5 Things You Should Know About Stout

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The other night after the kids went to bed and my wife was busy building her health and fitness empire, I sat on my couch reading 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die. A good book deserves a good drink and on this evenings menu was Even More Jesus by Evil Twin Brewing served in my recently acquired Stout glassware. My wife reminded me again about the effects of beer on the waistline so when drinking at home I opt for quality over quantity (as opposed to quality and quantity when I’m out and about). After a few sips I paused to reflect; Stouts are so delicious but how much exposure does the average beer drinker have to them? What does the average beer drinker even know about stouts? Thus was born the concept for today’s blog – 5 Things You Should Know About Stout.


What is a Stout?

Ahhh yes, that is a pertinent inquiry my friends. Stout is a delicious libation whose name originally alluded to any strong beer regardless of color. More succinctly put it is a dark beer made using roasted malt or roasted barley, hops, water and yeast. Typically they land in the 7% or 8% ABV range, although there are exceptions to every rule. Guinness, arguably the world’s most popular stout is around 4.2% ABV (though the Foreign Extra Stout version is around 7.5%)


Where did Stout originate from?

Stouts British origin dates back to the 1600’s, however, the stout we know today evolved from Porters. In the 18th century Porter was the first industrially produced beer. (Porter was also popular with home brewers in America, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.) Breweries in England, and later other countries, added to their range by offering a stronger beer called “stout porter,” a beefed-up porter that eventually became known as a “stout.” By the mid 19th century London and Dublin became the premier porter and stout brewing cities with Dublin of-course being dominated by Guinness.


Are all stout’s strong beers?

We alluded to this in the opening question, that answer is a definitive N-O. The amount of pale malt in a recipe will affect the alcohol content. With that said Stout’s can possess rather high ABV’s and yet still be balanced and immensely enjoyable. 


Are there different kinds of stouts?

Most definitely!

Classic Stout
This is an English style of beer that typically ranges from black to dark brown in color. Stouts tend to have notes of roasted malts, dark/bittersweet chocolate, and/or caramel on the tongue. This style usually has low sweetness and higher bitterness. ABV tends to be between 4.5-7.5%. IBUs - 35-75.

Dry Stout
Originates from the English porter style and is also referred to as an Irish Stout. This has a similar coloration as the classic stout but possess more of a medium roasted malt character. Notes of coffee and chocolate are common as well and as the name indicates it usually finishes dry. The ABV is often between 4-6%. IBUs - 30-45.

Foreign Style Stout
Previously referred to as Tropical Stouts, the more modern variation can range from sweet and fruity to dry and bitter. They generally have a high malt profile with little to no hop bitterness. The ABV is around 5.5-8%. IBUs - 30-70.

Imperial Stout
Originally brewed by England for export to the Russian Imperial Court, these big and bold stouts can tantalize the palate with their complex offering. The color ranges from dark brown to jet black and the flavors tend to include a combination of roasted chocolate, coffee and caramel. Hop flavor ranges from moderate to high, however, American versions tend to be hopped generously. The ABV is around 8-13+%. IBUs - 50-100+.

Oatmeal Stout
This style is brown to black in color. The oatmeal creates a silky mouth feel that becomes oily when large amounts of oatmeal are used. The flavor usually consists of various levels of oatmeal, milk chocolate and/or creamy coffee. Oatmeal stouts usually have medium hop bitterness and very little hop flavor. ABV is typically between 4.5-7%. IBUs - 25-40.

Sweet Stout
This style is commonly referred to as "Milk Stout" or "Cream Stout", due to the use of lactose or milk sugar to sweeten the beer. True to the style the color of these beers range from dark brown to black in color. The flavor is dominated by dark grains and malts with mid to high levels of sweetness. Coffee and/or chocolate flavors may likely be present on the nose and tongue. The roasted malt flavor and hop bitterness last into the finish. Overall, these beers are creamy and bare a likeness to a sweet espresso. American varieties tend to be higher gravity than their English counterparts. ABV usually ranges from 4.5-6.5%. IBUs - 25-40.


What kind of food do stouts pair with?

I’ll caveat this with saying that flavor is subjective to the palate but here are a few stout (and porter) food pairings that I’ve personally enjoyed:

Oysters and Guinness is a classic pairing.

American-style BBQd ribs or smoked brisket - typically a lighter stout (or a smoked porter) works well.

Dark chocolate cakes and desserts – Pairs nicely with an imperial stout

Vanilla ice cream – Here again an Imperial stout will make a more then suitable counterpart.

Are you a stout lover? Let us know in the comments. Tell us if you would like BTBT to review a particular beer or brewery! Tell us about your favorite beers! We want to hear it all!

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Stout Beers
Stouts and Porters Beer Styles Guide


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4 thoughts on “5 Things You Should Know About Stout

    1. We would love to hear that Guinness cupcake recipe! As far as favorite stout, hmmm great question there’s so many to choose from it’s hard to narrow it down really, a well made stout is a thing of beauty. KBS, Bourbon County, Even more Jesus are all solid choices but there’s so many others that are worth mentioning to!

  1. Interesting info on the history of these styles. Oftentimes it is easy to down them and move on but it is cool to know why an Imperial is called what it is etc. #beerup

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