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A Guide To Stout Beer

06/11/2019

Take a peek into the world of the stout beer.

You know what they say, ‘when in doubt, drink a stout’, and who wouldn’t agree? A pint of stout is as comforting as getting into the clean sheets at the end of the day, or some might say, even more comforting.

Thanks to Guinness, a lot of people now have a rough idea of what a stout beer is - but stout beer is so much more than just Guinness, so let’s take a peek into the world of stout.

What is a Stout Beer?

In technical terms, a stout is a dark, top-fermented beer with a plethora of variations. The word ‘stout’ goes back to the Egerton Manuscripts of 1677, where it was documented that the first known use of the word stout was to describe ‘a strong beer’, and not a ‘dark beer’.

Before stout was actually a thing, most people were very much obsessed with the Porter style beer. Stout originally emerged as a stronger version of the porter - and was originally called ‘Stout Porter’. It eventually took off as its own style of beer, but with more depth because of the use of roasted barley.

Most people who dive into the world of stout beer usually end up surprised to find out that a stout isn’t as heavy or strong as they thought it would be. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Most great stouts are complex with a low ABV and a touch of roastiness. Drier versions of stout are more appetizing and satisfying, while the sweeter styles of stout are silky and well rounded - and said to be perfect for an evening with a barbeque and drinks.

Types of Stout

The stout has a lot of variations to it, ranging from an Irish style to British, to American, and more. Let’s just say that the stout has a way of pleasing everyone who gives it a shot (not literally, it’s not tequila now is it).

Let’s dive into the different types of stout.

  1. Irish Stout

An Irish Stout is known to be a dry stout. This simply means that you won’t get much in the way of malty sweetness taking over, but you will definitely taste notes of chocolate and coffee or toffee. Irish Stout has lower carbonation, just like a most stout, and is often supplemented with nitrogen for a smoother, finer overall mouthfeel.

ABV : 4% - 5.5%

Irish Stout, you must try -

  • Guinness Draught

  • Brooklyn Dry Irish Stout

  • Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Aged Stout

  • O’Hara’s Celtic Stout

  • Murphy’s Irish Stout

  1. English Stout

An English pint is one that no one can say no to. Very similar to the Irish Stout, the English Stout also holds a dark and roasty flavour palate - thanks to the use of roasted barley in the grain bill. The English Stout holds a moderately full mouthfeel, that balances the hops and roasty bitterness along with some malty sweetness. Just like the Irish Stout, you will come across notes of chocolate and coffee.

ABV : 4% - 7%

English Stout, you must try

  • Mac & Jack Brewery Bourbon Aged Maxx Stout

  • Lighthouse Brewing Company Desolation Oyster Stout

  • Canmore Brewing Company Mineside Stout

  • Flying Dog Brewery Pearl Necklace

  • Fuller’s Brewery Past Master Double Stout


Check out, 10 Best Stout Beers to Try This Weekend


  1. American Stout

American Stout is essentially a term for the rainbow of heavy assortments being created by American breweries right now. The fundamental heavy spine is there—normally based on roasted barley—however flavours, hop depth and intensity, and even the liquor content (from high to sessionable) can differ.

ABV : 5% - 7%

American Stout, you must try

  • Harpoon Chocolate Stout

  • Dogfish Head Chicory Stout

  • Saranac Vanilla Stout

  • Firestone Walker Velvet Merlin

  • Sierra Nevada Stout

  1. Russian Imperial Stout

The strongest Stout out there is said to be the Russian Imperial Stout. It was originally brewed in England for the Russian Imperial Court in the 1800s, and the style has kept its broad flavour profile and higher ABV over the years. Prepare yourself for ultra-deep, dark, roasty notes along with fruity, chocolatey flavours with layers of bitterness from hops.

ABV : 8% - 12%

Russian Imperial Stout you must try:

  • Firestone Walker Brewing Parabola

  • 3 Floyds Brewing Chemtrailmix

  • Surly Brewing Company Darkness

  • Stone Brewing Fyodor

  • Brouwerij Emelisse Imperial Russian Stout

Stout Beer

  1. American Imperial Stout

A twist on the Russian Imperial Stout, the American Imperial Stout is brewed with similar intensity, if not, more regarding the flavour profile and alcohol content. Rich and velvety like a Russian Imperial, American styled stout could include anything from confident bounces character to an option of espresso or chocolate to play into the effectively exceptional roastiness, and many are barrel-matured, adding to the heartiness and expressive descriptive word commendable multifaceted nature. Some remaining sweetness, huge liquor, and loads of dull flavour to play around in. A heavy at the inventive edge of the speciality brew development, without a doubt.

ABV : 8% - 13%

American Imperial Stout you must try:

  • Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout

  • Dogfish Head Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew

  • Foothills Sexual Chocolate

  • Goose Island Reserve Bourbon County Stout

  • Crux Fermentation Project Tough Love

  1. Oatmeal Stout

There’s no better way to describe this stout other than its name. Oats are added to the mash in brewing, which results in a stout which has a similar depth to the traditional stout but has greater malty sweetness and a silkier texture than your regular stout. The flavour profile of the Oatmeal Stout has notes of nutty, bready flavours depending on the proportion of oats used.

ABV : 4% - 7%

Oatmeal Stout you must try:

  • Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout

  • Goose Island Oatmeal Stout

  • Wolaver’s Oatmeal Stout

  1. Milk Stout

Milk Stout, or what most people call Sweet Stout is just sweeter than your average stout. A Milk Stout is made either by brewing to have low bitterness, bringing in the taste of unfermented sugars or by adding lactose to the fermented beer. Prepare for notes similar to the classic dry stout, which are chocolatey, roasty, and have a coffee run through. However, the sweetness gives the Milk Stout a dessert-like character.

ABV : 4% - 6%

Milk Stout you must try:

  • Left Hand Milk Stout

  • Overtone Brewing Milk Chocolate Stout

  • Southern Tier Creme Brulee Imperial Milk Stout

  • Stone Brewing Xocoveza

  • Lancaster Brewing Co. Milk Stout


Check out 10 Stout Beers To Try This Weekend. Click here


  1. Oyster Stout

The name itself speaks for this stout. The Oyster Stout emerged in England, where it’s claimed that people at the bar would enjoy an oyster while they drank, finding a complementary flavour between the briny flavour of the oyster, and the rich flavour of the stout. The oysters tend to add only a little bit of body and briny flavour to the stout, so don’t worry about any fishy taste.

ABV : 5% - 9%

Oyster Stout, you must try:

  • Flying Dog Pearl Necklace Oyster Stout

  • Porterhouse Brewing Co. Oyster Stout

  • Coast Brewing Co. Bulls Bay Oyster Stout

  • Magnolia Oysterhead Stout

  • Three Boys Oyster Stout

Which stout are you trying next?