Wild Strawberry/Vanilla/Rhubarb Smoothie IPA
  • Magic #90000 – Bliberry Smoothie IPA
  • Magic #4:21 – Raspberry Smoothie IPA

In the same year, Omnipollo collaborated with Tired Hands Brewing Company to take IPAs to the next level.

They used lactose, oats, wheat, strawberries, and vanilla beans. Fruit forward hops, Mosaic and Citra, were also added to the mix.

Both Omnipollo and Tired Hands called it “Milkshake” which came to be the style so well-known today: Milkshake IPAs.

Who Makes Milkshake IPA Today?

A lot of brewers credit Omnipollo and Tired Hands as the original inventors of Milkshake IPAs. What they left was a milkshake revolution that inspired several breweries to create their own versions.

So, who makes Milkshake IPA today? A ton. Below is a list of breweries that make Milkshake IPAs and their respective brews.

Milkshake IPA Brewery
Vanilla Shake IPA Westbrook Brewing
Blazed Orange Milkshake Hop Butcher For The World
Milkshake IPA (Double Nitro Mango) Tired Hands Brewing Company
Mood Ring Bearded Iris Brewing
Pineapple Peach Orange Chantilly Phase Three Brewing
Strawberry Chantilly Phase Three Brewing
Who’d Like To Hold My Clipboard Hoof Hearted Brewing
Milkshark Bellwoods Brewery
Orange Cream Marbles More Brewing Company
Guava Mochi Great Nation Brewing
Cloud Catcher Odell Brewing Co.
Tart Shake Funky Buddha Brewery
Pina Colada Milkshake WeldWerks Brewing Co.
Cosmic Cenote Cinderlands Beer Co.
Bert Got Dum Streetside Brewery

With so many breweries making Milkshake IPAs today, your options are nearly limitless. However, you can’t try a Milkshake IPA without trying the original first.

Omnipollo’s and Tired Hands Brewing Company’s Milkshake is a must-try for any first-timer. And while you’re at it, grab Tired Hands Brewing Company’s Milkstave IPA.

Where to Buy Milkshake IPA

The best places to buy a Milkshake IPA are usually from the breweries’ websites themselves, or at your local brewery.

However, if you’re too tired to drive those extra miles just to get your hands on one, you can try these online platforms:

  • Craftshack
  • Total Wine & More
  • Craftcity
  • Drizly
  • Craft Beer Kings

You can also check Untappd to gain some insight on where others buy their Milkshake IPAs.

Where to Buy Ube Milkshake IPA

The best place to buy Ube Milkshake IPA is on Harland Brewing Company’s website, Harlandbeer. However, a few fellow friends on Untappd mentioned you can also buy it in 15 North Fallbrook, California.

If you’re nowhere near California, use Taphunter to give you a list of possible locations near you that sell Ube Milkshake IPA.

Finally, Drizly also carries Harland Brewing Company’s Ube Milkshake IPA. It’s worth checking out if it’s not sold out yet.

Where to Buy Milkshake IPA Near California

Aside from Craftshack and Drizly, there aren’t many physical locations to score a Milkshake IPA in California.

One Redditor did mention that Pure Project North Park Tap Room would most likely have Milkshake IPAs.

Another option is Third Street Aleworks in Santa Rosa, California. You might also want to check out Kings Brewing Company located in Rancho Cucamonga, California.

Where to Buy Milkshake IPA Near Texas

There are several places you can buy Milkshake IPAs in Texas, such as:

  • Total Wine & More
  • Craft Beer Cellar Houston
  • Untitled Art (Located in Waunakee, Wisconsin)
  • Basement Brewers of Texas (Located in Kerrville, Texas)
  • Central Market Westgate
  • H-E-B Grocery
  • Sunrise Grocery or Convenience Store

Your best places are most likely Untitled Art and groceries like Central Market Westgate, H-E-B, or Sunrise. Untitled Art currently sells their Strawberry Milkshake IPA and Tangerine Milkshake IPA.

Can Milkshake IPAs Go Bad?

Here’s the thing. All beer can go bad.

But not in the same kind of bad like how sour or foul-smelling milk gets. When beer goes bad, the flavors diminish.

In a Milkshake IPA, it’s the same. Those fruity, juicy, and sweet flavors are bound to be faint once it’s gone bad.

On average, IPAs last about 3 months. After that, it’s not worth saving for a hot summer day. As far as general guidelines go, though, Milkshake IPAs are slightly different.

Why? Because there’s lactose and fruit in it. First off, the reason why IPAs turn bad is due to hops. When hops are exposed to light, for example, that can accelerate the oxidation process.

And what happens when hops start oxidizing? It loses its flavor. Other factors that affect hops include time, temperature or heat, and oxygen.

So what’s the big idea with lactose and fruit? For one, when lactose is exposed to heat, it turns into lactic acid. In effect, this is the reason why milk curdles and turns sour when milk isn’t refrigerated after it’s opened.

With a Milkshake IPA, it’s not as bad though. However, storing a Milkshake IPA in a warm environment or where light directly hits it, well … it’s not the best practice.

The same goes for fruit. You have ripe or fresh fruit and then you have rotten fruit. All fruits have a timetable, meaning it’s unlikely you’ll find an all-year-round Milkshake IPA. And it’s precisely for that reason why it doesn’t last as long.

Ultimately, Milkshake IPAs do go bad. Want to know when’s the best time to drink one? Find out in the next section.

How Long Do Milkshake IPAs Last?

Not long. The best time to drink a Milkshake IPA is at least 3 weeks starting from the date it was bottled. Generally, 30 days is a good timeline if you want to drink an IPA without the risk of losing any flavors.

Here’s a useful tip: Check for “Bottled by” labels in the can or bottle. This will help you determine how long it’s been since the bottling date and choose a fresher bottle.

Next, think of all the places or locations you buy your IPAs. If it’s from a local brewery, then there’s no harm in asking how often they receive their shipment.

If it’s a local store or any other convenience market, take note of two things:

  1. How it’s stored: If IPAs are stored in a beer shelf where sunlight directly hits them, it’s not exactly the best Milkshake IPA to get. If it’s also stored at a warmer temperature, remember that heat accelerates the oxidation process. Faster oxidation = Milkshake IPAs going bad faster
  2. How often a fresh or new batch arrives: If you noticed the same box of Milkshake IPAs from last month sitting in the same corner, it’s not a good sign. The problem with this is that it’s only when the inventory is nearly empty that another batch is requested. If it takes months before that happens, there’s a low chance the Milkshake IPAs aren’t as fresh.

To tell you the truth, drinking a Milkshake IPA the minute you get home or after a nice bath is always a better idea. Or at the very least, drinking it within the same week you bought it.

That might sound like a personal opinion, but it’s a cold hard fact. A fact you’ll come to realize when you taste the difference between a 1-week Milkshake IPA vs. a 3-month Milkshake IPA.

Are Milkshake IPAs Good?

It honestly depends. West Coast IPA fans might not agree. And die-hard classic bitter IPA preferences might also get in the way of this sweeter, juicier trend.

Because here’s the thing. The beer industry is vast. It stretches wide. Like, really wide. Because new styles are constantly emerging, there’s bound to be resistance.

Some enjoy the traditional ways, while others are more open to new trends emerging. IPAs have a story of their own.

What was once a rival between who could brew the bitterest, hoppiest bad boy in town is now leaning towards which IPA is hazier. Or which IPA is juicier, fruitier, creamier, and so forth.

For those that love the bitter shine of a Regular IPA or Double IPA, a Milkshake IPA will feel like an insult. However, for those who prefer flavors with more adventure in them, Milkshake IPAs could feel like a godsend.

Some love it. Some hate it. But the truth of the matter is that taste is subjective. It’s hard to definitively say one style is better than the other.

It’s unbiased to say Milkshake IPAs dominate over West Coast IPAs or vice versa.

Milkshake IPAs have a world to shine through and rock in. Yes, they’re amazing and worth a try, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best IPA style out there either.

West Coast or die-hard IPA fan or not, Milkshake IPAs have a unique taste and flavor profile that’s hard to argue with.

It’s a unique brew packing with tropical, fruity flavors, ice cream-like goodness, creamy mouthfeel, and bold, rich sweetness. Like a Hershey’s Kisses smacking you in the lips.

How to Drink Milkshake IPA

There is no right or wrong way to drink a Milkshake IPA. You can drink it straight from the can or the bottle. It’s all a matter of preference.

However, if you prefer to drink your Milkshake IPA using a glass, get a Spiegelau IPA glass. This type of glass was designed to create the best-tasting experience.

How so? First off, the ridges you’ll see in the Spiegleau’s hollow stem helps aerate beer. In effect, this breaks up the aromatics as soon as you pour your Milkshake IPA into the glass.

Instead of getting an aroma that disperses into thin air and disappears, the aromatics flow in a focused stream to your nose.

Fun fact: Dogfish Head and Sierra Nevada tested different shapes of glasses for several years to find the right beer glass shape. The Spiegelau IPA glass is the result of years of experimentation.

Who would’ve thought the science behind beer would reach even something as unexpected as glass shape, right?

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