FAQ: Stouts & Porters

Fellow Beer Enthusiasts,   


Just what is a Stout?

Stouts are dark beers, black as night and hard to see through. Most brewers use Roasted Barley (unmalted barley that is kilned to the point of being charred) which imparts a roasted flavor to the beer. Think chocolate, coffee, and caramel.

Some stouts can be hoppier than others, particularly American stouts.



What's the Difference between Stouts and Porters?

Excellent question! Nowadays, it is pretty difficult to find differences between the styles. It boils down to the history. Porters were the working man's drink in England in the 1700's. It was actually a blend of three different beers: an old ale (stale or soured), a new ale (brown or pale ale) and a weak one (mild ale), with various combinations of blending and staleness. The result was a beer that was mild, low in alcohol (around 4% ABV), and satisfied the consumers thirst.
Stouts emerged with a demand for more alcohol. First known as a Stout Porter, the "porter" was dropped eventually and the rich, 7% ABV Stout was born.


What are some typical Stout Styles?

The first stout styles were known as English Stouts and Irish Dry Stouts.

An Irish Dry is typically a little lighter in body and carbonation, to make them ultra crushable. They are also known for being served on Nitro draft systems (does Guinness ring a bell?) and thus have a wonderfully smooth, creamy head.

English Stouts are known for their classic roasty qualities, including chocolate, coffee, toffee, caramel, and slightly burnt notes.

American stouts can range on either side of the stout spectrum, and some just some off completely.

Within the last few years we have seen a rise in Bourbon barrel aging. This has brought on an enormous monster of a beer. Some stouts have become so dense you can cut them with a fork and knife.



When is the perfect time to drink them?

Stouts tend to sit better with colder weather. Snowy (or rainy) days spent next to a wood burning stove, or wrapped up in a blanket reading a book. Basically, right now!


What Should I Try?


Okay, you're sold. You have to try some stouts. And you should, this is the season! Here are some of my favorite stouts:

New Holland Brewing Dragon's Milk Bourbon Barrel Aged Stout
Revival Brewing Company White Electric Coffee Stout
Hitachino Espresso Stout
Founders Brewing Breakfast Stout
Left Hand Brewing Nitro Milk Stout


As always, if you have any questions please send me an email!


Julia Lewis
Craft Beer Coordinator


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