Stouts and Porters


touts and Porters are enormously popular among U.S. craft brewers and virtually all brewpubs and regional microbrewers produce one or both as year round brews.


Dry Stout - Dry Stout is closely associated with Ireland and Guinness in particular. These brews tend to be rich and dark with a definitive bitter note. Draught (draft) Irish Stout is nitrogen-flushed to give it that tell-tale white creamy head that has made Guinness so recognizable. This process is also effected in cans and bottles with a nitrogen "widget."

Flavored Porter - Flavorings used in porters are typically dark berry fruits and coffee. When skillfully done, the effect can be greater than the sum of its parts.

Flavored Stout - Flavored stouts are stouts, be they sweeter or drier, which have been flavored in some way. Dark fruits, coffee and chocolate are particularly popular.

Imperial Stout - Imperial Stout is an extra strong version of stout which was originally brewed by the British to withstand the rigors of export to Russia and the Baltic states. This style is dense, opaque black and strong in alcohol with a note of sweetness. Burnt cocoa and dried fruit flavors are typical. Imperial stout was almost extinct until recreated by the British brewer Samuel Smiths in the early 1980s.

Oatmeal Stout - This brew is a variation of sweet stout which has a small proportion of oats used in place of roasted malt, which has the effect of enhancing body and mouthfeel. They were originally brewed by the British in the earlier part of this century, when stouts were thought of as a nutritious part of an everyday diet. The style was revived by the Yorkshire brewer, Samuel Smith, in 1980. They tend to be highly flavorful with a velvety texture and sometimes a hint of sweetness.

Porter - Porters are red-brown to black in color, medium to medium-full bodied, and characterized by a flavor profile that can vary from very subtle dark malts to fully roasted, smoky flavors. Being a centuries old style, there are differences of opinion with regard to what a "true" porter was actually like and there can be wide variations from one brewer's interpretation to the next. Roasted malt should provide the flavoring character, rather than roasted barley as is used with stouts. Stronger, darker versions and lighter more delicate versions are equally valid manifestations of the style.

Sweet Stout - Sweet stouts are largely a British specialty. These stouts have a distinctive sweetness and often show chocolate and caramel flavors, They are sometimes known as milk or cream stouts. These beers obtain their characters by using chocolate malts and lactic (milk) sugars in the brewing process.