Stouts are the partner to porters and the two are often confused with each other. In fact, many brewers still debate fiercely other how the two beverages are different so let’s take a look at stouts and see what we can discover, shall we?
At the most basic a stout is a dark beer although like always there are a number of different variations under the label. Milk stouts and imperial stouts being two of the most common although the most popular variation is the dry stout which many popular beers like the Guinness stout are.
The term stout beer was used late in the 16th century but it is believed that this refereed mainly to the strength of the beer. Whereas the term porter which was first documented in the 17th century was used to refer to the colour.
Porter beers proved to be incredibly popular so brewers made many of different strengths with the strongest being given the name stout porters. Although over time this has been shortened to just stouts by many brewers. Although some do still use the stout porter label and stick to calling weaker dark beers porters.
So, really a strong dark beer is what we can really define a stout has. The two terms have been used in different capacities a lot over the years and they are still debated today. Both terms refer to dark beers but there are some ways stouts are unique.
A stout beer will be dark but it will also be strong whereas ports are typically sweeter however with so many variations to the traditional flavour that might not always hold true these days. However, one big difference that you can use to tell a stout from a port is how it’s made.
Stout is made from unmalted roasted barley whereas ports use malted barley so if you are ever in doubt that is the key difference these days. The difference between unmalted roast barley and malted barley do bring about very different flavours as well. So, let’s take a closer look at what stout tastes like shall we?
What Does Stout Taste Like?
The classic stout taste is a little unusual and to actually hear it described it might sound unappealing. However, the popularity of this beer can’t be denied so don’t let descriptions put you off this beer can be a great choice for someone bored of more common beers.
Stout has a coffee and chocolate-like flavour to it but also a kick thanks to the stronger ale. Stouts typically smell like coffee to most people and some even describe them of having an expresso like quality to them.
It’s also typically quite a creamy drink which surprises many people because of its darker colour and reputation. Stout really sums up the old saying that “looks can be deceiving” and thanks to its popularity there are many unique varieties to try. Let’s look at some of the most popular types of stout, shall we?
Milk stout used to be the most popular stout-type in the UK especially during the aftermath of the First World War. Although not as popular these days it is still the stout of choice for many and it contains lactose sugar derived from milk hence its name. This type of stout is much sweeter with softer vanilla-like fragrance. If the traditional stout taste isn’t to your liking it’s a great alternative to try.
Imperial stout was made in the late 1700s and was designed especially to be exported to Russia which is why it is known as Russian Imperial Stout to some. The type of stout is much stronger than many other varieties with a higher alcohol content. It maintains the coffee-chocolate like blend of flavours though but has a drier full-bodied taste with hints of fruit.
Oatmeal stout was made with oats being added during the brewing process. This variant of stout was actually made during the 1500s although fell out of fashion. Oatmeal stout did see a resurgence in popularity though and continues to be manufactured to this day although usually with only a small amount of oats being used. Oatmeal stout is a more earthy and nutty beverage with hints of fruit it’s a more unusual type of stout but certainly worth trying.
Alcohol Free & Non Alcoholic Stout
The alcohol free and low alcohol drinks market has being growing strong for several years now and that has seen the development and introduction of a number of different alcohol free stouts. Many of these are milk stout inspired in flavour with a sweeter more chocolatey taste although you can find stouts with the more classic-coffee style flavour as well. If you're looking to buy alcohol free & non alcoholic stouts, check out our range!