You’ve probably heard of stout beer at least once in your life, it’s quite a popular type of beer and you’ll see quite a few people drinking it in a bar or home setting, but it’s more often seen being drunk over in the UK or Ireland.
It’s dark in appearance and it has quite a rich flavor to it. It’s this strong and rich flavor that makes so many people prefer it to drinking regular beer.
In this article we’re going to be discussing what stout beer is, what kind of beer it is and a few other common questions regarding stout beer.
What Is Stout Beer?
Stout beer is dark beer which is made by using roasted malt or barley, hops, water and yeast.
There’s a variety of different stouts out there and their tastes can differ, but you’ll always be able to distinguish stout beer from normal beer due to the dark hue of the drink, some stouts can look almost black!
The term ‘stout’ was often used generically for the stronger or stoutest porters, which would often reach 7-8% ABV.
The use of the term ‘stout’ didn’t become popular until much later, because of the popularity of porters, breweries would often make them in many different strengths, and the strongest of these were often referred to as ‘stout porters’, intertwining the two.
Nowadays, stout is used to describe beers that are dark in color, rather than how strong they are.
What Kind Of Stouts Are There?
Since stouts have been around for a few centuries now, a lot of different types have been made in this time. Stouts can be divided into two categories. “Milk” or “sweet” stouts and “dry stouts”.
The sweet or milk stout is sweetened with lactose from milk, hence the name, it tends to give the beer a sweeter taste and at a time it was even recommended for mothers who were breastfeeding!
Dry stout is what people really think of when they think of a stout beer.
It has an unsweetened flavor and an almost coffee-like taste, the most famous example of a dry stout is Guinness, which we’re sure you’ve heard of.
There’s also a few other types that we’ll give you more information about below.
When stout was beginning as a beer in the 18th century, oysters were common food to be served alongside the stout in public houses and taverns.
Oyster shells would even be added to the stout to clarify it, we know what you’re thinking, no- it doesn’t give the stout a fishy taste!
Nowadays, modern oyster stouts may be made with a few oyster shells in the barrell during the brewing process, but some will even include the oyster meat as it adds a sweet and subtle marine tang.
Imperial stout isn’t drunk as much today, it fell out of favor in the late 20th century, but it’s making a comeback and new generations are discovering the unique taste of imperial stout.
As you can probably tell with the name, oats are used in this type of stout in the brewing process. The oats give this stout its bitter taste and were considered to be quite healthy like its counterpart “milk” stout.
Only around 30% of oats can be added during the brewing process, any more and the drink becomes too bitter for most people to bear.
The goal of the oats is to give the beer a fuller, smoother taste. This is due to the fats, proteins and gums they contain.
Now this one sounds delicious, doesn’t it? Chocolate stouts will use dark malts that have been roasted until they have acquired a dark chocolate color, this gives the stout a bitter chocolate flavor and aroma.
Some breweries who brew chocolate stout will add small quantities of chocolate or chocolate flavoring into the brewing process, to achieve the true taste and aroma of chocolate stout.
How Should Stout Be Served?
We already know that stout is different from regular beers in a few ways, so does that mean it needs to be served differently? Yes, it does. Stout should be served at around 50-55℉
Guinness, one of the most popular stout brands, has nitrogen added at the pump (if you’re drinking in a bar or a public house), to create the thick band of foam you’ll see at the top of the glass.
Guinness also says that it should be poured ¾ of the way and then leave it to settle before you top it off.
Most stouts will be served in the same glass as most other beers, in a standard pint glass with tapered sides.
But if you want your stout’s taste and aroma to be highlighted, why not try a glass that has been specifically designed to enhance the beer’s unique taste?
Spiegelau is a German company that has perfected the art of making glasses that highlight and accentuate the taste of many different beers, and their stout glass is no different.
Apparently the materials and shape they use contribute to the taste and aroma, the concave of the glass helps to keep the aroma and the narrow head is designed to preserve to white, foamy head.
And there we have it! Stout beer is a unique and flavorful beer that shouldn’t just be referred to as “bitter”.
There’s so many different types of stouts out there with different tastes, such as oyster and chocolate stout, that there’s sure to be one to your liking.
Its dark-hue and strong aroma sets it apart from other beers that you’d find in a bar, so why not try one? You might find yourself wondering why you hadn’t tried one sooner.